A deadly double-cross
U.S.-led military strikes hit targets in Kabul early Saturday, but U.S. jets reportedly avoided the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar on Saturday night. Meanwhile, observers said the Taliban's execution of Afghan opposition figure Abdul Haq may hinder efforts to replace the Taliban, and a friend said Haq was double-crossed when he tried to lure Taliban defectors.
The skies over Kandahar were quiet Saturday night, in sharp contrast to the extensive bombing over the past three weeks. Elsewhere, U.S. fighter jets pounded the hills around Kabul and the area near the airport overnight Friday, observers in the region told CNN, while other reports indicated heavy bombardment in the western city of Herat. (Full story)
Pakistani officials said Haq walked into a trap that led to his execution. Before he was taken into Taliban custody Friday, Haq used a satellite phone to call a friend in Pakistan, who contacted a friend in Washington asking for U.S. military help, another U.S. official told CNN. (Full story)
Haq's reported execution dealt a sudden, sharp blow to U.S. efforts to build a broad-based post-Taliban government in Afghanistan, U.S. analysts said. A former U.S. government official who helped Haq arrange and finance his return to Afghanistan said his trip was coordinated with U.S. intelligence to improve fighting capabilities and coordination of opposition forces and to try to persuade some Taliban forces to lay down their arms or defect to the opposition. (Full story)
Author Kurt Lohbeck said the anti-Taliban leader "was one of the very few sparks of sanity in his country." He said Haq was trying to convince Taliban troops to abandon the Islamic militia when he was betrayed. (Full story)
Afghanistan's exiled president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, endorsed an escalated campaign of airstrikes against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Rabbani, recognized internationally as Afghanistan's rightful president, told CNN he looks forward to the day when the Taliban are removed from power and a "broad-based government" can take its place. (Full story)
More than 5,000 armed men crossed Pakistan's border with Afghanistan on Saturday, vowing to join the Taliban's fight against United States. They were led by a religious leader, Sofi Mohammed, who said they intended to travel to Kandahar -- about 430 miles (670 kilometers) away -- and meet with the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar. (Full story)
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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