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Special Report: America's New War

Aired September 22, 2001 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead tonight in our report on "America's New War," new information on an unmanned spy plane shot down over Afghanistan. U.S. Special Forces fight in the shadows. We'll try and shed some light on what role they might play in an American attack. And separating fact from fictions, some important things you may not know about Afghanistan, it's people, and it's politics.

But first, we have some breaking news from the White House. CNN's John King joins us now with the details.

John, and Larry stole a little of your thunder, but you can give us all the rest of the information.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Quite all right, Judy. A very busy day of military planning and diplomatic maneuvering for the president. And just a short time ago, the White House announcing that the President was lifting sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan back in June of 1998.

Remember, both countries tested nuclear weapons back then. The Clinton administration imposed sanctions that cut off direct U.S. economic aid, cut off any agreements by which those countries could buy so-called dual-use technology, computer and other high technology items that could be used for military purposes.

Perhaps the United States also said it would object if they stopped funding from the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank. This, a direct reward to the government of Pakistan for its cooperation with President Bush in the war against terrorism and specifically, in the showdown with Afghanistan at the moment.

The President signing a memorandum to the Secretary of State tonight lifting those sanctions against India and Pakistan. That's just one of the diplomatic maneuverings by President Bush here tonight. He also met with his National Security Council this morning at Camp David by teleconference.

You see across the room there in Camp David, a teleconferencing device. Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Adviser, on hand. Andy Card, the White House Chief of Staff. The CIA director as well. And after this meeting, the President had a 45 minute conversation with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russians, of course, critical here to the international coalition to fight terrorism. U.S. officials telling us the conversation was quite productive, their third conversation since those terrorist strikes on September 11.

Sources saying both the Russians and the Pakistanis being most helpful to the United States in providing intelligence, generic intelligence on Afghanistan, specific intelligence on Osama Bin Laden and his al-Qaeda organization.

And as the President is up at Camp David, here at the White House tonight just before sunset, a sign of the changing of the times, if you will. Right after the terrorist strikes, Mr. Bush ordered all flags in federal buildings in the United States flown at half staff. That proclamation expired tonight. You see there one of our crews capturing the White House flag going back to full staff.

That, a symbolic thing, Judy. The President obviously paying tribute to the victims. But as the flags went back up tonight, an effort by the President to show even as the nation continues to grieve, it's time to get back to work and try to move on -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John, with regard to lifting the sanctions against India and Pakistan, what does this say? Does it mean that the administration just doesn't consider nuclear proliferation as high a priority as it did?

KING: It does. Well, the administration would not say that. The administration will continue to say nuclear proliferation, a very important issue. But what it will say now is that it feels more comfortable that it can engage these countries, that Pakistan is showing a cooperative spirit with the United States. Therefore, the United States is willing to instead of sanctions use diplomacy to try to settle these differences.

And make no mistake about it. This is a direct reward to President Pervez Musharaff. You saw in his speech to the nation last week how defensive he was. He told the people of Pakistan choose wisdom over emotion.

He knows Mr. Bin Laden has considerable support among his population. So he made a direct appeal, saying we are isolated in the world right now. This will help us end that isolation. It will help us get assistance from the West, specifically the United States, to help us from an economic standpoint.

And this is just item number one on the agenda. The sanctions waived tonight. Discussions already ongoing between Washington and Islamabad to relieve some of Pakistan's multi-billion dollar debt -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And John, on the economy here in the United States, the President signing into law, the help for the airline industry. But to what extent is the administration concerned about the economy overall? Tens of thousands of people losing their jobs right now. KING: Extraordinarily high anxiety. Especially because of the rough week on Wall Street. So as the President signed that bill tonight, $5 billion in direct aid to the airline industry, $10 billion in loan guarantee. Look for the President, beginning Monday, to work again with the Congress, to begin discussing more and more in public now.

These talks have been going on in private. More in more in public what they might do. More spending more tax cuts. Trying to send reassuring signals to Wall Street, to the broader U.S. economy, and specifically to American consumers that the government will do all it can to get the economy back on track -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right John King, our senior White House correspondent.

And one other diplomatic note, the United Arab Emirate says it is cutting ties with Afghanistan. The decision was announced today on UATV. The UAE was one of just three countries that officially recognized their government. The others are Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

And there is word tonight of another possible terrorist threat. "Time" Magazine is reporting that it involves dispersing biological or chemical agents from crop dusting planes. Joining us now is Elaine Shannon, Washington correspondent for "Time" who contributed to the article.

Elaine, how much proof is there that they were actually planning to do something with biological or chemical weapons?

ELAINE SHANNON, "TIME MAGAZINE": Well, I don't think everybody should go move to their basements yet, because they found a crop duster's manual in the effects of a man named Zacarias Moussaoui, who was arrested no August 17 for immigration violations, while trying to take simulator training to fly jet liners, he couldn't fly anything very well, up in Minnesota.

Nobody knew what to make of this at that time after the Trade Center was hit and he was taken to New York as a possible material witness. He's a French-Algerian with some suspicious ties.

So last Sunday out of an abundance of caution, the FBI, the FAA, other authorities warned the Aviation Association that deals crop dusting planes. They grounded basically the planes. They let them back up Thursday or Friday.

WOODRUFF: Now, does this mean that from now on, crop dusting -- folks who are involved in this sort of agricultural activity are going to be much more on the alert for this sort of thing? I mean.

SHANNON: Well, the trade industry says yes, they already are, because they want people to come and stealing their planes. But certainly they have been warned to take super care. And also they cannot fly them around cities. This is one way of disbursing poisons. That's what certain poisons are used on agriculture. It's also a way of disbursing biological toxins. But there's no evidence like purchases of chemicals or e-mails or anything like that that backs up that this was an actual plan. But it's certainly something the government is now on the alert for.

WOODRUFF: So a piece of something that they could have done, but nothing beyond that?

SHANNON: Yes, and it has to be said that George Tenet, for a couple of years, has been making speeches saying that Osama Bin Laden...

WOODRUFF: The CIA Director.

SHANNON: Yes, that the -- Osama Bin Laden had told his followers that it was a religious duty to try to acquire weapons of mass destruction and to aim them at the United States. And that they were working on that and training to deal with them while protecting themselves.

WOODRUFF: All right, Elaine Shannon, "Time" magazine. Thanks very much.

Well, Afghanistan's ruling Taliban is claiming a military success. The militia says that its forces shot down an unmanned spy plane today. And government sources say the downed aircraft was providing intelligence for the CIA.

CNN's Mark Potter joins us now from the Pentagon with more -- Mark.

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well good evening, Judy.

The Pentagon and the CIA will not comment on the Taliban report that its fighters shot down that unmanned spy plane also known as a drone or a UAV, an unmanned aerial vehicle. The Taliban said that the plane was shot down and that it found computerized equipment aboard.

Now sources have told CNN's Jamie McIntyre that the downed plane was providing intelligence for the Central Intelligence Agency. But there was no clear word on who the plane belonged to or who may have sent it aloft. One source said that the U.S. military is not flying UAV's over Afghanistan.

Now these planes cost about $3 million each. They fly low and slow and they are vulnerable to attack. Two UAV's were shot down this over Iraq. One in August, and one just a short time ago on September 11.

Now there's a little more news here at the Pentagon. We're all aware that a deployment order was issued for B-1 and B-52 bombers to head out. We saw nine of the B-52's taking off from Louisiana last night. There is now a second deployment order in the works for more support planes to head to forward bases in the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. But that order we are told has not yet been signed by the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: All right, Mark Potter at the Pentagon. And meantime, the Pentagon preparing for new the campaign against terrorism by calling more U.S. reserves to active duty. 11 states are affected, including California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio and Tennessee.

More than 5,000 National Guard and Reserve troops made the new active duty list today. And that brings the total of Reserves activated to more than 10,300.

President Bush has said that the war on terrorism calls for a different battle plan. And he said it will take place on many fronts.

And the military special forces will clearly play a crucial role.

CNN's Miles O'Brien explain how these elite combat fighters are trained and what they might encounter in America's new war.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are revered as some of the best fighters in the world. Strong, smart, skilled.

But it hasn't always been that way. After Vietnam, many in uniform looked down their noses as Special Ops as cowboys. And as the military establishment focused on conventional war planning for a fight with the Soviets, Special Ops and unconventional war became the stepchild, not seen a resume builder.

The training and the skills deteriorated.

ROBERT PATTERSON, FMR. USAF SPECIAL OPS CMDR.: They were there, but had been atrophied to the point that very little capability, no promotions to speak of, you know. That was a dead end street.

O'BRIEN: The weakness was made apparent in 1980 with the failure of operation Eagle Cloth, a rescue mission to free hostages in the U.S. embassy in Iran. Instead of getting them out, eight commandos died in the desert when a helicopter collided with a tanker loaded with fuel 200 miles from the target. And while the 1983 invasion of the Caribbean nation of Grenada was a military success, the Special Operations force was beset with problems.

DAVID GRANGE, FMR. RANGER COMMANDER: And we were still thrashing about with command and control procedures, authorities within the chain of command. And so, we were still sorting out some issues.

O'BRIEN: Congress concluded the special operators were not special enough. It wanted to put the Army, Navy and Air Force Special Operations under a single unified command, a reform that some Pentagon brass resisted.

PATTERSON: They did not want to give up assets. They just were hell bent to say we can do this on our own. We do not need a fifth service.

O'BRIEN: But a new created a new joint command with its own budget, headquartered at McDill Air Force Base in Florida.

This was a turning point for Special Ops.

GRANGE: The ability to have these people work together, train together, all the time, you can't beat that. That's the biggest readiness factor that there is.

O'BRIEN: While all the components of the Special Operations force share many of the same combat skills, each unit also maintains its own specialty, which may be useful in this new war on terrorism. For example, if the United States works with opposition groups, the Army Special Forces, known as the Green Berets, could play a role.

GRANGE: They're experts on training indigenous personnel in guerrilla warfare.

O'BRIEN: In this case, there's an anti-Taliban coalition, known as the Northern Alliance.

GRANGE: Now that's not to say they're not already very good guerrilla fighters, but we would just add a little more expertise to what they already have.

O'BRIEN: The Army Rangers work in larger groups to pack more fire power. They are considered the experts in seizing air fields.

GRANGE: A lot of these air fields are located by military installations. There may be 20, 30 buildings that are barracks, maybe 1,000 enemy soldiers at these locations.

O'BRIEN: Air Force Special Operations uses some of the same equipment seen throughout the military. But to insert, resupply and rescue fighters deep inside enemy territory, the aircraft are modified to fly longer, lower and quieter.

PATTERSON: In a Special Operations mission, the routine mission, if you're detected on the way to target, you may as turn around and go home. You've failed.

O'BRIEN: As tensions rise in this unconventional war, U.S. officials will likely monitor the fate of eight Western humanitarian workers, including two Americans arrested by the Taliban last month. They were charged with trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.

The per secret Delta force might be employed to help.

GRANGE: Units like a Delta force are pretty much focused on hostage rescue. O'BRIEN: For expertise in underwater reconnaissance and demolition, Navy seal teams are the specialists. Even though Afghanistan is land-locked, there may be other places where their skills are needed, since authorities say Osama Bin Laden's network extends into as many 60 countries.

PATTERSON: Look at Indonesia. Look at Philippines. Look at Malaysia.

O'BRIEN: According to publicly available military reports, Special Operations forces number nearly 47,000, about 2 percent of the Armed Forces.

PATTERSON: They really believe in their heart of hearts that they're just about a little bit better than anybody else.

O'BRIEN: While romanticized in the movies and cloaked in mystique, not all their recent missions have been as successful as the Hollywood versions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're a Seal team. We're here to get you out.

O'BRIEN: 1993, Somalia, militia reportedly trained by Bin Laden's organization shot down two helicopters carrying Army Ranger and Delta Force commandos. By the time the two day fire fight was over, 18 U.S. soldiers were dead, nearly 100 others wounded, the worst fire fight since Vietnam.

PATTERSON: If that was a standard, run of the mill military unit that got in that situation, the outcome would have been one hell of a lot worse.

O'BRIEN: But it's a reminder that despite their high motivation, advanced training, sophisticated weapons and tactics, their mission is as risky as it gets.

PATTERSON: Special Forces guys will believe just like regular grunts out there.

O'BRIEN: They may be special, but they aren't bulletproof.

Miles O'Brien, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Wow. Pakistan is clarifying how far it will go now to support the United States. It has agreed to let U.S. military planes into its air space. And it says it will share intelligence information with the U.S. But it says, that U.S. troops and planes will only be based within its border as a last resort. And Pakistani forces will not take part in U.S. operations.

A regional NATO ally, Turkey, says that it will allow U.S. transport planes in its air space and on its soil. Now the U.S. already has war planes in Turkey to monitor the no-fly zones in neighboring Iraq.

President Bush's job approval rating continues to rise in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks in the U.S. A "Newsweek" poll found that 86 percent of those surveyed approve of how Mr. Bush is handling the job of President. And the majority of those polled believe capturing Osama Bin Laden and other suspects would be effective in preventing future terrorist attacks.

Hours, days and weeks of backbreaking, heart-rending work. Their mission is to move the rubble and erase the evidence of America's worst terrorist attack. Coming up, on the ground will the landfill team.

And later in our special report, live from Northern Afghanistan, their rebels and their fight against the Taliban.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Hope, it is a word the emergency crews cling to, as they search through the debris of the fallen World Trade Center. It has been 10 days since they have pulled out anyone alive. But still, they continue to hold out for more signs of hope.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're working in conjunction with the iron workers and the cranes. We're trying to remove a layer of the heavy structural steel. After the layer's removed, if it exposes any voids, we'll go in there and we'll start hand searching. We'll send the dog team in, search it.

And the way the dogs work, if the dogs make a contact or a hit, we'll call in a second dog to verify it. And then we'll concentrate on that area a little bit more.

A lot of it fell straight down, just pancake effect, we call it. You can watch the videos of it, they just start overloading each floor. And as it got to the bottom, it appears to me to it just went in numerous directions, each structure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the bulk of it is...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's -- there's probably as much above ground or more as underground, but there is a large amount of it underground that's pancaked.

The fatigue factor is starting to set into a lot people. We try and rest our crews. We rotated crews in and out. We've got fairly fresh crews now, but we do try and send them back for 12 hours of off- duty time each day.

But I can see -- I don't know the situation with the heavy equipment operators. They've been working for a long time. And we have a feeling that maybe they're getting tired at this point. So that just causes us to be extra alert is what it does. I think there's hope in all the rescuers' minds. Knowing what was under this ground level facility here, there was a complete mall under there of various kinds of stores. And I suppose there's always a remote chance that somebody could just be stuck in a -- one of the stores with provisions and what not. And that's kind of our only hope at this point, I feel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Video taken by a government camera crew from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. And as you can tell from looking at that, and I'm going to try to speak over the sound of sirens here in Washington, from ground zero in lower Manhattan, tons of rubble has been moved. And it is going to a landfill on Staten Island, where it is inspected one more time for clues.

CNN's Jason Bellini has this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the land of no hope and no delusions, the second to last stop for the wreckage of the World Trade Center disaster. At this Staten Island landfill, it's sorted, sifted, raked and sniffed through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As the piles are dropped off in the vehicles, they're spreading the material out fairly flat on the ground. And then the dogs are run through the piles looking for any remains that they can identify.

BELLINI: Trained noses help the trained eyes of the FBI, NYPD, FAA and other investigators. The agents and their volunteers know this junk answers. The most pressing of which are the identities of the thousands of people still missing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We could find just something as small as a finger or tip of a finger even, that's going to allow the police departments to be able to get hopefully a DNA match for somebody. And that's going to allow closure for the families.

BELLINI: Little thing tug hard at the humanity of the people tasked with this gruesome labor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today I found a woman's necklace. And it was in the rubble. It was a small, beautiful necklace. What stays with me is that necklace was on someone in the World Trade Center that day.

BELLINI: But little else is even worth saving. In one pile, crushed police cars and fire engines, sad and unsalvageable.

Here, the thick steel beams that once held up the floors of the World Trade Center now warped, severed and ready for burial.

The chore will take months. Of the 68,000 tons of debris already delivered here from Manhattan, only a third has been rummaged through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're trying to do it as quick as possibly can. I hear estimations from six months to a year. I don't know.

BELLINI: The work goes on 24 hours a day. The fragments of lives lost, they say, deserve one last look through.

Jason Bellini, CNN, Staten Island, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Coming up in the next half hour of America's new war, a special report. A live update from Northern Afghanistan, where rebels stand firm against the ruling Taliban, but they are desperate to leave, fearing that America will strike. A report from the Afghan border coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Recapping developments in America's new war, the Pentagon calls up nearly 5200 more troops, all guard units and reservists. This brings to more than 10,000 the number of reserves activated since the terror attacks 12 days ago.

President Bush signs a $15 billion emergency aid package for U.S. airlines. Many have been forced to cut flights and jobs because fewer people are flying.

Rescue workers search deeper inside the rubble today in New York, still hoping to find someone trapped in an air pocket. Prayer service for the missing and dead is planned for tomorrow afternoon at Yankee Stadium. And we go to Afghanistan now where CNN is the only Western television network with news crews in that country. It is now Sunday morning there, and joining us from somewhere in Northern Afghanistan, CNN's Chris Burns. Chris, what can you tell us at this point?

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Judy, we awoke this morning to the sound of artillery fire, tanks firing once again as they had all night sporadically. The Northern Alliance here, the rebel base, say that they have been firing upon Taliban positions that have been fortified and that they drove them off. They say they have driven off and killed quite a bit of the Taliban fighters. That is what the Northern Alliance is reporting. However, with that tank fire, again this morning at dawn, it may indicate that maybe there still is a conflict going on there. There was fighting of course there yesterday, continuing where the Northern Alliance says they are trying to launch prodding attacks along the front to see where there might be weaknesses.

They of course, in the end, are trying to re-possess Kabul if they can. They are also trying to cut off a supply line, a key supply line here in the north. So as that goes on there is a drone, according to the Taliban, they said there was a drone, a spy, an unmanned spy plane that was shot down in that area of the fighting. And the Pentagon refuses to comment on that. However if there is any indication that that is true, if the Taliban can prove that, it may indicate there might be some kind of Western help in providing some reconnaissance for the Northern Alliance as they fight the Taliban. Yesterday there was protest in Kabul outside the now-closed US Embassy, closed since 1988. Five busloads of Afghan men protested outside, stoned the embassy and yelled: "Death to America!" Of course these are amid all of these threats of the US attacks. The refugee situation is deteriorating constantly. We're seeing busloads of refugees coming up from Kabul over here. They are already tent camps that have been existing for quite some time. And that could aggravate it. At the same time of course, aid groups have been pulled out of the Taliban area, and there are very few, very sparse here operating. So this could be a very, very serious humanitarian situation in a very short time if things don't change. Judy.

WOODRUFF: Chris, you say that the Northern Alliance, the rebels fighting the Taliban say they are trying to do a number of things. How much territory, how much of the population do they actually control?

BURNS: Well, good question. The Northern Alliance of course used to be the government in Kabul. They were driven out six years ago from Kabul. They are now holed up in what is believed to be some 5 percent of the country. This is a country that is nearly the size of Texas, larger than France. So very, very large country, and only a small sliver of land that they hold up here in the North. What they are hoping, they've repeatedly said, they'd like to join and cooperate with the Americans. They'd like any kind of help they can in trying to push ahead with their fight and trying to help the Americans into accomplishing what they want to do here. We'll have to see what happens. At this point, neither side is saying specifically what kind of cooperation there is, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Chris, how much of what you are being told about is direct, face to face combat warfare between the Taliban and the rebels. How much of it is just skirmishes fought at a great distance?

BURNS: Well, we're not hearing of any really serious heavy hand to hand fighting. What we did see yesterday and what appears to be this morning from the sound of the tank fire is that the Northern Alliance is firing their tanks to try to disperse. And they said they have been successful at doing that, dispersing this build-up of Taliban along the front. We'll have to see how that develops in the coming days.

But at this point, it doesn't seem to be any serious hand to hand fighting. The forces aren't that big. The estimated force of the Northern Alliance is some 15,000 men, so it is not a huge army that we're looking at. And they are using a lot of old Soviet material, a lot of ex-Soviet hardware. So not a lot of that is very effective either. So they have a lot of odds against them.

And of course the Taliban are not very well armed either, Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Chris Burns joining us from somewhere in Northern Afghanistan, joining us by video phone. Chris, thanks very much.

Well, someone who has an understanding of not only the Taliban but the Northern Alliance and the other rebel groups that have been fighting the Taliban is former US envoy to Afghanistan. His name is Peter Tomsen, he served in that position from 1989 to 1992, and he joins us now.

Mr. Tomsen can -- is it realistic for the Bush Administration, for the United States to believe that it can get rid of the Osama Bin Laden network?

PETER TOMSEN, FMR. U.S. ENVOY TO AFGHANISTAN: It is certainly realistic and, I think it is probable in the weeks and months ahead that this will succeed if it is done right.

WOODRUFF: Why are you so confident?

TOMSEN: Well, you've gone into it on tonight's program already. There are many centers of anti-Taliban, anti-Osama Bin Laden resistance around Afghanistan. The alliance in the North numbers about 15,000, but taken together, these centers probably field about 50,000 troops. And once the momentum starts, and I think it has already begun, even before the horrific bombings in the United States, the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden and that Islamic extremist network lost seven districts since April.

And the neutral commanders and tribal chiefs around Afghanistan, when they see that the United States is serious, when we are coming in to assist them, they are going to get off the fence because the Taliban are very unpopular in Afghanistan. The great bulk of Afghans are against the Taliban.

WOODRUFF: It's interesting you should say that. You talk about neutral tribal chiefs and commanders; I say that because some of us have the impression that the Taliban has the country under its thumb.

TOMSEN: There's an old saying that you can rent an Afghan, but you can't buy him. And this has happening repeatedly during the two Afghan wars since the Soviet invasion, first during the period when the Soviets imposed the Communist regime on Afghanistan. And then during this period when Islamists, radical elements, in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and elsewhere have supported the radical network now inside Afghanistan. Even before the Soviet invasion though, the writ of Kabul did not go far into the mountains of Afghanistan.

WOODRUFF: What is the right way for the United States to go into Afghanistan and to root out the Bin Laden network?

TOMSEN: We should have an external aspect to our policy dealing with the neighboring states and we should also have an internal aspect to our policy. On the internal side, I believe personally, would be a mistake to deploy ground forces in Afghanistan. Every nation that has done that in the last 200 years has come to grief, whatever the merit of their cause.

WOODRUFF: You mean, even a command, you mean even a commando raid? Is that what you are referring to?

TOMSEN: I would be very concerned even about commando raids, but Judy, I would say that special forces who are operating with these large centers of resistance to the Taliban, which in my opinion will grow, when they see American military assistance coming in. And also American moral assistance. Before the Soviets invaded, the United States by all polls in Afghanistan was the most popular country in the world.

Since the Soviet invasion, we provided assistance to the resistance to drive out the Soviet army and our reputation went up. This is an area where anti-American sentiment runs very high in Iraq, Iran. But in Afghanistan, it is an island of pro-US sentiment. I'm not exaggerating. So we have this asset, we have the asset of these growing centers of opposition to this Islamist network inside Afghanistan. If we play to our advantages in the right way and strengthen those assets, they will drive the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden from power and take care of Osama Bin Laden in the best Afghan way.

But we have to be -- sorry. I was going to add -- Judy, if I may say that we have to also not make this just a military struggle. Our goals have to be political and strategic, that is peace and stability in Afghanistan after the military struggle is over. And we have to start preparing for this post-Taliban period now, where for the first time since 1973, there is a government in Kabul which is seen by most Afghans as Afghan.

WOODRUFF: You've raised so many fascinating points, and I wish we had a great deal longer to talk about it. I'm fascinated by the point that there is so much pro-American feeling in Afghanistan. That is a profile of the country that we have not been picking up here in the United States. And then your point, finally about what comes next after the Taliban, that's a subject of our next interview with you.

TOMSEN: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Hope to catch up with you in the next few days. Peter Tomsen; thank you very much; former US envoy to Afghanistan.

TOMSEN: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

People in a land torn by war and poverty. Next, a CNN reporter's story and sadness on leaving Afghanistan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are so many people here, who are caught up in Afghanistan's ongoing conflicts, that really don't seem to be anything of their own making. It is a sad feeling leaving.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: For a brief time they were the only Western journalists to report on Afghanistan from that nation's capital. But earlier this week, CNN reporter Nick Robertson and his news team were asked to leave. But not without some parting words. CNN's Nick Robertson has this report from the Afghanistan border.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: Packing up and leaving, never easy, this time harder than ever. Raheed, our cook, his ample meals sustained us through many long nights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The moment we didn't want to come.

ROBERTSON: Our departure, forced by the Taliban because they can no longer guarantee our safety. From behind curtains, hiding us from prying eyes, we glimpse the now emptying streets leaving now doubt here that this is a city filling with fear. Past the Ministry of Information, pockmarked by shells of a bygone battle. Out of town and on to the bumpy highway, roads so broken by 22 years of war and neglect that at times you feel at sea. A grinding poverty permeates this land. Mountains, rot, dust, drought and war; it's as if, as some Afghans say, their land was forsaken by God.

Of all the regrets, leaving the poor with no one to report their fate hurts the most. There is so many people here who are caught up in Afghanistan's ongoing conflicts, that really don't seem to be anything of their own making. It's a sad feeling, leaving. I've been coming to Afghanistan regularly since my first visit in 1996. It was a violent time. The Taliban had taken control of Kabul, but I've fallen in love with the wild rugged beauty of the mountains and the soft hospitality of its equally wild and rugged people.

And I found I couldn't stay away. I've come this time, along with my cameramen, Alfredo DeLauro (ph) to cover the trial of eight western aid workers accused of Christian proselytizing. Since the world first heard of the Taliban's harsh policy towards women and non- Muslims, the strict Islamic movement, whose name means student, have learned nothing of international diplomacy.

Barely a month seemed to go by when they weren't making headlines in confrontation with the Western world. Recently blowing up several huge ancient statues of Buddha because they were un-Islamic. More notably of course, sheltering suspected international terrorist Osama Bin Laden. It seemed only a matter of time before some more cataclysmic confrontation developed.

I didn't expect we'd run into it on this trip. Within minutes of the second plane slamming into the World Trade Center, we had been put on standby by CNN Headquarters in Atlanta; an uncomfortable feeling was already growing in my stomach. The Taliban Foreign Minister responded quickly within five hours of the attack rebutting suggestions Osama Bin Laden was involved. I knew then, it wouldn't be long before we would be told to leave the country.

First to go, diplomats and some journalists and international aid workers. The first to suffer, those four to five million Afghans who rely on aid to get by. Earlier this year, Alfredo (ph) and I had been to a massive camp of Afghans driven out of their homes by four years of drought. More than 100,000 in this tent city dependent on daily humanitarian handouts. Many hundreds of thousands of others elsewhere. The story now though, on the Taliban, not the poor.

In Kabul, we gauged fear and apprehension by empty trading stalls. Our filming covert, because the Taliban forbid pictures of living things. TV crews are a rare sight and such is the diet of the Taliban's anti-western views here. We are prime for suspicion of something more sinister.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joey, I'm not a missile. Joey, I can...

ROBERTSON: Our nights stretched out, one memorably so, when the Taliban's in-country enemies launched a daring night time helicopter missile raid, from front lines some 30 miles north of the capital. The pressure for us to leave when it came, fell like a hammer, not because it was a surprise but because our trusted local staff left in fear. Initially, Taliban officials told us we could stay, if we accepted they couldn't protect us. What journalist would walk away from the hub of such a humanitarian political, diplomatic and military story.

Alfredo (ph) and I chose to stay, moving to Kandahar, the Taliban's spiritual and ethnic heartland. There we found new staff and began petitioning the foreign minister to allow us to stay, a request he would later reject. The pressure to report growing also, as the Taliban received ultimatums to hand over Bin Laden. As our hours in the country grew shorter, our time on air felt as if it were growing immeasurably longer. Alfredo (ph) filing for CNN's Spanish network, we were working round the clock.

Too much glass in the windows for my liking, in case of a missile attack, that we've got our back-up systems ready -- spare batteries and a generator -- to keep us on air, a high-tech link with the rest of the world, a tiny box digitizing our TV picture and beaming it to Atlanta by Satellite. The humble video phone de regear for frontline reporters intent on getting the story out. The obvious failing, however, no matter how high-tech, if there is no reporter, there is no story. Nick Robertson, CNN, 80 miles from the Afghan border.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: And now as we know, Nic is reporting from Pakistan next door. As you just saw in that report, Afghan women have suffered terribly under Taliban rule. Joining us now with more on that subject, Zieba Shorish-Shamley, she's the director of the Women's Alliance for Peace and Human Rights in Afghanistan. Miss Shorish- Shamley, first of all, just to clear something up, Osama Bin Laden we know is Saudi-born. Are the rulers of the Taliban Afghan-born?

ZIEBA SHORISH-SHAMLEY, WOMEN'S ALLIANCE FOR PEACE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: Not really. Many of the Taliban were Afghan orphan children who were at the refugee camps in Pakistan and they were indoctrinated in the Pakistani Maddresses (ph) and trained by Pakistani Secret Police or ISI. So the Taliban, most of them, are Afghan children but they have never experienced the Afghan culture and Afghan hospitality and living in Afghanistan. However some of them... WOODRUFF: I just want to ask you, you are yourself from Afghanistan, you have family now in Afghanistan, is that correct?

SHORISH-SHAMLEY: Yes, yes I do. I am from Afghanistan, I was born there. And after I finished 12th grade, I came to the United States to study. And that was 30 years ago.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you, let me just ask you about your organization. This organization that you have founded is devoted just to human rights violations in Afghanistan. What does that mean?

SHORISH-SHAMLEY: Well, we are trying to -- the organization was formed in 1997. What we have tried to do is to raise awareness about the plight and the situation of Afghan women under the Taliban rule, which has been totally -- the Afghan women have become virtual prisoners in their own society. They don't have even the basic rights that are required for human existence.

So we decided to do that, and we have been raising awareness in the US, at the international level, at the UN level. And many organizations of women from all over the world has been helping us in a sense, to raise awareness and working with us.

WOODRUFF: What is the Taliban view of women?

SHORISH-SHAMLEY: The Taliban basically view women as not even second-class citizens. To them women are, should not participate in any aspect of the public sphere. They should stay home and cook and perhaps raise children. So to them, women -- they believe that women are evil. That by women being on the public sphere that it sort of bring about evil. Or causes man to think evil thoughts. Which is preposterous because women -- this is something that in a society, they must participate in our religion, Islam, doesn't say anything that women should stay at home.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly, final question, how many people, what part of the population of Afghanistan do you believe truly supports the Taliban?

SHORISH-SHAMLEY: The Taliban are supported by their own extremists and terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden, perhaps a few Afghans, and other terrorist groups-extremist groups that are in Afghanistan, the Pakistan Taliban and the ISI which is the Pakistani Secret Police. So that is their support.

WOODRUFF: Zieba Shorish-Shamley, we thank you very much for joining us. She is the director of the Women's Alliance for Peace and Human Rights in Afghanistan. Thank you.

SHORISH-SHAMLEY: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. Well, the very subject that she was just discussing, the plight of women and others in Afghanistan is a subject of a documentary that is going to air during the next hour here on CNN. "Beneath the Veil: Undercover in Afghanistan" explores the daily lives of Afghans and it talks to Taliban leaders about their vision for a country that has become the focus of the world's attention.

For an inside, in-depth look at Afghanistan, stay with us for, "Beneath the Veil", that's at 11:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 Pacific. And you can see the documentary again at 7:00 Eastern, 4:00 Pacific tomorrow, on Sunday. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: It's the question that may well define this generation: "Where were you on September 11?"

CNN's Anne McDermott takes us back to other defining moments in American history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNE MCDERMOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Where were you when Kennedy was killed? For most Americans of a certain age, that was the question, that was the defining moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The final journey for John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

MCDERMOTT: But that was before September 11, the defining moment for us all now. Once that moment was Pearl Harbor, so terrible, so sudden. And then a season of assassination: the killing of King, the killing of another Kennedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Senator had -- he had blood all over him.

MCDERMOTT: Too much to take maybe. Americans got hardened. So much so, that awful as the attempt on Ronald Reagan's life was, it was not a defining moment. And neither was this...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beautiful, just beautiful.

MCDERMOTT: We knew the men on the Moon would succeed. But defining moments are about failure, sudden, horrible failure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a report from the flight dynamics officer that the vehicle has exploded.

MCDERMOTT: And it was seen live on TV. All defining moments are live these days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About a third of the building has been blown away.

MCDERMOTT: Blown up buildings or kids blowing away kids, Columbine was a searing image. And so was the Northridge Quake, but you had to be there to feel the terror. And quakes in California are not uncommon. But this, this was impossible, this could never have happened. This we won't ever forget. Anne McDermott, CNN Los Angeles.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Defining moment. And that's it for this special report on this Saturday night. I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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