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Troops 'refitting for future actions'

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U.S. Army Rangers on the ground after parachuting into southern Afghanistan for an overnight operation.  


SUMMARY:

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Saturday that U.S. Special Forces, including Army Rangers, "attacked and destroyed targets" in Afghanistan and "are refitting for future actions" against targets "known to harbor terrorists."

UPDATE:

During a Pentagon news conference, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers said the operations were carried out Friday night "without significant interference from Taliban forces." He described the operation, which targeted an airfield in southern Afghanistan and a Taliban command and control center near Kandahar, as successful. Citing security reasons, Myers refused to say how many troops were involved in the missions. (Full story)

The Taliban claimed to have downed a helicopter being used by U.S. troops in the operation, said Youssef Al-Shouli, a correspondent for Arabic-language TV station Al Jazeera, stationed in Kandahar. Taliban officials said they shot the helicopter over Kandahar and that it headed away and crashed over the border with Pakistan. Their claim could not be immediately verified. The Pentagon said Friday that two U.S. military personnel were killed in a helicopter accident in Pakistan as they worked to support the ground operation. U.S. officials told CNN the helicopter was not among those that went into Afghanistan. (Full story)

U.S. forces resumed heavy daylight bombing raids in Afghanistan Saturday, including near the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar where U.S. combat troops attacked a target the night before, CNN sources in the city said. The strikes resumed Saturday around 10:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m. EDT) in a village northwest of Kandahar. (Full story)

 VIDEO
CNN's Jamie McIntyre says over 100 U.S. troops parachuted into Kandahar and left behind some calling cards (October 20)

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  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact


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The rebel Northern Alliance and the Taliban continued to battle over the strategically important city of Mazar-e Sharif in the northwest, which alliance troops are trying to wrest from Taliban hands. Friday, a U.S. official in Washington told CNN that elite American troops were on the ground in Afghanistan in a "liaison" mission with the Northern Alliance.

President Bush said Saturday the two U.S. soldiers killed in a helicopter accident in Pakistan "will not have died in vain," and they died for a cause that is "just and right." (Full story)

Thousands of Afghans, fleeing airstrikes and a fast-approaching winter, huddled behind Afghanistan's border with Pakistan at Chaman on Saturday, barred by Pakistani border officials from crossing out of their bomb-blasted country. (Full story)

The American delegation to this weekend's summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in Shanghai is selling a new line on the fight against terrorism, highlighting the importance of the economic battle. (Full story)

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 (Click here for more.)

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 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.)

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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