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Al Qaeda forming smaller units

U.S. Marines return to their base in an armored vehicle.  


The U.S. military believes some members of the al Qaeda terrorist network have disbanded into smaller groups in Afghanistan and may be trying to regroup, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday.

Anti-Taliban forces are negotiating the possible surrender of 1,500 Taliban fighters northwest of Kandahar. The Pentagon said Wednesday it has no reliable evidence these men are sheltering Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.


The U.S. military believes some members of bin Laden's al Qaeda network, which the U.S. tried to flush out for weeks from the eastern Afghan region of Tora Bora, have disbanded into smaller groups and remain in Afghanistan, where they may be trying to regroup, Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem said Wednesday. "We believe those dangerous groups are still in Afghanistan," he said.

Officials said reports have indicated that the heavily armed Taliban fighters who fled Kandahar when it was turned over to U.S. allies may be protecting Omar and even al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The pocket of resistance is about 120 miles northwest of Kandahar near Baghran in the Helmand province. But a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday that the reports about Omar and bin Laden being in the area have not been confirmed. (Full story)

The head of intelligence under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan has been killed, an official of the new government in Kabul told CNN Wednesday. Abdullah Tawheedi, a deputy head of intelligence in the interim administration., said Qari Ahmadullah was killed in a bombing two or three days ago. He said people had identified the body, and Ahmadullah's remains had been buried in his hometown in Ghazni province. (Full story)

A federal judge Wednesday set an October 14 trial date for Zacarias Moussaoui, the first suspect to be indicted for the September 11 terrorist attacks. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema entered innocent pleas for Moussaoui after he refused to enter a plea to conspiracy charges. (Full story)

The first contingent of French troops have joined the international peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan. The group of 15 soldiers arrived on Wednesday at Bagram Air Base, the French Embassy in Kabul told CNN. (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.

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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