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Bin Laden remains elusive

Kandahar airport
Anti-Taliban forces found stocks of ammunition in caves formerly occupied by al Qaeda in Tora Bora.  


SUMMARY:

The whereabouts of Osama bin Laden remain unknown as anti-Taliban fighters begin combing through the hundreds of caves in Tora Bora. Meanwhile, 15 al Qaeda fighters have arrived in Kandahar for questioning by FBI agents.

UPDATE:

Afghan fighters were conducting cave-by-cave searches Tuesday, looking for al Qaeda fighters and Osama bin Laden. In Washington, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there were no bombing missions Tuesday, but added that U.S. aircraft continued flying over the country and were available for airstrikes. (Full story)

Escorted by U.S. Marines, 15 captured al Qaeda fighters arrived late Tuesday at the newly built detention center at Kandahar International Airport, where they are to be questioned by eight FBI agents. Authorities released few details about the captives, refusing to give out their names or say if any top al Qaeda leaders were among the group. (Full story)

Details are expected on Wednesday of the first contingent to be sent to Kabul as part of the international stabilization force for Afghanistan. The force will be under the command of British Gen. John McColl, who has been in Kabul negotiating the terms under which it will operate. (Full story)

Haji Gulalai, the intelligence chief for Kandahar, said information indicated Taliban supreme spiritual leader Mullah Omar and several hundred fighters were hiding near the town of Baghran, about 100 miles northwest of Kandahar. However, Gulalai said going after Omar is not a top priority. (Full story)

Yemeni security forces pursued suspected members of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network in two locations Tuesday, sources told CNN. The sources said Yemeni special forces were sent to Bayhan and Abidha on information provided by intelligence operations. (Full story)

U.S. military officials denied reports Tuesday that two U.S. C-130 transport planes were fired upon in Afghanistan. A spokesman for U.S. Central Command said the planes took evasive action after seeing flashes from the ground near Kandahar in southern Afghanistan. Earlier, a U.S. Marines spokesman said the planes came under fire from surface-to-air missiles in separate incidents, but were not hit. (Full story)

Hamid Karzai, the head of Afghanistan's interim government is due to meet Mohammed Zahir Shah, the country's former ruler, for talks paving the way for the exiled monarch's return. Karzai will meet the former king, who has lived in exile in Rome since 1973, in the Italian capital on Tuesday. (Full story)

The former U.S. Embassy in Kabul opened Monday, the first time it has been in operation in 12 years. The former embassy initially will serve as a "liaison office" between the United States and the interim Afghan government, which is set to take office on December 22. (Full story)

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is expected to brief allies on the campaign against the Taliban and the al Qaeda network during a two-day NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium. (Full story)


  •  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

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

Hamid Karzai: The appointed leader of Afghanistan's interim government.

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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