An 11-nation team arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday to begin laying the groundwork for more than 4,000 troops with the British-led International Security Assistance Force due later this month. Meanwhile, the Pentagon would not confirm whether some 200 marines conducting an intelligence mission outside the southern city of Kandahar had joined Afghan forces hunting Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, but said it would not be surprising if they had. Afghan officials say negotiations are under way for Omar's surrender. (Story, page 1.)

Thousands of pot-banging demonstrators protested Eduardo Duhalde's appointment as Argentina's fifth president in two weeks early yesterday. Below, a protester outside the presidential palace in Buenos Aires holds up a sign that reads "elections now!" Duhalde, a populist Peronist senator, promised "to do away with an exhausted economic model" that he blamed for the nation's dire financial straits, including a decade-old law pegging the Argentine peso to the dollar. (Editorial, page 8.)

US envoy Anthony Zinni returns to the Middle East today in a fresh attempt at mediating between Israel and the Palestinians. His previous mission last month was derailed by a surge in Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians. Senior aides to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that while violence against Israelis has fallen by half since Dec.16, when Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said he would work hard to stop it, Palestinians have not yet met the requirement for a formal truce: one week free of attacks.

A grenade attack by suspected Islamic militants left at least 18 wounded in Srinagar, summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir yesterday. An assault on India's Parliament last month has prompted the largest buildup of troops along the India-Pakistan border in nearly 15 years, with almost daily exchanges of fire. Still, efforts are under way to ease the crisis. Ahead of a meeting of regional leaders in Nepal, the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan shook hands yesterday. (Story, page 6.)

With opposition claims of vote-rigging brushed aside, Levy Mwanawasa was sworn in yesterday as Zambia's president. Opposition leaders vow to intensify protests and to continue court challenges of poll results.

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