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Fact Sheet

Deadline expires as assault continues

An al Qaeda base captured by anti-Taliban fighters featured dug-in fortifications and small caves.
An al Qaeda base captured by anti-Taliban fighters featured dug-in fortifications and small caves.  


SUMMARY:

U.S.-led airstrikes on Thursday again pounded al Qaeda positions in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan after another deadline passed with no surrender.

The Pentagon said Wednesday all four crew members of a U.S. B-1 bomber were rescued after the plane went down in the Indian Ocean. The crew was reportedly in "good health" and safely aboard the USS Russell destroyer late Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon delayed on Wednesday the release of a videotape that U.S. officials say shows bin Laden boasting about the September 11 terrorist attacks. The tape could be made public Thursday.

UPDATE:

The B-1B bomber that crashed into the Indian Ocean on Wednesday experienced multiple system malfunctions making it "impossible" to fly, the plane's rescued pilot said Wednesday. (Full story)

In the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, al Qaeda forces again missed a deadline to surrender or face strengthened assaults on Thursday. The continuing onslaught included bombing runs from B-52s and intense attacks of machine-gun and cannon fire from AC-130 aircraft and helicopters. (Full story)

Audio and translation problems delayed Wednesday's anticipated release of a videotape purportedly showing bin Laden bragging about the September 11 terrorist attacks, government sources said. On the tape, bin Laden makes it clear he had advance knowledge about the planning and details of the deadly attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, according to U.S. officials. (Full story)

The Arabic-language TV network Al-Jazeera interviewed bin Laden in October but never aired it after the al Qaeda leader appeared to intimidate a correspondent, sources at the network said. Al-Jazeera officials publicly have denied knowing about such an interview, but sources said the network decided not to air the tape after reviewing it. The interview is not the same videotape the Bush administration is planning to release. (Full story)

The American recently captured with Taliban fighters has warned another al Qaeda attack on the United States will happen within days, according to sources familiar with his interrogation. However, a senior Bush administration official said it doubtful that John Walker knows much about al Qaeda's plans. (Full story)

In the first criminal charges directly related to the U.S. investigation of the September 11 attacks, bin Laden was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the indictment of Zacarias Moussaoui, a Frenchman of Moroccan descent who faces six conspiracy charges. Moussaoui was charged Tuesday with conspiring with bin Laden and al Qaeda to "murder thousands of people" in New York, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. (Full story)


  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact


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 EXTRA INFORMATION
Timeline: Who Knew What and When?
Interactive: Terror Investigation
Terror Warnings System
Most wanted terrorists
What looks suspicious?
In-Depth: America Remembers
In-Depth: Terror on Tape
In-Depth: How prepared is your city?
 RESOURCES
On the Scene: Barbara Starr: Al Qaeda hunt expands?
On the Scene: Peter Bergen: Getting al Qaeda to talk

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?

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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