Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS
CNN TV
EDITIONS
SERVICES
CNN TV
EDITIONS


CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Target: Terrorism - Northern Afghanistan

Aired October 2, 2001 - 06:41   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: And also, a very special treat for you. CNN's Chris Burns, who's been reporting from northern Afghanistan, is in a really interesting place with a lot of historic value and maybe a future still in any sort of administration in Afghanistan.

Chris, tell us where you are.

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, quite an amazing sight. It's called Jabul Saraj, it's a town that is north of Kabul, about 70 kilometers or 40 miles north of Kabul. In this town, this is the palace, one of the palaces, one of the royal palaces. In back of me is what used to be the stables for this palace, about 90 years old.

Now what you see are Soviet made armored personnel carriers and other kinds of war debris, including this Soviet helmet and some -- there's heavy machine gun, 50-caliber machine gun bullets.

The -- this is what is left because of what the fighting has gone on here over the last 30 years or so between the Mujahideen and the Soviets, as well as between various civil groups here, including the national -- the Northern Alliance and the Taliban, who are fighting right now not far from here, in fact.

This was reduced to ruin in the last few years. It used to be a beautiful place, actually. It was the Habibullah Khan's -- the King Habibullah Khan's palace retreat. And you -- as you can see, it was reduced complete to ruin.

The hope is that one of his descendants, Mohamed Zahir Shah, will be able to take the reins in a -- in some kind of a coalition government once the Taliban are dislodged. That was the concern by the international community, as if the air strikes, U.S. air strikes, if they do come and topple the Taliban, who would take over? Would there be a new round of factional fighting?

But this, because of a recent agreement in the last few days in Rome where Mohamed Zahir Shah lives, there is an agreement, a tentative agreement, to form some kind of a coalition government once the Taliban leave, hopefully providing stability for the Afghans, and also allowing cooperation with the Americans to hunt down terrorist targets here.

LIN: Chris, can you give us an idea of how big the palace grounds are? BURNS: Well, pretty amazing. Well, there are gardens here, there are pools, there are fountains. It's -- I would say it's definitely several acres. In fact, it's rumored that this was in part, at least, a harem for the king. He had a number of his wives here over his entire life. He had almost 50 children. So quite an active king. And this was quite a beautiful place, really. There are more gardens if you go behind these buildings here, there are some amazing gardens, and trees and orchards.

And all of this was just reduced to ruin by all that fighting. And so this makes it really a symbol of what Afghanistan is now. It was a country that had a lot of promise, and now it lays in ruins, and now hopefully at least some people hope that the king will return to try to restore order.

LIN: Remarkable.

BURNS: Back to the studio.

LIN: Thank you very much. Chris Burns, what a great tour there. An active king, and a tired one with 50 wives, I imagine.

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


 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top