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Front Lines: Opposition forces halt advance on Kabul

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The Northern Alliance halted its advance on Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, on Monday after a weekend of rapid advances in the country's northeastern reaches. Northern Alliance forces also said they were in control of the western city of Herat.


The Northern Alliance stopped just four miles (six kilometers) from Kabul. U.S. officials have urged the opposition not to take Kabul until more can be done to form a broad-based government to replace the Taliban. (Full story)

The United States plans to use a military airfield in Tajikistan as a base for aircraft used in the air war against Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Currently, all strike aircraft must fly hundreds of miles from Navy aircraft carriers positioned in the Arabian Sea to their targets in Afghanistan. Tajikistan neighbors northern Afghanistan.

Kabul resident Saeed Abbas remembers the last time the Northern Alliance held power in his city, when factional battles turned it into a war zone. Abbas said he is afraid the same thing will happen if the Northern Alliance captures Kabul again. (Full story)

Aides to Afghanistan's exiled king, Mohammed Zahir Shah, are working to arrange the surrender of Taliban members who want to defect, according to the king's principal adviser, Zalmai Rassoul. The effort has had the most success with Afghan units, while Arab and Pakistani units of the Taliban appear committed to fighting on, Rassoul said. (Full story)

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis on Monday left San Diego, California, heading toward the Arabian Sea to join the Afghan campaign. About 8,500 sailors and Marines are aboard the carrier and its 10 escorts, which include two attack submarines and a Canadian frigate. (Full story)

The U.N. refugee agency has begun shifting Afghan refugees from a temporary camp on the Afghan-Pakistan border to a permanent one farther inland. The Roghani camp, with a capacity of up to 40,000, is the first camp to be opened in Pakistan since a new wave of Afghans began fleeing in the wake of the attacks in the United States. (Full story)

Refugees in Pakistan are allowed to receive an education, something strictly forbidden by the Taliban. CNN's Rebecca MacKinnon reports (November 8)

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Overrun by casualties and lacking in equipment, Afghan medical facilities are getting stretched to their limits. CNN's Nic Robertson reports (November 8)

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  •  Summary

  •  Update

  •  Key questions

  •  Who's who

  •  Impact

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What kind of government will replace the Taliban if the religious group is removed as the country's government? (Click here for more)

Are the Taliban positioning troops and equipment in civilian areas and does this affect where the U.S. decides to strike? (Click here for more)

What effect will the support and opposition within Pakistan of the U.S.-led military strikes have on the war against terrorism?

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 of 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.)

Gen. Tommy Franks: Head of U.S. Central Command. (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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