- The Washington Times - Monday, October 13, 2003

AFGHANISTAN

U.N. to expand forces beyond Kabul

NEW YORK — The U.N. Security Council yesterday voted unanimously to expand the 5,500-strong NATO-led force in Afghanistan to areas beyond the capital, Kabul.

The vote, which had been expected, comes after Afghan President Hamid Karzai called on the world body last month to deploy peacekeepers into regions where increasing lawlessness is causing many Afghans to long for the security that marked the rule of the hard-line Taliban regime.

The Afghan government, which took over after the U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban in late 2001, has little control in most of the 32 provinces, where governors often have private militias and rule like warlords. Mr. Karzai warned that unless the world increases reconstruction aid and sends more troops, Islamic radicals could regain control in Afghanistan.

“This resolution helps pave the way for the increased security in Afghanistan, upon which nearly everything else is dependent,” said John D. Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and the council’s president this month.

The 15-member council approved the decision in a speedy meeting yesterday without debate, after NATO Secretary-General George Robertson sent Mr. Negroponte a letter seeking a vote on the German-drafted resolution.

NIGERIA

Anglicans protest homosexual priests

LAGOS — Nigeria’s Anglican Church held a day of fasting and prayers yesterday to protest the confirmation of homosexual priests and bishops in the United States and Britain.

The show of opposition in Nigeria — which has the largest Anglican population outside Britain — precedes an emergency meeting of the 38 primates, or leaders, of the world’s Anglican churches.

The gathering, to be held tomorrow and Thursday in London, has been called by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the titular head of the 77 million-member global Anglican community, who is looking for a way to bridge differences that many regard as irreconcilable.

PHILIPPINES

Arroyo views body of slain terrorist

GENERAL SANTOS — Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo visited a morgue yesterday to look at the bullet-ridden body of one of Asia’s most-wanted terrorists and praised security forces for gunning him down.

Indonesian-born Fathur Al-Ghozi, regarded as a bomb-making expert, had been convicted of explosives possession, had confessed to deadly bombings in Manila, and had been accused of plotting attacks by al Qaeda-linked terror group Jemaah Islamiyah.

He escaped from police headquarters three months ago, embarrassing Mrs. Arroyo and her government.

INDONESIA

Terrorist convicted of Philippine attack

JAKARTA — An Indonesian court yesterday convicted an Islamic militant of bombing the Philippine ambassador’s house in 2000 and sentenced him to 20 years in prison.

Abdul Jabar was also found guilty of involvement in two church bombings on Christmas Eve 2000. Officials have blamed the attacks on Jemaah Islamiyah, a group linked to terror network al Qaeda.

State prosecutors had urged judges to sentence Jabar to life in prison for his role in preparing the explosives for the Jakarta blast and detonating the device that killed two passers-by and seriously injured the Philippine envoy, Leonides Caday.

AUSTRIA

Nuclear-agency chief to meet Iran leaders

VIENNA — The chief of the U.N. nuclear-watchdog agency will visit Iran this week to help persuade it to meet an Oct. 31 deadline to prove it is not producing atomic weapons, a diplomat said yesterday.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said only that Mohamed ElBaradei had received a formal invitation. But a Western diplomat close to the agency told the Associated Press that Mr. ElBaradei had accepted and would head to Tehran on Thursday.

The IAEA, which operates under the aegis of the United Nations, has been pressing Iran to prove it is not producing nuclear weapons, as the United States suspects.

CHINA

Spaceflight finalists head to launchpad

BEIJING — The three final candidates vying to be China’s first astronaut in space have arrived at the spacecraft’s desert launchpad, the government said yesterday, and it gave strong indications that only one will make the trip.

XinhuaNet, the Web site of the government’s official news agency, said in a brief dispatch that the trio had arrived at northwestern China’s Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, where security is tight. XinhuaNet cited “informed sources.”

It said the “No. 1 astronaut” among them would make the flight — the firmest indication yet that the Shenzhou 5 capsule will carry only one passenger.

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