Following the lead of other high-profile organizations, the umbrella group of Muslim nations recognized Iraq's interim Governing Council. The Organization of the Islamic Conference also called on its 57 members to provide "all forms of support and assistance to meet Iraq's needs" and for leaders of Saddam Hussein's ousted regime to be brought to justice. Its decision came in the wake of similar recognition of the US-backed council by the Arab League and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Oct. 18 was set as the kickoff for the long-delayed UN program to disarm thousands of militiamen loyal to Afghan-istan's regional warlords. The effort is considered essential to extending peacekeeping operations outside the capital, Kabul, and to the ultimate formation of a national army. But skeptics question how many will surrender their guns and suggest that some who do, in exchange for $200 in cash, will only buy replacements. Meanwhile, at a news conference in Kabul, a US military spokesman disputed suggestions that the resurgent Taliban were making security in the war-torn country worse.

A senior Islamic Jihad leader was caught hiding under a car in the West Bank and two other members of the radical group were killed in a new security sweep by Israeli troops. Meanwhile, Israel's Cabinet OK'd another extension of the controversial security barrier to protect residents of a Jewish settlement deep inside the West Bank but said, for now, it would not be joined to the main fence, which runs closer to Israel proper.

The withdrawal of US peacekeepers from Liberia was marred by violence when rebels guarding their leader's motorcade exchanged fire with gunmen who appeared to be loyal to exiled President Charles Taylor. Reports said the clash resulted in multiple casualties. Sekou Conneh was en route to a meeting in Monrovia, the capital, with interim President Moses Blah at the time. It wasn't immediately clear whether he was hurt. Earlier in the day, the last 30 members of the US military liaison team evacuated Monrovia, leaving all peacekeeping duties to a West African force under UN command.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy apparently failed to win the early release from house arrest of Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi. Razali Ismail was allowed a 1-1/2-hour visit with the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize-winner, who has been held by the ruling junta since May 30 despite international protests. He helped in freeing her from an earlier house arrest. On Tuesday, Annan told the Security Council he has set 2006 as the target date for ending military rule in the Southeast Asian nation.

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