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Taliban militants took heavy losses in fighting across southern Afghanistan, most of them in a bold but failed assault against the capital of Helmand Province. About 60 were killed when they were spotted massing for the attack on Lashkar Gah in a presumed final offensive before the onset of winter. Fifty-four others died in separate clashes, US and Afghan provincial spokesmen said. The Taliban resurgence in the region has led coalition military commanders to call for more troops. Among them: US Gen. David McKernan, who leads NATO forces in Afghanistan. But he also said, "We are not losing."

With the power-sharing deal again on the brink of collapse in Zimbabwe, mediator Thabo Mbeki was en route there Monday to try to bring both sides together. The ex-South African leader was asked to reprise his role after President Robert Mugabe reserved all of the most vital cabinet ministries for his ZANU-PF movement. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change party threatened to pull out of the agreement permanently if Mbeki's efforts failed.

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