Pentagon: 2 US service members killed in blast

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bombing attack on a NATO convoy in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday left two American service members dead, a Pentagon spokesman said, despite repeated refusals by the U.S. military in Afghanistan to say whether there were any deaths in the assault claimed by the Taliban.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis confirmed the casualties in the attack near Kandahar city. The Pentagon’s decision to release the figures seemed to contradict orders issued two months ago by Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, barring information about U.S. combat deaths until days after the incident.

There was no information on the number of troops wounded.

U.S. military officials in Afghanistan refused to give any information about casualties, even after the Pentagon released the casualty figures.

The Taliban quickly took responsibility for the attack, and a spokesman for the insurgents said the bombing allegedly killed 15 soldiers but the Taliban routinely exaggerate their gains and casualty figures.

Mexico seizes 720 drums of meth precursor chemical from ship

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican authorities say they have seized almost 40,000 pounds of a methamphetamine precursor chemical from a ship that sailed to the country from China.

Mexico’s navy said Wednesday that marines found the phenyl acetic acid in 720 drums aboard the cargo ship Coyhaique the previous day at the Pacific port of Manzanillo.

The ship had set out from Shanghai and was bound for Lazaro Cardenas, another port on the Pacific coast. Drug cartels have long imported such chemicals through Lazaro Cardenas.

Phenyl acetic acid is used to produce methamphetamine at clandestine labs, and the product is often exported to the United States.