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Retaliation: Taliban say bin Laden under their control

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SUMMARY:

Officials of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban said Sunday that suspected terrorist leader Osama bin Laden was in territory under their control, but would not disclose his location. Meanwhile, a U.S. congressional delegation met with Afghanistan's former king, Mohammed Zahir Shah, on Sunday in Rome for discussions about setting up an Afghan government-in-exile.

In internal documents, the Bush administration describes the overthrow the Muslim fundamentalist Taliban as a goal of its anti-terror campaign, but said it would not try to choose who rules the country. But the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, told an Iranian newspaper Saturday that he does not expect the United States to attack Afghanistan and dismissed the idea of reinstating the deposed Afghan king.

UPDATE:

The Pentagon and the ruling Taliban in Afghanistan are denying a report by Arabic language Al-Jazeera TV that three American commandos and two Afghans assisting them were captured in Afghanistan on a special operations force reconnaissance mission. A Pentagon official said there is no evidence that lends credence to the Arab television report and is convinced there's nothing to the report. The Taliban Foreign Ministry in Kandahar said it has no knowledge of any arrests. (Full story)

The Bush administration will offer aid to opponents of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, but won't try to choose who rules the country, according to a White House memo, CNN confirmed Saturday. The document was prepared by key officials of the National Security Council and the State Department. (Full story)

The Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, told an Iranian newspaper that he does not expect the United States to attack Afghanistan and dismissed the idea of reinstating the deposed Afghan king. Omar gave a rare interview to Entekhab, a Iranian daily newspaper. The interview transcript was also published Saturday in Iran News, a Tehran-based English language newspaper. (Full story)

U.S. and British special forces have conducted operations in Afghanistan and the Central Asian region, a senior U.S. official told CNN on Friday. A senior U.S. official told CNN that the operations took place "in the region" and "in country," meaning Afghanistan. A senior member of Congress, who has been briefed on the operations, confirmed to CNN that special forces have been sent "in and out" of Afghanistan for the purpose of reconnaissance. (Full story)

KEY QUESTIONS:


  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

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

Will the resources in place to deal with the humanitarian crisis of the Afghan refugees be enough? Click here for more

What countries have joined the U.S. anti-terror coalition? Click here for more

How will retaliation affect Americans at home and abroad? Click here for more

Will NATO play a role? Click here for more

Will this crisis lead to a new role in U.S.-Russia relations? Click here for more

WHO'S WHO:

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. 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.

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

Donald Rumsfeld: U.S. secretary of defense. Click here for more.

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. 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.

Northern Alliance: A group of former mujahedeen fighters, mainly from minority ethnic groups, that oppose the Taliban. The group controls about five percent of northern Afghanistan.

IMPACT:

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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