Commentary from Myanmar's military junta appearing in three official newspapers on August 20 proposed that western nations end their economic sanctions of the Southeast Asian nation. The sanctions were levied in response to the many reported human rights violations committed by the regime in the nation also known as Burma.
Speaking at a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, on August 19, U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.) commented on his recent visit to Myanmar, the Southeast Asian nation formerly called Burma.
The candidates in Afghanistan's August 20 presidential election were making their final appeals to voters on Monday, the 17th, the last legal day of campaigning before voting starts. In the election, the incumbent, President Hamid Karzai, is facing more than 30 challengers, including two of his former ministers.
With Afghanistan's presidential election to be held on August 20, candidates held campaign rallies across the country. Afghan and foreign troops deployed in areas under Taliban control to provide security against threatened violent interruptions of voting. The al Jazeera network reported that the Afghan government claims to have struck a number of deals with Taliban commanders to ensure voter safety.
A joint U.S.-Afghan military assault began against Dahaneh, a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province on August 12. Associated Press journalists traveling with the forces reported that militants fired small arms, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades after helicopters dropped the troops over Taliban lines. The forces were supported by British-made Harrier jets, which are used by both the British military and U.S. Marines.
The United States has placed 50 suspected Afghan drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban on a Pentagon target list of 367 insurgents to be captured or killed, the New York Times reported on August 10, citing a Senate Foreign Relations Committee report to be released this week.
Pakistan's foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, told reporters in Islamabad on August 7, "According to my intelligence information, the news [that Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud is dead] is correct.... And to be 100 percent sure we are going for ground verification and once the ground verification reconfirms, which I think is almost confirmed, then we will be 100 percent sure," Qureshi said.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in for a second term as Iran's president on August 5, as hundreds of opposition supporters demonstrated against his reelection.
Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the two American journalists arrested by North Korean border guards on March 17 after straying into North Korean territory from China, arrived by private jet at Burbank's Bob Hope Airport early on August 5, accompanied by former President Bill Clinton.
At least two Iranian state-run TV stations — Press TV and al Alam — reported on August 1 that the nation's border police on the previous day arrested three American hikers who apparently inadvertently strayed across the poorly marked border separating Iran from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.