Peacekeepers arrive in Kabul
The first troops of a British-led international peacekeeping force arrived in Afghanistan Thursday. The force will provide security around the Afghan capital of Kabul and is expected to be operational for three months.
Meanwhile, sources told CNN that the Pentagon is mulling over whether to send Marines to search the caves in Afghanistan's mountainous Tora Bora region for any remaining Taliban or al Qaeda fighters, and President Bush announced that his administration was targeting the finances of two more groups alleged to be supporters of terrorism.
The vanguard of a British-led multinational peacekeeping force arrived in Afghanistan Thursday, as the country's interim government prepared to take power. The first British troops were flying into Bagram air base, near the Afghan capital of Kabul. Britain is contributing around 1,500 troops to the total of between 3,000 and 5,000. Twelve other countries have agreed to participate so far. (Full story)
President Bush announced Thursday that he was blocking the assets of two more organizations believed to be funneling money to terrorists and terrorist organizations, both based in Pakistan. (Full story)
Two U.S. military sources confirmed Thursday that up to 500 Marines could be ready as soon as this weekend to begin searching caves in Tora Bora for al Qaeda members. The sources emphasized that Gen. Tommy Franks, head of U.S. Central Command, has not given final approval to the mission. (Full story)
Authorities in this remote region of Pakistan near the Afghan border said Thursday they had arrested 189 people in the last 10 to 12 days believed to be al Qaeda fighters. Security is heavy in the White Mountains in the Tora Bora region in eastern Afghanistan as U.S. and anti-Taliban forces continue searching for al Qaeda or Taliban fighters fleeing the area, sometimes crossing over into Pakistan. (Full story)
Pentagon officials said three new detainees were flown out to the assault ship USS Peleliu in the Arabian Sea, joining five others, including U.S. citizen and Taliban member John Walker. That brings to 23 the number of al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in the custody of U.S. forces, including 15 who are being held near Kandahar. (Full story)
Speaking from his hospital bed shortly after being captured, a wounded and weary John Walker said that the bloody prison uprising that resulted in the death of a CIA operative and hundreds of Taliban prisoners and Northern Alliance fighters was "all a mistake of a handful of people." (Full story)
Two more al Qaeda-trained Australians are thought to be fighting in Afghanistan, although their whereabouts are unknown, the Australian government has revealed. In a joint statement released Thursday, Defense Minister Robert Hill and Attorney General Daryl Williams confirmed two Australian men, one who has served in the Australian army, were in Afghanistan. (Full story)
Major donors are discussing how to restore Afghanistan's infrastructure and boost the chances of the new post-Taliban regime surviving. The donors will look at immediate problems afflicting the stricken nation after two decades of war ranging from restoring education for girls to tax collecting, policing and sewage systems. (Full story)
Zacarias Moussaoui, the first person charged in direct connection with the September 11 terrorist attacks, appeared before a U.S. magistrate Wednesday afternoon in Alexandria, Virginia, where he was informed of the charges against him. Moussaoui faces multiple conspiracy charges, and could be sentenced to death if convicted. (Full story)
Nine anti-Taliban fighters who were wounded in a December 5 friendly fire incident and treated by the U.S. military returned to Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Thursday. Gul Agha Sherzai, the governor of Kandahar province, and Brig. Gen. James Mattis welcomed the fighters back to Afghanistan.
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?
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
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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