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Bombing strategy changes

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U.S. tactical fighters bombed Taliban frontline positions north of the capital Kabul on Wednesday, an occurrence that British and American officials said indicated a change in their bombing strategy some 11 days after the first air raids were launched.


CNN Correspondent Matthew Chance said the strikes took place near Bagram Air Base, which is 15.5 miles (25 km) north of Kabul. The anti-Taliban Northern Alliance has been lobbying the United States to attack Taliban positions and provide them with air support. British Ministry of Defense officials, in a briefing Wednesday, said there has been a shift in bombing strategy, away from fixed targets and to mobile troop positions. U.S. officials concurred at a later briefing, but Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem said infrastructure and fixed urban targets haven't been removed from target lists. (Full story)

U.S. President Bush headed for China on Wednesday, embarking on his first trip abroad since the September 11 terrorist attacks for an international economic forum while keeping the fight against terrorism high on his agenda. (Full story)

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told his Indian counterpart that the U.S.-led fight against terrorism includes all terrorism, including that faced by India, a reference to the October 1 suicide bombing at Kashmir's state assembly which India blamed on Kashmiri militants backed by Pakistan for carrying out the attack. Powell's short tour of South Asia is intended to bolster solidarity with the U.S. counter-terror coalition and soothe hostilities between the India and Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir. (Full story)

A top U.S. Defense Department official told CNN on Wednesday that the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk is fully loaded with helicopters and Special Forces for use, if needed, in combat in Afghanistan. (Full story)

Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil told CNN Wednesday that there is no split in the Taliban leadership. In recent days there had been reports that moderates in the Taliban government led by Muttawakil had offered to negotiate the surrender of Osama bin Laden if the United States would halt its bombing. (Full story)

The former king of Afghanistan is actively working to create a provisional government that will step in should the ruling Taliban be ousted from power, an envoy to the king tells CNN. (Full story)

  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

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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.)


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.)

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.)


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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