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A bloody ending to Kandahar hospital standoff

Afghan government troops and U.S. Special Forces launched an assault on the Kandahar hospital where the al Qaeda fighters were holed up.  


SUMMARY:

Afghan troops and U.S. Special Forces soldiers launched an assault Monday on a hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan, killing six heavily armed al Qaeda fighters who had been holed up there for six weeks.

In Washington, Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai is set to meet Monday with President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

UPDATE:

A government official in Kandahar said that the al Qaeda fighters, who had threatened to blow themselves up, were given ample opportunity to surrender peacefully but they refused. Five Afghan government soldiers were reported injured in the assault. (Full story)

Karzai, the first Afghan leader to visit the United States in almost 40 years, arrived Sunday in Washington. In a speech at Georgetown University, he called on Afghan expatriates to return to their homeland and help rebuild the country. (Full story)

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and four U.S. senators visited the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Sunday, saying they were satisfied with the treatment of the 158 al Qaeda and Taliban detainees housed there. (Full story)

A White House official denied reports suggesting Secretary of State Colin Powell favors reclassifying the detainees as prisoners of war, but the official said the State Department is recommending that the president consider applying protections of the Geneva Conventions. (Full story)


  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who


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KEY QUESTIONS:

Are the detainees at Guantanamo Bay being treated humanely, as the United States contends? (Click here for more)

Should the Guantanamo Bay detainees by classified as prisoners of war? (Click here for more)

Do the remaining Taliban and al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan still pose a threat?

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 gained control of most of the country by 1997 and instituted an extreme form of Islamic law before their collapse in the U.S. war against terrorism.

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 Bush administration's decision on how to classify the detainees could affect how they are treated while in custody and how long they are detained. The treatment of detainees also could influence international opinion about the U.S. war against terrorism.



 
 
 
 



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