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The Military picture
Inside Afghanistan
Full coverage of US attacks and their aftermath
Militia numbers impossible to measure
Experienced guerrillas
20+ fighters/helicopters
Air defences
Map: Taleban militia
Suspected threat: The Taleban, shunned by all but three of the world's nations, control at least 85% of Afghanistan - but their forces and networks of support are not comparable to anything in the West. Two decades of war in Afghanistan destroyed its cities, social structures and traditional armed forces. The estimated 100,000 members of the Taleban militia are battled-hardened and flexible guerrillas living within communities that have proved resilient to years of desperate conditions. Mullah Mohamed Omar, known as the Commander of the Faithful is the de facto leader of Afghanistan. Little is known other than he is believed to have lost one eye fighting against the Soviet Union in 1979 and that he rarely, if ever, leaves his southern stronghold of Kandahar. The US believes that he is extremely close to Osama Bin Laden.

Possible US Action: The US believes that the Taleban are central to its aim of preventing further terrorist attacks. It is certain to target its resources - but what can you target when there is not much left to actually attack? While the notional capital of Afghanistan remains Kabul, Kandahar is likely to be just as heavily targeted because of its links to Bin Laden.

See also:

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