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Marines going to Tora Bora to hunt bin Laden

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


SUMMARY:

U.S. military officials said Monday that the movement of U.S. Marines into the mountains of eastern Afghanistan to search for Osama bin Laden is "imminent."

Meanwhile, Afghan leader Hamid Karzai appointed an early critic of his interim government to a key defense post. And a man accused of trying to set off explosives on a trans-Atlantic flight made his first court appearance Monday.

UPDATE:

The Marines' mission to hunt for bin Laden is the reason U.S. warplanes have stopped bombing the Tora Bora region, military officials said. U.S. Special Forces will accompany the Marines as they search the network of caves and tunnels for bin Laden and his al Qaeda followers.

Karzai named Northern Alliance Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum as his deputy defense minister. Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek, had been critical of the interim Afghan government, saying it didn't adequately represent the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. "We have a very old, good relationship, my brother Gen. Dostum," Karzai said.

In Boston, Massachusetts, Richard C. Reid, 28, faced federal charges of interfering with the performance of the duties of flight crew members by assault or intimidation. He did not enter a plea because he does not have an attorney yet. He was ordered held pending trial, and a probable cause hearing was set for Friday. (Full story)

John Walker, the 20-year-old Californian who fought for the Taliban in Afghanistan, at one point lived in a secret camp where he attended a small meeting with bin Laden, Newsweek magazine reported. At the meeting, "the disciple basked in the glow of his master," the magazine said in its December 31 issue.

Australian officials have begun interrogating Australian al Qaeda fighter David Hicks aboard a U.S. Navy ship, the country's Attorney General Daryl Williams said Monday. A joint Australian Federal Police and Australian Security Intelligence Organization team were conducting the interviews, which are expected to take several days. (Full story)

Afghan authorities are struggling to maintain adequate conditions for about 3,000 Taliban prisoners at a facility about 75 miles from the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif. The facility was meant to hold only 200 prisoners.


  •  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 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?

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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