Americans marked one month since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as U.S. military forces pressed ahead with bombing raids on targets in Afghanistan, preparing for ground operations meant to root out its Taliban rulers and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.
Today, President Bush drew comparisons between the war on terrorism and World War II during a memorial service at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va.
"As Americans did 60 years ago, we have entered a struggle of uncertain duration," Bush said during the service. "But now, as then, we can be certain of the outcome, because we have a number of decisive assets.
"We have a unified country," Bush said. "We have the patience to fight and win on many fronts: blocking terrorist plans, seizing their funds, arresting their networks, disrupting their communications, opposing their sponsors. The president added that America has "one more great asset in this cause: the brave men and women of the United States military."
But hours after the service, Americans received a chilling reminder of the struggles likely to be facing them, as the FBI issued a new warning that new terrorist strikes may be imminent.
"Certain information, while not specific as to target, gives the government reason to believe that there may be additional terrorist attacks within the United States and against U.S. interests overseas over the next several days," the FBI said in a release. See Story
Bombing Raids Continue
While Americans marked a month since hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in rural Pennsylvania, leaving more than 5,000 people dead or missing, U.S. forces carried out the heaviest bombing yet of the 5-day-old campaign.
The United States pounded Taliban troop positions, barracks and garrisons, as well as suspected training camps of bin Laden's al Qaeda network, considered responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks on America..
"There's no doubt we've disrupted their network," Maj. Gen. Henry Osman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a briefing today.
ABCNEWS has learned that U.S. special operations forces, on the ground in Afghanistan with some opposition groups, are helping to determine targets for American airstrikes — a new development Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld seemed to confirm today, saying "the United States is in communication with people on the ground in terms of gathering information as to military targets."
Targets that were hit earlier in the campaign have been struck again, including missile installations that survived the first round of bombings. But the focus on troop positions marked a major shift from bombardments earlier this week, when the primary targets were airports and air defenses.
The southern Afghan city of Kandahar, where the country's ruling Taliban militia has its headquarters, was hit again, and the capital of Kabul was subjected to its first daylight raids since the bombing campaign began on Sunday.
Refugees fleeing the bombing said most of the Taliban militia had moved out of the city, and headed for the border with Pakistan to prepare for a possible invasion.
The Pentagon released its first images of the war taken from gun cameras, showing an anti-aircraft target igniting after being struck. U.S. missiles. Bombs also seemed to target Taliban compounds, a military academy and troop positions around the capital, according to witnesses.
The highest-ranking member of the British military, Adm. Sir Michael Boyce, warned that military operations in Afghanistan, including finding bin Laden and overthrowing the Taliban, could take a long time: "It could be a very short haul … [or] we must expect to go through the winter and into next summer at the very least."
Taliban Death Toll Rises
Taliban officials continued to respond defiantly to the bombardment. Despite evidence U.S. officials have provided of the damage done by the airstrikes, the Taliban says its defenses have not been destroyed, and today issued a new challenge to American troops gathering to enter the country.
"When the Americans enter Afghanistan, here will start the real war — not now," Taliban envoy to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef said in a news conference in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
The envoy also said that more than 140 civilians were killed in the latest wave of bombing, including more than 100 in Touram village, and 15 who were in a Jalalabad mosque that was hit by the U.S.-led strikes. On Wednesday, Taliban officials said 76 people had died and another 100 were injured, including 28 fatalities in Kandahar and 25 in Kabul.
There has been no independent confirmation of the toll the bombing is taking on Afghan civilians, which the Taliban said has reached 220 over the five days.
The U.S. military suffered its first death of the campaign, when an Air Force sergeant was killed Wednesday in a heavy equipment accident in the Northern Arabian Peninsula.
Bush and Rumsfeld both spoke at the memorial service this morning at the Pentagon, where 189 people are believed to have died, including those on the hijacked airliner that terrorists crashed into the building.
"We're gathered here to remember, to console and to pray: to remember comrades and colleagues, friends and family members, those lost to us on Sept. 11," Rumsfeld said. "We remember them as heroes, and we are right to do so. They died because, in the words of justification offered by their attackers, they were Americans."
Bush, who recalled that construction of the Pentagon began exactly 60 years before the attack, on Sept. 11, 1941, just months before the United States was drawn in World War II by the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor, used the service to vow that those responsible for the hijackings would be hunted down.
"The terrorists have no true home in any country or culture or faith," he said. "They dwell in dark corners of earth, and there, we will find them. This week, I have called the armed forces into action. One by one, we are eliminating power centers of a regime that harbors al Qaeda terrorists.
"We gave that regime a choice: Turn over the terrorists or face your ruin. They chose unwisely."
In New York, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani led a special prayer service and a moment of silence was held at "ground zero," the pile of rubble that before the attacks was the center of the financial world, the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
"The fire is still burning, but from it has emerged a stronger spirit," Giuliani said.
Crews are still working, trying to find any sign of the 4,807 people still listed as missing in the collapse of the 110-story towers. Lower Manhattan still bears the burning scent of the flames that melted the two buildings' steel frames.
In addition to the missing, there are 438 confirmed dead at the World Trade Center.
More than 258,000 tons of debris have been hauled away, but city officials say it could still take more than five months before the site is cleared.
Troops on the Ground
American military personnel have arrived in Pakistan after the government there granted the United States use of several air bases, Pakistani officials said.
According to the officials, at least 15 U.S. military aircraft, including C-130 transport planes, arrived over the past two days at a base at Jacobabad, a city in central Pakistan less than 200 miles from the Afghan border.
Pentagon sources have told ABCNEWS that a large contingent of special operations forces was moving into the region Wednesday and could infiltrate Afghanistan in small teams possibly within a week.
Some U.S. troops are now setting up at two airfields in Pakistan, to refuel helicopters and jets on their way in and out of Afghanistan.
The Northern Alliance, the opposition force that has been taking advantage of the American bombing, claimed its biggest victory yet against Taliban forces. The rebels said they had taken the central province of Gur, allowing them to cut off Taliban forces in the eastern part of the country.
The United States has been receiving information about the location and movement of Taliban forces from the Northern Alliance, but according to Osman there has been no coordination of bombing strikes with the Afghan rebels.
U.S. officials have made no secret of their desire to see the Northern Alliance and other opposition forces step up their fight against the Taliban, while Russia recently approved a package of $50 million worth of military aid for the Northern Alliance that included tanks, armored personnel carriers and attack helicopters.
In other developments:
New York City officials rejected a $10 million relief donation from Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who offered the money but also released a statement critical of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, asking America to "re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause." The prince had toured ground zero with Giuliani.
The Washington Post reported today that bin Laden funded the Taliban to the tune of $100 million, making him the regime's single largest financial backer. Citing government sources, the Post said the CIA is convinced the accused terrorist mastermind "owns and operates" the militia thanks to his financial contributions.
Afghanistan's last elected president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, said that "time for talks with the Taliban is past. They must just lay down arms and surrender." Speaking at a news conference in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Rabbani said he believes that once the Taliban is driven out, a new government of national reconciliation can include "anyone who did not participate in the fighting and have no blood of compatriots on their hands."
NATO is poised for a bigger role in the anti-terror campaign. Officials say France and other allies appear to be willing to join in attacking terrorist strongholds. NATO planes also start patrolling U.S. skies Friday, to free up American aircraft for the fight against terrorism.