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U.S. planes strike eastern Afghanistan

Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef  


SUMMARY:

Allied warplanes struck positions Sunday near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan in an apparent attempt to prevent al Qaeda and Taliban members from fleeing.

Meanwhile, more detainees arrived at the airport near Kandahar, Afghanistan, as U.S. forces hoped to gain information from two of their biggest catches in the war against terrorism.

UPDATE:

The sparsely populated area of eastern Afghanistan targeted in Sunday's strikes is home to a network of tunnels as well as a suspected terrorist training site that the United States bombed in 1998. Sunday's missions were carried out by F-16s, at least one B-52 and combat helicopters -- indicating the involvement of U.S. Special Forces.

U.S. officials said Mullah Adbul Salam Zaeef, former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, was being held aboard the USS Bataan in the Arabian Sea. Since being detained Thursday by Pakistani intelligence, Zaeef has been questioned about the whereabouts of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar and suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

At Kandahar International Airport, U.S. Marines were guarding Ibn Al-Shaykh al-Libi, a high-ranking al Qaeda leader from Libya believed to have run bin Laden's terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. Twenty-five new arrivals late Saturday brought the number of detainees at the airport to 300.

Personnel from several U.S. military installations began deploying Sunday to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they will help establish a maximum-security detention facility for al Qaeda and Taliban detainees. The facility eventually will accommodate 2,000 prisoners. (Full story)

The first German and Dutch troops will join the international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan this week, German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping said Sunday. Seventy German and 30 Dutch soldiers will leave for Afghanistan on Tuesday to join British and French troops already in the country. (Full story)

About 35 hard-core Taliban and al Qaeda leaders remain at large, interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday. Karzai said that Afghanistan is committed to bringing them to justice and that most of the 20,000 to 30,000 Taliban fighters had been allowed to return to their homes and pose no danger. (Full story)

German police said Sunday a man arrested on suspicion of being an al Qaeda member has no connection to the terrorist network. The Lebanese man, 27, was arrested Saturday in western Germany's Moenchengladbach with a false Italian passport and large quantities of European currencies. He originally was charged with belonging to an illegal organization but now is being held on charges related to his passport. (Full story)


  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact


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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 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?

WHO'S WHO:

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

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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