A war of words
In a videotape broadcast Saturday, suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden lashed out at the United Nations, the United States and Arab nations leaders whose countries are U.N. members. Senior U.S. government officials responded by calling bin Laden's statement an "act of desperation."
With U.S. warplanes bearing down on Taliban front lines, the Northern Alliance said Saturday that it had captured large parts of a district near the strategically critical northern Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif.
Bin Laden also condemned the U.S.-led bombing campaign and claimed it was targeting Afghan civilians, an allegation the Pentagon has denied. The statement was broadcast Saturday by the Arabic language television network Al Jazeera, which said it does not know when or where the tape was recorded. (Full story)
Senior U.S. officials called bin Laden's videotaped statement an "act of desperation," saying he may have "irreparably damaged" himself and Afghanistan's ruling Taliban in the Arab world. (Full story)
Fighting near Mazar-e Sharif began late Friday, paving the way for the Northern Alliance's advance on Aq-Kupruk, roughly 31 miles (49 km) south of the city, according to Gen. Atiquillah Baryalai of the Northern Alliance. Opposition forces also claimed hundreds of Taliban fighters were now in Northern Alliance hands as well as significant amounts of Taliban military equipment. The reports could not be independently confirmed. (Full story)
U.S. B-52 bombers pounded the Taliban front lines north of Kabul on Saturday, striking the troops arrayed against the opposition Northern Alliance with heavy bombing strikes. Northern Alliance commanders told CNN the bombing is opening the way for an advance toward the capital within days. (Full story)
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's weekend trip overseas will include stops in India and Pakistan, where increased tensions over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir could damage the U.S.-led antiterrorist campaign in Afghanistan. "This is not a surface visit by any stretch of the imagination," said Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American financier who proposed a framework for a Kashmir cease-fire in 2000. (Full story)
On Friday, a U.S. search-and-rescue helicopter crash-landed in Afghanistan in severe weather, but its crew was rescued by another helicopter, the Pentagon said. Four U.S. military personnel were hurt, but their injuries were not considered life-threatening. (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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