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More U.S. forces enter Afghanistan

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


With hundreds of U.S. Marines now operating near Kandahar, Washington announced the nation's first combat casualty in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, more U.S. troops are arriving in the combat zone, and U.S. officials say Afghanistan will remain the focus of the war on terrorism.


The Central Intelligence Agency confirmed that agent Johnny Micheal "Mike" Spann was killed when Taliban members rioted at a Northern Alliance compound in Mazar-e Sharif. U.S. officials say Spann's body was found early Wednesday, three days after they believe he died. (Full story)

Meanwhile, Red Cross workers began removing the bodies of hundreds of Taliban fighters killed in the bloody revolt at the Northern Alliance compound. (Full story)

About 20 to 25 members of the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division are now at an airfield near Mazar-e Sharif, serving as a "quick reaction force," U.S. defense officials said. They join an unknown number of U.S. special operations forces, intelligence agents, and about 800 Marines currently inside Afghanistan.

Several senior U.S. officials said that although the administration have discussed future fronts in the war on terrorism, the effort will be focused on Afghanistan -- and not Iraq, despite persistent reports -- for the foreseeable future. (Full story)

Northern Alliance delegates at U.N.-sanctioned talks on Afghanistan's future have rejected calls for an international security force to patrol in Afghanistan. This faction and one headed by former king Mohammad Zahir have agreed on a council that would set up a transitional government. (Full story)

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Mariz Aznar downplayed suggestions of a rift with the U.S. on Wednesday as he said his country would consider any extradition request for suspects arrested in connection with the terrorism investigation. (Full story)

The Taliban on Wednesday denied that U.S. airstrikes had hit a leadership compound a day earlier and said the Taliban's supreme leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar, was safe and unharmed. (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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