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U.S. raids target Kabul, Kandahar

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SUMMARY:

Intense U.S. airstrikes resumed around Afghanistan's southern city of Kandahar and the capital city of Kabul early Saturday after a break for the Muslim day of prayer Friday. Afghanistan's ruling Taliban on Saturday rejected an offer by U.S. President Bush to halt airstrikes if they handed over Saudi-born fugitive Osama bin Laden, saying they will fight to their last breath.

UPDATE:

• Kabul's airport and road junctions near Kandahar were among the targets of raids conducted early Saturday. The United States also doubled the amount of food aid it delivered to Afghanistan, dropping 70,000 meal packets for Afghans suffering from years of drought amid two decades of war. (Full story)

• Military strikes against Afghanistan are not the precursor to a mass invasion, a member of the British war Cabinet told the BBC. Clare Short also said airstrikes should be restricted to targets that are protecting the ruling Taliban or bin Laden's al Qaeda network. (Full story)

• At a news conference Thursday, Bush said he would halt airstrikes if the Taliban "cough up" bin Laden, an offer he described as a second chance. The Taliban rejected that offer Saturday, Information Minister Qudratullah Jamal said: "Osama is not the issue," he said. (Full story)

• Forces opposing the Taliban are making gains on the battlefield in wake of the U.S. bombing campaign in Afghanistan, two senior Pentagon officials told CNN on Friday. But Northern Alliance commanders have complained that airstrikes have yet to focus on the front lines, where they face off against Taliban forces. (Full story)


  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact


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KEY QUESTIONS:

When will the Northern Alliance, the anti-Taliban group that controls up to 10 percent of Afghanistan, begin a ground offensive to take the capital of Kabul? Are they making any progress? (Click here for more.)

What is life like in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, with increasingly intense U.S. airstrikes overhead? (Click here for more.)

How long will the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan last? (Click here for more.)

What is the goal to the U.S. airstrikes over Afghanistan? What is the key to the mission's success? (Click here for more.)

What is the White House doing to prevent al Qaeda from airing what it calls "propaganda" on U.S. media outlets? (Click here for more.)

Who are the key players in the political landscape of Afghanistan, and how could U.S. military intervention affect the balance of power there? (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.)

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

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

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.)

Northern Alliance: A group of former mujahedin 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.)

IMPACT:

The military 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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