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Taliban giving up arms as new Afghan era begins

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


Taliban fighters began surrendering their weapons Sunday in a southeastern Afghan city as the country's newly installed interim government started its work. Meanwhile, U.S. Special Forces continued a painstaking search for Osama bin Laden in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan.


The handover of Taliban weapons, brokered Saturday, was taking place in Qalat, Afghanistan. A Taliban co-commander pledged to bring 12,000 men and their weapons into the southeastern city Sunday.

Afghanistan's new interim leader, Hamid Karzai, convened a meeting of his Cabinet on Sunday, a day after the government was sworn in for its six-month term. Karzai pledged Saturday to "fulfill my mission to bring peace to Afghanistan" after 23 years of war. (Full story)

Some delegates traveling to Kabul for the installation of the interim government were in a convoy destroyed Friday night in a U.S. bombing run in eastern Afghanistan, said Yunis Qanuni, a member of the new Afghan administration. U.S. military officials said the convoy was a legitimate target. (Full story)

Eastern Alliance troops joined U.S. Special Forces in their cave-by-cave search for bin Laden and his al Qaeda followers. U.S. officials have conceded they don't know where bin Laden is or even if he is alive.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said Saturday he believes there is a "great possibility" that bin Laden is dead. Speaking on China Central Television during a trip to China, Musharraf said he was "reasonably sure" the al Qaeda leader was not in Pakistan.

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)

  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

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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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