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Afghanistan's new leaders take reins

British commandos
Outgoing President Burhanuddin Rabbani, left, embraces Afghanistan's new leader Hamid Karzai.  


Officials in Afghanistan's interim government were sworn into office in Kabul on Saturday's swearing-in ceremony, and the interim leader, Hamid Karzai, pledged to "fulfill my mission to bring peace to Afghanistan," a country wracked by 23 years of war.

There also is a dispute over a U.S. airstrike that wiped out a convoy in southern Afghanistan. The Pentagon said the convoy was carrying what it described as al Qaeda or Taliban leaders. But a member of the new government said it included delegates traveling to Kabul for Saturday's ceremonies.


Moments after Karzai was sworn in as chairman of the interim administration, he stood on a stage and swore in the other 29 members of his new administration. Hundreds of people packed into the Interior Ministry hall on what Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. special representative on Afghanistan, called a "momentous day" for the country and the world. (Full story)

Airstrikes on targets in mountainous eastern Afghanistan resumed Friday after three days of reconnaissance missions, including the destruction of a convoy the Pentagon said was carrying al Qaeda leadership. U.S. Marine Gen. Peter Pace said a convoy with 10 to 12 vehicles was attacked by AC-130 gunships and fighter jets near the city of Khost, southwest of the Tora Bora mountains. (Full story)

Yunis Qanuni, interior minister of the newly installed Afghan government, said the convoy attacked by U.S. airplanes were delegates traveling to Kabul for the installation of the interim government Qanuni called the incident "a misunderstanding" but Pentagon officials maintained the convoy was carrying al Qaeda or Taliban leaders. (Full story)

The Pentagon is sending 10 new high-tech, bunker-busting bombs to Afghanistan that it says are more effective at destroying underground caves and tunnels. The laser-guided bomb is a "thermobaric" weapon, a high-temperature, high-pressure explosive that destroys underground caves and tunnels. (Full story)

About 150 British peacekeeping troops were at Bagram air base outside Kabul, and about 100 of the British contingent moved into the city on Friday, a day ahead of the interim government's assumption of power. (Full story)

Another suspected al Qaeda member has been taken into custody at the U.S. Marine base at Kandahar airport, bringing the number of detained al Qaeda and Taliban fighters to 16, Pentagon and military officials said Saturday. U.S. Marines had cleared a runway at the airport to 10,000 feet, making it ready to receive some of the larger aircraft used by the military. (Full story)

  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

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The original translation of the Osama bin Laden videotape misses the fact that bin Laden identifies nine of the September 11 hijackers, a Saudi dissident says and an independent translator hired by CNN confirmed Thursday. (Full story)

Afghanistan needs about $9 billion during the next five years to rebuild after 20 years of war, the United Nations and World Bank have calculated. The two organizations presented a joint report to an international aid conference in Brussels on Friday and will give a final assessment at a conference in January when major donors plan to announce an aid package for the country. (Full story)


Who are the key members of the newly installed Afghan interim government? (Click here for more)

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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