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British to announce troop deployment

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Smoke rises into the skies over Afghanistan after U.S-led airstrikes pounded Taliban positions near the Bagram Air Base Tuesday.  


U.S. airstrikes struck at Taliban positions outside Kabul and at targets in and around the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar Thursday, in part, targeting a fuel storage facility outside the city. CNN also has learned that the British will announce a deployment of troops to join Operation Enduring Freedom on Friday.


A CNN crew in Kandahar said some of the bomb detonations, in an hour-long attack, shook the crew's location. An earlier attack appeared to target an oil storage location northeast of Kandahar. CNN's crew said it saw what looked like secondary explosions coming from the airstrikes. (Full story)

British Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram is expected to announce the British troop deployment during a speech to the House of Commons at 11 a.m. (6 a.m. EDT) Friday. 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)

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged that the United States might not capture suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden. In an interview with the editorial board of USA Today on Wednesday, Rumsfeld said that capturing bin Laden, the prime suspect in the September 11 attacks, will be a "very difficult thing to do." (Full story)

Rumsfeld also announced Thursday that the United States has opted to stand down a variety of tests on its in-development ballistic missile defense system, citing the Bush administration's ongoing dialogue with Russia about the application of the 1972 ABM treaty. (Full story)

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 believes killing Osama bin Laden in a bombing raid or in a special forces assault on his hideout is the most likely outcome of the war in Afghanistan. Blair's comments -- a day after he vowed to "get" bin Laden -- came as U.S. jets continued to pound Taliban lines and one of the U.S. military's top commanders admitted the group was proving to be a formidable foe. (Full story)

Along with its bombing campaign, the U.S. military is flying daily humanitarian relief missions, dropping food rations the people of drought-ravaged Afghanistan. In one northern Afghan village, residents are thankful for the air drops. (Full story)

Anti-Taliban forces in northern Afghanistan have urged the United States to end its bombing campaign before the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The Northern Alliance, also known as the United Front, says the U.S. has to be more sensitive about the rising civilian casualty list and the possibility of attacks during Ramadan upsetting Muslim countries. (Full story)

The Pentagon is hinting it may send ground troops into urban areas to find Taliban and al Qaeda forces. CNN's Jamie McIntyre reports (October 24)

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General Tommy Franks, commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, talks to the press in Bahrain regarding the campaign against Afghanistan (October 24)

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  •  Summary

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  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

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What kind of government will replace the Taliban if the religious group is removed as the country's government? (Click here for more)

Where are the Taliban positioning troops and equipment in civilian areas? Does this factor into where the U.S. decides to strike? (Click here for more)

What effect will the support and opposition within Pakistan of the U.S.-led military strikes have on the war against terrorism?

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 of 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.)

Gen. Tommy Franks: Head of U.S. Central Command. (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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