Front Lines: Rapid change in Afghanistan
U.S. sources told CNN that anti-Taliban forces have gained control Wednesday of the Kandahar airport and the eastern city of Jalalabad. In Kabul, which the Taliban abandoned before dawn Tuesday, music blared and exultant Afghan men shaved their beards as residents enjoyed new freedoms after five years of harsh Taliban rule.
Diplomats also struggled to keep up with the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan as the United Nations begins to work on a transitional government to fill the void left by the Taliban.
Anti-Taliban Pashtun fighters have taken control of the Kandahar airport and the eastern city of Jalalabad, U.S. sources told CNN Wednesday. The sources said there was street fighting in Kandahar and the Taliban still control some neighborhoods, but that Taliban fighters were fleeing in droves. (Full story)
Despite substantial military progress on the ground in Afghanistan, U.S. officials at the White House and the Pentagon stressed the that war on terrorism is not nearing an end. A White House spokesman said the pursuit of the entire al Qaeda terror network "may still last years."
As events in Afghanistan unfold quickly, U.N. Security Council members expect to pass a resolution Wednesday warning anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan against revenge killings and detailing the "central role" for the U.N. in helping set up a transitional Afghan government.
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)
In Kabul, women are unveiling their faces and men are shaving their beards one day after Taliban forces fled the city. Once-prohibited music and radio stations are now competing with bicycle bells following five years of harsh Taliban rule. (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 stabilizing force to allow the United Nations to create a new government and to help to launch a full-scale humanitarian aid operation. (Full story)
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)
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)
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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