World

International support for a US counterattack against terrorism grew with pledges of cooperation from NATO, Russia, China, Pakistan, India, Japan, and Australia, among others. They mounted as reports indicated at least 310 nationals of countries outside the US died, were hurt, or remain missing in Tuesday's attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the plane crash in Pennsylvania. The list was led by Britain, with almost 100 confirmed deaths so far. (Stories, page 1, 2, 6, 7, 9; related editorials, page 10; related opinions, page 11.)

Scattered anti-Islamic backlashes were reported in countries other than the US whose nationals died, were hurt, or remain unaccounted for in the attacks. But there were an equal or greater number of anti-US incidents in nations with large Muslim populations, notably Indonesia, Malaysia, Kuwait, and Kyrgyzstan. In Brisbane, Australia, demonstrators stoned a school bus carrying Muslim children, frightening the riders but causing no injuries.

Early intelligence reports linking Osama bin Laden to the attacks in the US were rejected as not credible by senior Taliban officials in Afghanistan, where the Saudi dissident is assumed to be in hiding. Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakel said bin Laden (above, being burned in effigy by demonstrators in neighboring India) could remain a "guest" in Afghanistan unless "solid and convincing" evidence proved his involvement. He also said the Taliban had made no military preparations for a US attempt to seize bin Laden and called any American retaliation "without reason" a form of "international terrorism."

Amid reports that Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres would hold their long-awaited meeting Sunday, tanks rolled into the West Bank city of Jericho in a "planned" search for Palestinian militants who were preparing for attacks against Jewish targets. Army officials said administrative and security posts were destroyed - a move that senior Palestinians called "hiding behind the dust and tragedy of New York and Washington." Prime Minister Ariel Sharon downplayed expectations for Sunday's meeting, labeling Arafat "our bin Laden."

The first discussions in more than six months between representatives of the two Koreas appeared set to open tomorrow in Seoul. But the North's government put the onus for making progress on South Korea and said the talks would "deteriorate overnight" if there was any third-party interference. The meetings are expected to consider cooperation on such matters as aviation, rail travel, fishing rights, and humanitarian exchanges. South Korean President Kim Dae Jung said he also would seek a joint declaration against terrorism in the wake of Tuesday's attacks in the US.

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