Bush Leads Remembrances; FBI Issues Alert

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.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...