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The hunt for Taliban, al Qaeda


U.S. Marines were on a mission Tuesday in southern Afghanistan to gather intelligence and look for members of the Taliban and al Qaeda as anti-Taliban Afghan fighters and U.S. Special Forces continued to search for the Taliban's supreme leader in the Baghran area.


The target of the Marines' mission is a large walled compound west of Kandahar in Helmand province, said Col. Andrew Frick, commanding officer of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Frick said it was his understanding that the operation did not extend to Baghran, an area where Pentagon sources have said Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar is hiding. (Full story)

Anti-Taliban forces on Monday moved toward the Baghran area where the Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar is believed to be hiding, according to Pentagon sources. There have also been intelligence reports al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden might be in the same general region after escaping from the Tora Bora cave region in mid-December. But Pentagon officials added they really do not know where bin Laden is. (Full story)

More British troops moved into Kabul on Monday after Afghan and British officials reached agreement on the role of an international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.The peacekeeping agreement reached Monday is expected to be handed over to other countries contributing to the international force for their approval. More than 200 British soldiers are already in Kabul, conducting joint security patrols with Afghan police. (Full story)

Marines based at the Kandahar airport planned to detonate recovered Taliban ammunition stocks after midnight local time to mark the New Year's holiday. Meanwhile, the Pentagon said Sunday that troops from the Army's 101st Airborne Division will replace the Marines who have occupied the Kandahar airport since mid-December. (Full story)

The effects of more than 22 years of conflict have taken a mental toll on the people of Afghanistan. While no research exists on the effects of stress on the Afghan people under the current circumstances, doctors in the country say that depression is widespread. (Full story)

  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

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A computer taken from a building used by Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda in Afghanistan contains letters and memos about the organization's internal operations, justifications for attacks, and efforts to obtain chemical weapons, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

A U.S. Special Forces soldier was shot and wounded Monday near Jalalabad when his vehicle came under enemy fire, the U.S. Central Command said. The other Special Forces soldiers in the vehicle returned fire and a "quick reaction force" came to their aid. The enemy forces apparently fled. The soldier was being treated for a leg wound that was not life threatening, the Central Command said.

President Bush Monday named Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, a special assistant on the National Security Council, to the new position of special presidential envoy for Afghanistan. Khalilzad -- an Afghan native -- will work with the U.N. representative to Afghanistan.


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 eventually 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. campaign in 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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