Today's Developments, 10/7


•  Three waves of U.S.-British  military strikes in Afghanistan began Sunday about 12:30 EDT, with explosions reported in Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad, Herat, Mazar-Sharif and various airstrips across the country. The attacks were conducted by 15 land-based bombers, 25 carrier-based strike planes and 50 cruise missiles. Targets included Taliban headquarters, the national defense ministry building, radar installations, terrorist camps and residential areas where Usama bin Laden's followers were believed to reside.

• The broad, continuous attacks aimed to soften Afghan defenses for further military action, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard C. Myers said, and will be accompanied by "less visible" operations.

• Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar and Usama bin Laden survived the attacks, The Associated Press reported.

• The Taliban claimed to have shot down an unidentified aircraft in the south of Afghanistan, but that report was not independently verified, the BBC said.

• The Northern Alliance began an assault on Taliban positions in the mountains about 25 miles north of the Afghan capital, Kabul. The rocket-launcher ground attack was coordinated with the U.S.-British airstrikes, Northern Alliance officials said. An alliance embassy official in Tajikistan said the alliance expected to capture territory and possibly Kabul from the Taliban.

• The Northern Alliance reported that some 300 Taliban soldiers had defected, and more were expected to cross over to the opposition side when the sun rises in Afghanistan. U.S. officials said they were heartened by the reports, but cautioned that previous alliance estimates have probably been exaggerated.

• As of Sunday morning, some 8,000 Taliban troops had positioned themselves on the border of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan's Taliban rulers said Sunday, apparently in response to 1,000 U.S. troops from the 10th Mountain Division who took up positions last week in the former Soviet republic. Taliban long-range artillery and rocket launchers are also headed toward Afghanistan's northwest boundary, Russia's Interfax news agency reported Saturday. The Taliban reportedly has a total 40,000 troops, about 10,000 of whom are soldiers of Usama bin Laden. 

• Uzbekistan troops went on full alert and partially evacuated civilians from the Afghan border.

• Fifteen thousand refugees living near a Pakistani airport have been ordered to move. Officials feared they would be in danger if the facility were attacked.

• French President Jacques Chirac said France's troops stood ready to join the war on terrorism. Bush said Canada, Australia and Germany were also prepared to join military forces with America and Britain. Italy also offered troops.

• The BBC reported that the United States launched a Titan IV missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California carrying a surveillance satellite for use in the war. The satellite is allegedly capable of tracking small groups of people.

• Taliban officials said the holy war had begun, and vowed to fight "to the last breath." Mullah Omar and the Ulema, the Taliban's council of clerics, issued a worldwide fatwa calling for all Muslims to fight a jihad, or holy war, against America.

• In a previously videotaped message, bin Laden called on Muslims around the world to unite against the United States and Israel.


• "We are supported by the collective will of the world," President Bush said to the nation on live television at 1 p.m. EDT.

• British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the attacks on the United States Sept. 11 were an attack on civilization and terrorist networks must be destroyed. He also noted that in terms of deaths, the World Trade Center destructions were the worst terroristic attack on Britain as well as on the U.S.

• Pakistan, Russia, Israel, Japan issued statements backing the U.S.-U.K. airstrikes.

• China gave its conditional support to the U.S. and Great Britain when said it opposed terrorism in any form but hoped that there would be no civilian casualties.

• Iran called the attacks "unacceptable" and repeated that American and British planes may not cross into Iranian airspace. Iraq also protested.

• Pakistani Muslim leaders denounced the U.S.-U.K. attacks and asked Muslims to rally to the cause of their "Afghan brothers."

• The nighttime military strikes will alternate with humanitarian airdrops of food, medicine and other necessities, U.S. officials said. In the first drop, Monday morning, two American C-17 military cargo planes flying from Germany dropped 37,000 lbs. of aid packages on remote areas of Afghanistan not under Taliban control. Many more missions are planned.

• U.S. citizens abroad were issued a warning by the State Department cautioning them to be wary of anti-American sentiment. Embassies in the Middle East did not close down immediately after the strikes, but each has the right to assess its own security and may do so in the days ahead.

• Before the airstrikes, theWhite House soundly rejected a Taliban offer Sunday to put Usama bin Laden on trial in an Islamic court in Afghanistan, if formally requested to by the U.S. government. The offer was only notable in that the Taliban for the first time did not demand evidence of bin Laden's complicity in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

• The Taliban said on Sunday morning that it had released British journalist Yvonne Ridley in Kabul. She was arrested as a spy over a week ago after sneaking into the country dressed as a local woman to cover the country's humanitarian crisis. 

• Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's three-year term as army chief of staff has been extended to give him time to restore democracy, officials said. 

• Washington rejected an offer by the Taliban rulers to "take steps" to release two American and six other foreign aid workers on trial for allegedly preaching Christianity if the U.S. halted what the Taliban called its "massive propaganda campaign." 

• Combating terrorism dominated initial sessions of a four-day meeting of legislators from NATO countries. Delegates compared notes on airport security and called for a global front against terrorism. The NATO parliamentary assembly will debate a draft declaration condemning the attacks on its final day, when Secretary General Lord Robertson and U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert will address the 300 delegates. 


• French police detained four Muslim fundamentalists suspected of involvement in a support network for Islamic insurgents in Algeria. French media reports suggested the action might be related to an exhibition soccer match between France and Algeria Saturday night, the first such match in 40 years, which was called off when Algerian fans stormed the field towards the end of the game. 

• Authorities in Norway raided four Somali aid groups and arrested seven people on suspicion of laundering money for terrorist groups. 

• A former French Defense Ministry official says he believes police have found a notebook belonging to a suspected member of a terrorist group containing codes that could be used to decipher messages within Usama bin Laden's network. 


• White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey on Sunday expressed optimism the U.S. economy will return to robust economic growth in 2002, despite the attacks on U.S. financial and military landmarks on Sept. 11. 

• Finance ministers from leading industrial nations met at the U.S. Treasury, where they pledged to choke off funds to groups that sponsor violence and to revive their shaken economies. 

• Democrats and Republicans are debating the proper mix for the economic stimulus package. Some Democrats are calling for new spending for job training, school construction and tax cuts for the poor, who didn't qualify for the earlier rebates, and health insurance and unemployment insurance for those who lost their jobs in the attacks. Some Republicans favor a capital-gains tax cut. President Bush asked for quick passage of the package, with $60 billion in tax cuts and no new spending. 

• A Saudi oil official says there's no reason currently to decrease oil output. His comments are dampening speculation that oil-producing nations might act to cut production this weekend in the face of a steep drop in oil prices. 


• The World Trade Center victim tally: 4,979 remain missing, 8,786 injured, 393 confirmed dead, 321 of which have been identified. 

The Home Front: 

• Law enforcement and military units were put on highest alert across the country after the airstrikes. New York City was put on "Omega-plus" security status.

•  NATO AWACS surveillance planes will begin patrolling over U.S. skies to scout for terrorist activity.

• Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta has ordered airlines to strengthen cockpit doors within 30 days. Several, including United and American, have already started. 

• The Coast Guard has begun clamping down on ship traffic on the nation's inland waterways, adding armed patrols and mandatory inspections 

• A pilot was injured when a man tried to hijack a medical transport plane at an airport in Deming, N.M., Friday. FBI supervisory agent Doug Beldon says the man held a knife to the pilot's throat and ordered her to fly the plane. The incident does not appear to be related to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. 

• Commuters will no longer find trash cans and recycling bins in certain areas of Washington's Metro subway system. The receptacles between Metrorail fare gates and station platforms will no longer be allowed for security purposes. 

• The United States is dramatically ramping up intelligence operations as part of its war on terrorism, with officials warning lawmakers that another major attack on U.S. targets appears highly likely. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.