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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America Strikes Back: Latest on Colin Powell's Visit with Pakistani President

Aired October 16, 2001 - 05:15   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: You're looking here at some live pictures that we're bringing in from the Al Jazeera network that is based in Qatar that we've been using quite a bit through the last few weeks in our coverage of the airstrikes in Afghanistan. This is a live picture and I don't know exactly what that is. It looks like it may be smoke. I understand this is coming in, this is shots of Kabul this morning and that appears to be smoke in the air. It's kind of hard to tell on this monitor I'm watching here. But we'll have to try to track down exactly what that is.

If that is smoke, that's probably proof of some more shelling going on right now around inside the capital, Kabul. We knew something had been happening around Kandahar, which is the other, the seat, the seat that the Taliban has been using, but not necessarily Kabul. So we'll get more on that for you.

In the meantime, let's go now to our Walter Rodgers. He is standing by in Islamabad, Pakistan. He's got the latest on Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit with the president, Pervez Musharraf, which they came out with a press conference not too long ago -- Walter, good morning.

WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Leon.

The U.S.-led airstrikes against Taliban targets in Afghanistan continue to be extraordinarily intense today, this despite the fact that a short while ago U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, emerged from a news conference saying that they hope those airstrikes would be of short duration. Nonetheless, the airstrikes are extraordinarily intense, according to CNN sources across the border, especially around Kandahar, where the CNN sources say that a Taliban military headquarters may have been totally demolished by airstrikes today. Also, these same sources are reporting that not far from Kandahar, which is a city in southeastern Afghanistan, not far from there a guerrilla base. An elite commando Taliban base may also have been totally destroyed.

One of the interesting weapons which we understand has been used today is a KC130, which is an old transport plane converted into a gunship with Gatling guns on the side. During the Vietnam War, this particular gunship was called Puff the Magic Dragon because whatever it targeted with those Gatling guns just disintegrated into dust. Nonetheless, at the news conference with Secretary Powell and President Musharraf, the focus seemed to be less on military affairs at this time, both saying they want the military campaign to be of short duration. It was also clear, President Musharraf at that news conference said Pakistan is committed to staying with the U.S.-led coalition against terrorism but President Musharraf was very clearly looking beyond the military campaign into sketching a new design for a future Afghanistan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTAN: Durable peace in Afghanistan would only be possible through the establishment of a broad-based, multi-ethnic government representing the demographic contours of Afghanistan, freely chosen by the Afghans without outside interference. Former King Zahid Shah, political leaders, moderate Taliban leaders, elements from the Northern Alliance, tribal elders, Afghans living outside their country, all can play a role in this regard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RODGERS: Secretary Powell, of course, stressed the importance of Pakistan in the future reshaping of this corner of South Asia. He said stability in South Asia is now of crucial importance to the United States, Secretary Powell making it clear Pakistan is once again a major player in the club.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: This isn't just a temporary spike in our relationship, but we believe as a result of the actions taken by Pakistan over the last five weeks we truly are at the beginning of a strengthened relationship, a relationship that will grow and thrive in the months and years ahead. We have had good talks today on how to build on our current excellent cooperation against international terrorism. The United States views that what we are building here, as I just said, is a solid foundation for a long-term and improved relationship. I've expressed our thanks to President Musharraf for his bold and courageous actions as part of the global coalition against international terrorism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RODGERS: It was very interesting that both Secretary Powell and the Pakistani president are clearly leaving the door open to Taliban participation in a future Afghan government. That Taliban participation, both men stressed, however, had to be moderate Taliban efforts, moderate Taliban elements across the border, not what Secretary Powell called the extremists -- Leon.

HARRIS: Walter Rodgers reporting live for us from Islamabad, Pakistan, thank you very much.

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