In a sign of confidence that the pounding of Afghanistan by bombers and cruise missiles has been effective, US forces were reported raking Taliban positions by daylight with heavy fire from specially equipped, low-flying, propeller-driven planes. There was no indication that the Taliban regime was ready to collapse, however. In the attack on Kabul, the capital, a Red Cross storage depot was hit, injuring one person and destroying wheat and other humanitarian supplies. Meanwhile, the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance said it expected to announce the takeover of the key city of Mazar-e-Sharif "within the next day or two."
Secretary of State Powell won a pledge from Pakistan's military president to cooperate with the US in its military campaign in neighboring Afghanistan for as long as necessary to ensure success. Despite loud internal criticism, Gen. Pervez Musharraf has given the US unconditional use of Pakistani air space and is believed to be sharing intelligence and providing logistical support to the US. Powell and Musharraf agreed that a new Afghan government could include members of the Taliban regime. Powell also said he'd make the case for providing debt relief for Pakistan on his return to Washington.
Powell flew on to India to try to defuse tensions between the New Delhi government and Pakistan over disputed Kashmir. But his task was made more difficult by the second straight day of gunfire across the "line of control" there between Indian and Pakistani troops. India's foreign minister vowed to be "ruthless in dealing with infiltrators" from Pakistan. Meanwhile, at least 20 people were hurt when a grenade exploded outside the local parliament in Srinigar, the summer capital. Above, Powell heads toward a welcoming ceremony at New Delhi's airport.
Saying, "Watch this space. We will do what we said we'd do," Northern Ireland's top Protestant leader, David Trimble, was poised to announce that his Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) would pull out of the power-sharing administration with Catholics. The move is expected as soon as today, barring an unlikely start by the Irish Republican Army of the surrender of its weapons. A UUP withdrawal likely would force another suspension of self-rule powers and possibly the return to the British government of responsibility for running Northern Ireland.
Controversial former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos was free on bail after surrendering for prosecution on charges of money-laundering. She complained of harassment and "persecution" after being fingerprinted for allegedly stashing $28 million in illegally obtained funds in Swiss banks while serving as the government's minister of human settlements in the 1970s.