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Russia sending tanks to aid anti-Taliban forces

A Northern Alliance fighter sits at a cannon on the front lines in Kapiza, about 30 miles from Kabul, northern Afghanistan, on Thursday.  

(CNN) -- With the U.S.-led war on terrorism widening, CNN has learned that Russia is sending 40 T-55 tanks and 100 other armored vehicles to bolster the opposition Northern Alliance in its fight against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban. (Full story)

There was no letup Thursday in the U.S. campaign against the Taliban and the al Qaeda terrorist network. Fresh explosions rocked the airport in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar late Thursday in what appeared to be U.S.-led cruise missile strikes. And Great Britain is preparing to commit its commandos to action on the ground.

In Washington, Vice President Dick Cheney, in a speech before Republican governors, said the U.S.-led air campaign has "cleared the way for further operations" but stopped short of saying a ground war is imminent.

"What comes next the Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists will discover only when it is upon them," Cheney said. "But I can tell you they can expect to see and hear more from the American military." (Full story)

U.S.-led bombing raids in and around Kandahar earlier Thursday struck a fuel-storage facility northeast of the city. CNN crew members said they saw what looked like secondary explosions coming from the airstrikes. U.S. warplanes also struck more Taliban targets north of Kabul, and fierce ground battles raged between Northern Alliance and Taliban forces.

Watch as a anti-aircraft missile fired from the ground in Afghanistan flies between two U.S. jets (October 25)

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CNN's Alessio Vinci has more on Uzbekistan's agreement to help a United Nations humanitarian mission into Afghanistan (October 25)

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Latest developments

• The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved President Bush's far-reaching antiterrorism bill. The measure, already approved by the House, now goes to Bush, who is expected to sign it into law on Friday. The law will greatly expand law enforcement's powers to track down terrorism suspects.

• British Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram is expected to announce Friday the deployment of British ground troops to help with the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, CNN has learned. The forces are expected to include elite mountain and winter warfare troops of the Royal Marines currently on exercises in Oman, according to the British Press Association. (Full Story)

• Anti-Taliban forces in northern Afghanistan have urged the United States to end its bombing campaign before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts on or around November 17. The Northern Alliance says the United States has to be more sensitive about the rising civilian casualty list and the possiblilty of attacks during Ramadan upsetting Muslim countries. (Full story)

• The U.S. Customs Service has launched "Operation Green Quest," a multi-agency effort to bankrupt terrorists by targeting underground money transfers aimed at evading the legal banking system.

• As the fighting continued, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld predicted Thursday that U.S.-led forces would eventually track down Osama bin Laden. "I think we are going to get him," he said at a Pentagon news conference, answering reporters' questions after USA Today quoted him as saying it might be difficult to do so. (Full story)

• Homeland security chief Tom Ridge told a conference of the nation's mayors Thursday that they and many municipal employees -- including police, fire and emergency crews -- will be key players in the Bush administration's domestic security plan.

• Although the Senate unanimously approved a bill to make all airport security personnel federal employees, the White House plans to intensify lobbying for a private system with tough federal oversight.

• Uzbekistan agreed Thursday to help facilitate a United Nations humanitarian mission into Afghanistan by allowing U.N. aid agencies to use the border and river port town of Termez, according to the U.N. undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs. (Full story)

• British Prime Minister Tony Blair has suggested it's likely that Osama bin Laden will be killed in a bombing raid or in a special forces assault on his hideout. In an interview published Thursday in the London-based Daily Telegraph newspaper, Blair said he did not expect to see bin Laden tried before an international court. (Full story)

• A conference of Afghan leaders Thursday urged the United States and Afghanistan to end hostilities and endorsed an interim government headed by former Afghan King Mohammed Zahir Shah. More than 1,500 people attended the Conference for Peace and National Unity of Afghanistan, which was held in Pakistan and included exiled Afghan military, spiritual and community leaders.

• The latest World Trade Center report released by the New York mayor's office Thursday reduces the estimate of the total number of victims -- bodies identified plus people listed as missing -- to 4,621 from the previous number of about 4,800. As of Thursday afternoon, the city listed 4,167 people as missing, 506 bodies recovered and 454 bodies identified.


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