Pentagon investigates KC-130 crash
A U.S. Marine Corps KC-130 refueling/cargo plane carrying seven Marines crashed into a mountainside Wednesday in western Pakistan. There were no immediate reports of survivors, according to U.S. officials.
As preparations continue on the transfer of Taliban and al Qaeda detainees to a U.S. naval base in Cuba, officials in the interim Afghan government admitted Wednesday that several top Taliban who surrendered have been released -- and may have left the country.
A KC-130 Hercules aircraft destined for a forward operating base at Shamsi, Pakistan, just west of Quetta, crashed around 8:15 p.m. (10:15 a.m. ET) Wednesday. The plane was on a "multi-mission stop," said Maj. Chris Hughes, a Marine Corps spokesman in Kandahar. The Pentagon, which is investigating the incident, said there was no indication of enemy fire, but that has not been ruled out. (Full story)
Seven top Taliban government officials surrendered to local authorities in Kandahar in the last 48 hours only to be subsequently released, interim Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Omar Samad said Wednesday. Government officials are trying to determine how the men, who are wanted for questioning by the U.S., were let go and whether they are still in Afghanistan, said Samad. (Full story)
Taliban and al Qaeda detainees from Afghanistan will have a layover at an undisclosed location on their flight to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, military sources said Wednesday. The flights -- which won't be nonstop because the Kandahar airfield cannot handle a big Air Force transport -- could begin this week. The Pentagon is considering sedating the detainees with Valium, officials said. (Full story)
Two charities operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan have been added to the U.S. global terrorist watch list, the Treasury Department said Wednesday. The Afghan Support Committee and the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, neither of which were thought to have assets in the United States, were suspected of having ties to Osama bin Laden, a senior department official said. (Full story)
The widow of Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Ross Chapman, the first U.S. soldier to die from hostile fire in Afghanistan, said Tuesday her late husband was "a quiet professional who just wanted to change the world." (Full story)
Military officials, meanwhile, have backed away from saying Chapman's team of Special Forces and CIA operatives was "ambushed" by hostile forces. A senior Pentagon official said there was not enough evidence to indicate whether the shooting was planned. (Full story)
Military officials initially called Chapman's death an ambush and said the team of Special Forces and CIA personnel was "set up" to be hit by small arms gunfire after leaving a meeting with local tribal chiefs near Gardez. But the Pentagon is backing away from that characterization. (Full story)
Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, said U.S. officials believe they have thwarted some terrorist attacks with intelligence gathered during the Afghan campaign. U.S. authorities are working to gather information on al Qaeda and Taliban operations from recovered laptop computers and cellular phones as well as from captured fighters. (Full story)
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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