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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America Strikes Back: Military Strategy Against Terrorism

Aired October 10, 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: On day four of air strikes over Afghanistan, what is next in the U.S. military strategy? We are going to check in with Bob Franken who is reporting live from the Pentagon this morning.

Good morning, Bob, do you have a view around the corner?

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A view around the corner. Around the corner. First of all, more air strikes, in spite of the fact that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld both say that the Untied States has achieved air supremacy. It does not mean the air attacks are going to stop and the reason for that is that, one, they want to hit targets as they -- quote -- "emerge," to use the term.

That is to say if somebody pops his head up he can expect to see an airplane dropping a bomb on him, and they're going to also try and re-hit some of the targets, airfields, surface-to-air missile sites and the like. But of course the question is what about ground troops? Here's what we know. We know that there are special operations forces in the region.

We know that there are in fact there are ground troops from the 10th Mountain Division in the region, meaning at least in Uzbekistan. Various military analysts and defense officials here say that we can expect that those special operations units will be traveling in and out of Afghanistan, number 1, to try and hunt down Osama bin Laden, to try and kidnap him perhaps. That's not something they like to talk about here but that is the nature of a commando operation.

But there's also psychological warfare. There's also trying to recruit defectors from the other side and try and get them to become loyal to the Northern Alliance that has sort of turned out to be the U.S. ally here. And also to try and train some of the rebels. We can expect that there will be ground operations. We can also expect that we're not going to hear a lot about it, particularly while it's going on -- Carol.

LIN: Have they -- has the Pentagon, though, been very specific about what the mission will be for these special ops forces? You mentioned some of them, but is the specific mission to kidnap and arrest or kill Osama bin Laden? FRANKEN: I cannot overemphasize how unspecific the Pentagon has been about that kind of thing, how grudging it has been about giving information, citing constantly the fact that it's not going to give out operational details unless, of course, somebody here decides it wants to give out an operational detail. But as far as the introduction of ground troops, they won't even comment that there will be ground troops in the area. We do know, of course, that the ground troops have been sent, at least into Uzbekistan. We do know that there are special operations units in the area but none of this is coming out very easily from the Pentagon.

LIN: All right. So in terms of strategy in coordinating with the Northern Alliance and other opposition groups inside, what it sounds like they are saying, though, is that the U.S. military will be working hand in hand with those groups.

FRANKEN: Well they don't say that, but of course that's the unmistakable impression. What the hope is here is that the United States is not perceived as ultimately overthrowing a government and putting on its own client government. What is the perception that they hope to get here is that there is a popular uprising in Afghanistan and that the Taliban government as well as al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden's group, will get the -- quoting the Defense Secretary -- "the heave ho."

LIN: The heave ho, all right, we shall see. Thank you very much. Bob Franken reporting live from the Pentagon.

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