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Front Lines: Surrender at Konduz

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Konduz surrender
A convoy of trucks carry surrendering Taliban fighters across the Bangi Bridge on the Konduz front line on Saturday.  


SUMMARY:

More than 1,300 Taliban fighters from the besieged city of Konduz defected or surrendered to the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance on Saturday. Some were reportedly back on the front lines late Saturday after leaving the Taliban's last stronghold in northern Afghanistan earlier in the day.

UPDATE:

A senior Taliban commander was one of the Taliban fighters that surrendered to Northern Alliance forces on the road out of Konduz. Mullah Hamidullah joined the hundreds of troops traveling by the truckload who are handing themselves over to their battlefield opponents on the outskirts of the northern Afghan city. (Full story)

A surrendering Taliban soldier detonated a hand grenade Saturday, killing himself, two other fighters and seriously injuring a senior Northern Alliance commander as alliance forces searched hundreds of Taliban outside Mazar-e Sharif, according to CNN's Alessio Vinci, who witnessed the incident.

The Taliban believe opposition forces are inside the province of Kandahar, Taliban spokesman Syed Tayyab Agha said Saturday. Agha denied reports that these forces have taken control of Takhtaful, a small town about an hour's drive southeast of the city of Kandahar. (Full story)

Villagers held funerals Saturday for 12 people who were executed and buried in a mass grave south of the Afghan city of Herat. The bodies were uncovered Friday. They had been buried in a pool filled with dirt inside the nearby Shindand Air Base, their hands tied behind them and bullet wounds in their skulls.

Japan will send 1,500 troops for the Afghan relief operations which are likely to start in next few weeks, a senior Japanese official said Friday. (Full story)

Al Qaeda suspects in Spanish custody will not be extradited to the U.S. unless there is a guarantee they will not face the death penalty, the country's foreign ministry said Friday. (Full story)


  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

The official start for bilateral talks between the United Nations and Afghan factional leaders in Bonn, Germany, has been postponed until Tuesday because of travel difficulties, the German Foreign Ministry said Friday. The ministry said the official start would take place only when all delegates were present. (Full story)

Ismaeil Khan, leader of the Northern Alliance's western forces, told CNN his troops have already begun their battle for Marjeh and Nadali, two towns near the airport in Helmand province. Helmand is just north of Kandahar, the embattled Taliban's political and spiritual base. Northern Alliance leaders have sent 3,000 fighters into the area, said Khan's son Mirweiss Khan, Herat's security chief. (Full story)

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw met with senior Pakistani ministers Friday to thrash out a common stance on the future of Afghanistan. Straw is in the region attempting to bridge differences between the Northern Alliance, Pakistan and Iran. Straw and Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar both called for a "broad based multi-ethnic civil administration" in Afghanistan to replace the Taliban. (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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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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