Striking Back: Latest Developments
Meanwhile, there are reports that Taliban forces shot down an unmanned spy plane in northern Afghanistan on Saturday and were trying to determine the aircraft's nationality. The aircraft could have entered northern Afghanistan from Russia or one of the nearby Central Asian states, such as bordering Uzbekistan.
A Pentagon official declined to comment on the reported downing, which came as U.S. forces were preparing for a possible military assault on Afghanistan, which harbors Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on America. Afghanistan's hard-line government refuses to surrender bin Laden, unless the U.S. provides proof of his involvement in the attack. President Bush has called that reaction unacceptable.
Taliban's official Bakhtar news agency in Kabul also reported heavy fighting on Saturday between the Taliban militia and opposition forces in northern Afghanistan.
En route to the region from the U.S. were a third aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers, warships capable of launching ground-attack Tomahawk cruise missiles and jet fighters. It is widely anticipated that special operations forces, such as helicopter-borne Army Rangers, will lead a U.S. campaign against the terrorists.
On Sunday, when American flags are returned to full staff for the first time since the attacks, President Bush plans to join Marines at Camp David.