A new bin Laden statement
Appearing gaunt and pale, Osama bin Laden called the September 11 attacks on the United States "blessed terror" in a new videotaped statement mailed to the Arab language Al-Jazeera television network.
In Afghanistan, U.S. Marines are preparing to shut down Camp Rhino and transfer to the Kandahar airport and a U.S. airstrike targeted what the Pentagon said was the compound of the Taliban's minister of intelligence.
Bin Laden accused the United States of hating Islam in an excerpt of a videotaped statement aired Wednesday by the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television network. "These events have revealed many important issues to Muslims. It's very clear that the West in general, and America in particular, have an unspeakable hatred for Islam." (Full story)
The White House dismissed bin Laden's latest statement. "This is nothing more than the same kind of terrorist propaganda that we've heard before," said Scott McClellan, deputy White House press secretary. (Full story)
In Washington Thursday, Pentagon officials said Thursday that U.S. B-52s and AC-130 gunships attacked the compound of the Taliban minister of intelligence near Ghazni, southwest of Kabul. Several people were believed killed in the Wednesday attack, officials said, but no victims' identities had been determined. (Full story)
The Pentagon is considering several locations to hold the growing number of Al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners in U.S. custody, although the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is emerging as a leading location. The U.S. military is currently holding 45 prisoners, 37 of them at the airport in Kandahar and another 8, including an American and an Australian, aboard the USS Pelileu in the North Arabian Sea. (Full story)
After a month at Camp Rhino in southern Afghanistan, U.S. Marines prepared Thursday to shut down their initial forward compound, possibly in a few days, and move their operations to the logistically superior Kandahar airport, U.S. military sources told CNN. In addition, Marines remained on heightened alert at the airport after officials said they received warnings of a possible threat during the holidays. (Full story)
The leader of a radical Islamic group in Pakistan scoffed at wire service reports that Osama bin Laden is alive and under his protection. Maulana Fazalur Rehman, head of the fundamentalist Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam party, told CNN he has no idea of bin Laden's whereabouts. Rehman, who has been in the custody of the Pakistani government for three months, was responding to reports quoting an Afghan government official who said Rehman was hiding bin Laden.
The U.N. World Food Programme said Wednesday that it has sent a record 80,000 tons of food into Afghanistan so far this month. In addition, the United Nations' refugee agency said the number of refugees returning to Afghanistan from neighboring countries has increased since the end of the holy month of Ramadan. (Full story)
An additional 300 British military personnel have flown to Kabul, bringing to around 500 the total number of British troops in the Afghan capital. The troops have been tasked with preparing facilities for the planned multi-national security force. (Full story)
TPublic defenders assigned to the man accused of trying to ignite plastic explosives hidden in his shoes while aboard a trans-Atlantic flight last week said they know of no link between him and any terrorist group. (Full story)
The United States and its allies are allowing full access to captives in Afghanistan, the Red Cross said Wednesday, although the Bush administration is keeping its options open by declining to declare them prisoners of war.
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.
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: A Pashtun tribal leader and the chairman 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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