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Front lines: Tensions remain high in Konduz

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SUMMARY:

Fighting broke out Thursday east of Konduz, but Northern Alliance commanders said the plan for an all-out Taliban surrender will proceed and include so-called "foreign" fighters from Pakistan, Chechnya, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

Coalition jets flew overhead and four loud explosions were heard in a village southeast of Jalalabad, likely the results of airstrikes against al Qaeda or Taliban forces.

UPDATE:

Intense fighting raged between Taliban and Northern Alliance forces near Konduz on Thursday, despite opposition claims the Taliban will soon surrender the northern Afghan city. (Full story)

Taliban diplomatic officials quickly left their former embassy in Islamabad on Thursday after Pakistan ceased recognition of the Taliban and ordered the mission closed. (Full story)

A top Northern Alliance commander said surrounded Taliban fighters in Konduz have agreed to lay down their arms Sunday, giving his forces control of all of northern Afghanistan. But some Northern Alliance troops expressed doubt the surrender would happen, particularly since thousands of non-Afghan Taliban fighters would face trial as war criminals.


  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

France plans to commit some 5,000 troops -- including 2,450 naval and air force personnel aboard the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle -- to support the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan, a French defense ministry spokesman said on Thursday. (Full story)

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw kicked off a two-day trip to Iran and Pakistan on Thursday, part of negotiations over the future of Afghanistan. (Full story)

Poland has agreed to contribute up to 300 soldiers -- including some from an elite commando unit -- to support the U.S.-led military operation in Afghanistan. (Full story)

Pentagon sources told CNN that three U.S. Air Force AC-130H "Spectre" gunships are being sent to a Uzbekistan base to cut the time it takes for the United States to attack targets in northern Afghanistan. (Full story)

The Taliban said Wednesday they have no contact with Osama bin Laden as the U.S. military moved to cut off a possible escape route for the suspected terrorist or his followers. (Full story)

 VIDEO
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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 RESOURCES
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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: NATO secretary-general 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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