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Bin Laden Believed to be in Tora Bora

Aired November 29, 2001 - 11:01   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.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's start with the hunt for the world's $25 million man. The U.S. right now encouraging tribal leaders in eastern Afghanistan to scout out the landscape in the hunt for bin Laden. That search today centered in the mountains east of Kabul, and south of Jalalabad, an area known as Tora Bora. One tribal leader tells the "New York Times" today that he is, quote, "90 percent sure" bin Laden is, indeed, there.

CNN's Brent Sadler, now, made the way to the rugged region.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Jalalabad, the military commander of four provinces called the Eastern Shura starts a new, hectic day. A trail of people follows Aji Mohammed Zaman's (ph) every move from the moment he leaves home, passing through the chaotic, poverty-stricken city where means of transport can date back centuries, arriving at what he calls his army base. A center of operations which took heavy hits from U.S. air strike sunder the Taliban.

Continued U.S. bombing in the war on terror is what's brought this tribal delegation to Commander Zaman. They urge him to advise the Americans that attempts to bomb Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network in a mountain zone south of Jalalabad called Tora Bora is damaging tribal property. And, they claim, inflicting casualties.

The corps commander tells them to be patient, knowing there's good reason for air strikes in their region. Tora Bora, some 35 miles, or 60 kilometers, from the city, is a mountain stronghold, and suspected hideout for the al Qaeda leader or his die-hard associates. They're being told to leave Tora Bora, or else.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If they won't accept it, we must start a war against them. And the war is war; the people will die.

SADLER: U.S. military support for the threatened mujahideen assault on Tora Bora could draw on Jalalabad's disused airport. It was targeted in the first hours of the air campaign, but helicopters could still land here.

(on camera): Crushing Taliban rule over the eastern provinces was swift; but rebuilding this war-wrecked nation to prevent it from degenerating into another haven for terrorists, say the new authorities here, could take decades of international commitments.

(voice-over): An endless line of Afghans plead for help in commander Zaman's open-air office. Teachers with no pay, an army with no uniforms. Commander Zaman tells them all to help rid Afghanistan of terror and rebuild the nation. With sustained outside help, he says, they can do it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HEMMER: Again, Brent Sadler reporting near Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan.

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