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Retaliation: Airstrikes and refugees

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Smoke rises in the wake of a U.S. airstrike on targets in the city of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan on Thursday.  


The anti-Taliban Northern Alliance reported more advances south of Mazar-e Sharif as U.S. airstrikes focused on targets in Kandahar and Taliban troop position north of the Afghan capital of Kabul.

Meanwhile, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is reiterating his call for Afghanistan's neighbors to open their borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees trying to flee the fighting. International aid agencies are warning of an oncoming humanitarian disaster as winter approaches in Afghanistan, where the food supplies are desperately low.


The opposition Northern Alliance said Thursday its forces have advanced to within a few miles south of the strategic Taliban-held town of Mazar-e Sharif in north Afghanistan. If the claim is true, Northern Alliance forces could be within four miles of Mazar-e Sharif, which lies along strategic supply routes to Kabul. (Full story)

North of Kabul, U.S. warplanes targeted Taliban frontline troops Thursday along the Shamali Plains and the Shafy mountain range near strategic Bagram Air Base. Bombing raids also were reported in Kandahar, the spiritual headquarters of the Taliban. (Full story)

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers is calling on Afghanistan's neighbors to open their borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees trying to flee the fighting. He stressed "the commitment made by coalition leaders to the Afghan people that the war is not against them, and that the humanitarian effort will remain a priority." (Full story)

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has been trying to overcome wavering support for his decision to offer military support to the United States. The chancellor told politicians on Thursday that it was now time for Germans to repay the solidarity the U.S. had given the country since World War II and throughout the Cold War. (Full story)

Three Japanese warships will depart for the Indian Ocean early Friday to provide non-combat support to the U.S.-led war on terrorism. The ships will leave from the southern port of Sasebo, marking the first time since World War II that Japanese forces will operate outside of Japanese territory. (Full story)

Pentagon sources said a search is under way for a sailor from the USS Kitty Hawk who apparently fell overboard into the Arabian Sea. The Kitty Hawk is serving as a floating base for U.S. Special Operations troops participating in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday the United States would deal with Iraq's weapons program as part of its war against terrorism once it had finished the campaign in Afghanistan. (Full story)

The National Imagery and Mapping Agency renewed a contract Tuesday with Space Imaging Inc. for exclusive rights to commercial satellite imagery of Afghanistan and neighboring countries -- data the Pentagon is using to support U.S.-led airstrikes. (Full story)

CNN's Rula Amin reports on reactions by Arab foreign ministers to the latest statements by Osama bin Laden (November 4)

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U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld assures Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf of continued support. CNN's David reports (November 4)

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  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

Attack on America
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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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