Sun, 07 Oct 2001 13:24:00 -0400
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U.S. launches attack on Afghanistan
October 7, 2001 Posted: 1:06 p.m. EDT (1706 GMT)
(CNN) -- The United States launched an attack on Afghanistan and its ruling
Taliban on Sunday in retaliation for the September 11 terrorist strikes on
New York and Washington.
"On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against al
Qaeda training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime,"
Bush said in a televised address at 1 p.m. Sunday. "We are supported by the
collective will of the world."
The attack began with strikes at air defense installations around the
Afghan capital of Kabul and the southern city of Kandahar, Pentagon
officials told CNN. Witnesses in Kandahar told CNN that at least three
explosions rocked the city, and power was out.
The U.S. action follows several weeks of demands that the Taliban hand over
suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden, whom U.S. officials hold responsible
for the attacks. The Taliban have refused those demands.
Bin Laden has been living in Afghanistan as a guest of the Taliban, the
fundamentalist Islamic militia that rules most of Afghanistan, since they
seized power in 1996.
More than 5,000 people are presumed dead after hijackers plunged fuel-laden
commercial jetliners into the Pentagon and each of the World Trade Center's
twin towers on September 11. A fourth jet crashed into a Pennsylvania field
after passengers tried to overpower the hijackers.
The United States began moving warships, aircraft and troops to southwest
Asia in the weeks after the attacks. At the same time, U.S. diplomats
worked to assemble a broad coalition of nations to support an international
campaign against terrorism, including its NATO allies, Russia, Japan and
moderate Arab states such as Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The Bush administration began sharing the results of its investigation into
the September 11 attack with key allies, including the NATO countries and
Pakistan, on October 2.
The United States designated bin Laden's al Qaeda organization a terrorist
group in 1999. The organization has maintained training camps in
Afghanistan for several years, and those camps were the target of a 1998
U.S. strike after bombings at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed
more than 200 people.
Bin Laden faces criminal charges in the United States in connection with
those bombings, and testimony in the trials of four men convicted of those
attacks linked them to al Qaeda.
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