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Afghan leader thanks America

Karzai and Bush shake hands in Washington on Monday.  

(CNN) -- Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai watched Monday as his country's flag was raised over the Afghanistan Embassy in Washington for the first time in five years.

The embassy had been shuttered during the reign of the Taliban, the former regime in Afghanistan that most of the international community did not recognize.

"This flag ... is raised not without costs," said Karzai, "without the costs of having struggled for many years, without the costs of having lost so many lives in order to have a free and sovereign and good Afghanistan."

Karzai, the first Afghan leader to visit the United States in nearly 40 years, later met with President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney at the White House. (Full story/Karzai profile)

He thanked Bush and the American people for their continued support.

At a Rose Garden event with Karzai, Bush said the 158 al Qaeda and Taliban fighters being held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would not be treated as prisoners of war. (Full story)

Bush said he was still considering the legal ramifications of whether the Geneva Conventions apply to the detainees, whom he described as killers.

"However I make my decision, these detainees will be well treated," Bush said. "We are not going to call them prisoners of war in either case and the reason why is al Qaeda is not a known military. These are killers, these are terrorists."

Afghan soldiers supported by U.S. Special Forces launched an attack on six al Qaeda fighters holed up in a Kandahar hospital, killing all six. CNN's Ben Wedeman reports (January 28)

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Chairman of the Afghan Interim Authority, Hamid Karzai, attends a flag raising ceremony at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington (January 28)

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Latest developments

• Pentagon officials said 14 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division were injured Monday when their CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter made a "hard landing" near Khowst, Afghanistan. "The 14 soldiers have been safely recovered and are receiving immediate medical care at a hospital inside Afghanistan," a Pentagon official said.

• The Pentagon on Monday defended last week's Special Forces raid against a compound north of Kandahar, saying it was a legitimate target. Fifteen suspected Taliban were killed and 27 captured. Since the raid, local Afghans have claimed innocent people were killed and that the compound was just a weapons and ammunition collection site.

• An Islamic charity accused by federal officials of providing financial assistance to terrorists went to court Monday to overturn a freeze on its assets imposed last December. The Global Relief Foundation filed a suit in federal court in Chicago alleging government officials have not made a sufficient legal case to block assets, seize property and documents or interfere with the group's operations. (Full story)

• A federal judge Monday set an April trial date for Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, a Sudanese man the government considers the highest-ranking aide to terrorist Osama bin Laden in U.S. custody. Salim is charged with attempted murder in the stabbing of a jail guard November 1, 2000. He also faces terror conspiracy charges related to the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. (Full story)

• Six heavily armed al Qaeda fighters, holed up for six weeks in a Kandahar hospital ward, were killed early Monday after U.S. Special Forces and Afghan government soldiers launched an assault on the facility, said a spokesman for the Kandahar governor. (Full story)

• Afghan and U.S. troops have carried out more than 6,000 interrogations of Taliban and al Qaeda captives in a process that involves questioning suspects repeatedly to get accurate information, a Pentagon spokesman said Monday. "This is a fully vetted process," Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem told reporters when asked how detainees in Cuba are being evaluated.

• The terrorists who struck on September 11 "badly misjudged us, all of us," U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said Monday, speaking to members of an Organization of American States antiterrorism committee. Ashcroft said cooperation among OAS members is critical because terrorism knows no borders.

• The British Foreign Office said Monday the number of Britons detained by the United States in the war on terrorism has risen to five. Three British citizens are at Camp X-Ray, the Cuba detention facility, and the Foreign Office said two more Britons are being detained in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

The Afghan flag is raised Monday outside the Afghanistan Embassy in Washington.  

• Saudi Arabian officials have asked the United States to reduce its military presence in their country, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card said Sunday. Last week, Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell had dismissed newspaper reports the Saudis wanted the United States to withdraw its nearly 5,000 troops from the country. Card said planning for a pullback has been in the works for some time and was not a recent development. (Full story)

• Crews from the U.S. Navy's 6th Fleet boarded two vessels Sunday in the eastern Mediterranean Sea on suspicions they were tied to terrorist networks, Pentagon officials said. No contraband was found and the ships were allowed to proceed, the officials said. Both ships had Syrian registration and had been under U.S. Navy surveillance for several weeks.

• Pashtun leader Syed Hamid Gailani said he has persuaded warring tribesmen in eastern Afghanistan to unite and vow their allegiance to the new post-Taliban government. Gailani has been traveling around the eastern Afghan province of Paktia for four days to unite Pashtuns who are split among three factions. (Full story)

• U.S. and Pakistani authorities continued searching Monday for a Wall Street Journal reporter after photographs were released that apparently showed him shackled and at gunpoint. Daniel Pearl, 38, has been missing since Wednesday evening when he left his Karachi quarters to do an interview, a spokesman for the newspaper said. (Full story)

• Osama bin Laden is likely alive and will be caught, top Bush administration officials said Sunday, but his capture is not necessary to disrupt global terrorism, they stressed. (Full story)




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