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Striking the Taliban front lines

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Smoke rises into the skies over Afghanistan after U.S-led airstrikes pounded Taliban positions near the Bagram Air Base Tuesday.  


U.S. planes struck Taliban forces in Afghanistan battling along a front line with the opposition Northern Alliance near the Bagram Air Base, 25 miles (40 km) north of Kabul. It marked the third day of air strikes in the area.


CNN Correspondent Chris Burns reported from the base that Taliban fighters in the area were putting up resistance. Intensive airstrikes also pounded areas around Kandahar on Tuesday morning, aimed primarily at fuel depots. Burns reported that the Northern Alliance was attempting to consolidate its position south of Bagram air base, a Soviet-built facility. Should the Northern Alliance get hold of Bagram, Northern Alliance commanders say, it could also open the door for U.S. forces to use the air facility. (Full story)

A hospital inside a military compound in the Afghan city of Herat was destroyed in a bombing raid, U.N. officials said Tuesday. In Washington, the Pentagon acknowledged a bomb missed its target and hit near a senior citizen's home in Herat on Sunday, but said it had no estimates of casualties from that attack. But local employees of the United Nations described the facility as a hospital, and said the building was destroyed. (Full story)

Nine training camps belonging to the al Qaeda group have been destroyed in Afghanistan, Britain's Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said Tuesday. U.S. airstrikes had destroyed the camps and severely damaged nine airfields and 24 military barracks, Hoon said. (Full story)

Pakistani police have arrested scores of Islamic activists in a bid to block an anti-U.S. protest in Jacobabad. Police detained a top Islamic party leader in nearby Lahore to prevent him from reaching Jacobabad, after he urged Pakistani troops to rise up against the government. Dozens of other Islamic activists had also been arrested by midday after a Tuesday protest was called around a Pakistani air base being used by the U.S. military near this southern town. (Full story)

Anti-Taliban forces in Northeastern Afghanistan say they are now in contact and have met with US military officials. The meeting, thought to have taken place in the last few days, was attended by eight U.S. officials and Northern Alliance commanders. (Full story)

The Taliban says it shot down a U.S. aircraft, and that this video proves it. The Pentagon denies the report, calling the claim 'lies.' (October 22)

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CNN's Kamal Hyder was one of the few reporters with access to Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. (October 22)

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The strikes seem to be in support of the Northern Alliance's military campaign. CNN's Matthew Chance reports (October 22)

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  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

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When will the Northern Alliance, the anti-Taliban group that controls up to 10 percent of Afghanistan, begin a ground offensive to take the capital of Kabul? Are they making any progress? (Click here for more.)

What is life like in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, with increasingly intense U.S. airstrikes overhead? (Click here for more.)

How long will the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan last? (Click here for more.)

What is the goal to the U.S. airstrikes over Afghanistan? What is the key to the mission's success? (Click here for more.)

What is the White House doing to prevent al Qaeda from airing what it calls "propaganda" on U.S. media outlets? (Click here for more.)

Who are the key players in the political landscape of Afghanistan, and how could U.S. military intervention affect the balance of power there? (Click here for more.)


George W. Bush: U.S. president (Click here for more.)

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. (Click here for more.)

Condoleezza Rice: U.S. national security adviser. (Click here for more.)

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. Click here for more. (Click here for more.)

Gen. Richard B. Myers: Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Click here for more.)

Donald Rumsfeld: U.S. secretary of defense. (Click here for more.)

George Tenet: CIA director. (Click here for more.)

Northern Alliance: A group of former mujahedeen fighters, mainly from minority ethnic groups that oppose the Taliban. The group controls about five percent of northern Afghanistan.

George Robertson: Secretary-General of NATO (and former British defense minister) (Click here for more.)


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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