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Fight not over near Tora Bora, U.S. says

Anti-Taliban fighters pray on an armored carrier near the front line in Tora Bora, Afghanistan  


(CNN) -- U.S. warplanes continued their intense assault on the mountains near Tora Bora early Monday, despite one Eastern Alliance commander's claim the fight against al Qaeda was "an already finished war."

At least six major explosions were heard about eight miles west of Tora Bora, near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan, as the concentrated U.S. bombing extended into its fourth day.

Two anti-Taliban military leaders told CNN on Sunday that they believe al Qaeda fighters -- and possibly Osama bin Laden -- have fled over the mountains into Pakistan. The Eastern Alliance said it has captured 35 enemy troops and killed another 200. (Full story)

U.S. military officials insisted the war in Afghanistan is not over. Gen. Tommy Franks, chief of U.S. forces in Southwest Asia, deemed the region "confused" Sunday.

"It's going to be a while before we have the area around Tora Bora fully under control," he said. "Over the last 24 hours, we have put literally hundreds of pieces of ordnance, bombs and artillery shells into these bunkers and cave complexes.

"It's a matter of inching our way forward up the sides of these canyons and physically going into each of these bunkers and caves."

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CNN's Christiane Amanpour takes a look at the bombed-out ruins of Osama bin Laden's Leva training camp near Kandahar airport (December 13)

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Latest developments

• The U.S. Embassy in Kabul is to open Monday, the first time it has been in operation in 12 years. The State Department's top representative to Afghanistan, James Dobbins, will reopen it. The embassy will initially serve as a "liaison office" between the United States and the interim Afghan government, which is set to take office on December 22.

• The Saudi citizen shown conversing with Osama bin Laden about the September 11 terrorist attacks on a videotape released last week is Khaled al-Habri, a former mujahedeen fighter, senior Saudi officials said. U.S. officials initially believed the man was Ali Sayeed al-Ghamdy, a former Islamic theology professor. (Full story)

• The CIA uses anthrax in its bio-warfare program but the bacteria did not make it into tainted letter sent to two U.S. senators and several news organizations, an agency official said Sunday. (Full story)

• Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met Sunday with Hamid Karzai and other members of Afghanistan's new interim government at Bagram air base outside Kabul. The group discussed the nature of the international security force for Kabul and what needs to be accomplished in a post-Taliban Afghanistan. (Full story)

• Workers began their latest fumigation of the Hart Senate Office Building late Sunday afternoon, hoping to solve an anthrax problem House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt deemed "more serious than any of us thought." (Full story)

• Gen. Tommy Franks, chief of U.S. Central Command, told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday "we're not sure" whether a voice heard on recent radio transmissions in Afghanistan belongs to bin Laden. Saturday, a U.S. official said he was "reasonably certain" bin Laden's voice had been picked up on battlefield radios.

• Three U.S. Marines were injured Sunday when one of them stepped on a land mine near the Kandahar airport in southern Afghanistan. All three were in stable condition, with mild to moderate injuries ranging from shrapnel wounds to hearing impairment, said Maj. Brad Lowell of U.S. Central Command. (Full story)

• Answering U.S. troops' question on when they might go home, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tied the war's end to the capture of key enemy leaders. "There's no way to know how long it is going to take to find (Mullah) Omar and to find Osama bin Laden and find the senior al Qaeda leadership and to see that they are punished," Rumsfeld said Sunday.

• Rumsfeld said the U.S. military has gathered significant intelligence from a suspected al Qaeda biological, nuclear, and chemical site near Camp Rhino, the U.S. Marine base in southern Afghanistan. (Full story)

• The Observer, a British newspaper, reported Sunday that "terrorists linked to bin Laden have drawn up plans for a devastating bomb attack" on London's financial district. The report is based on the discovery of an 80-page document in Kandahar containing step-by-step instructions on how to carry out the attack.



 
 
 
 



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