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Battle for Konduz Continues; What's Next for Afghanistan After the Taliban?; What's Ahead for Afghan Women?

Aired November 18, 2001 - 22:00   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.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, this is a CNN special report, America Strikes Back. I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington.

Ahead this hour, the bombardment of Konduz, the choice for many Taliban: Surrender or suicide.

The Afghan power play. After the Taliban, what's next? A former U.S. envoy says it's a window of opportunity for political fanatics. We'll talk to him.

And women without the veil. The perils and the opportunities ahead.

But we begin with some of the latest developments we're following tonight. CNN has learned of a terrorist attack planned against two hotels in the Jordanian resort of Petra. Sources tell CNN that Jordanian authorities thwarted the plan when they intercepted a phone call, in which an oath of loyalty to Osama bin Laden was invoked. Three men were arrested.

The U.S. embassy in Islamabad says the two American aid workers rescued from Afghanistan Thursday have now left Pakistan with their families. Officials won't say where Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry are. But Curry had indicated they would be debriefed for more than week before returning to the U.S.

In Washington, Capitol Police say two Senate office buildings closed over the weekend for anthrax testing will reopen tomorrow. The shutdown was prompted by a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy that was discovered Friday in a batch of quarantined mail. It is similar to other anthrax-tainted letters, and was positive for the bacteria in initial tests. A third Senate office building remains closed.

The battle for the Taliban's last stronghold in northern Afghanistan is escalating. Some 20,000 Taliban soldiers in the city of Konduz are surrounded by Northern Alliance forces, and they are taking a daily pounding from U.S. warplanes. CNN's Satinder Bindra reports the Taliban's situation is desperate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SATINDER BINDRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For two days, U.S. planes have kept up a relentless barrage of air strikes against front line Taliban positions in Konduz. Still, an estimated 20,000 Taliban fighters trapped there show no signs of surrendering.

Some bombs fall within a mile of our cameras. This is as close to the Konduz front as one can possibly get. We reach here by trekking for hours through mountain passes. A team of donkeys and mules carries our lightweight videophone and other gear. The climb is so steep, one of our mules collapses, too exhausted to go on.

But we do eventually manage to reach our destination, a hill with a bird's eye view of Konduz. Here, Northern Alliance forces, led by General Atiquallah Baryalai are directing fire on Taliban positions with pinpoint accuracy.

NAZEER MOHAMMED, NORTHERN ALLIANCE COMMANDER (through translator): The air strikes were successful. Some bombs dropped on Taliban strongholds. The bombs dropped on target.

BINDRA: General Baryalai says 30 Taliban fighters have been killed in the latest air attacks. The Northern Alliance, too, is suffering casualties. Several of their fighters have been killed. Others have been injured.

In such circumstances, the Northern Alliance says it's willing to offer the Taliban safe passage from Konduz to Pakistan if they turn in their weapons. But a hard-core element of Taliban fighters, the Arabs, Chechens and Pakistanis, have shown no interest in negotiations.

MOHAMMED (through translator): When they are faced with our army, they fight hard. Some people who knew they were going to be captured committed suicide by exploding hand grenades and bombs.

BINDRA: Northern Alliance commanders say in one instance 60 Chechen fighters hurled themselves into a river, preferring death by drowning rather than surrender.

Northern Alliance commanders say four senior al Qaeda commanders are trapped in Konduz. They say these hard-core Taliban forces are now even killing those local fighters who have expressed an interest in negotiations.

(on camera): Just over my shoulder is the city of Konduz. It's surrounded on all four sides by an estimated 30,000 Northern Alliance fighters. But these fighters say they lack the ammunition and weaponry to launch a full-scale offensive against the Taliban.

(voice-over): So the Northern Alliance says it will continue trying to engineer defections. In the meantime, it wants the U.S. to keep up these punishing air strikes, and if the Taliban still don't surrender, the Northern Alliance says it will launch attacks in some sectors.

MOHAMMED (through translator): We are trying to finish negotiations. If they don't accept, we will be ready to attack.

BINDRA: Northern Alliance commanders realize the Taliban are running low on supplies, and cannot last forever. So, they are appealing to the international community to help them defeat what they describe as a terrorist army.

Satinder Bindra, CNN, on the front lines in Konduz.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Well, that's the situation near Konduz. The Taliban also are apparently closer to losing their spiritual capital of Kandahar. U.S. airstrikes have caused heavy damage in recent days. Now sources inside Afghanistan tell CNN that the Taliban are losing public support, with some civilians trying to disarm Taliban soldiers. Sources also say the Taliban are considering giving up control of the city to Afghan tribal leaders and retreating to the nearby mountains to wage a guerrilla war.

You can find more on the latest military developments inside Afghanistan, including detailed maps, on our Web site, that's CNN.com. The AOL keyword: CNN.

Well, President Bush is back at the White House tonight. He arrived from his Texas ranch, where he met for three days with Russia's President Vladimir Putin. With the situation in Afghanistan rapidly changing, the White House is increasingly focusing on forming a viable new government for Afghanistan. CNN's White House correspondent Major Garrett has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Yielding to intense U.S. pressure, the Northern Alliance Sunday agreed to a U.N.-sponsored meeting to prepare for a multi-ethnic government in Afghanistan.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: The purpose of the meeting would be to be bring together a number of leaders representing different parts of Afghanistan, different ethnicities, different tribes, and see if we can get an interim government in place. And then stand at the broader government over time.

GARRETT: Filling the political vacuum is a top U.S. priority. The U.S. wants the Northern Alliance, made up of Uzbeks and Tajiks and backed by Russia and Iran, to share power with the Pashtuns, backed by Pakistan. Failure could trigger another Afghan civil war and jeopardize the coalition against terror.

On another front, top U.S. officials sound increasingly confident about zeroing in on Osama bin Laden.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We do believe that he continues to operate in a fairly narrow range. We think that the more that we are stripping away his protection, in a sense, stripping away the Taliban , stripping away the hard-core fighters that protect him, that we are beginning to narrow his possibilities for hiding.

GARRETT: But U.S. officials doubt bin Laden has a crude nuclear bomb, but say the terrifying possibility races the military stakes even higher. RICE: If ever it were clear that we are in a war of self- defense, this kind of information, that they are seeking a weapon of mass destruction just makes case that case even stronger.

GARRETT: But as the net tightens around bin Laden, Sunday's "Washington Post" reported that U.S. forces on ten different occasions in the past six weeks, failed to fire on top al Qaeda and Taliban operatives because commanders concerned about inflicting civilian casualties declined to give go ahead.

POWELL: There is always some creative discussion, I will call it, with respect to targeting, I'm very familiar with it. And I'm sure the Pentagon is able to resolve these questions as they come along.

GARRETT (voice-over): But the war is not the only top U.S. priority. Secretary of State Powell will deliver a key speech on Monday outlining the U.S. vision for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. There is no new U.S. plan, but there will be a stern call for the both sides to stop the violence and move swiftly to serious negotiations.

Major Garrett, CNN, Crawford, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: As you're hearing, the situation on the ground in Afghanistan is changing rapidly. And for the latest information, let's go live to Kabul and to CNN's Ben Wedeman.

Ben, good morning. I know it is now Monday morning there. And let me start by asking you about these diplomatic reports that the Northern Alliance is ready to open up, to have talks with other tribal leaders. Is that what you are hearing on the ground there?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Certainly, we are hearing that. And the Northern Alliance is paying lip service to the idea of some sort of national unity arrangement. Yesterday, Abdullah Abdullah, the foreign minister of the Northern Alliance, met with Jim Dobbins, he is U.S. special ambassador to the region. They met in Tashkent. And there, he reiterated the Northern Alliance's pledge to cooperate to participate in U.N.-sponsored talks to build some sort of broad-based coalition, including all of the ethnic groups.

But there are concerns that the Northern Alliance, flush with victory, is not necessarily going to be as compromising, as willing to share as other parties might wish. Certainly after their fairly stunning advance across the entire country, essentially, with the exception of parts of the south, they are not necessarily in the mood to share, to give up some of the power they have gained by taking over Kabul and really all of Afghanistan's major cities.

As I said, they are paying fairly good lip service to the idea of a broad-based coalition arrangement, but we really have yet to see whether they will make good on those statements -- Judy. WOODRUFF: Ben, from what that you are seeing, are the local leaders of the Northern Alliance, the lower level, if you will, military leaders, are they paying allegiance to the leaders in the upper echelon, maybe having these diplomatic discussions?

WEDEMAN: Well, certainly there is a rather broad, wide gap. If you look at the situation between people like Abdullah Abdullah, and the men on the ground, the men in the front-lines. And they tend to have allegiance to their commanders, their military commanders. Basically, you could call them warlords because it is not really an army in the classic sense.

And therefore, there is no guarantee that they will be willing to go along across the board, across the country, with some sort of arrangement that may be worked out with the help, the assistance of United Nations, the United States and other interested parties. And the certainly, we have seen throughout the '90 a continued fragmentation of the groups on the ground. And therefore we really have to wait and see. But certainly the basic elements some sort of resolution aren't necessarily here.

If you walk around streets of Kabul, certainly, people are tired of it. They are sick of war and destruction and chaos, but many of the men who carry arms at the front-line have become so accustomed to doing that, that as we have seen in other civil wars like Lebanon and Sierra Leone, for instance, sometimes you get into a vicious cycle where the men who carry the weapons really are accustomed to nothing else, and therefore it is hard for the arrangements worked out by international diplomats to be implemented on the ground -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. We hear what you are saying. Ben Wedeman reporting from Kabul, where it is Monday morning. It looks like a cold, windy morning. Thanks very much, Ben. Good to see you.

We will consider more on who might eventually control Afghanistan coming up later in the newscast. Peter Tomsen, former special envoy to the Afghan Mujahedeen, will join us with his insights.

The emergence of the anthrax scare had an unexpected effect on a factory in the small town of Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yep, we are making the rubber gloves. And the Postal service, they really need them right now, and hopefully we can get them out as they need them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Still to come on this SPECIAL REPORT as America Strikes Back, the makers of the country's new weapon against terrorism.

And next, anti-U.S. sentiment erupts on the streets of London.

Plus, military analyst, Retired General Wesley Clark, on the search for Osama bin Laden.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Welcome back. The U.S.-led war in Afghanistan is gaining ground on the battlefield, but it was condemned by protesting Muslims on the streets of London today. CNN's Walter Rodgers has more on the backlash from a different front line.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): British leftists and Muslims demonstrated in London Sunday calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan, this even as U.S.-British forces are reportedly closing the ring around Osama bin Laden.

For many here, bin Laden is not the enemy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The enemy is George Bush and his war on the innocent people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is the real enemy? USA!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Jews are.

RODGERS: Even as Britain prepares to send a further 6,000 troops to Afghanistan, British Muslims resist their government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even if they do catch bin Laden, what would happen then? Hundreds of other bin Ladens would turn up.

RODGERS: Perhaps, but not likely in Afghanistan.

In less than ten days, the Northern Alliance forces have routed bin Laden and his Taliban associates with American and British support. A week ago, the Taliban controlled 90 percent of Afghanistan. The Taliban toe-hold now is down to 15 percent. And while the Northern Alliance strengthens its hold, British officials point out it was bin Laden who brought all this down on the heads of the Afghan people.

JOHN REID, BRITISH CABINET MINISTER: We should never forget what was the prime mover in this whole exercise. This did not happen out of a vacuum. It happened because of a terrible, terrible act of terrorism, where thousands of people died.

RODGERS: The "Sunday Times" in London, quoting British defense forces, reported that British and U.S. Special Operations troops have cornered Osama bin Laden in a 30 square mile area southeast of Kandahar, in a highly mountainous pocket of Afghanistan. Afghan officials also suggest time could be running our for bin Laden.

ABDULLAH ABDULLAH, N. ALLIANCE FOREIGN MINISTER: There are ways of getting out, but Osama bin Laden cannot get out alone. He's protected by his body guards. He carries heavy body guards with him all the time. So he's not a single man to leave Afghanistan. That's not possible. RODGERS: Unclear at this point is how the Islamic world will react if indeed bin Laden is cornered.

(on camera): Unanswered is the question of whether bin Laden would ever allow himself to be taken alive. But if he were killed, demonstrations like this suggest there might be no shortage of mourners in certain quarters of the Islamic world.

Walter Rodgers, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: For a closer look now at what is happening inside Afghanistan, let's turn to retired General Wesley Clark. He is the former supreme commander of NATO.

General Clark, good to see you again. Let's start with Osama bin Laden. This report that perhaps he has been pinned down a 30 square mile area near Kandahar, do you think it's likely?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK (RET.), FMR NATO SUPREME COMMANDER: It's possible that we could have heard that he went in there. Whether we have got full surveillance to keep him there or not remains at issue.

WOODRUFF: Do you think -- let me put it this way -- given what -- you have heard all the reports and I know you follow them very closely -- do you doubt that the U.S.-led forces will eventually be able to either capture, or one way or another, get bin Laden and Mullah Omar?

CLARK: I don't doubt it. First of all, as far as the Taliban is concerned, I think their existence is numbered in hours and days. I think their end is clearly in sight. As far as Osama bin Laden is concerned and al Qaeda is concerned, it is an International movement. There remains a possibility that he could escape.

But I think it's been very difficult for him because the rapid collapses interrupted his lines of communication, it's thrown confusion around his escape channels. He no doubt had these channels prepared, but to be able to use them he has got to have assurance that they are open, and my guess is that he can't get that insurance, and he'll probably go underground, just as the report suggests.

WOODRUFF: What would, or what should coalition forces, if they do come upon him, I mean, what is the procedure then?

CLARK: Well, if we know where he is, and he is in a headquarters that's probably going to struck first by aircraft. If we had him cornered in a built-up area with a lot of surveillance and there is time, we'd probably have reaction forces that come in by helicopter or be air dropped in on him, or maybe there are troops on the ground that can be brought together quickly enough to take him.

And there will be an effort to take him, but the taking will probably involve -- it will involve combat, and if he resists, if he is in a position where it looks like he is going to threaten the forces or the people around him are, there will be a lot of shooting. Chances are, he won't make it.

WOODRUFF: But he would be given, in your mind, an opportunity to surrender first?

CLARK: I think it's very much a function of what the circumstances are around him. I just don't see our people in a position where they would be able to risk their own lives for a prolonged period and give him a chance to shoot first. So when it comes down to that face-to-face, he is probably not going to get the chance to surrender, if there is combat ongoing, unless he just jumps up and says, "stop, I surrender."

But you know, when we have done war criminals before, and we have worked this, it hasn't been in these circumstances. We can't predict what the circumstance is, but you are going after -- let's put it in a house. You're going after a house, you know there's some al Qaeda in there. And you go in, and there's gunfire, there's an exchange of fire, and as the special forces know how to do -- you can read about it in "Black Hawk Down." They go into the house, they throw some grenades, they shoot, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, and it's over very quickly. They don't really identify who people are. If a man has a gun in his hands, if he looks like he's hostile, he's going to get shot.

WOODRUFF: What about -- let me ask you, General Clark, about this story, the report in the "Washington Post" today that as many as 10 times over the last six weeks U.S. Air Force believed it had top Taliban and al Qaeda people pinned down, but they were unable to get permission to go after them, either, the article says, because of the bureaucracy in the military or because of disagreements inside the central command.

CLARK: Well, there are always going to be disagreements in war. We have seen them in every operation. We saw them in the operation I commanded in Kosovo. But it takes a chain of command to run an operation, there's guidance that comes down from the top. You have to have good balance and good judgment, and General Tommy Franks is responsible for that operation. So, if he is not totally confident, he doesn't want to kill a bunch of innocent civilians and cause more problems that way, so he's going to probably withhold.

I don't think you can second-guess the commander, but I would say this: The chain of command is the avenue to address these, and there's nothing wrong with the press reporting it, but the question is, how it gets to the press. I think those kinds of issues need to be handled by the military inside the military chain of command, not by an appeal to the public.

WOODRUFF: It sounds like you're saying someone in the Air Force shouldn't have talked.

CLARK: Well, we don't know who talked in this case. I doubt it was General Franks.

WOODRUFF: OK. All right. General Wesley Clark, former head of NATO extreme commander, thank you very much, general. Good to see you. We appreciate it.

America's biggest city once again shows the size of its heart today.

(MUSIC)

WOODRUFF: When we come back, an emotional prayer service for the victims of Flight 587.

Plus, a special light show put on by mother nature.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Welcome back. It was a day of mourning for the victims of Flight 587. Almost a week ago, the American Airlines plane crashed in suburban Rockaway, New York. Today, a prayer service was held in a park about two miles from the crash site. CNN's Brian Palmer was there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hundreds filed into the improvised auditorium on the sea, a prayer service for those who died when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into a cluster of homes in Belle Harbor, New York.

Most of those on the flight were from the Dominican Republic, as were many of the people who gathered on this cloudless fall day. Five people from Belle Harbor died on the ground. They too were mourned.

Among the honored guests, firefighters from the companies that battled the fire, rescued the injured, and recovered the dead. Officials from the United States and the Dominican Republic greeted families, then stood side by side on stage. But they made no speeches. Members of the clergy offered solace.

MONSIGNOR JAMES F. SPENGLER, EPISCOPAL VICAR, QUEENS SOUTH: Our brothers and sisters were suddenly taken from us. Come swiftly to their aid. Have mercy on them and grant them eternal life and peace. Comfort their families in their loss and sorrow.

RABBI MICHAEL MILLER, JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS: Tears are not shed in Spanish. Tears are not shed in Hebrew. The tears themselves are a common language.

PALMER: Throughout the solemn ceremony, constant reminders of life as it is now, an airliner streaking overhead, and heavy security -- on land, at sea and in the air.

(on camera): After the prayer service, some of the families chose to visit the crash site. For these sons, daughters, husbands and wives this is perhaps one more way to begin rebuilding their lives.

Brian Palmer, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Too many broken hearts.

Nelson Mandela can call Canada his second home. The former South African president will receive an honorary Canadian citizenship tomorrow. The Canadian government says the distinction will honor his great moral leadership, to South Africa and all humanity. Mandela's wife Graca Machel arrived in Ottawa today to accept her own honor. She was recognized by Canada's minister for international cooperation.

The Air Force is awarding a $2.7 billion contract to Lockheed Martin and TRW. The firms will develop the U.S. military's next- generation communications satellite system. The project is scheduled to be completed in 10 years.

Many young Americans are evidently wild about "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Warner Brothers estimates the movie grossed $93.5 million over the weekend. If so, that is a record. Warner Brothers is a part of AOL Time Warner, so is CNN.

Well, "Harry Potter" wasn't the only magical show this weekend. The Leonid meteor shower provided star gazers with a spectacular display before dawn today. As many as 1,200 shooting stars an hour streaked across the sky. The annual light show takes place when the earth passes through the remnants of comet Tempel-Tuttle. This year, the meteor shower was even more spectacular because the earth passed through the heart of one of the Leonid debris cloud.

Well, I don't know how much she wants to talk about meteor showers, but let's go down to Atlanta and our weather center, and CNN's Jacqui Jeras.

(WEATHER REPORT)

WOODRUFF: Life under Taliban rule was perhaps tougher on women than anyone else. Still to come, what the future has in store for the women of Afghanistan. And next, the stage is set for new players in the saga of the troubled country. We'll talk to former envoy to the region, Peter Tomsen, about who has the edge for control of Afghanistan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Hello again. Let's take a look at today's latest developments.

In Washington, Capitol police say two Senate office buildings closed for anthrax testing will reopen tomorrow morning. On Friday, investigators going through mail addressed to Capitol Hill found an anthrax-tainted letter intended for Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. They then closed the Russell and Dirksen buildings for testing over the weekend.

Two American aid workers who escaped Taliban captivity will spend a few more days abroad. U.S. officials want to debrief them thoroughly before they return to the United States. The women and their families left Pakistan yesterday for an undisclosed location.

CNN has learned that Jordan helped to prevent terrorist attacks on two hotels in the Jordanian city of Petra. Sources close to Jordanian intelligence say the interception of a phone call led to the arrest of three men speaking in al Qaeda code. They say the hotel attacks would have come soon after September 11.

In Afghanistan, Northern Alliance forces have the northern Taliban stronghold of Konduz surrounded. They tell CNN that some hardline Taliban fighters there killed some wavering supporters today, while others committed suicide.

U.S. airstrikes pummeled Taliban's frontline Konduz positions. Elsewhere, diplomats were busy trying to form a new, broadbased government. And one sign of life almost returning to normal in Afghanistan, a Kabul television station is back on the air today, with female broadcasters. This after more than five years of the Taliban's crackdown on the media and entertainment. One anchor at the station said it was especially important for the women at the station to get back to work.

Control of the cities of Konduz and Kandahar seem to be up for grabs at the moment just as the answer to the question, who will end up ruling Afghanistan?

In Kabul, Christiane Amanpour is following the rapidly changing events that may be deciding that country's future.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the military offensive in this country speeds up, the political situation is being left behind, and to that end, the international community, including U.S. representatives and U.N. representatives are trying to meet with members of the Northern Alliance who are now in control of most of this country, as well as with Pashtun tribal leaders from the south of Afghanistan and other minority leaders trying to get all of these different party leaders to get together and have a political meeting to sort out future of Afghanistan.

There are discrepancies as to whether this meeting should be held here in Kabul or symbolically outside of Afghanistan to give assurance to all the ethnic groups still not clear as to when or where the meeting will be held.

I'm Christiane Amanpour, from Kabul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Peter Tomsen teaches international studies and programs at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. From 1989 to 1992, he was special envoy to the Afghan Mujahedeen, with the rank of ambassador. Professor Tomsen joins us tonight from Los Angeles.

Peter Tomsen, what should future course of Afghanistan be? PETER TOMSEN, FMR. U.S. ENVOY, AFGHANISTAN: It should be one of intra-Afghan dialogue leading to a broad-based interim government, which replaces the Northern Alliance administration in Kabul, and that interim government would also organize an act of self-determination to create, for the first time in 23 years, a legitimate Afghan regime seen by most Afghans as theirs, and not imposed from Moscow or Pakistan or other outside powers.

WOODRUFF: The Northern Alliance -- diplomats representing the Northern Alliance -- say they are perfectly open to this sort of broad-based power sharing arrangement. They are prepared to meet with others. Do you have confidence they will follow through with that?

TOMSEN: Well, in Afghanistan's 300 year history, there has never been an armed group that has taken over the Capitol and then shared power. We have to take them at their word and maybe this will be the first time in 300 years that this will happen. But we have to remain skeptical. Rabbani's return to Kabul is not a good sign. He was never chosen by the Afghan people, he was chosen by Pakistanis in Pakistan.

He was in power for four years in Kabul. He clung to power. He never permitted a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or a Democratic process to go forward because he wouldn't have been selected. None of the extremists that came up during the Soviet-Afghan war would win out and stay on top in a broad-based Afghan selection process.

WOODRUFF: Ambassador Tomsen, since Afghanistan's recent history at least, has been one preTaliban, has been one of different tribes being at war with one another, wanting to control their own fiefdoms, what makes you think that the country is now capable of coming together under some sort of umbrella that all would answer to?

TOMSEN: Well there were these umbrellas in the past. Afghanistan not only had a multiethnic government in the '60's and early '70s, they had a developing democracy before this turmoil started, so they have done it in the past. They can do it again. There will be a meeting within the next week. It will probably take place in Germany. Different Afghan groups will be represented.

They will select a group which will be a much larger group that will probably assemble in Kabul next time, and that process then would lead to the interim government.

If this process is insulated from outside pressure from Pakistan, from Iran and from the Persian Gulf, and also from the north, other countries attempting to influence the intra-Afghan dialogue and whom they select to be their leaders, I think it can be successful.

WOODRUFF: But don't all these other countries truly have a stake in what happens? Why should they step back and not try to exert their influence? Pakistan in particular.

TOMSEN: Because if one does it, the others will do it as well. For instance, the Soviet Union came in, they put Afghan communists in Kabul, Pakistan reacted, and then put extremists in power in Kabul. The Iranians have championed their own extremists.

If this process continues, war will continue to tear Afghanistan. No group imposed from the outside can be in power in Afghanistan for very long, because the Afghan people will turn on them. It's time for a consensus among the outside powers, which the United States can help achieve to step back and permit this U.N.-assisted intra-Afghan settlement process to go forward.

WOODRUFF: And just quickly, what sort of security would be required, security arrangements on the ground, to preserve whatever new structure is set up?

TOMSEN: My own opinion is, I think there should be some form of multilateral force inside Kabul to water down the Northern Alliance's claim to control the capital and perhaps maybe even to dominate the settlement process. This security force could unarmed, it could be armed, but it would be a form of insurance to all Afghans that the settlement process will be unbiased.

Judy, could I add one thing?

WOODRUFF: Just quickly, sure.

TOMSEN: I will. Thank you. I'll be brief. U.N. should concentrate more on the groupings inside Afghanistan. The guys with the guns in Herat and Jalalabad and Kandahar, as well as the Northern Alliance in Kabul, in the end are going to decide whether or not this intra-Afghan settlement process works. And the U.N. should be putting more emphasis on working with these groups inside Afghanistan.

WOODRUFF: Not just the Northern Alliance.

TOMSEN: Not just the Northern Alliance, and not groups abroad.

WOODRUFF: All right. Thank you for those points. And I know we'll be talking to you again in the future. Peter Tomsen, former special envoy to Afghanistan, thank you, ambassador, good to see you again.

TOMSEN: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Well, as we were telling you, women have returned to the newscasts that are televised in Afghanistan. But life for females there is far from picture perfect. When we come back, an expert on the treatment of women under Taliban rule talks about the future of women in Afghanistan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Until just a few days ago, this was what life was like for women in Afghanistan. Under the Taliban, more than half of the country's population faced beatings, imprisonment, torture and even death for doing things that are part of Western women's most innocent and normal daily routines.

Some fear that in the rush to replace Taliban rule with some kind of workable government in Afghanistan, the cause of women's rights may slip through the cracks. Jennifer Seymour Whitaker is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. She directs its project on women's human rights and U.S. policy. And she joins us now from New York.

Ms. Whitaker, why is it so important to have women's rights part of the thinking as a new government takes form in Afghanistan?

JENNIFER SEYMOUR WHITAKER, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Judy, I'm very glad you asked me that right at the outset, because I have to say that I agree with and was interested in your previous speaker's comments on the council which is being assembled, but I think there is one point that really must be made and isn't being made by most mainstream officials at the moment, particularly U.S. officials. And that is when we speak of Afghans deciding their political feature, who do we mean? Do we mean male warriors only, or do we also include the majority of the Afghan population, that is the 60 percent of Afghans who are female?

WOODRUFF: But how do you include women in any sort of decision- making role, when women have been so repressed in that country for so long? How do you know which women to turn to?

WHITAKER: There are a number of identifiable women leaders. This is very important. There are women within the country, professional women, doctors, who have continued to minister to the needs of people and particularly women in Afghanistan. There are many, many professionals who have fled the country, as have most male professionals, doctors, lawyers, commercial, business people, teachers.

Before the arrival of the mujahedeen who proceeded the Taliban -- the Northern Alliance would be mujahedeen -- the country was -- the women of the country were making great progress and were participating in parliament. They were judges. They were...

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: I'm just want to interrupt you, excuse me, the United States would want this, certainly, but what makes you believe and others believe that the tribal leaders would accept it?

WHITAKER: I think the tribal leaders, many of the tribal leaders, would have some difficulty with this. Others of the -- others of population, the leaders, male leaders even, within Afghanistan support women's rights, and the tradition that was the -- growing with the Afghan democracy from the '50s through the '80s was a tradition of progressive opportunity for women within a democracy.

And the reason why it's so important is, first of all, because we need to signal that Afghans mean Afghan women as well as men, when we say -- when we talk about who is going to choose the future. And secondly because at each stage of this process, the U.N. has representatives, special representative on Afghanistan, ambassador Brahimi, has laid out a four-stage plan. Four different councils, starting with the one that is being organized right now. And he has specifically, actually, stipulated that women should be included in the three following this council.

WOODRUFF: But I just want to ask you, is this something that would be imposed, though, on these leaders in Afghanistan from the outside, or would it be something that they would willingly go along with?

WHITAKER: Well, there are many leaders -- and I actually disagree with the ambassador about including the diaspora Afghans who were driven in many cases forced into exile. They also have a stake in their country's future. They constitute most of the educated people in the former Afghanistan, before the arrival of the mujahedeen and the Taliban.

WOODRUFF: You are saying they should be included.

WHITAKER: They absolutely should be, and many of them are working with the king to plan the -- for the series of loya jerga, councils and loya jerga, and some of the people who have been in that planning process have been women. Women participated in past loya jergas in Afghanistan.

WOODRUFF: I just want to ask you, how confident are you that the United States will then make the participation of women in government, in public life a condition of this new entity in Afghanistan?

WHITAKER: I wish I could be more confident of that. I think that the Bush Administration has -- would like to get on the side of the right, here, and of women's human rights and of women in Afghanistan. But distressingly, the track record of the Bush Administration from the first day in office has not really been pro- active in terms of women's rights.

In fact, quite the contrary. The Bush Administration as you know, one of Bush's first acts in office was to end aid to many, many international groups working on woman's reproductive health.

WOODRUFF: We do know that -- much more lately -- the administration has come onboard on this issue. In fact, the First Lady Laura Bush making a radio address about women's rights in Afghanistan just yesterday.

WHITAKER: That is that exactly right. I'm very glad she did, but she did not talk about women's participation. And it's women's participation in this process that is absolutely necessary.

WOODRUFF: All right. Jennifer Seymour Whitaker, we thank you very much for joining us. She is a senior fellow at the Counsel for Foreign Relations, directing its project on women's humans rights. Thank you very much, we appreciate it. We appreciate knowing your point of view and having that as part of the discussion tonight.

When the anthrax scare hit America, the demand for latex gloves took a huge leap. Coming up, a trip to the only factory in America that still makes what has become a new weapon against terrorism.

Plus, a passionate prayer service for those killed on Flight 587, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: If you are familiar with Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, it is probably because every four years its citizens cast the first ballots in the country's first presidential primary of the season and election night.

Now Dixville Notch has another claim to fame, out of the ordinary, but very relevant.

CNN's Ann Kellan explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANN KELLAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nestled in the mountains of New Hampshire next to a resort hotel, you wouldn't expect to find one of the nation's best defenses against anthrax.

UNIDENTIFIED WORKER: Yes, we're making the rubber gloves.

UNIDENTIFIED WORKER: And the Postal Service, they really need them right now. And just hopefully we can get them out as they need them.

KELLAN: Business is picking up at Tillotson Healthcare Corporation, the last factory in the U.S. to make this kind of glove you see more of now. In industry jargon, they're called exam gloves.

TOM TILLOTSON, TILLOTSON HEALTHCARE CORPORATION: We're getting calls from a lot of government agencies that we've never have dealt with before. You know, customs service, Social Security Administration.

This is the machine where we make the gloves.

KELLAN: The process is pretty simple.

TILLOTSON: This is a coagulant bath. That's the first dip of the process. It's a salt solution that once the forms are coated will cause the latex to stick to the form.

KELLAN: The forms, shaped like hands, are dipped into the liquid that forms the glove. Then they dry and bake. And they peel off a glove.

With twelve variations to choose from, government agencies are getting a crash course in which glove is best. There are subtle differences: powdered, non-powdered; sterile, unsterile. Synthetic nitrile gloves are more comfortable the longer they're worn, while latex from natural rubber offers the same protection at a lower price.

(on camera): And these gloves cost pennies to make. The wholesale price of a pair of these gloves: 10 to 15 cents.

(voice-over): Eighteen billion pairs are dipped and sold every year in the U.S., and that's before the anthrax scare.

DIANE SCHOONER: I wouldn't want to get any of that in the mail.

KELLAN: Diane Schooner (ph), 25 years at the plant, remembers when AIDS boosted sales 10-fold. But most workers here never thought anthrax would increase business.

UNIDENTIFIED WORKER: No, because I didn't think people would be that crazy enough to send it through the mail, literally, you know what I mean? I didn't think the post office guys were going to need it, because I didn't think people were that crazy to want to send it through the mail, you know? I like to know that we are helping people. It's a good feeling. It's a good thing.

KELLAN: That their efforts lend a protective hand to this war against terrorism.

Ann Kellan, CNN, Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: For those allergic to latex, they also said they make vinyl gloves.

A quick look at the latest developments as America strikes back is ahead, followed by a special encore broadcast of the critically acclaimed CNN PRESENTS: "Unholy war."

But first, more from today's prayer service for those killed on Flight 587 in New York.

(MUSIC)

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


 
 
 
 


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