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Other News: Pakistani Forces Pummel Taliban Bases; Taiwan Dispatches More Aid

August 13, 2009 at 12:00 AM EDT
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In other news, Pakistani forces pummeled key Taliban bases near the Afghanistan border, and a double suicide bombing in Iraq killed at least 21 people.
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JIM LEHRER: In other news today, a key Taliban commander’s bases in Pakistan came under fire from helicopter gun ships. Government forces targeted two locations in the northwest near the Afghan border. They said at least 12 insurgents were killed. The bases are run by a possible successor to the Pakistani Taliban’s chief. He was reported killed in a U.S. missile strike last week.

In Iraq, a double suicide bombing killed at least 21 people at a cafe. The attackers struck in Sinjar in the northwest. The city is home to a Kurdish- speaking religious group that has been targeted before. Two years ago, truck bombers killed up to 500 people in a nearby village.

The government of Taiwan sent in 4,000 more troops today to aid survivors of a devastating typhoon. Hundreds of people were still trapped in remote villages, awaiting rescue or emergency supplies. We have a report from Rohit Kachroo of Independent Television News.

ROHIT KACHROO: While Taiwan could put many more soldiers on the streets today, there are few new diggers on the ground or helicopters in the sky. They have the men, but lack the machinery.

In one operation, they use a basic system of ropes to carry people to safety. A crumbled bridge had left a vast gap to the other side. Beyond it, villages stranded for five days, their only way out gone. They painted a sign, “32 dead, help us.” But by the time they’d written it, the death toll had risen to 38.

Soldiers operate the police system. Food slid one way, people taken back the other. An elderly woman with her bag of belongings.

Later, a baby clutched by her father, then 9-year-old Joe, he told me he’s scared because he has 10 relatives left on the other side. This is a job for a helicopter. But there are very few of those spare anywhere on this island, and that’s one of the reasons why, almost a week after the typhoon struck, so many people are still stranded.

Many government ministers want help from other nations, and some visiting the rescued were criticized for the country’s response.

WANG CHING-FEN, justice minister, Taiwan: The government has done our best to rescue anyone we can rescue.

ROHIT KACHROO: This evening, Taiwan has many more rescue workers, but they await the foreign help to find the missing and rebuild the shattered infrastructure. There are thousands still waiting to be rescued.

JIM LEHRER: The official death toll from the storm now stands at 108, but there are no numbers yet from the hardest-hit villages.

There was disappointing new data on the U.S. economy today. Government surveys found first-time claims for jobless benefits went up last week and retail sales went down last month.

Still, Wall Street managed small gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 36 points to close at 9,398. The Nasdaq rose 10 points to close at 2,009.