U.S. hopes to clear path for opposition
The Pentagon's top brass Monday denied a series of accusations from Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, saying U.S. forces have not lost a single helicopter or soldier to enemy fire and that bombing raids aren't targeting civilians.
Meanwhile, a second day of U.S. raids struck Taliban forces arrayed against the opposition Northern Alliance near Kabul. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said this round of airstrikes was designed to clear a path for a Northern Alliance advance.
In Kandahar, Taliban officials on Monday showed CNN and other news organizations parts from what they said was a downed U.S. helicopter; Rumsfeld denied losing any aircraft in the campaign so far. The Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, accused U.S. planes of bombing a hospital in Herat, killing more than 100 people. Rumsfeld expressed doubts about the allegations.
"We have no evidence at all that the allegation you cited is correct," Rumsfeld said. (Full story)
U.S. attack planes launched new strikes Monday on the ruling Taliban's front lines in northern Afghanistan in a new sign of coordination with the Northern Alliance, the Taliban's armed opposition. The strikes were the second in two days to hit the front lines, softening Taliban positions and giving hope to the Northern Alliance that it might finally advance toward Kabul. (Full story)
When he sees or reads news accounts about efforts to win the hearts and minds of Afghans with leaflets and meals dropped from the skies over Afghanistan, Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi can only shake his head. An assistant sociology professor at Georgia State University who specializes in Islamic society, he said he fears the leaflets and meals may not score as many direct hits as the coalition's missiles and bombs. (Full story)
Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has told CNN he hopes the U.S.-led strikes on Afghanistan end before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Speaking Monday in an interview recorded for CNN's "Larry King Live," Musharraf said military action during the Ramadan period "would certainly have some negative effects in the Muslim world." But Rumsfeld discounted that possibility Monday. (Full story)
Air Force Master Sgt. Evander Andrews, the first American serviceman to die in the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism, was buried Monday at Arlington National Cemetery with military honors. Andrews, 36, was killed October 10 in a forklift accident on a military base in Qatar. (Full story)
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.)
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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