World

More than 1,000 Afghans representing virtually all of the country's ethnic groups jammed a theater in neighboring Pakistan for a conference on setting up a new government to replace the Taliban. But reports said so-called Taliban "moderates," representatives of exiled King Zahir Shah, and the Northern Alliance were absent. The delegates, however, heard a report on a meeting with the former king in which he urged a multinational Muslim force to keep the peace once a new government is in place. Above, some of the delegates react to the discussions. (Related story, page 6; editorial, page 8.)

Taliban forces have begun hiding in residential neighborhoods and moving closer to opposition Northern Alliance forces on the front lines to make US air-strikes more difficult, reports said. But Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem, at the Pentagon, said ground forces - among them commandos - could be used to flush out those in hiding, if necessary. Meanwhile, the Taliban said they did not need sophisticated communications to resist US forces and repeated vows not to surrender Osama bin Laden to the US even "if they were to kill all of the nation of Afghanistan." (Related stories, pages 1, 10.)

Four deeply resented security watchtowers in Northern Ireland will be torn down now that the Irish Republican Army has put at least some of its weapons "beyond use," British Prime Minister Tony Blair promised. The international disarmament commission for the province said its members had witnessed the IRA initiative and were confident the guns couldn't be used again. The towers long have been a grievance of Northern Ireland's Catholics. But spokesmen for a Protestant militia and a renegade faction of the IRA said their groups would not disarm. (Editorial, page 8.)

Part of "the cell that killed the minister" was arrested by Israeli troops in a raid on a Palestinian village in the West Bank, a senior commander said. At least six people died trying to oppose the invasion of Beit Reema. Prime Minister Sharon said Israel acted to hunt down the accused killers of Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi "since [Palestinian Authority President Yasser] Arafat isn't arresting them." But he said Army units would leave the area "when we are done with our mission."

Accusations of "jungle justice" were being leveled against defense officials in Nigeria after Army units raided six villages, apparently in search of men who'd kidnaped and killed 19 other soldiers earlier this month. More than 100 civilians were reported shot to death and an unspecified number of houses were burned to the ground, although that could not be confirmed independently. The Defense Ministry denied the military was responsible for the raids.

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