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Front lines: A 'standoff' at Konduz

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The Taliban have approached the United Nations to negotiate a surrender of Konduz, but the world agency does not have the means to do so, a top U.N. envoy said Tuesday.

The Pentagon described the situation at Konduz and Kandahar, the Taliban's stronghold in southern Afghanistan, as a standoff.

The political leader of the Northern Alliance said Tuesday that he is willing to share power with a broadbased alliance of Afghan groups, as envisioned by the United Nations.


U.S. bombing in and around Konduz started later than usual Tuesday morning than it had over the last several days. There was carpet bombing from a U.S. B-52 in an area in the eastern Konduz province about noon local time. Discussions between Taliban and opposition Northern Alliance officials are ongoing in the no-man's land between Taliban and Northern Alliance lines outside Konduz. (Full story)

At the daily Pentagon briefing, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem said the situation at Konduz was a "standoff." U.S. airstrikes, which continued Tuesday morning, are on call, based on U.S. military assessments and the needs of the Northern Alliance, which has the town surrounded. (Full story)

Burhanuddin Rabbani, president of the Northern Alliance-led government of the Islamic State of Afghanistan, said Tuesday the forces that rolled into the Afghan capital last week are planning to share -- not seize -- power. In an interview with CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour,, he said if there is a decision to choose a different leader, he would be prepared to step down from power. (Full story)

The leader of eight suspected Islamic terrorists arrested this month by Spanish authorities met with key figures involved in the September 11 hijackings, including some alleged terrorists still on the run, according to a court document. (Full story)

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo met with U.S. defense officials Tuesday to discuss support for the campaign against Islamic militants in her country. U.S. military advisers already are aiding Filipino troops in their battle with the Abu Sayyaf guerrilla movement, an Islamic insurgency that U.S. officials link to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization. (Full story)

The United Nations is planning to convene a meeting of Afghanistan's ethnic groups, probably in Europe. It would be a first step toward the building of a broad-based transitional post-Taliban Afghan government. Some reports are saying that the meeting will be in Germany, possibly Berlin, on Saturday. (Full story)

Officials of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees met with Iranian authorities in Tehran Tuesday to discuss the development of a repatriation plan for Afghan refugees. (Full story)

The United Nations is racing against time to provide aid to 120,000 children in Afghanistan threatened with famine, illness and cold. (Full story)

The United States has been dropping leaflets offering a $25 million reward for information leading to suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden. (Full story)

The bodies of four journalists missing and feared dead in Afghanistan have been recovered, CNN has confirmed. The journalists were on the road between Jalalabad and Kabul Monday when their unguarded convoy was attacked. Militiamen found the bodies and brought them to a hospital in Jalalabad. (Full story)

Former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that he has agreed to a meeting of ethnic Afghan groups (November 20)

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Jalalabad is calm now following a change in power, but the Afghan city could still turn bloody. CNN's Bill Delaney reports (November 19)

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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: NATO secretary-general 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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