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Kenton Keith Give Coalition Information Service Briefing

Aired November 26, 2001 - 05:12   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.
CATHERINE CALLAWAY, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to take you now live to Islamabad, where a coalition briefing has been going on during that report.

We want to dip in now and listen to Kenton Keith. He's the director of coalition information.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

KENTON KEITH, DIRECTOR, COALITION INFORMATION SERVICE: Have U.S. forces -- I think I understood you to ask if U.S. forces have faced any resistance since they...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Yes.

KEITH: I'm not going to be able to comment on that. I think that is a question that will need to be answered by the Pentagon.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Then do you have some details about killing of Pakistanis and other foreign nationals in Mazar-e-Sharif prison? And can you confirm the reports that British troops are also following the Americans to learn of some bases in Afghanistan?

KEITH: Yes, we've heard those reports. We checked with the Pentagon and have learned that there are, there has been no military casualty and we are still trying to get details on what has happened in Mazar-e-Sharif.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: General James Mattis, who is an amphibious commander of the U.S. marines offshore, indicated that you will see a thousand plus marines in the backyard of the Taliban in the next few days. They supposedly have already taken a desert, private air strip over and have put lights up on it so that it can be used 24 days -- 24 hours a day in operations.

Why at this information briefing of coalition forces can you not provide any more -- without getting into operational details -- details of what the coalition forces are actually doing on the ground?

KEITH: I can't provide operational details because we never provide operational details. That always comes from the Pentagon. The White House doesn't do it, the State Department doesn't do it, we don't do it, Number Ten Downing Street don't do it. It is, that is something that has to come out of the Pentagon. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: In one of your previous briefings you had said that those fighters, Taliban or non-Taliban, who surrender will be treated under the international law and they would be treated as POWs. But then there are reports emerging from Konduz and elsewhere that the people who are surrendering, even they are being slaughtered and butchered. So what is your comment on that?

KEITH: My comment is that we have not seen any evidence of it. We have not seen any evidence that people who have surrendered have been slaughtered and butchered.

CALLAWAY: You've been listening to the director of coalition information, Kenton Keith, giving us a coalition briefing there in Islamabad, mentioning there the Taliban, the prison uprising that took place we just reported about in Mazar-e-Sharif yesterday with a number of people killed in that uprising. The question being were there any U.S. injuries in that? Still investigating that right now.

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