Refugees Hint at Waning Taliban Stronghold

Clare Short, the British international development secretary, criticized the United States for not standing behind the aid efforts in Afghanistan. Short said the U.S. is too focused on bin Laden and al Qaeda to respond enough at a high level. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw denied any tension between British and U.S. military leaders over how to distribute humanitarian aid and the use of ground forces to deliver food and other needed supplies to the Afghan people.

Two-thousand more troops have begun arriving in Kuwait to take part in desert war games and act as a deterrent to Iraq. There have been several incidents along the Iraq-Kuwait border in recent weeks.

The United Nations has begun handing out food, blankets and tents in Kabul, but another convoy in western Afghanistan was robbed by commanders who apparently stole the food for their own village. And near the presidential palace today, two young boys were badly injured in an explosion. Witnesses say they were either playing or collecting wood when they picked up a loaded grenade launcher. It was unclear which of the Afghanistan's many armies left it behind.

Four U.S. helicopter crew members were injured Tuesday when their aircraft crash-landed in southern Afghanistan, according to U.S. Central Command, which runs the war in Afghanistan. It was not known why the helicopter crashed, according to a Pentagon statement, except that it was not due to enemy fire. None of the injuries were life-threatening, though they included broken bones, the statement said.

A meeting of various Afghan factions and international diplomats that was scheduled to begin Monday in Berlin will be held in Bonn instead, a U.N. spokesman announced today. "It's now firm. It will be Bonn and not Berlin," U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said.

France will send its only nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, to the Indian Ocean next month to support the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Lionel Jospin announced the decision in parliament after President Jacques Chirac met key cabinet members to discuss developments in the conflict.

New York City officials have sharply reduced the list of people dead and missing in the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center. After comparing various lists of missing persons prevented to various agencies, city officials now say 3,357 people are missing and 594 bodies have been identified. The numbers include those killed on the planes that hit the twin towers. At one time the list of missing and feared dead was about 6,000.

ABCNEWS' John McWethy, Jim Wooten and Don Dahler contributed to this report.

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