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Fact Sheet

Retaliation: An unconventional conflict

President Bush has called the terrorist attacks on the United States an act of war, and Congress has authorized the use of force against those responsible.  


Taliban forces claim to have shot down an unmanned spy plane in northern Afghanistan, the Taliban consul-general in Peshawar, Pakistan, told CNN. The Pentagon so has declined to comment.


IThe United Arab Emirates has cut diplomatic ties with Afghanistan, reducing support for the hard-line Taliban rulers. That leaves Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as the only two nations that recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. Pakistan has since said it will not sever diplomatic relations.

Talks between U.S. and Pakistani military officials are focusing on what facilities American forces would like to use to back up possible operations in Afghanistan, senior Bush administration officials say.

Turkey has granted a U.S. request to use Turkish airspace and airbases for U.S. transport aircraft in any response to the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. It was the first public pledge of specific support from Turkey, though the country had already vowed full cooperation with the United States.


Whom will the United States retaliate against?

  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

What form will the retaliation take? Click here for more.

Will the retaliation include an immediate response and a long-term plan to root out terrorists?

Is the United States willing to violate the sovereignty of other nations to get at terrorist networks?

How will retaliation affect Americans at home and abroad?

Will the United States seek military support from NATO?


George W. Bush: U.S. president

Osama bin Laden: A wealthy Saudi expatriate living in Afghanistan who U.S. authorities cite as one of the primary suspects in masterminding the attacks. Click here for more.

Colin Powell: U.S. secretary of state. A former Army general, Powell also served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Click here for more.

Condoleezza Rice: U.S. national security adviser. Click here for more.

Gen. Richard B. Myers: chairman-designate of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Click here for more.

Saudi exile Osama bin Laden is considered a prime suspect in the September 11 attacks.  

Donald Rumsfeld: U.S. secretary of defense.

George Tenet: CIA director. Click here for more.

Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden: Director of the U.S. National Security Agency, responsible for gathering intelligence on terrorist cells.

Gen. Pervez Musharraf: The military ruler of Pakistan, one of three countries that officially recognizes the Taliban, the ruling militia of Afghanistan harboring bin Laden. The others are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Click here for more.

Mullah Mohammed Omar: The Muslim cleric who leads Afghanistan's ruling Taliban. Taliban officials say they have played host to bin Laden but do not allow him to engage in terrorist activities. Click here for more.


The attacks on the nation's landmarks of power and security signal the start of a protracted battle on terrorism that could permanently alter core U.S. military and diplomatic strategies.

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