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White Mountains, black smoke

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SUMMARY:

U.S. warplanes pounded the White Mountains of eastern Afghanistan again Sunday as Afghan fighters tried to flush out suspected terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told "Fox News Sunday" that the fighting "has been very, very intense." Meanwhile, tribal leaders in Kandahar agreed to place anti-Taliban commander Gul Agha in control of the city, which Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar apparently abandoned Friday.

UPDATE:

Myers said captured American Taliban fighter John Walker had offered useful intelligence to U.S. forces. Walker, a 20-year-old American convert to Islam, was being held at the U.S. Marine base south of Kandahar. (Full story)

Tribal commanders outside Tora Bora said bin Laden may be directing as many as 1,000 al Qaeda fighters to defend those positions. Mortar fire kept anti-Taliban forces from storming those positions Saturday as smoke from U.S. bombing raids hung over the wooded, steep terrain Sunday. (Full story)

Kandahar was a city in limbo Sunday, waiting for a centralized security force to maintain control. Widespread looting was reported as two different tribal groups negotiated for control of the city. (Full story)

A train loaded with wheat rolled into Afghanistan across the Friendship Bridge from Uzbekistan on Sunday, its way into the country cleared after pressure from U.S. officials and humanitarian organizations allowed it to enter Afghanistan. Uzbekistan closed the bridge for security reasons in 1997, soon after the Taliban came to power. (Full story)

British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said that if British troops capture bin Laden, London would hand him over for trial in the United States only if assurances were given that he would not face the death penalty. Britain does not extradite suspects to countries with the death penalty without receiving assurances that they will not face execution. (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?

Will the Taliban surrender or will they continue to fight, possibly launching a guerilla war out of Afghanistan's mountains?

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)


  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact


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How long will the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan last?

What is the goal of the U.S. airstrikes over Afghanistan? What is the key to the mission's success?

WHO'S WHO:

George W. Bush: U.S. president

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.

Condoleezza Rice: U.S. national security adviser.

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.

Gen. Richard B. Myers: Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Gen. Tommy Franks: Head of U.S. Central Command. (Click here for more)

Donald Rumsfeld: U.S. secretary of defense.

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.

Northern Alliance: A group of former mujahedeen fighters, mainly from minority ethnic groups that oppose the Taliban.

George Robertson: NATO secretary-general and former British defense minister.

George Tenet: CIA director

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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