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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America's New War: Weighing the Options

Aired October 1, 2001 - 06:36   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.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Now, it is not the matter (ph) that there's little dialogue between the Taliban and the White House. Fact is, there is no dialogue. And it appears that the two sides have less and less to say to each other.

Our national correspondent, national security correspondent, David Ensor reports now on the options other than talking.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With renewed indications the Taliban will not turn over Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants in the al Qaeda group to justice, U.S. officials may now face a hard reality. In order to get those responsible for the September 11 attacks, the United States may have to take on thousands of Taliban forces protecting them.

It is a challenge administration officials would prefer to avoid.

ANDREW CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We're not about nation building here, we're about ridding the world of terrorists and making sure that no nation is a place where terrorists feel that they can get comfort and aid.

ENSOR: With the military challenge possibly growing in scope, the Bush administration is discussing what military bases and assets it can use in neighboring countries, in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to the north, and to the east, in Pakistan, whose leader insists he has not been asked for military bases.

PRES. PERVEZ MUSHARAFF, PAKISTAN: Since we haven't gone into the details, I wouldn't like to go into the modalities off tactical details.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But as a last resort, if it becomes absolutely necessary, would you allow U.S. forces to be based here?

MUSHARAFF: Well, as I said, certainly we need to consider...

ENSOR: In fact, U.S. officials confirm, military-to-military discussions have been under way in Pakistan. But due to Musharaff's worries about opposition within Pakistan to assisting the U.S. military, a delicate diplomatic maneuver, at least for now, is giving him plausible deniability. The United States has not officially asked for bases, but has instead discussed what bases it could have if it asked.

The same diplomatic dance is apparently under way with Saudi Arabia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THIS WEEK," ABC)

PRINCE BANDAR BIN SULTAN, SAUDI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: We have not been asked for using of the bases in Saudi Arabia, and therefore this is hypothetical for me to answer it one way or another.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ENSOR: In case it does come to a regime change in Afghanistan, a number of U.S. delegations have met in Rome with the 86-year-old former king, Mohamed Zahir Shah, seen by many as a man around whom a new Afghan coalition government could gather.

Zahir Shah says he doesn't want to be king any more. But despite Taliban threats to kill him if he returns to Afghanistan, his grandson says the former monarch does want to help his people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THIS WEEK," ABC)

PRINCE MOSTAPHA ZAHIR SHAH: His majesty would like to, as a symbolic figure, as a father figure, he unites all the various different groups of Afghanistans, take Afghanistan out of this calamity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ENSOR (on camera): Bush administration officials are keeping their eyes firmly on their first objective, bringing bin Laden and al- Qaeda to justice. But an expanded U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and its region appears likely for years to come if the danger of additional terrorism on American soil is to be reduced.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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