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Fact Sheet

Support promised for Afghanistan

SUMMARY:

U.S. aircraft dropped bombs Tuesday around the eastern Afghanistan town of Khowst near the Pakistani border in an attempt to flush out al Qaeda and Taliban members trying to flee into Pakistan. U.S. troops in the area took two more suspected al Qaeda leaders into custody late Monday as they resumed their search of a major al Qaeda base in the area.

UPDATE:

Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is now somewhere between 3,500 and 4,000. The total has increased dramatically since early November, when a Marine contingent set up a base in the desert south of Kandahar. (Full story)

U.S. investigators said Tuesday a captured al Qaeda leader who helped run Osama bin Laden's training camps in Afghanistan has been "most cooperative." The U.S. military has transferred Ibn Al-Shaykh al-Libi, to the USS Bataan in the Arabian Sea. The warship is also holding U.S. citizen John Walker, found fighting with the Taliban. (Full story)

The first contingent of 70 German troops is due to arrive in Afghanistan to join the international stabilization force already in place. The German troops -- 50 paratroopers and 20 communications and medical experts -- left Cologne-Bonn Airport for the Dutch city of Eindhoven on Tuesday. (Full story)

America must stay "committed and engaged" in Afghanistan to help rebuild the country and prevent terrorists from gaining another foothold there, several U.S. senators visiting the country said Monday. (Full story)

Reports in Kandahar indicate more senior Taliban and al Qaeda officials will soon be in U.S. custody. But U.S. military representatives there are keeping tight-lipped about the reports, CNN's Bill Hemmer reports. (Full story)


  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact


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 RESOURCES
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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)

The first contingent of 70 German troops is due to arrive in Afghanistan to join the international stabilization force. The German troops -- 50 paratroopers and 20 communications and medical experts -- left Cologne-Bonn airport for the Dutch city of Eindhoven, on Tuesday. (Full story)

An al Qaeda fighter attempting to escape from a Kandahar hospital killed himself Tuesday rather than be captured alive. After jumping from a second-story window and realizing he was surrounded, he pulled out a grenade and blew himself up. Another six al Qaeda fighters remain holed up inside the hospital and have refused to surrender for several weeks.

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)

The U.S. military has transferred Ibn Al-Shaykh al-Libi, the captured al Qaeda leader who once ran terrorist mastermind bin Laden's training camps in Afghanistan, to the USS Bataan in the Arabian Sea. The warship is also holding U.S. citizen John Walker and Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan.

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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