Although American-led forces toppled the Taliban in Afghanistan,
the war is far from over. The nature of the war has changed, however.
In the first phase, bombing runs and heavy use of Afghanistan's
Northern Alliance fighters helped oust the Taliban regime last
year. Terrorist networks can no longer use Afghanistan as a safe
"The Taliban have been driven from power," says Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld. "Al Qaeda is on the run, and Afghanistan is no
longer a base for terrorist operations or a breeding ground for
radical Islamic militancy."
Yet making Afghanistan a stable place is proving to be a little
trickier. Warlords have reassumed their power positions in provinces,
slowing government efforts in Kabul to rebuild the war-torn country.
Mistakes by American forces have led to civilian casualties. Two
government officials have been assassinated, and President Hamid
Karzai is on the hit list of militants still on the loose.
That has some lawmakers calling for more troops just to keep the
peace in Afghanistan. "This points out how fragile this situation
is," said U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican from Nebraska
and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
And there's still al Qaeda to deal with. Pockets of al Qaeda have
fought in skirmishes with allied forces. Evidence suggests al
Qaeda fighters are using rural Pakistan as a place to regroup.
It's a safe area for them because it's outside the control of
Pakistan's army. Despite Pakistan's support of the U.S., it will
not let American troops cross the border a frustration for the
Rumsfeld dissatisfied with the slowdown in military progress is
said to have ordered a review of tactics. He has called for more
use of Special Operations Forces to go after the terrorists in
Afghanistan and beyond even without the permission of other
Special Operations Forces are separate from the normal military
chains of command, and include the U.S. Army Special Forces, Green
Berets, Navy SEALs, and Delta Forces. These are elite units, with
the best-trained soldiers. Green Berets, for example, helped coordinate
air strikes from the ground and assisted Northern Alliance troops.
Rumsfeld is calling for better information on the enemy's positions
and movements. So far, military officers have failed to locate
Osama bin Laden, head of al Qaeda. "We have not made many strides
since I've been here in improving the intelligence," Rumsfeld
Still, things have come a long way since last year, when the oppressive
Taliban was in power. "The beatings by religious police and executions
in soccer stadiums have stopped," Rumsfeld says. "International
workers are no longer held hostage. Aid is once again flowing,
and the Afghan people have been liberated."