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America Strikes Back: U.S. Delivers Second Round of Bombing

Aired October 8, 2001 - 16:03   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again. I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington on this second day of U.S.-led air strikes in Afghanistan. The Pentagon says it is going after similar targets as yesterday. And it is promising the pressure on Osama bin Laden and the Taliban leaders who shelter him will be relentless.

This now is a live picture from our nightscope camera positioned outside of the Afghan capital, Kabul, where it is just after 12:30 in the morning, roughly four hours after the second night of attacks began. Air strikes have been reported today in the Kabul area, in and around Jalalabad and around the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.

For more of this day's latest developments, here's my colleague Joie Chen at CNN center in Atlanta. Hi, Joie.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good afternoon, Judy. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is reporting some early progress in the military campaign against terrorism. Pentagon officials say U.S. and British forces hit 31 targets during the first wave of attacks yesterday. Btu they say they do not know for sure whether command and control centers that were targeted were actually destroyed. Now, the Pentagon says all planes involved in yesterday's attacks returned safely.

In Afghanistan, daylight hours offer a chance to try to assess damage. The Taliban says that suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden is still alive, but, they claim, about 20 Afghan civilians were killed in yesterday's attacks. The United States and Britain say they targeted only terrorist training camps and other military installations.

Across the border in Pakistan, protests against the U.S.-led attacks turned violent. At least one person reportedly was killed, at least seven wounded during clashes between police and demonstrators.

In a letter to the United Nation's Security Council today, the United States and Britain explained why they launched the attacks in Afghanistan, and they reserved the right it strike other countries as part of the war against terrorism.

And as coworkers of an anthrax victim line up for testing in Florida, the FBI is taking a closer look at the possibility that this case may be linked to terrorism. Officials say traces of anthrax were found on the workplace keyboard of a man who died last week. A second man who worked in the same building has tested positive for anthrax -- Judy? WOODRUFF: Well, Joie, we will check in with our correspondent on the ground in northern Afghanistan. He is CNN's Matthew Chance. And, Matthew, you are -- we want to remind our audience -- in territory that has been held by the anti-Taliban forces of the Northern Alliance. Tell us what you're seeing, what you're learning.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, it is indeed the second consecutive night of U.S. air strikes against Afghanistan. Everything's pretty quiet at the moment, but as you said earlier, that's been confirmed to us not just by the Pentagon, but also by those forces of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance.

They're telling us that it's the airports in Kandahar, in south Afghanistan, and in Kabul, about 30 kilometers from where we're standing, that have come under specific attack in the second round of airstrikes. We've been getting our own tangible confirmation of those air strikes from that videophone you mentioned, fitted with a nightscope.

We placed it at a vantage point overlooking the front lines reaching out to Kabul, some kilometers from where I'm standing right now. We've been seeing on that screen some big flashes, which we believe to be the American -- the U.S. airstrikes on Kabul.

We've also been seeing some smaller flashes, too. It's very difficult to make out exactly what's what on that kind of quality of picture. Some of those lights are simply cars that are driving through the mountains. Perhaps Taliban cars driving towards there to reinforce their positions on the front line.

Other, more of those lights are -- sometimes there are artillery barrages coming from this side, from the Northern Alliance side onto the Taliban front lines. Of course, though, we can't see the capital city, Kabul, itself. There is a mountain standing in the way of that. The darker patch towards the bottom of the screen -- that stands between us and a line of sight towards Kabul. It also stands between the forces of the Northern Alliance and their ultimate target, which is, of course, the capital city of Kabul.

Northern Alliance commanders say that they have been given the order to bombard Taliban positions with their artillery and with their rockets. But they've also been given the order, they say, to stay in the positions that they're in and not to move into territory currently occupied by Taliban forces until the United States gives the go-ahead -- Judy?

WOODRUFF: All right, Matthew Chance, who is behind the lines in that territory of northern Afghanistan, held by the Northern Alliance. And I have to say, Matthew, interesting to think that any vehicle would be out on the road other than people involved in the action tonight.

Now we want to go across the border to Pakistan, where CNN's Christiane Amanpour, following all the action in Islamabad -- Christiane? CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're also following what we can of the action inside Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Our sources there telling us that of course they did hear explosions, they felt explosions, particularly on the outskirts of Kandahar, near, they believe, the direction of where they were hit last night, which was on the airfield.

Also hearing that in Herat, north, and close to the Iranian border, that they heard airplanes and they fired off anti-aircraft artillery. And we heard from Jalalabad, on the outskirts there, where some targets, we believe, had been hit there.

Also, we cannot confirm what the Taliban ambassadors claim to have been 20 civilian casualties. Our sources inside Afghanistan say they believe in Kandahar, that there were a few injured at the airport during last night's attack, and that a few people may have been killed during an attack on a former compound near Kandahar that had been used also by Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader, but has not been used over the last year or so since it had been previously attacked by a truck bomb.

Now, in Pakistan where the situation is being very closely monitored as well, there have been demonstrations today on the streets. One particularly violent demonstration in Quetta, in the west of Pakistan, where at least one person was killed. People chanting pro Osama bin Laden slogans, anti-American slogans. There were some businesses and a U.N. office that have been burned down.

But in other parts of Afghanistan -- or rather Pakistan, there have been much smaller demonstrations. And certainly around other parts of the world, where you might have expected in some of the Islamic countries, there may have been demonstrations, there were not. We are joined now by Rifat Hussein (ph), a defense and strategic analyst here in Pakistan.

RIFAT HUSSEIN, DEFENSE ANALYST: Now that the action has started, this is what the government here was going to closely monitor in terms of public opinion. How do you assess what happened today?

Well, I think it was quite expected in one critical respect, because President Musharraf had previously stated publicly that there was 10 to 15 percent of the Pakistani population which had pro-Taliban sympathies and they represented some kind of a jihad mind-set. These are the people who are never going to agree with the kind of choice that he had made.

And so these people came out today and they demonstrated. And the demonstration in Quetta was particularly violent. And it must be also pointed out that Quetta, before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, was actually the most dominating city, but then its demographic character has changed.

It has now turned into a Pashtun city, and that is the reason why the protests in Quetta were much more violent, where otherwise, the protests were small, they were very noisy. And I think the -- in fact, I was quite surprised by the small numbers in which the people came out and protested against a particular...

AMANPOUR: Another thing that President Musharraf talked about today very clearly was the need for a political situation to develop in Afghanistan after this military campaign. What would be the danger of leaving a vacuum there?

HUSSEIN: Well, I think you cannot. I mean, you have the military campaign right now, and I think it is very important for Afghanistan to have a secure economic, as well as political future. Because if you do not talk about the country's political future -- it is a shattered land, it's a totally devastated people, who are tired of war.

And without having some kind of political stability, you cannot really build Afghanistan economically. And thereby, if you don't do that, then you will never be able to reduce the kind of ideological appeal as the kind of extremism that we find in Afghanistan.

AMANPOUR: Rifat Hussein, thank you very much, indeed.

And that is why people here are looking very closely to the future, in terms of making sure that this region remains stable or becomes stable and secure. In terms of other parts of the world, we haven't heard much from the leaders of the Arab countries since this. We've heard condemnation from Iran and Iraq.

But I spoke to the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafic Hariri, earlier by phone. He has been traveling throughout the region, talking to leaders in the Middle East, and basically saying that so far, so good, in terms of their watching this action. They're hoping that it remains targeted, as it so far has been, and that it can perhaps wrap up as soon as is feasibly possible.

But, he points out, that no big demonstrations in other parts of the Islamic world -- Judy?

WOODRUFF: Christiane, that's very interesting. I have one other quick question for you, and that is about President Musharraf of Pakistan reshuffling some of his top military people.

AMANPOUR: Yes. In fact, why don't I talk and turn to Rifat Hussein about that? The reshuffle of the Pakistani military people -- very briefly, give us an idea of why it happened and why now.

HUSSEIN: Well, I think the reason why it has happened was because there has been a strategic (UNINTELLIGIBLE) shift in past terms of foreign policy. All those people who were associated with the previous pro-Taliban policy have now been sidelined.

AMANPOUR: Rifat Hussein, thank you very much. And, Judy, there you heard it from the expert.

WOODRUFF: So many interesting developments. Christiane Amanpour in Islamabad, thanks.

Well, for yet another perspective on this second day of U.S.-led attacks in Afghanistan, CNN's Kamal Hyder is on the phone with us from eastern Afghanistan.

Kamal, please bring us up to date.

KAMAL HYDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, basically, the situation here is becoming more and more defined. Today in the evening we met some commanders, and they said that they were extremely sad about the fact that the world was now concentrating on destroying Afghanistan, and they said that they would fight to the last drop of their blood. They said that the international community has unleashed its terror on Afghanistan. Some of these commanders sounded very defined, and they said that the Afghan nation stands by them.

WOODRUFF: And, Kamal, just to be clear, these are Taliban commanders?

HYDER: Correct, Taliban commanders. In fact, at a meeting yesterday and today in the provincial capital (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and basically the tribe is showing their -- more and more people volunteering. Every day radio talks about many commanders who had differences with the government -- now rallying behind the government head.

So the mood here is quite defined. People are not happy about the fact that being attacked, and the fact that there is no one here to side with them.

WOODRUFF: Kamal Hyder reporting. That's very interesting, in the light of some predictions that the attacks would cause the Taliban and its supporters to fall apart. At least among those Kamal is speaking with, it is bringing them closer together, as he said, rallying them, making them even more defiant.

From there, let's go to the Pentagon here in Washington. Officials saying that today's U.S. strikes have included B-1 and B-2 bombers, as well as Tomahawk missiles launched from warships. Our military affairs correspondent Jamie McIntyre can bring us the very latest from there -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's start with the numbers of what was involved in today's strike force. As you mentioned, two B-2 bombers flew out the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, and we have told, have cleared the airspace over Afghanistan as we speak. In addition, three B-1 bombers launched from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, the British base, to deliver their ordinance and targets in Afghanistan.

In addition, 15 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from three U.S. ships, two surface ships and one submarine, in the Arabian Sea at targets. And about 10 carrier-based aircraft from two aircraft carriers also carried out strikes today.

The United States says that it has made some progress in what it calls creating the conditions for sustained anti-terrorist and humanitarian relief. The object of this, probably Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said it probably more clearly today than he has of before: overthrowing the Taliban and the Al Qaeda network in Afghanistan. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: There is no question, but that the group of people that are closely linked to Al Qaeda, who are in the Taliban, including Omar and his lieutenants and that structure, are harmful to the world and dangerous in the world. And are -- and that Afghanistan would be vastly better off were they not there.

MCINTYRE: Now, the United States says that attacking U.S. planes have been receiving some ground fire, mostly from anti-aircraft artillery, but some shoulder-fired missiles. The Pentagon assumes that some of those are the very same stinger missiles the United States provided to Afghan rebels in the 1980s, when it was supporting them against the Soviet Union.

But the United States aircraft are flying above the range of either anti-aircraft guns or those shoulder-fired missiles. The only real threat would then come from bigger fixed locations of missile sites, and those are some of the first things they attacked -- Judy?

WOODRUFF: All right, Jamie McIntyre bringing us up to the moment from the Pentagon.

And now we're going to move to the White House, where President Bush's new director of homeland security was sworn in today. Let's go to our senior White House correspondent, John King -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Judy. The president being updated on the military campaign the second day of the strikes under way. But much of his attention today in public, dedicated to the war on terrorism here at home. The president attended the swearing in ceremony for the former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.

Governor Ridge at this hour, learning his new office space, in the West Wing and across the driveway at the old executive office building as well. A broad mandate for Governor Ridge, to coordinate the 40 federal agencies that, combined, spend $12 billion a year on anti-terrorism efforts. The track record is not so good. The governor conceded that himself. These agencies don't always get along, don't always speak to each other. His job is to make them do that in the days and weeks ahead.

And the president himself described it as a very important mission, especially now, he said, when Americans have every right to be a little bit jittery about the prospect of future terrorist attacks.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know that many Americans at this time have fears. We've learned that America is not immune from attack. We have seen that evil is real. It's hard for us to comprehend the mentality of people that will destroy innocent folks the way they have. Yet America is equal to this challenge, make no mistake about it. They've roused a mighty giant. A compassionate land will rise united, and not only protect ourselves, not only make our homeland as secure as possible, but to bring the evil doers to justice, so that our children might live in freedom.


KING: Governor Ridge said he would operate using two major terms: candor, to the American people and to government agencies, and confidence, that he could resolve those turf battles. And President Bush promised him his full support. Some in Congress questioning whether the position has the statutory authority to make tough budget decisions, to force agencies to get along.

The governor has an office just a few steps from the Oval Office and a few steps from the vice president's office. Aides here saying that proximity should resolve any questions about the governor's influence -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John, just quickly, while we're talking about security matters here, you have learned that the president himself was upset about a breech of security in the last few days.

KING: Very upset, Judy. CNN has obtained this remarkable memo, hand-signed by the president. Right here you see it, sent last Friday to the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, the secretary of the treasury, the attorney general, the director of Central Intelligence and the director of the FBI.

In this memo, the president says, yes, the administration must tell Congress key details of the military and law enforcement operations, but he, in effect, complains in here that some of that classified information is being leaked to the public and to us in the news media. The president instructs those people in this memo to them, that they or they should designate someone to brief only the Congressional leadership, the four top members of Congress, and the chairman and the ranking member of the House and Senate intelligence committees, and no one else on sensitive, classified information, or sensitive law enforcement information.

The president says they have a duty to protect the lives of the military and the lives of the law enforcement officers. And he closes this very sternly worded memo saying -- quote -- "This morning I informed the House and Senate leadership of this policy, which shall remain in effect until you receive further notice from me." The memo then signed by the president of the United States.

We are told that last Friday, when there were reports in the media about those briefings to Congress about the thought in the administration that there was high likelihood of additional terrorist attacks once the president launched the military campaign -- had the president quite angry. He not only called the leadership of Congress, but he sent this very stern memo to the key agencies of the government, asking them to clamp down on sharing classified and sensitive information with the Congress. WOODRUFF: All right. Sounds like he means business. John King, thanks very much.

Our coverage of America's strike against terrorism continues. Up next, we will discuss targets and defenses inside Afghanistan with retired Major General Don Shepperd.


CHEN: The Pentagon insists all of its aircraft returned safely from the first round of strikes on Afghanistan. But the Taliban's claims that it did shoot down allied planes raises the question: what anti-aircraft power does the Taliban have to use? Almost all of it is getting old, remainders, leftovers from the Soviet Invasion.

Joining us to talk about what the Taliban has, CNN military analyst and retired Major General Don Shepherd. Thanks for being with us.

We say that it is getting older, this equipment that the Taliban has, but still pretty useful and still could be a serious threat, particularly these (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MAJOR GENERAL DON SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Very useful and very dangerous, Joie. Old is a relative term when you're getting shot at. This stuff has to be taken out and dealt with, no matter who owns it or how hold it is, or what conditions it's in. It's very dangerous stuff.

CHEN: Talk to us about the individual pieces, particularly the SA-3, first of all. I guess that would be one of the first targets.

SHEPPERD: Yes, the SA-3 is a fixed-position sites. Normally they carry three missiles on a launcher. It's very capable. We consider it a medium altitude and below. It can get targets at low altitude, but we consider it dangerous up to 25 and 30,000 feet. It has to be dealt with.

We deal with it with onboard jamming, with onboard measures, with chaff, which is aluminum particles we put out the back of the airplane. And we also have off-board jamming that deals with these things. But it's very, very dangerous missile that has considered in anything we do there.

CHEN: Similarly, the SA-2?

SHEPPERD: Well, the SA-2, I'm very familiar with. I got shot at by it in a former life as a kid fighter pilot in Vietnam. It's very big and it really gets your attention. It's like a telephone pole coming at you.

You deal with it the same way. Offboard jamming, onboard jamming and chaff. And as a last-ditch maneuver, you maneuver against it and you fight it, just like you fight another fighter. The idea is it's big and has small wings and it's fast, and you are more maneuverable. So you turn into it and outmaneuver the missile in the end. The key to all these things is seeing them coming and knowing when they're coming. And also now, we have he other aircraft call SEAD, or Suppression of Enemy Air Defense aircraft, that fire radar homing missiles at them while they're firing at you. This is a new electronic war that started in Vietnam. It's gotten more sophisticated in Iraq and these are still -- may be old, but they're very dangerous.

CHEN: Yes, you underline the point that I gave heard several times, that Vietnam is really the time that the SA-2 was a serious problem. But with today's technology that is less of an issue.

What about shoulder-fired missiles, things that are more mobile?

SHEPPERD: Yes, another dangerous thing. Now, there's two types of shoulder-fired missiles in Afghanistan that we know about. One is the stinger, the old ones that we left over there that were supplied to the Taliban to deal with the Russians. Those are dangerous.

Also, the SA-7 and more modern variants could show up over there. Again, I was shot at in Vietnam by the SA-7. It wasn't anywhere near as capable as the ones are now, but they're low-altitude weapons. They home in on the tailpipe of the aircraft, the heat source coming out of your aircraft. And you dump flares out the back to defend yourself. But you have you to be very, very careful. Any time you're at low altitude, these missiles are definitely a threat.

CHEN: Well, it's certainly hard to pinpoint exactly where somebody might be with one of these shoulder-fired munitions. But certainly you would you anticipate, particularly the SA-3, would be one of the first likely targets for a U.S. ally.

SHEPPERD: Yes, from an electronic warfare standpoint, you want to take out the early-warning radars that cues the surface-to-air missiles. what direction to look, so they don't have to look at the entire sky.

Then you want to take out the radar-guided Sams, which are the SA-2s and the SA-3s. You want to take out the radars and you allow want to take out the launchers and the missiles. The SA-7s and the stingers, the shoulder-fired missiles, can show up anywhere. So they're very difficult to go after. They're man portable, we call them man pads, they're man portable. And they can be carried anywhere by an individual soldier. Very dangerous pieces of equipment -- Joie.

CHEN: Major General Don Sheppard, CNN military analyst. Thanks very much for your insight and information today.




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