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Return of the 'daisy cutter'

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SUMMARY:

Afghan commanders claimed Monday to have al Qaeda fighters surrounded in eastern Afghanistan near where a U.S. plane dropped the military's biggest non-nuclear bomb the day before. Several dozen heavily armed U.S. troops were seen headed for the area to join Afghan fighters against an estimated 1,000 al Qaeda troops. Pentagon officials said U.S. intelligence also indicated Osama bin Laden might be among them.

UPDATE:

U.S. forces dropped a 15,000-pound "daisy cutter" bomb on a cave in the Tora Bora area Sunday where "substantial al Qaeda forces would be, and possibly including senior leadership," said Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem, a Pentagon spokesman. He had no information on whether anyone was killed. (Full story)

An unreleased video shows a celebrating bin Laden saying he tuned in to the radio in advance of the terrorist attacks September 11 to hear coverage of the events. Officials who have viewed the tape say bin Laden describes how he underestimated the possible damage to the World Trade Center towers by the aircraft that hit them: "This is evidence from the man's own lips of what a dirty bastard he was," one official said. (Full story)

Four Americans killed in Afghanistan were honored Monday in ceremonies at outside Washington and in Kentucky. CIA officer Michael Spann, killed last month during the Taliban uprising at Mazar-e Sharif, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. At Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the Green Berets remembered three sergeants killed by a stray U.S. bomb near Kandahar. (Full story)

A Marine detachment moved into the long-vacant U.S. Embassy in Kabul Monday as Washington worked toward re-establishing diplomatic ties with Afghanistan. U.S. diplomats could reclaim the embassy, which was been empty since 1989, once an interim Afghan government takes power December 22. (Full story)

In Kandahar, the last Taliban stronghold to fall to opposition forces, newly appointed governor Gul Agha met with city officials to consolidate the young government's authority. In one of his first acts, he released 1,200 prisoners held under Taliban rule and gave some of them money so they could return to their homes. (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?

Now that the last Taliban stronghold has fallen, will its fleeing members still pose a threat?

Where is Mullah Mohammed Omar, the spiritual leader of the Taliban?

What kind of permanent government will next rule Afghanistan?

How will a multinational peacekeeping force be received in war-weary Afghanistan?


  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact


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 RESOURCES
On the Scene: Barbara Starr: Al Qaeda hunt expands?
On the Scene: Peter Bergen: Getting al Qaeda to talk

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.

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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