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Air strikes intensify over Kandahar

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For the fourth consecutive day, U.S.-led forces unleashed airstrikes on Afghanistan, with the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar being particularly hard hit. As NATO chief Lord George Robertson promised a victory against terrorism, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the military action in Afghanistan represented the first of two phases in the anti-terrorism campaign.


After a day of intermittent air strikes, Kandahar came under "very heavy attack" on Wednesday night, a CNN source said -- the most intense shelling since airstrikes began Sunday. At least 30 loud explosions rocked Kandahar over a two-hour period, and Taliban forces did not return anti-aircraft fire.

The White House urged U.S. news outlets Wednesday to exercise judgment in airing statements by al Qaeda, the terrorist umbrella group founded and led by Saudi dissident millionaire Osama bin Laden. (Full story)

After meeting with Oman's Sultan Qaboos and British troops stationed in the Mideast, British Prime Minister Blair said the anti-terrorism campaign would consist of two phases -- one against the Taliban and al Qaeda, and another consisting of actions to "close down international terrorism in all its different forms." (Full story)

NATO Secretary-General Robertson pledged the alliance's steadfast support at the heart of what he called a "global coalition against the most evil criminals of our age" during an appearance Wednesday with President Bush at the White House. (Full story)

  •  Summary

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  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

Attack on America
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The Kuwaiti government Wednesday stripped Suleiman Abu-Gheith of his Kuwaiti citizenship, condemning him as a terrorist after he showed up in two videotapes as the spokesman of the al Qaeda network. Sheikh Sabah Al Sabah, Kuwait's acting prime minister, said Abu-Gheith was involved in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The recent terrorist attacks have intensified the decades-old search for Hezbollah founder Imad Mugniyah, linked to several anti-Western bombings and hijackings in the 1980s. Some intelligence sources suspect Mugniyah played a role in the hijackings of four U.S. airliners last month. (Full story)

Workers in a U.N.-sponsored effort to clear land mines are being assaulted by the Taliban in Kabul, Kandahar and Jalalabad, according to a U.N. spokeswoman in Islamabad, Pakistan. The Taliban also are taking the workers' vehicles, she said.


When will the Northern Alliance, the anti-Taliban group that controls up to 10 percent of Afghanistan, begin a ground offensive and take the capital of Kabul? (Full story)

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

"Following the U.S. and British airstrikes what will the next phase of the operation be? Are U.S. ground troops goin gto be deployed in Afghanistan?" 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


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.

Condoleezza Rice: U.S. national security adviser. 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.

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.  

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.

George Robertson: Secretary-General of NATO (and former British defense minister) Click here for more.


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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