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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Taliban Gearing Up for U.S.-Led Attacks

Aired October 4, 2001 - 06:19   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: As only a few networks can do, we are going to take you live inside of Afghanistan right now. We're going to go to eastern Afghanistan, but for the security and protection of Kamal Hyder who is a journalist there, we will not be able to tell you exactly where he is.

But, Kamal, you've got a pretty good view of what the Taliban is doing to gear up for any U.S.-led military strikes. What are you seeing there?

KAMAL HYDER, JOURNALIST: Well, Carol, I can tell you this that these people are also prepared, and they seem to be committed of a fight. How they do that is anybody's guess, but from what we can see here, they are trying to disperse their troops into the rural areas. They want to use the terrain to their advantage. Afghanistan's terrain, it must be remembered, is very difficult terrain and high priority targets are difficult to find. So these people are banking on the concept that they will go into the rural areas and continue a campaign of guerrilla warfare. Mullah Mohammed Omar is also saying that it will not be a conventional battle that the Taliban will fight, indicating, therefore, that it will be a guerrilla campaign.

The key question here is which way the people will go and that is the main decisive fact in any future battle -- Carol.

LIN: Kamal, then I'm wondering, we have a report here that the Taliban is trying to gear up its military by grabbing young men and forcing them into the military and if they refuse, that they're going to be shot right on the spot. How is this to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people?

HYDER: Carol, I cannot confirm this at this moment. We have no indications to suggest that. The Taliban have also been trying to, you know, score points on this -- in this battle of winning the hearts and minds of the people. If they start forcing people into conscription, of which we see no signs here, at least in some of the eastern provinces which we have access to. They do not have -- I mean they will not do something which will alienate the population, a population that they so desperately need the support of -- Carol.

LIN: Kamal, so what specifically are they doing? Are they relaxing some of their social rules? What evidence do you see that they might be easing up on their people? HYDER: Well, one thing is for very -- one thing is very clear, their Wise and Virtue Ministry, which basically was the dreaded ministry here which enforced strict laws on the people, basically arresting people for beards, small beards or not having beards, forcing people into prayer, of course confiscating audio tape, things like that. I mean they became very, very unpopular, and they -- the people were saying that they would not spare these people. Those people are now trying to stay aloof, not enforcing the regulations as they used to in the past. They are now trying to show a moderate side just to be able to convince the people that they are also very, you know, sensitive to the feeling of the people -- Carol.

LIN: So is it working, Kamal?

HYDER: Yes, they are working. I mean not the way -- I mean it's too early to say whether it's working or not because the people of Afghanistan are still pondering over which way to go, whether they should stand by their government or whether they should support the king. At this moment, things are very difficult for these people to come out in the open and say they support the king or they support the Taliban. Publicly they are saying they are supporting the Taliban, privately they may have reservations, but I think that decision will be made by the Afghan people after Afghanistan is attacked.

LIN: Yes, obviously.

HYDER: It will become very clear what decision they take -- Carol.

LIN: Obviously not a great time to have a personal political opinion inside of Afghanistan.

Thank you very much. Kamal Hyder reporting from eastern Afghanistan.

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