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


CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America Strikes Back: Military Planning Going on at the Pentagon

Aired October 11, 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.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we heard the report from the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan about those air strikes saying that they -- that the Pentagon was lying when it said it was not targeting civilians at all.

Let's go to the Pentagon right now. Our Bob Franken is checking in for the first time this morning. He's got a preview this morning of the next phase of the military operation.

Morning, Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

Well, the next phase, and we've been hearing this for quite some time, will involve much heavier involvement, as we all know, by ground forces, in particular the special operations forces -- the special forces. We hear this over and over again, and they could be staged from some of the countries around Afghanistan, Pakistan, for instance, or Uzbekistan. Of course all of that is very, very sensitive.

But another staging area we're hearing from officials will be the USS Kitty Hawk. Now the Kitty Hawk, of course, is an aircraft carrier. We followed the progress as it moved from Japan to the area. And of course we reported at the time that it was minus its full compliment of airplanes, meaning there is a huge amount of deck space. And that deck space could, in effect, become a floating staging area where helicopters could take off, for instance, and special forces troops could be deposited into the areas in Afghanistan where they want to go to do their missions -- which could include everything from encouraging defections from the Taliban to the other side to trying to find Osama bin Laden.

Whatever those missions are we do know that special forces units in fact are on the ground and are on the Kitty Hawk. There is no report, of course, from the Pentagon about exactly how they'll be used or when they'll be used. That's going to be what has been described many times as a largely invisible part of this military operation.

And of course while that planning goes on here in the building, you sometimes have to force yourself to remember that it was exactly one month ago that this building -- this very building where the planning is now back to a normal kind of war planning, if you can have such a thing, was hit by that American Airlines 757 which crashed into the building. It was exactly one month ago at 9:38 in the morning here where it crashed into the building, ripping apart a big section on the other side of this building, and of course killing 189 people, so many of whom have not been found.

But on this one month anniversary there will be a memorial service at 11:00 this morning. President Bush will be here, along with the defense secretary. They'll be speaking. And included in the audience, about 3,000 members of the families of those 189 victims, not including, of course, the hijackers who are counted among those who were killed here.

But in any case, 189 victims who were left in the wake of the crash here, which, while it was dwarfed in size by the -- what happened in New York City, the impact of course was felt so much here as an airplane penetrated what had been regarded as the impenetrable center of the military planning, the military action in the United States -- Leon.

HARRIS: Well in the meantime, Bob, there will be a whole different kind of impact going on over in Afghanistan half a world away from that memorial service today. Let me ask you about the phase that is still in -- underway right now.

We were talking earlier this morning about these new 5,000-pound bombs that are being dropped over there in order to demoralize the Taliban and actually targeting the troops. These bombs are capable, Jamie McIntyre reported, they're capable of knocking out an even well defended bunkers and even caves. Now is that the sense now that we're going to be going out there or the troops, rather, are going to be going over there now and dropping these bombs in caves?

FRANKEN: Well, they are used particularly to go after fortified bunkers. They're being newly introduced to Afghanistan, of course, but they've been used since the Persian Gulf War and they literally burrow under ground. They have such a massive amount of force they can go through the cement fortification and that type of thing and really make the previously safe bunkers unsafe, and they are, in fact, going after some of the Taliban leadership, some of the al Qaeda leadership.

The message, of course, is that there will be no place to hide -- that in fact there will be a specific effort to go after those individuals to try, of course, and demoralize them and perhaps to convince them that it was time to give it up and just surrender their power. That, of course, would be the ultimate hope of a military action like that.

HARRIS: No doubt. No doubt at all. Bob Franken at the Pentagon, thanks. We'll talk with you later on.

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