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Extra weapons and ammunition were ordered sent to Taliban troops across Afghanistan to try to counter the threat of new raids vowed by US commandos. One of the first such missions reportedly was against a Taliban complex in Kandahar in search of intelligence that might yield clues to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. It was not clear where the commando missions originated, although two Americans died aboard a helicopter that crashed in neighboring Pakistan. (Stories, pages 1, 6, 7; opinion, page 11.)

In a sign of the effectiveness of US attacks, Taliban leaders appealed to the opposition Northern Alliance to "bury the hatchet" and form a united front against the assault. But they denied a claim that their tribal affairs minister had met last week with Pakistani officials to discuss the makeup of a new Afghan government should the Taliban collapse.

Six West Bank towns were in an Israeli chokehold despite international protest as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government answered last week's assassination of a Cabinet member by Palestinian gunmen. But Israeli Radio reported that the opposition Labor Party had threatened to quit Sharon's unity coalition if the West Bank blockade continued. Above, a Palestinian winds up to hurl a rock via slingshot at an Israeli tank in Bethlehem. (Story, page 1.)

"A victorious strategy" to return crude oil prices to "fair levels" was proclaimed by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, as he sought to promote closer coordination between OPEC and non-OPEC nations. Venezuela currently holds the presidency of the cartel. Despite multiple production cuts this year, the average price of a "basket" of OPEC crudes has been below the target range of $22 to $28 a barrel for more than three weeks. Most nonmembers have not cut production.

For the first time in an official speech, Kenya's controversial 23-year president has suggested he'll retire next year, newspapers in Nairobi reported. Daniel arap Moi was quoted as saying at a holiday ceremony that "when the time comes, it will be my duty to hand over national responsibilities to a younger leader." By law, Moi must leave office in December 2002. But it's widely suggested that he will not want to yield power to a successor government that may seek to prosecute him for alleged corruption and human rights abuses.

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