Retaliation: Rumsfeld visits Pakistan, India, heads home
The U.S. campaign in Afghanistan entered its fifth week Sunday with new raids by high-altitude bombers, while the opposition Northern Alliance hinted that a new offensive on its part was likely soon. Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was set to return home from a five-country weekend trip after visits Sunday to key ally Pakistan and its longtime rival, India.
Heavy bombers came in four major waves on Sunday, striking hillsides where Taliban forces were dug in near the village of Dashtiqala, close to the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border. Haron Amin, the Northern Alliance's political representative at the United Nations, said the opposition is preparing for a "multipronged" advance soon. (Full story)
Rumsfeld met for several hours in Islamabad with Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and Pakistani military leaders before leaving for New Delhi, India. Rumsfeld said he and Musharraf discussed the Pakistani president's desire for the United States to suspend its bombing during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins November 17. (Full story)
Rumsfeld's stops in Pakistan and India highlighted tensions over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir, which could damage the U.S.-led antiterror campaign in Afghanistan. "Secretary Rumsfeld has to persuade both India and Pakistan that the war on terrorism does not have room for a war between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control," said Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American analyst on south Asia. (Full story)
British Prime Minister Tony Blair hosted several European leaders in London Sunday in a dinner that included a briefing on the war against terrorism. Blair's office said the prime minister would discuss "current events" with French President Jacques Chirac; German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder; Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi; and Spanish premier Jose Maria Aznar. (Full story)Taliban morale appears high despite four weeks of U.S.-led bombardment, but Taliban restrictions on journalists made it difficult to judge the impact of airstrikes. Military hardware has been dispersed around the country, but wrecked armored vehicles were visible around Kandahar. (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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