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Taliban eye pullout from last northern stronghold

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U.S. troops ride horseback with members of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan on Monday in this photo released by the Pentagon on Friday.  


Remaining Taliban forces in northern Afghanistan offered to surrender the city of Konduz to U.N. officials Sunday, while in the south, Pashtun tribal leaders urged the embattled Taliban to give up control of their spiritual and political base at Kandahar.


Taliban fighters have tried to avoid surrendering Konduz to the opposition Northern Alliance, hoping to hand the city over to U.N. officials. The city is the last Taliban stronghold in northern Afghanistan, and some reports indicated the Taliban are turning on each other amid heavy U.S. bombardment. (Full story)

Former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani has invited representatives of all Afghan factions to the capital, Kabul, to forge a post-Taliban government. Rabbani is scheduled to meet with U.N. representative Francis Vendrell in Kabul. (Full story)

Political control of Kandahar remained unclear Saturday as Afghan tribal leaders held meetings with Taliban commanders, trying to persuade them to lay down their weapons or face an attack by opposition forces. The Taliban remain in control of about a third of Afghanistan, according to U.S. estimates. (Full story)

Officials from the Northern Alliance say most of a group of British Special Forces at Bagram air base north of Kabul must be withdrawn from Afghanistan, according to Reuters. The news agency quotes an official as saying 15 of the 100 British troops who arrived at the base Thursday can stay for humanitarian tasks. (Full story)

CNN's Carol Lin reports on the political situation in Kandahar (November 17)

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CNN's Kasra Naji reports on the popular resentment by residents in Northern Afghanistan (November 17)

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  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

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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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