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New Round of Detainees Brought to Kandahar; British, Afghan Forces Ensure Kabul's Security; What Is the Next Target of War on Terror?

Aired December 29, 2001 - 20:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: LIVE FROM AFGHANISTAN with Nic Robertson. Detainees on the move.


BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Another round of detainees were brought here to the Kandahar airport and the latest round is also the largest single round.


ANNOUNCER: Security in Kabul -- British and Afghan arm and arm.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's the first time we've patrolled together on foot. So we were -- had to sort out a few SOPs.


ANNOUNCER: The tolls of war, the tolls of the Taliban.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "From my 14 years in the psychiatric field in each family I've met there is at least one person who has psychological problems," says Dr. Awara (ph).


ANNOUNCER: They could be the next targets in the war on terror -- Somalia.


CATHERINE BOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Plain-clothed Americans who describe themselves as U.S. military coming to this remote and battered region in central Somalia.



MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over) A new war on terror and a new man hunt for the alleged mastermind of the Beirut attacks.



NIC ROBERSTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight LIVE FROM AFGHANISTAN comes from the White Mountains near Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan -- the last known hiding place of Osama bin Laden. The Pentagon says that two B-1B bombers dropped precision guided missiles on the Taliban leadership complex about 60 miles south of Kabul. They landed near about 10 miles from the town of Gardez -- that despite some ministry officials in the new interim government in Afghanistan calling for an end to the U.S. campaign to catch Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

Here at Tora Bora, U.S. Special Forces continue to search caves in the mountains. They were -- they rested overnight at a school facility not far from here and traveled up the mountain in the morning on all-terrain vehicles. Shortly before dusk they come back down the mountain to the deserted school. And for the first time in over 24 hours U.S. warplanes have been seen in the skies -- this time surveillance aircraft flying over the Tora Bora Mountains.

Also the signature of the U.S. Special Forces presence in this area back again tonight -- U.S. helicopters flying low and in the dark -- flying in and around the Tora Bora Mountains.

In the north of the country at Sheberghan Fort near Mazar-e Sharif, U.S. troops under heavy armor began moving prisoners from that prison facility. There are some 3,000 prisoners there -- about 900 are believed to be foreign prisoners. They are being moved, U.S. officials said, from that prison facility to Kandahar's city airport where there is a Marine detention.

As Bill Hemmer reports now from Kandahar from the Marine detention facility, there are a growing number of detainees arriving there.


HEMMER (on camera): Another round of detainees brought in early Saturday morning and this round is the largest round to date -- 63 brought in bringing the total now to 125 detainees here at the airport. Of the latest round we're told 29 are suffering from combat wounds, broken bones and other ailments suffered in combat in other parts of Afghanistan.

In total we're also led to believe that 3,000 detainees are still scattered about this country possibly in 30 different locations -- 30 different centers throughout the country. We do anticipate more to come here but how many and when is still an open question. Also at the airport in about two or three weeks time we expect the U.S. marines to pull out of here giving way to the U.S. Army. The word we're getting right now is the 101st Airborne Division will take this airport, expand it and help pave the way for peace keepers and ultimately humanitarian aid here in southern Afghanistan.

On another matter, U.S. officials here at the base continue to be concerned about the latest escalation problem between India and Pakistan. In fact, over the past two days military officials have been in Islamabad to talk about that.

The concern from the U.S. standpoint is that Pakistani assets right now deployed in the Afghan border may be pulled out and moved toward the border with India. If that happens it's anybody's guess what happens now with the U.S. war on terrorism when it comes to containing Al Qaeda and Taliban elements along that border.

With the U.S. Marines in Kandahar I'm Bill Hemmer. Back now to Nic Robertson watching things in Tora Bora -- Nic.


ROBERTSON: Well, not far from where Bill is is another tense standoff -- this one at Kandahar Hospital. Eight Al Qaeda fighters are hold up in the hospital there. They have been there for the three weeks since the Taliban fled the city. They are injured but they are armed and every time Afghan fighters who surround that area -- the second floor ward of that -- the hospital there -- try and go after the Al Qaeda a fire fight ensues. The Afghan fighters say they are beginning to lose patience with the Al Qaeda fighters but have yet to find a way to resolve the standoff.

We are now joined by former NATO chief and former U.S. general, General Wesley Clark, to discuss these and other issues.

General, we have heard an increasing number of prisoners now are being taken into U.S. custody. How many more can we expect to see given over to FBI and CIA officials?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think several hundred more. If the reports are correct several thousand scattered around the country and most of these are foreign fighters. And there will be some preliminary screening done. Anyone who looks like he has intelligence information or has been high-ranking in movement is going to be more intensively interrogated. They're going to be brought to the airport.

And, of course, the United States is going to have an interest in every one of these foreigners because each on is a potential terrorist that could be launched again against the U.S. or our allies elsewhere.

ROBERTSON: Can they provide still timely information perhaps about Osama bin laden?

CLARK: There my still be timely information that's available because he will have had numerous plans. It's a question of how close they were to Osama bin laden when. And my guess is that Osama bin laden would have had several different courses of action. He would have had people who knew about these courses of action.

We may get lucky and find someone there. But in addition we're going to be looking for all of the other information we can get -- all of the background information -- names of people, who participated, who were you with, what were you trained to do, did you ever see or do this or that, did you ever use chemical weapons, were you ever talked to about chemical weapons or biological weapons and who would have done that and where would they have come from? And there will be a host of questions that will explore every detail of any potential threat from Al Qaeda in an effort to learn what the threat is, learn who the people are, learn the sources of it, learn the connections with foreign countries and so forth.

ROBERTSON: General, there appears to be a growing level of pressure coming from some ministries in Afghanistan's new interim government the United States to end its chase for Osama bin Laden here for Al Qaeda and for Taliban.

The White House says it will continue in its war against terror but doesn't this put pressure on the military chiefs conducting this operation?

CLARK: It certainly puts pressure on this. And this is some -- this pressure this back pressure from the new government and its supporters in Afghanistan is something to be concerned about because it's very important at this stage in the operation in Afghanistan to follow through. We've got to get all of the intelligence information. We've got to make sure that in every way possible that Afghanistan doesn't six months or two years from now again become a base for Al Qaeda or a follow-on terrorist organization.

We know that there are Taliban supporters and Taliban members who have melted into the population -- probably Al Qaeda people as well who have paid for their -- for being hidden inside Afghanistan. It's going to take some time. But the political situation in Afghanistan has always been hostile to foreigners. And there's no doubt that the presence of the Americans there and our forces creates a strong tension. And that tension is going to take its form in pressures against Hamid Karzai and the government that's supporting this.

And so it's going to be a delicate balancing act for our general and our leaders there to get the right diplomacy in place, keep the military on the ground and do what needs to be done to finish the job.

ROBERTSON: So where does now the search for Osama bin laden go because some of those same critics in the Afghan new administration are the same people who say Osama bin Laden has gone to Pakistan?

CLARK: Well, I think the search has to stay in Afghanistan for some time. That doesn't mean we're not also searching in Pakistan or could be and should be. But we've got to finish the job in Afghanistan. We don't know what the motives and the specifics are of those who are saying that he's now fled into Pakistan. It may be that they're the same ones who are saying the United States should end what it's doing. We just don't know.

But we do know that he was in Afghanistan. We know he had extensive preparations to stay in Afghanistan and until our mission's done there we shouldn't slack off on that.

In the meantime we should be putting people into Afghanistan, Yemen, Lebanon and every other place that's been mentioned by the news media and by administration sources and preparing the way -- gathering intelligence, preparing for the logistics knows if we have to insert to people, looking for how we would put our special forces in there if they're not already in there, looking for cooperation from host nation intelligence agencies or perhaps they're not going to cooperate.

But all of that is -- it's called preparation of the battlefield. It needs to be going on in several places. And while we're doing that we need to be obviously very alert to any clues that Osama bin Laden may be there.

ROBERTSON: General Wesley Clark -- thank you very much for joining us. And as General Clark talked about there -- the importance of cooperation between international forces and the forces inside Afghanistan.

But as John Vause reports now from Kabul, signs of that cooperation are beginning to be seen on the streets there.


VAUSE (voice-over): Security in Afghanistan's war torn capitol stepped up today with the first joint control by British Marines and local Afghan police. Separated by language and culture, this Marine and policeman walked down the main street of Kabul showing an unlikely unity -- one armed with the latest security technology, the other with a helmet and rifle. The International Security Assistance Force, as the British peace keepers are know, have been authorized by the UN and will eventually number some 3,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's the first time we've patrolled together on foot. So we were -- had to sort out a few SOPs before hand before we began to work together.

VAUSE (on camera): What are some of the problems you've run into?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mainly the language barrier. That's why we've got a couple of interpreters with us here today to overcome that.

VAUSE (voice-over): Although some Afghanistan have questioned the need for the International Security Assistance Force the new interim administration, many tribal elders and many residents have welcomed their presence. Eventually the security force will spread beyond Kabul to other parts of the country.

John Vause, CNN, Kabul


ROBERTSON: When we come back we talk with a former United States ambassador with a wealth of experience on Afghanistan.


ROBERTSON: Between Kabul and the north of the country there is only one tarmac road -- the Salang Pass. At 11,000 feet it has the highest tunnel at its peak in the whole of the world. That tunnel was so strategic during the last years of fighting it was blown up. Now, Russian engineers aided by Afghan mine disposal experts are being to -- clear the tunnel of rubble.

It is so blocked that it is impossible for vehicular traffic to pass through -- only people carrying bags using small flashlights can get through and perhaps come and find jobs in the city or bring injured and wounded people south to the main hospitals in Kabul.

That tunnel, once repaired, will be a vital linkway so that humanitarian aid that can come into the north of the country and travel southwards to Kabul. It is also the road that links Kabul to Mazar-e Sharif. And it is in Mazar-e Sharif that Hamid Karzai, the head of Afghanistan's new interim government, has to deal with one of his first major political decisions after he came into power a little over a week ago.

The disgruntled former warlord in Mazar-e Sharif, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, was angered and upset by his lack of power in the new interim government. One of Hamid Karzai's first political decisions was to make General Rashid Dostum the deputy defense minister in the new government. It was a move designed to create unity in the government, but even in the -- the government has been in power now for a little over a week, and there are other figures appearing within the ranks of the government.

We are joined now by former U.S. ambassador (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in 1989 to 1992 -- Ambassador Peter Tomsen. He was also President G.W. Bush's special envoy to Afghanistan, 1989 to 1992. Ambassador Tomsen, what are the problems that Hamid Karzai faces at the moment?

PETER TOMSEN, FMR. U.S. ENVOY TO AFGHANISTAN: It's what you said, Nic, it's maintaining unity in this fraction coalition that's already been created with the help of the U.S. and international community and beginning to introduce security in different parts of the country and starting the long term task of reconstruction. All of these are inter-linked. And, as you mentioned, unity and cooperation among the different parts is a key element.

ROBERTSON: One of the biggest unities perhaps we've seen this week is with elements from the Northern Alliance who seem to be giving Hamid Karzai so much trouble on the number of peace keepers, on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, on the fact that the United States they say shouldn't continue with it's campaign to find Al Qaeda and Taliban. What exactly do you assess these Northern Alliance leaders are pursuing here? TOMSEN: I think that Reuters Report, which reported that a spokesman for the defense minister stated that the United States should stop bombing after the last remnants of the al Qaeda are destroyed in the next few days. He has since taken back that statement. The foreign minister, Dr. Abdullah and Hamid Karzai himself has said that the United States should stay as long as is necessary to eliminate al Qaeda and the Taliban remnants. So I think that was blown out of proportion.

There's a lot of coordination inside the Northern Alliance among the younger leaders, as you know Hamid Karzai, Dr. Abdullah, Khanuni (ph) and also Abdul Hadeer (ph) in the south. And if that holds -- there is communication and cooperation among them -- I'm confident that the interim government will go forward.

The big problem are these warlords around the country, like Dostum in the north and Gulaga (ph) in the south and there's others as well, that want to run their own areas, want to clamp down. And often they get involved in narcotics trafficking and control of the local commerce. The interim government has to slowly spread its security tentacles into those regions.

And one way to do it is the creation of a national army. Another way to do it is assistance from the international community to make sure that assistance, when it's rendered in those areas, is given in a way that strengthens the hand of the interim government and is not given directly to these warlords to aggrandize their own positions.

ROBERTSON: How does the international community -- because you raise a key point there in assisting the government. But how does the international community balance its objectives of assisting the new government of stamping out the possibility of terrorist training camps inside Afghanistan with the fact that many Afghans are resistant to international involvement in their country?

TOMSEN: I think that most Afghans want the United States to remain in Afghanistan -- and the international community -- not with large groups of ground forces. In fact, they say that they can handle the fighting on the ground but they need our assistance of Special Forces to root out these Al Qaeda elements and Osama bin Laden -- if he's still in Afghanistan -- and the Taliban. They need our support especially on the humanitarian and the reconstruction side. If they don't the interim government is going to fail.

And the success of this interim government is every bit as important to preventing future September 11ths as the military operations on the ground. In fact, there is a close connection between our ongoing military operations and their success on the one hand and the success of the interim government on the other hand. As the interim government's security spreads around the country, they will be cooperating very closely with us in the common objective of getting Osama bin laden, wiping out Al Qaeda and the Taliban and beginning the long task of building a democratic and economic revived country that they had before the Soviet invasion.

ROBERTSON: Ambassador Tomsen, thank you very much for helping us better understand the delicate balance of politics here.

We go now to Major Garrett, who filed this report a little while ago from Crawford, Texas, where President Bush is spending the holiday season with family. As Major Garret reports, the White House is growing in its concern that tensions between neighboring India and Pakistan could have a knock on effect in their efforts against terrorism in Afghanistan.


MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From his ranch in Central Texas, President Bush telephoned the leaders of India and Pakistan appealing again for calm between the nuclear-armed powers.

Meanwhile, war preparations intensified. Pakistanis and Indians living on the border fled in panic and Pakistan moved some troops from the Afghan border in case of an Indian assault. That was the last thing the Bush White House wanted to see.

Those Pakistani troops were deployed to intercept fleeing Al Qaeda and Taliban.

India remains enraged over the mid December terrorist attack on its parliament -- an attack India blames on terrorist groups based in Pakistan.

L.K. ADVANI, INDIAN INTERIOR MINISTER: We have been suffering from terrorism for the last 15 years but this time the Pakistani terrorists have gone too far.

GARRETT: Pakistan says it's arrested suspected terrorists.

ABDUL SATTAR, PAKISTAN FOREIGN MINISTER: What we have done is to place these people under detention so that they cannot carry out any further activities detrimental to peace.

GARRETT: After receiving a war briefing Friday from the commanding general of the war in Afghanistan, Mr. Bush said he was trying to defuse the India-Pakistan powder keg.

GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My government and my administration is working actively to bring some calm in the region to hopefully convince both sides to stop the escalation of force.

GARRETT: Using the same logic as the U.S., India says it has a right to strike Pakistan as a part of the war on terror. But since September 11th Pakistan has been a stout U.S. ally against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. Even so, Mr. Bush can't ignore attacks on India, the world's largest democracy.

On Friday he praised Pakistan for ceding to the U.S. demands and arresting terrorists.

BUSH: I'm pleased to note that President Musharraf has announced the arrest of 50 extreme terrorists, extremists or terrorists and I hope India takes note of that.

GARRETT: The India-Pakistan dispute brings equal measures of peril and opportunity. War would vastly complicate U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan and weaken the anti-terror coalition. But if Pakistan move against terrorist cells and both nations commit to negotiations on other issues the White House believes India and Pakistan might be able to bury a deadly decades-old conflict.

Major Garret, CNN, Crawford, Texas.


ROBERTSON: Coming up -- the psychological impact on Afghans of decades of war.


ROBERTSON: Twenty-two years of conflict have wrought havoc with Afghanistan's infrastructure and economy. But as John Vause now reports from Kabul spotting and repairing the physical damage of the years of war may be much easier than repairing the psychological traumas of two decades of conflict.


VAUSE (voice-over): Everywhere here, there are constant reminders of the pain of the past, ruined buildings, abandoned tanks, infrastructure falling apart. They were the years without music, without television, without fun, when women were brutalized, kept indoors. And after years of drought, the countryside is brown and food is scarce, while poverty abounds.

While many have been left physically scarred, many others have been scarred emotionally.

"For my 14 years in the psychiatric field and each family I've met, there is at least one person who has psychological problems" says Dr. Awara (ph), who is the assistant director of Kabul's Mental Hospital. He runs an outpatient clinic, on most days treating dozens of patients all suffering from symptoms of depression.

Like Hamid Yuen (ph), who lost his government job when the Taliban came to power. "I suffered from insomnia and it got worse. Then I became apathetic." He says he doesn't want to be around people and lost interest in his family.

So too, Salaam (ph), just 15. She told me she's been taking medication for depression for the past four years. She blames the Taliban's treatment of women for many of her problems.

Mohammad Asad (ph) is the pharmacist at Kabul's hospital. He has little medication, only what was donated by the World Health Organization months ago. Mostly he uses mild sedatives to treat depression.

He knows it isn't ideal, but he says he has little choice. It's all he's got, and here if the patient doesn't respond to medication, they still use electric shock therapy.

Then there are those who use heroin to escape their problems. Dr. Awara (ph) says they can do little to treat these patients, they simply don't have the resources.

(on camera): There's no way to know just how many Afghans are suffering from some form of depression. No official numbers are kept, but doctors here say from their experience, it is common and widespread and hardly surprising given everything that has happened over the past two decades.

(voice over): Still they say a new government and new optimism may help cure this national depression, but doctors and aid workers here are worried what will happen should this administration go the same way as so many before it? How much more disappointment can one generation take?

John Vause, CNN, Kabul.


ROBERTSON: Well, those in Afghanistan that might count themselves lucky would be those that only lost perhaps livelihoods and incomes. Many of those are now dependent on food aid. There are 6,000,000 Afghans estimated who need international humanitarian handouts.

We are joined now by Abby Spring from the World Food Program -- the organization that oversees all the delivery of food aid inside Afghanistan.

Abby, is there sufficient security at this time to provide all the needy in Afghanistan?

ABBY SPRING, UN WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: Well, there's no question insecurity is still an obstacle for the World Food Program and for all relief efforts in the country. I think the good news is that we have been able to provide probably over 5,000,000 people with food aid since late September.

It's been a bit of a miracle that despite massive insecurity and, of course, harsher winter conditions that we've been able to move in over 160,000 tons of food in the last two months.

But unfortunately there are still remote villages where we don't have remote access, where we don't have communication. And we're not sure what condition those people are in.

ROBERTSON: What ways are you trying to get food aid in? We hear about humanitarian flights maybe going to start when airports are more secure. We don't see it. How are you getting the food in?

SPRING: Well, first, of course, on any given day there's about 2,000 trucks on the road in Afghanistan. We're making use of five of the border countries. We have six trucking routes into the country and that's the most efficient and effective way to bring food to the hungry. We're also doing airlifts -- providing food through airplanes, landing it at different airstrips, moving food out by trucks but essentially it's just by trucks.

Now, of course, you've heard about the central highlands where about 1,000,000 people live in the mountainous area. It's very covered with snow. It's hard to get there in the winter. And we will conduct airdrops if we need to if the winter gets too harsh.

ROBERTSON: Many of those people that moved out in the last couple of years from those central highlands -- Helmand (ph) province -- because of the drought are now encamped around Herat. They were before September 11 -- some -- approximately 200,000. Are there food -- is food getting to those people now?

SPRING: Food is getting to those people. But, again, it all depends on security. We've been able to move about 25 World Food Program international staff back into the country. We still don't have access to Kandahar. We're hoping in the next few days we'll be able to get in there. We are feeding people around the camps in Herat.

But, again, as you know, it's very insecure on the roads. There are different warlords controlling different areas. And we've had some problems with our truck drivers.

But I think that it's pretty amazing how many people we have been able to reach. But, of course, we've got to be even more aggressive and continue through the winter months.

ROBERTSON: Is there still a concern that warlords will take the food themselves -- distribute it amongst their fighters, take it away from the needy?

SPRING: Well, unfortunately any emergency around the world where it's a man made conflict you're going to have some food diversion but in the big picture the majority of the food is getting to the hungry poor. That's why we target who we're getting the food to. We make sure that women and children are always the first recipients. And if some food goes the wrong you just look the other way because at the end of the day you're trying to feed the hungry and you can't wait for the perfect situation.

ROBERTSON: You mentioned that you may be getting food into Kandahar area shortly. What at the moment is the humanitarian situation there?

SPRING: There's about 200,000 people in Kandahar and outlying areas who have not received food aid in several months. It's hard to say what condition those people are in. Again, it's been too insecure for us to actually go into the area to find out. But we have trucks and food all ready to go. So as soon as we get the green light from security on the ground there we'll move it in.

ROBERTSON: Peacekeepers are coming into Afghanistan in small numbers right now. Will they help provide you security on your trucking routes? SPRING: Well, there's now question that we'll use the peacekeepers for some form of intelligence -- i.e., figuring out when it's safe to go to certain areas. But, again, as a UN agency we're on our own in terms of security on the road.

So, yes, we'll lean on them for some intelligence information but at the end of the day it's going to be the UN relief workers, it's going to be the brave Afghan staff who are going to just hope that they can make it on their journeys to feed the hungry poor. And this is how we do it all round the world.

I'm sure you've heard that over the past 10 years the UN has lost 200 workers to murder in the field. So unfortunately it's quite insecure for us. And we can only be hopeful that things will not deteriorate inside Afghanistan.

ROBERTSON: Abby Spring from the World Food Program -- thank you very much for joining us.

When we come back we take a look at two of the countries in our series of countries coming under international scrutiny for their ties on terrorism -- two countries that have come to symbolize great losses to U.S. forces around the world.


ROBERTSON: In our series this week of countries that could come into the focus of the U.S. war on terrorism we focused on the Philippines, on Yemen, on Somalia, on Iraq, on Lebanon.

We turn back again now to Somalia. It has many similarities with Afghanistan -- a weak government, many warlords fighting for control in the country and, as many intelligence officials believe, still has strong ties with Al Qaeda. As Catherine Bond reports, U.S. officials are particularly interested in one group.


BOND (voice-over): One indication the U.S. might soon set its sites on Somalia -- plain-clothed Americans who describe themselves as U.S. military coming to this remote and battered region in central Somalia.

This is the Somalian town the group of Americans visited. Here they met members of an opposition alliance

ABDULLAHI SHEIKH ISMAIL, OPPOSITION POLITICIAN: They were gathering some sort of information -- make an assessment about Al Qaeda network presence in Somalia.

BOND: The Al Qaeda links, say regional security forces, are to a hard line Islamic fundamentalist group called Ali t'Haad (ph). The Americans say locals went away with a list of names -- a list said to be much like this one.

A former Ali t'Haad (ph) militant himself, Ishmail Mamood (ph) said American officials were interested in what he had to say though it goes back some years. Ishmail (ph) says he was one of about 600 Ali t'Haad (ph) fighters in the early 1990s when the group took control of a region of Somalia called Gedo.

Then from countries like the Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Checnnya, used to come and go, he says, usually in pairs.

"Those people were Al Qaeda," he says, "because I was among them and I used to work with them."

But in the late 1990s troops from the Christian dominated neighboring state of Ethiopia crossed the border into Somalia and attacked Ali t'Haad (ph) spaces. This Ethiopian State television footage -- proof Ethiopia says of terrorists from elsewhere.

But some say that was not the end of Ali t'Haad (ph).

ISMAIL: They have been pushed back from the border areas but they have melted in to the three areas in depth of Somalia along the seacoast. That's well known.

BOND: This group of men -- the group the Americans met with in Baidoa -- are leaders of various Somalia clans. They accused the fledgling government in the Somalia capitol of Mogadishu known as the TNG -- the Transitional National Government -- of making Ali t'Haad (ph) fighter its militias.

The government rejects that accusation saying Ali t'Haad (ph) is dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So today I tell you and be assured -- no camps -- no training camps -- no group Ali t'Haad (ph) in Somalia.

BOND: The government weak but recognized by the international community said it's willing to cooperate with the U.S. war on terror. That presents a challenge to the U.S. -- a weak government that denies terrorism exists and an opposition that insists the government supports it and a recent history of chaos and the failed intervention of the mid 1990s.

The government's opponents claim that since September 11th Ali t'Haad (ph) ex-leaders and sympathizers, businessmen, warmongers and sheiks -- some of them individuals suspected of links to Al Qaeda -- have gone to ground or fled making the U.S. task against terrorism in Somalia, say analysts, more of a manhunt than military campaign.

Catherine Bond, CNN, Baidoa, Somalia.


ROBERTSON: coming up -- Lebanon -- under scrutiny for its ties to terrorism.


ROBERTSON: In our series we also focused on Lebanon. An Mike Boettcher reports, it was there 20 years ago that America first learned the painful impact of Middle Eastern suicide bombers.


BOETTCHER (voice-over): Beirut, October 23, 1983, America's wake-up call to suicide terror on a massive scale. This was Ground Zero on that day, the U.S. Marine Barracks, Beirut. Two hundred forty-one American servicemen are killed when a suicide attacker drives a truck bomb through the barracks entrance.

Just six months earlier, 63 had died, 17 of them Americans, when another truck bomb ripped apart the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. Among the dead, some of the CIA's top Middle East operatives. The result, the first U.S. War on Terror. But within a year, the U.S. Marines sent to Lebanon are withdrawn, and the mastermind of those attacks is never apprehended.

Now two decades later, a new War on Terror and a new manhunt for the alleged mastermind of the Beirut attacks, Imad Mugniyah, a founder of the Lebanese-Islamic Militia, Hezbollah.

It is a manhunt that could put Lebanon yet again in the crosshairs of a U.S. anti-terror campaign.

MAGNUS RANSTORP, HEZBOLLAH EXPERT: Imad Mugniyah is the one who has been pinpointed, who was the most hunted man by U.S. intelligence, ever since the 1983 marine barracks bombing. He has been pinpointed as someone who was instrumental in conducting Hezbollah's foreign operations.

BOETTCHER: Until now, only three photos of Mugniyah were known to exist, two passport photos both more than 20 years old, and another picture displayed on his FBI Most Wanted poster. Not much help since Western intelligence agents, who have been trying to track Mugniyah, believe he has had at least two appearance-altering plastic surgeries since 1983.

However, CNN recently obtained these clandestinely taken snapshots. Anti-terror coalition intelligence sources are certain they are more recent photos of the world's second most wanted terrorist, Mugniyah, shown on the right.

The location of the photographs and who took them were not revealed to CNN, nor was the date they were taken. But terrorism experts who have viewed them, believe they are between five and ten years old.

But he remains out of reach inside Lebanon, in part because of the robed man with whom Mugniyah is standing, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, the current Secretary General of Lebanese Hezbollah, which the U.S. labels a terrorist group.

Coalition intelligence sources believe Mugniyah is now hiding in Hezbollah controlled areas of Beirut, or outside of the city in Lebanon's notorious Bekaa Valley, that U.S. officials allege is the site of numerous terrorist training camps. Also believed hiding in Lebanon are two other men on the FBI's list of the World's 22 Most Wanted Terrorists, Hasan Iz Aldin and Ali Atwa.

Iz Aldin and Atwa, along with Mugniyah are believed to be the hijackers of TWA 847 that was forced to land in Beirut in June, 1985. The hijackers carried out their threat to kill a passenger, dumping the body of U.S. Navy diver Robert Steedham onto the tarmac. He had been beaten and shot to death.

And, intelligence officials say Mugniyah was behind some of the most high profile terrorism in the past 20 years. The abduction, torture and murder of William Buckley, the CIA's Beirut Station Chief, the murder of Colonel Richard Higgins, a U.S. Army officer who was serving with U.N. forces in Lebanon, bombings of the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s, 119 dead, and the kidnapping of Western hostages in Beirut in the mid- 1980s.

Giandomenico Picco is the United Nations diplomat credited with negotiating the release of the hostages. He and Western intelligence sources believe the hooded figure with whom he negotiated was Mugniyah, a person he believes has the edgy instinct of a man on the run.

GIANDOMENICO PICCO, FORMER U.N. DIPLOMAT: So as if his antennas were always on the alert and conveying messages that he was processing in his mind, so there was no way I could use the word "relaxed."

BOETTCHER: With three of the 22 most wanted believed hiding in Lebanon, CNN has learned that anti-terror coalition governments have considered several options to get their men. Most risky, a snatch and/or hunt and kill operation. But the Hezbollah controlled areas where Mugniyah and the other two men are believed hiding are tightly guarded.

When we visited Beirut's Hezbollah neighborhoods this summer, we were stopped fifteen seconds after we began to videotape street scenes from our car.

Less risky but potentially divisive for the anti-terror coalition, would be air strikes against suspected terrorist training camps in Lebanon, where Mugniyah might be hiding.

Then there is the diplomatic option, applying political pressure on Hezbollah's leaders and its main backers, Iran and Syria, to hand over Mugniyah or at least stop providing him protection.

After the September 11th attacks, Iranian authorities did bow to U.S. pressure and forced Mugniyah to leave their country, where he had been hiding for the better part of 15 years.

PICCO: I think he's in there just to keep a distance, and I think they are keeping a tremendous distance.

BOETTCHER: And for its part, Hezbollah is trying to transform its image. It has elected members to the Lebanese Parliament, and since September 11th, the border between Israel and Hezbollah controlled southern Lebanon has been the quietest it has been in a long time.

In an interview with CNN this summer, Hezbollah's leader Sayed Nasrallah, the man in the photograph with the fugitive Mugniyah, tried to strike a more conciliatory tone.

SAYED HASSAN NASRALLAH, HEZBOLLAH SECRETARY OF WAR: Let me say we are not the enemies of the American people. We oppose the policies of such American administrations towards our region, because they are wrong policies and biased policies. But we do not feel and do not consider the American people our enemy.

BOETTCHER: American officials say they will only be convinced of that if Hezbollah hands over Mugniyah, Iz Aldin, and Atwa. If it doesn't Hezbollah and its bases in Lebanon will certainly remain on the priority target list of the anti-terror coalition, not a war against a nation but against essentially one man, Imad Mugniyah and those who give him sanctuary. Mike Boettcher, CNN, Atlanta.


ROBERTSON: When we come back -- music and a traditional Afghan wedding figure make a welcomed return to Afghan celebrations.


ROBERTSON: Under Taliban rule Afghans were forbidden from listening to music. Audio cassettes festoon Taliban checkpoints as a warning to drivers that even on the highway they were being watched.

As Jason Bellini now reports, the Afghan wedding singer, long a tradition in this country, is now making a welcomed return to Afghan festivities.


JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Notris Somadi (ph) is the wedding singer. His was a profession gone out of style in the last five years. Under the Taliban singing music was as illegal as prostitution. Perhaps less harshly punished but a no-no nonetheless.

(on camera): What did you do at weddings under the Taliban?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All people were quiet.

BELLINI: No dancing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No dancing, no music -- just people was quiet.

BELLINI (voice-over): Notris (ph) sings the traditional tunes the older generation still remembers and the younger generation claps and dances to even if they don't yet know the words. Before going any further, you may be wondering -- if this is a wedding, where are the women? What kind of wedding is this anyway?

It turns out the weddings in Afghanistan -- the most traditional ones are sex segregated affairs.

All of the men dance in one party and all of the women dance in another party?


BELLINI: This wedding party is more the equivalent of the bachelor party in Western culture though with a lesser chance of it getting out of hand.

This groom will have a second party the next day in another province a few hours from Kabul where his bride's family lives. There rings will be exchanged and men and women will be together in one room.

I'm told there will be music but the real celebration is the one here officiated by the wedding singer.

The wedding singer put up this freshly painted sign just over a week ago. It says, "The office of musicians now open for business." Here's the wedding singer himself -- hey, there.

He shut down his business about five years ago. Now he's developing a whole new base of clients. They operate out of this metal shed -- it's actually a storage container from Russian times.

During the Taliban regime Notris (ph) took his band to Pakistan. "I came back here to serve the people. The Taliban tried to defeat the traditions of our people," Notris (ph) says. "We came back after the Taliban to restart them."

When I met Notris (ph) and his crew they had at that point only performed for one wedding since reopening. Then a client came knocking -- a man whose son was getting married. He wanted traditional local music and heard that here was where he could find it. Notris (ph) and his band had a gig. The deal struck, the date set.

NOTRIS SOMADI, WEDDING SINGER: So you'll be here at 9:00 Sunday?

BELLINI (on camera): All right -- thank you.

SOMADI: You're welcome.

BELLINI (voice-over): The party won't start until the music starts and that's because the neighbors will hear the music playing and know that it's time to come to the wedding.

Gradually they arrived and by noon the party was hopping. Then came lunch and then more dancing. Finally, a short ceremony to honor the groom. He received blessings from his friends. The wedding singer brings the party to its climax and winds up the celebration.

This is a time for rebuilding in Afghanistan -- rebuilding traditions ain't a bad gig.

Jason Bellini, CNN, Kabul, Afghanistan.


ROBERTSON: Thank you very much for watching. I'm Nic Robertson. LIVE FROM AFGHANISTAN will be back at the same time tomorrow. Up next -- "LARRY KING WEEKEND."




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