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banner Wednesday, 24 October, 2001, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
The military campaign
An F-14 Tomcat on the flight deck of the USS Enterprise
Overwhelming air power allowed the US to weaken the Taleban allowing the Northern Alliance and other anti-Taleban groups to conquer the country. US Marines and other forces are still engaged in hunting out remaining pockets of resistance as the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the Taleban leader, Mullah Omar continues. BBC News Online reports on how the US military fought the campaign in Afghanistan.

Offensive targets mountain strongholds

Afghan soldier
Afghan fighters joined their western counterparts
Western coalition forces and Afghan allies launch the biggest joint ground offensive of the Afghanistan campaign. The assault is aimed at up to 5,000 Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan. An American soldier and two Afghan troops were killed in the fighting.

 The BBC's Susannah Price reports.

Al-Qaeda stronghold 'falls'

The US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld makes a surprise visit to Afghanistan, as Al-Qaeda positions are pounded in the Tora Bora region. But few senior al-Qaeda figures have been captured and there is still no sign of their leader, Osama Bin Laden.

 The BBC's Hilary Andersson reports.

US Marines deployed near Kandahar

US Marines deployed in southern Afghanistan
US Marines deployed in southern Afghanistan
The US finally deployed substantial ground forces with US Marines seizing an airfield south of Kandahar. The Taleban have been forced back to the city which is their spiritual home and last remaining stronghold. Air attacks continue as the Pentagon looks to break the Taleban's last grip on power.

 The BBC's Ben Brown reports.

Taleban flee Kabul

Victorious Northern Alliance fighters enter Kabul
Victorious Northern Alliance fighters enter Kabul
Taleban forces are in flight across much of Afghanistan as city after city falls to the Northern Alliance. The US finally provided the intense air support that opposition forces had demanded, triggering their final assault on the capital, Kabul. Defensive positions north of Kabul were swiftly overrun and the remaining Taleban forces abandoned the city.

 The BBC's John Simpson reports.

Air power tactics pay off

Northern Alliance gun
Northern Alliance fighters launch a series of assaulta across the north of the country
The Northern Alliance achieved its first major victory of the campaign with the capture of the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif. After sustained US bombing, the Taleban were unwilling or unable to put up much of a fight. Within days most of the country fell to the opposition forces.

 The BBC's Andrew Harding reports.

B-52s begin carpet bombing

A B-52 dropping bombs
Each B-52 can carry around 30 tons of bombs
B-52s began repeated bombing of Taleban front lines north of Kabul. In the fourth week of the campaign the US was still looking for signs of concrete military progress. The B-52s were seen as a way of dropping more bombs on Taleban front lines and increasing the pressure on its forces.

 The BBC's Paul Adams reports.

US troops in raid on Taleban targets

Night-vision image: US special forces inside Afghanistan
US special forces clear an airfield near Kandahar
Airborne US troops launched a raid on ground positions in southern Afghanistan. The soldiers withdrew after attacking key sites including a command centre. The Pentagon described the mission as a success, but America suffered its first combat casualties when two men died in a helicopter crash in Pakistan.

 The BBC's Stephen Sackur reports.

New phase in the air war

The AC130 gunship
The AC130 gunship - a converted Hercules fitted with a deadly array of weaponry
In the second week of the air campaign, the US military began using low-flying ground attack aircraft in their raids on Afghanistan. The AC-130 aircraft - a highly protected and heavily armed version of the Hercules transport plane - was used against Taleban troop concentrations.

 The BBC's David Shukman reports.

Battle for Kabul on hold

Northern Alliance guns
Northern Alliance forces are just a few miles from Kabul
With American warplanes beginning a second week of attacks on the Taleban, there has been a major change of strategy by Afghanistan's opposition forces. The Northern Alliance, which was preparing to fight its way into the capital, Kabul, says it is now holding back until a future government has taken shape - possibly involving the United Nations.

 The BBC's John Simpson reports.

Northern Alliance looks for US air support

A young Northern Alliance fighter
A young Northern Alliance fighter keeps watch from on top of a former Soviet tank
Afghanistan's Northern Alliance has offered its support to the United States in the fight against the Taleban. Northern Alliance forces are concentrated just north of Kabul. They believe they could capture the Afghan capital if the United States directs its air attacks on the Taleban front lines.

 The BBC's Ben Brown reports.

Key role for US carriers

A S-3B Viking takes-off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise
USS Enterprise carries 75 combat aircraft
The US Navy's aircraft carriers have played an important role in the air attacks, allowing US combat planes to reach the skies over Afghanistan. They are part of a US fleet supported by British vessels which is also equipped with cruise missiles capable of hitting targets in Afghanistan.

 The BBC's Brian Barron reports.

US aims for air superiority

A British submarine firing a cruise missile.
British submarines stationed in the Indian Ocean took part in the opening attacks
The attacks began with cruise missiles fired from naval vessels in the Arabian Sea. Combat aircraft were launched from aircraft carriers. Also taking part were long-range bombers based at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and further afield.

 The BBC's David Shukman reports.

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