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Christiane Amanpour: U.S. troops in action in Afghanistan

CNN's Christiane Amanpour
CNN's Christiane Amanpour  

CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour is following the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. CNN anchor Martin Savidge spoke with her Saturday on the latest reports of U.S. forces attacking Afghanistan's ruling Taliban.

SAVIDGE: For more details now on U.S. military actions in Afghanistan, we go live to CNN's Christiane Amanpour. Christiane?

AMANPOUR: The latest news in Pakistan is a security scare at the Islamabad airport. What happened was that extra police and security who've been at the airport over the last several weeks of this crisis discovered a suspicious package. They tried to find and track the owner, but they couldn't. And at that point, the bomb disposal unit officials came over, put a blast blanket over this package and took it to a special concrete bunker farther away from the terminal, where it then exploded.

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Now it did not cause any casualties. We don't know who is responsible for this. Officials are saying that had it gone off in the fairly crowded area where the package was found, it would likely have caused definite injuries and perhaps even some deaths.

So that is what is the latest coming from Islamabad, and we're obviously going to be trying to track that, see if anybody claims responsibility. It's not usual in this country that any group or person would claim responsibility. There have been similar episodes in the past, various sectarian violence, and we do not know whether this is linked to the current crisis.

In Afghanistan, the military campaign continues. Overnight, CNN sources and Al Jazeera saw and reported heavy U.S. air action. There was action by two AC-130s as reported by reporters and CNN sources on the ground. They also say that helicopters were spotted. They also say that when dawn broke and residents came out, our sources were getting reports of troops on the ground. That is the latest on the military front.

On the diplomatic front, Pakistan foreign ministry officials are now saying that the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan [Abdul Salam Zaeef] has been holding and is holding meetings with them. We don't know what about. We're hoping to hear about that a little later.

There has been speculation and some reports over the last few days that perhaps the Taliban are trying to float some kind of peace plan or cease-fire plan. As I say, we don't know the details. In a press conference Friday when asked directly, the Taliban ambassador did not give details. He only said there might be some more information Saturday.

That, of course, is now, and we are waiting to hear what that might be.

SAVIDGE: Christiane, is there any specific information regarding the loss of the U.S. helicopter? There are some disputed claims on the part of the Taliban.

AMANPOUR: The Taliban said various things. The Taliban education minister, quoted by Reuters from inside Afghanistan, said that early Saturday they spotted several helicopters landing on a mountain near Kandahar, but that Taliban fire chased them off. We have not been able to confirm that.

Then the deputy Taliban ambassador here suggested -- after the news of the helicopter crash had broken -- suggested that perhaps the Taliban had fired at it, and it then crept over the border and crashed there.

Again, that is something we cannot confirm. We don't have details on the crash. All we know is that Pakistani officials did confirm that a helicopter had crashed in Pakistan. It's an area where a civil aviation base has been given over to U.S. logistics and other support. It's right between Pakistan and the Afghan and Iranian borders.


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