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U.S. targets Taliban forces

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


The pace of U.S. strikes on Afghanistan showed no signs of abating Sunday, with strikes around Kabul, Kandahar, Herat and Jalalabad, among other places. U.S. attack planes struck the ruling Taliban's front lines in northern Afghanistan on Sunday in apparent coordination with the opposition Northern Alliance.

The U.S. campaign against Afghanistan should be wrapped up by the onset of winter, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday. Other officials warned that the overall anti-terrorism effort might take years, even decades. The Washington Post quoted Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday as saying the war on terrorism that began October 7 "may never end. At least, not in our lifetimes."


In an interview Sunday with CNN's "Late Edition," Powell said winter conditions would place constraints on U.S. operations, and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins November 17. "But the most important thing to remember is we will pursue it until our mission has been accomplished," he said. (Full story)

Two F/A-18s began strikes against Taliban forces near the former Soviet air base at Bagram, just north of Kabul, striking together and separately before flying off after about 45 minutes, a witness reported. The Northern Alliance has been thwarted in its attempts to advance on Kabul, but could mount an offensive if the attacks were to force the Taliban to pull back. (Full story)

Leaders from across the Pacific Rim meeting at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Shanghai, China, have signed what they said is a "visionary" statement against terrorism. The document labeled the attacks on New York and Washington "murderous deeds," but it avoided any mention of the U.S. retaliation in Afghanistan -- allowing leaders to forge what they intend to be a long-lasting commitment to fight terrorism. (Full story)

An estimated 5,000 Afghan refugees streamed into Pakistan on Saturday in what aid workers said was the largest one-day migration since the U.S.-led attacks began. Although the Pakistani frontier is officially closed, some refugees have paid as much as $30 to get across -- more than a month's salary for many in Afghanistan. (Full story)

Taliban authorities said they have executed five men in the key northern city of Mazar-e Sharif for sabotage and spying on behalf of the United States. Two of the men were local opposition commanders who had been distributing arms to civilians around the city, they said. (Full story)

Images of Northern Alliance fighters watching the U.S. jet attack (October 21)

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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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CNN's Satinder Bindra says the Northern Alliance is looking to capture the strategic city of Mazar-e-Sharif (October 19)

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  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

Attack on America
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On the Scene: Barbara Starr: Al Qaeda hunt expands?
On the Scene: Peter Bergen: Getting al Qaeda to talk


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 (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.)

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.)


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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