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Front Lines: A post-Taliban Afghanistan

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SUMMARY:

As music blared and exultant Afghan men shaved their beards in Kabul, attention turned Wednesday toward the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar - a city that could also fall soon, according to a senior U.S. official.

CNN also has learned that a delegation of Afghan tribal chiefs in Quetta, Pakistan, is moving to secure the defection of Taliban commanders in Kandahar. And there were reports that other tribal leaders were massing anti-Taliban forces near that city.

UPDATE:

In the wake of their dramatic desertion from Kabul, Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar has used a radio broadcast to urge his scattered fighters to regroup and "resist the enemy." According to the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) Mullah Omar made the broadcast Wednesday and called on the Taliban not to desert. (Full story)

The stunning speed of the Northern Alliance advances in Afghanistan and the surprising ease with which Kabul fell to their forces has sent diplomats across the world scrambling to fill the power vacuum. For AfghanistanŐs neighbors and the key players in the U.S.-led coalition against terror the rapid turn of events on the ground has raised several challenges. (Full story)

Former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani is expected to arrive in the capital of Kabul on Wednesday to declare the city free from Taliban rule. Rabbani, who is also the Northern Alliance's leader, is still recognized as Afghanistan's president by the United Nations and many other countries. (Full story)

The Taliban withdrawal from Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, is a sign U.S. forces are "making great progress" against the Taliban and the al Qaeda terrorist network, President Bush said Tuesday. But at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld cautioned that the U.S. anti-terrorist campaign was "far from over." Rumsfeld also acknowledged that a small number of U.S. Special Operations troops also entered Kabul to "try to create order." (Full story)

Thousands of British troops have been put on 48-hour stand-by for possible duty in Kabul and other newly-captured cities in Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday that their mission would be to act as a stabilising force to allow the United Nations to create a new government and to help to launch a full-scale humanitarian aid operation. (Full story)

 VIDEO
CNN's Matthew Chance traveled with Northern Alliance troops into the Afghan capital (November 13)

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Afghans woke up to the news that Kabul had been overrun by the Northern Alliance. CNN Kamal Hyder reports (November 13)

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  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact


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KEY QUESTIONS:

Will the Northern Alliance fully occupy Kabul or will most of its forces remain on the city's outskirts? (Click here for more)

Who are the Northern Alliance and other 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)

Will the Taliban surrender or will they continue to fight, possibly launching a guerilla war out of Afghanistan's mountains? (Click here for more)

Where is Mullah Omar Mohammed, the spiritual leader of the Taliban?

What kind of government will replace the Taliban if the religious group is removed as the country's government? Will there be a U.N. or international peacekeeping force in Kabul? (Click here for more)

How are the citizens of Kabul reacting to the Taliban abandoning the city? (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'S WHO:

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)

The Taliban: A group of Islamic fundamentalists, mainly from Afghanistan's Pashtun ethnic group, which is the country's largest ethnic group. The Taliban that gained control of most of the country by 1997 and instituted an extreme form of Islamic law. (Click here for more)

Northern Alliance: A group of former mujahedeen fighters, mainly from minority ethnic groups that oppose the Taliban. (Click here for more)

George Robertson: Secretary-General of NATO (and former British defense minister) (Click here for more)

George Tenet: CIA director. (Click here for more)

IMPACT:

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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