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America's New War: U.S. Strategy

Aired September 27, 2001 - 05:21   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.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: With Afghanistan squarely in its sights, the United States is fighting terrorism on several fronts.

Military might is building in the Gulf region, and now as CNN's Andrea Koppel reports, it's turning to the Afghan people to topple their government.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the Bush administration, hints of a broad U.S. strategy, not only to get Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, but also to prepare the Afghan people for a future without the Taliban.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Hopefully, a better day is ahead for the Afghan people, but right now, I'm not prepared to say, nor is the United States government prepared to say, how they might be governed in the future, or what might be the fate of the Taliban regime.

KOPPEL: But, in fact, the Bush administration is appealing to the Afghan people in public statements to look beyond the current regime.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To ask for the cooperation of citizens within Afghanistan who may be tired of having the Taliban in place.

KOPPEL: The Bush administration is also meeting quietly with moderate members of the Taliban regime and a number of Afghan opposition groups. Administration officials tell CNN the U.S. goal: to use the former Afghan king, Mohammed Zahir Shah, as a rallying force to bring these groups in Afghanistan and around the world together.

The U.S. is also preparing to support the Northern Alliance, an armed group of freedom fighters in Afghanistan, as well as two main Afghan coalitions: the Rome Group, led by the former Afghan king and his supporters, and the Cyprus Group, which includes exiled Afghan intellectuals, former congressmen, ministers and university professors. Together, they represent Afghanistan's diverse ethnic, political and religious society.

The U.S. has even used a message broadcast over Voice of America Radio of the exiled Afghan king, who calls on his former subjects to rescue themselves from this dangerous situation, urging them to struggle towards the liberation of their homeland and people.

Quadir Amiryar, a professor at George Washington University, is a member of the Cyprus Group, and says the will is there to form a new government in Afghanistan, but the means are not.

QUADIR AMIRYAR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: We are working for peace, but we are empty-handed. We don't have resources, and the promotion of peace, it requires (UNINTELLIGIBLE) resources, as you can see (UNINTELLIGIBLE) by what is going on right now.

KOPPEL (on camera): The wild card in all of this is Pakistan, which helped create the Taliban and doesn't want a change in government. In order to keep the support of Pakistan, then, a critical component of any campaign, the U.S. must make sure that any new Afghan government is not hostile to Pakistan. Said one administration official: You can't win in Afghanistan and then lose Pakistan.

Andrea Koppel, CNN at the State Department.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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