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U.S. claims air supremacy over Afghanistan

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U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday that the first three days of U.S.-led airstrikes against targets in Afghanistan had been successful to the point that the coalition could conduct strikes "more or less around the clock as we wish." Meanwhile, President Bush formally notified Congress of his decision to deploy U.S. troops and forces for combat operations in Afghanistan. But speaking to reporters Tuesday, Bush said, "Whether or not we are going to put troops on the ground, I'm not going to tell you."


Senior U.S. officials are playing down the prospect of any major deployment of ground forces into Afghanistan after the initial air assaults, which were launched this past weekend, are scaled back. The next phase of the campaign against the Taliban and the al Qaeda terror network, an official said, may be a pause in operations. "We are not clearing the way for an occupation as such by the U.S. military. There will be a first wave, then an assessment and very possibly a pause before further action is taken," the official said. (Full story)

Angered at leaks from classified briefings, President Bush clamped down on the information his administration shares with Congress. Bush ordered key department heads to restrict their briefings to eight members of Congress -- the four major leaders and the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees. (Full story)

The United States tested its ability to stage daytime air raids Tuesday, targeting, among other places, a residential compound used by Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. Meanwhile, Rumsfeld said the Pentagon could not confirm reports that four local Afghan U.N. aid workers were killed by a U.S. missile strike, but "we still regret the loss of life." (Full story)

Afghanistan's opposition Northern Alliance on Tuesday claimed it had cut off the Taliban's main north-south supply route, putting the Taliban's northern forces in jeopardy. The Alliance said it took control of the route in northeast Afghanistan on Monday night, when 40 Taliban commanders and 1,200 mujahedeen fighters defected. (Full story)

With thousands of Afghans facing starvation, the U.N. World Food Programme has suspended further food deliveries to the Afghan capital because of the deteriorating security situation. Other agencies have also expressed safety concerns in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, warning that efforts to provide facilities for those fleeing the air strikes could be seriously undermined. (Full story)

Pakistan placed three Muslim clerics under house arrest Tuesday to prevent more anti-American demonstrations during the Afghan bombing campaign, but new protests left three people dead. Another protest was reported in Indonesia. (Full story)

  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

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How have three days of bomb and missile strikes affected the Taliban's ability to threaten U.S. aircraft? Click here for more

With President Bushs formal, written notification to Congress that he will seek deployment of ground troops for possible combat operations, what does the administration say might be the next phase of military action? Click here for more

Will the reported deaths of U.N. aid workers during an overnight air raid near Kabul affect U.S. influence within the United Nations as it seeks to broaden its war against international terrorism? Click here for more

Who are the key players in the confused, treacherous political landscape of Afghanistan, and how could U.S. military intervention affect the balance of power there? Click here for more

What are the plans of Afghanistans largest opposition group, the Northern Alliance, now that the U.S. has launched strikes against their archenemy, the Taliban? Click here for more


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 of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Click here for more.

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

George Tenet: CIA director. Click here for more.

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

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.


The attacks that began October 7 mark the start of what the Bush administration says will be a lengthy struggle against terrorist organizations worldwide -- one that could take years.


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