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High-level Taliban official turns himself in


A senior Taliban official, Mawlawi Muttawakil, who is identified as the minister of foreign affairs, turned himself in to Afghan authorities, who then turned him over to U.S. military forces, U.S. officials told CNN Friday.

Muttawakil is now in being held in Kandahar, the officials say.

One U.S. official -- speaking on condition of anonymity -- characterized Muttawakil as one of between 10 and 15 top Taliban officials still at large who are considered "fence-sitters", pondering giving up, or trying to reconstitute the Taliban.

The official express the hope that Muttawakil's surrender may prompt other high-ranking Taliban to follow suit.

Earlier Friday, more than 50 U.S. troops from the Army's 101st Airborne Division are searching the site of Monday's Hellfire missile strike in Afghanistan to determine who was killed in the CIA attack, senior Pentagon officials told CNN Friday. (Full story)

Meanwhile, three men detained this week in connection with the disappearance of Daniel Pearl have been formally arrested in connection with the Wall Street Journal reporter's kidnapping, officials in Pakistan said Friday.

Pakistani officials say the men, identified only by the names Fahd, Adil and Salman, are suspected of having links to a computer from which e-mails, including photographs of Pearl, were sent. (Full story)

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New evidence has emerged linking Richard Reid, who is charged with trying to blow up a U.S. commercial jet by lighting explosives in his shoes, to one of Osama bin Laden's European cells, CNN has learned. (Full story)

On Friday, Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf assured Afghan interim chairman Hamid Karzai that his nation will back that nation's reconstruction efforts. "We are bound by a common geography," Musharraf said at a news conference in Pakistan, appearing with Karzai. "The countries cannot avoid having close brotherly relations with each other." (Full story)

US and Russian officials met Friday to discuss the need to completely rid Afghanistan of al Qaeda and agreed to continue working together in the war on terrorism. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and first Deputy Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Trubnikov co-chaired a meeting where they discussed ways to ensure long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan, and pledged to coordinate assistance programs to not only aid in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, but Central Asia as a whole.

Zacharias Moussaoui, the first person charged in connection with the September 11 attacks offered an optimistic tone and an ambitious agenda in seeking passenger jet flight training, according to an e-mail obtained by CNN. In his May 23, 2001 message to the Pan Am International Flight Academy in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, Moussaoui sought training of Boeing 747, 757, 767, 777 and Airbus 300 planes. (Full story)

New York City officials may be close to an accurate, final tally of victims from the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The total number of people killed has remained close to 2,800 for several weeks. That number is a combination of missing persons, confirmed deaths and death certificates issued at the request of family members. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani allowed death certificates to be issued before bodies could be identified so that family members of victims could complete the proper insurance paperwork.

As of Friday, the number of people listed as missing with no death certificates issued is 199. There are 712 people confirmed dead, and 1,932 death certificates have been issued without identification of remains. The estimate of the total number of dead is 2,843.

The Bush administration has classified the Afghan war detainees as "unlawful combatants," thus giving U.S. authorities the right to interrogate them. Human rights groups had urged the administration to classify the detainees as prisoners of war. Fleischer said Thursday the U.S. military would continue treating all detainees humanely. (Full story)

Gen. Tommy Franks, head of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the war has helped Afghans to topple the Taliban and coalition forces to wound al Qaeda, the terror network accused of attacking the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11. (Full story)


Will Pakistan continue to support the interim Afghan government despite political pressure from pro-Taliban groups in Pakistan?

Should the United States negotiate for Pearl's release?


Gen. Pervez Musharraf: Pakistan president

Hamid Karzai: Afghanistan interim government chairman

George W. Bush: U.S. president

Daniel Pearl: A 38-year-old journalist for The Wall Street Journal who was abducted January 23 in Karachi. A group calling itself the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty claims it is holding him and is threatening to kill him unless the United States meets its demands to release Pakistanis captured in the U.S. war on terror.

Gen. Tommy Franks: Head of U.S. Central Command, which is in charge of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan.




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