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Front lines: Northern Alliance pressures Taliban stronghold

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SUMMARY:

Northern Alliance commanders sent a delegation Monday to the last Taliban stronghold in northern Afghanistan in hopes of convincing the Taliban garrison to surrender.

Fighting was reportedly fierce around the city, which is controlled by hard-line Chechen, Pakistani and Arab fighters aligned with the Taliban. U.S. warplanes, including B-52 heavy bombers, pounded the area Monday.

UPDATE:

Konduz remained in Taliban hands Monday despite reports that its governor and Taliban commander there had offered to surrender the city to the United Nations. Hard-line Chechen, Pakistani and Arab fighters aligned with the Taliban controlled Konduz.

A Northern Alliance commander sent a delegation to negotiate a Taliban surrender, but U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Washington does not want a deal that would allow the Taliban's international volunteers freed to disperse to other countries. (Full story)

There were varying reports Monday about who controlled Kandahar, the Taliban's political and spiritual base in southern Afghanistan. A source told CNN on Monday that within the next day, Haji Bashar -- a Pashtun leader appointed the city's administrator over the weekend by his tribesmen -- plans to tell Mullah Mohammad Omar that he must leave Kandahar. (Full story)

 VIDEO
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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The Northern Alliance is willing to meet with Afghanistan's deposed king in Europe in hopes of assembling a government to succeed the embattled Taliban, an opposition representative said Sunday. The Northern Alliance, which moved into the Afghan capital last week following a Taliban withdrawal, had invited representatives of all Afghan factions to meet in Kabul to assemble a new government. (Full story)

Britain has withheld a decision on whether to send thousands of soldiers to Afghanistan, until they can assess the situation on the ground. An advance group of about 100 British troops landed Thursday at an air base near Kabul -- another 6,000 are standing by to fly to the country.(Full story)

President Bush is expected to announce Monday the shipment of thousands of tons of U.S. processed food worth more than $5 million to Afghanistan, senior administration officials told CNN. The announcement is part of a broader humanitarian effort to feed starving Afghans, an initiative that officials said is getting renewed attention during the holiday season. (Full Story)

KEY QUESTIONS:

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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