Today's Developments, 10/22

Military Action: 

• American planes bombed Taliban frontline positions north of Kabul, giving hope to the opposition Northern Alliance that its forces might soon retake the capital. 

• Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef blasted the United States once again. "The hands of Bush and the American people are stained with the blood of innocent people," he said. "America has resorted to genocide of the Afghans." 

• The Taliban claimed that U.S. bombs had hit a hospital in Kabul Monday, killing over 100 people. The report could not be independently verified. Witnesses said eight people were killed Sunday, and an Associated Press reporter saw seven bodies. 

• Asked if U.S. forces would kill Usama bin Laden on sight, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it would depend on circumstances. "If it's a defensive situation, then bullets will fly, but if we can capture somebody, then we'll do that," he said on ABC's This Week. 

• The Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, expressed condolences to those who had lost loved ones in the bombardment. "We are not afraid of death because martyrdom is a great gift of God," Omar said. Reports that Omar's 10-year-old son had been killed appeared to be reliable. 

• A senior administration official said Sunday that President Bush last month signed an order directing the CIA to destroy bin Laden and his communications, security apparatus and infrastructure. Bush also added more than $1 billion to the spy agency's war on terrorism, most of it for the new covert action. 

• Four American cargo jets dropped more than 68,000 packets of food over northern Afghanistan overnight Saturday. An Air Force spokesman said a total of about 643,000 food rations have been dropped by planes over the country since the military strikes began Oct. 7. 

• The bodies of two U.S. servicemen killed when their helicopter crashed in Pakistan while on standby to aid a commando raid in Afghanistan were flown to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The Pentagon identified the men as Private First-Class Kristofer Stonesifer, 28, of Missoula, Mt., and Specialist First-Class John Edmunds, 20, of Cheyenne, Wyo. 


• Border guards opened fire Sunday to force back a crowd of hundreds of Afghan refugees demanding to be allowed into Pakistan. About 2 million Afghan refugees are already in Pakistan. 

• Reports circulated that European Union foreign-policy head Javier Solana was backing deposed Afghan king Mohammed Zaher Shah as the leader of a post-Taliban government. Asked by Fox News to comment, Secretary of State Colin Powell said he would have to hear Solana's words for himself first. The United States has been careful not to back any one person or party to replace the Taliban. 

• Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to continue supporting the Northern Alliance and said the Taliban should be excluded from any future government. 

The Anthrax Scare: 

• A second Washington postal worker has contracted inhalation anthrax, and officials are describing as "suspicious" the deaths of two other employees at the same mail facility. The Postal Service closed two D.C. facilities and tested more than 2,200 employees for exposure.

• The U.S. Capitol will re-open today, with legislation resuming tomorrow. Several House and Senate office buildings remain closed as environmental testing continues. Twenty-eight people who work on Capitol Hill have tested positive for anthrax exposure. 

• Widespread anthrax contamination was found in the Trenton, N.J. postal facility which handled the infected letters sent to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and NBC Nightly News anchorman Tom Brokaw. Two Trenton postal workers have anthrax skin infections, and a maintenance worker was expected to be diagnosed with the same disease. 

• The U.S. government announced plans to make 300 million doses of smallpox vaccine. Regular childhood immunization shots against the highly contagious and deadly virus ended in 1972, a few years before the organism was officially declared extinct worldwide. 

• The number of New Yorkers infected with the bacteria remained at four, with one case each at NBC, CBS, ABC and the New York Post. Tests done at other Manhattan media organizations came back negative, as did tests at the Manhattan office of New York Governor George Pataki. 

• Employees said they would be reluctant to go back into the American Media building in Boca Raton, Fla. The first and only fatal case of anthrax originated there three weeks ago, and another employee was seriously ill but is recovering. 

• New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the Department of Defense sent a rapid-response team to the city to expedite analysis of potential anthrax cases. 

• The administration is keeping a close eye on dengue fever cases in Hawaii. 

The Investigation: 

• Canadian authorities said three men, arrested last week in Alberta for immigration violations, may be able to provide clues in the Sept. 11 attacks probe. 

• Immigration officials said Mohammed Atta, the suspected leader of the hijackers, was questioned at length about his visa status upon entering the United States in January. He was eventually allowed in. 

The Home Front: 

• The charity pop concerts in New York, Washington, D.C., and Nashville, Tenn., over the weekend raised at least $16 million for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. 

• Mayor Giuliani announced a multi-faith prayer service at Ground Zero in New York for next Sunday. 

• Airport workers across the United States are being issued new identification badges that are more difficult to forge than the current badges. 


• Planet Hollywood filed for bankruptcy. The restaurant chain said its business had taken a hit from a drop in tourism after the terrorism attacks. 

• The head of Boeing's jetliner division said airliner production rates would be cut to 50 percent of current levels by the middle of next year. 

• Airplane engine-maker Rolls-Royce said it was cutting five thousand jobs. The company said some 3,800 of the jobs affected were in Britain. 

The Victims: 

• At least nine more bodies were found at the World Trade Center site. 

• Total number of victims: 

— New York: In the World Trade Center, 4,515 were missing and 458 bodies had been recovered, with 408 of those identified. Ninety-two people were on American Airlines Flight 11, 65 on United Airlines Flight 175. 

— Washington: One hundred and eighty-nine were believed killed at the Pentagon, including the 64 people on American Airlines Flight 77. 

— Pennsylvania: Forty-four killed on United Airlines Flight 93. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report