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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America Strikes Back: Taliban Ambassador Accuses U.S. of Hitting Civilian Targets

Aired October 10, 2001 - 06:07   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: Right now let's go to Pakistan -- let's go to Islamabad, Pakistan. Our Tom Mintier standing by there at his usual post. He's got the latest for us from there. We've been hearing reports of attacks in Kandahar and also a big fire at a Pakistan army headquarters and Tom's got the latest for us on that.

Morning, Tom.

TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Leon. As you said, we just heard from the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan and they do say a picture is worth a thousand words -- these pictures we've been seeing from the Pentagon, now you see it now you don't. But the Taliban's ambassador to Pakistan saying that their air defense system is still in tact, their SAM missiles are still in tact, that basically little or no damage has been done, accusing the United States of going out and hitting other targets that were civilian targets.

He went down a long list saying that the 37,000 food packets that the United States had dropped, been collected by the Taliban and set alight. He also said that the United States was going down a slippery slope, the same one that the Soviets went down in the '70s, and said that the United States will face the same problem.

At the same time, he said that Muslims around the world will indeed support the cause of the Taliban saying he was sure of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABDUL SALAM ZAEEF, TALIBAN AMBASSADOR TO PAKISTAN: We appreciate the Islamic feelings and support shown by all Muslims of the world with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. They know America has unleashed an unprecedented operation, an atrocity against our country. Relying on its -- relying on its military might, technology and political influence, America thinks it will win the war, but it is ignorant of the fact that war is not won merely by material things. Our past history speaks for our strong will and determination.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MINTIER: It was a defiant ambassador that we heard go on for nearly 40 minutes basically touching just about every area that he was asked, saying that the al Qaeda network was not a network of terrorists, saying that they supported them and Osama bin Laden basically is not under the restrictions that he had been previously, that the Taliban sees no need to restrict his movements. Once again also offering up that he could be put on trial inside Afghanistan before an Islamic court.

We also did get an update on the eight aid workers, the German- based aid agency, that are being held over for trial saying that they are safe but the trial itself has been suspended. But he spent most of the time making accusations against the United States for launching a military attack against Afghanistan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZAEEF: Leveling the indictment of harboring so-called terrorism, America warns to replace the sitting government in Afghanistan and install former king Zahir Shah in the saddle of power. Washington is carrying out brutal attacks on our military and civilian sites to achieve this end. It has sparked off the fury of not only the Muslim people of Afghanistan but all Muslim world and other justice and freedom loving people of the globe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MINTIER: Just about the only thing the Taliban ambassador didn't deal with happened in Islamabad in the early hours of this morning. There was a fire at the army general headquarters, a fire that started very early in the morning, around 4:00 in the morning, and burned for several hours. Several wooden structures were destroyed along with the furniture and files inside. The Pakistani military saying that this was caused by a short-circuit, but everyone is quite aware here that just a couple of days ago the top commands of the army were basically reshuffled and the head of ISI was also replaced. So some are looking to that but right now the government says the initial investigation says it was a short-circuit -- Leon.

HARRIS: All right, thank you very much. Tom Mintier reporting live this morning from Islamabad, Pakistan.

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