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Blair trip a first for new Afghan government


British Prime Minister Tony Blair became the first Western leader to visit Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, arriving Monday at Bagram Air Base outside Kabul for a brief visit with interim Afghan leader Hamid Karzai. Meanwhile, the Pentagon said its most recent round of airstrikes were concentrated on an Afghan province known as a hotbed of Taliban and al Qaeda support.


U.S. and coalition warplanes launched intensive raids on targets near the Pakistani border town of Miram Shah over the weekend and into Monday. U.S. forces have been trying to prevent Taliban and al Qaeda fighters from regrouping or fleeing to Pakistan. (Full story)

Blair said his visit to Kabul was meant to underline the international community's long-term commitment to the war-torn country. Britain is to command the international peacekeeping force set for deployment in the Afghan capital, and he met with British peacekeepers on his arrival in Kabul. (Full story)

U.S. forces hold more than 300 Taliban and al Qaeda members in Afghanistan, but the Pentagon declined Monday to say how many of them are senior officials. About 35 hard-core Taliban and al Qaeda leaders remain at large, Karzai told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday. (Full story)

  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

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A 14-year-old boy might have been responsible for killing a U.S. Army Special Forces sergeant in an ambush last week in Afghanistan, tribal leaders told CNN. The remains of Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Ross Chapman, 31, of San Antonio, Texas, were scheduled to arrive Tuesday in the United States, according to U.S. military officials in Europe. (Full story)

A nine-member delegation of U.S. senators met Monday night with Karzai, vowing to participate in the country's long-term reconstruction. The delegation spent about a half-hour with Karzai, who greeted them with a broad grin and ushered them into a large tent.


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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