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CNN Remembers the Moment; Afghanistan Forever Changed

Aired September 11, 2002 - 06:20   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: It's almost become a cliche to talk about those last idyllic moments before the attacks, when it started. It is what we would call a slow news day. This is the first of some pieces we'll show you throughout the day that help recall the confusion and revelation that morning.
A look as it happened.


ROSE ARCE, CNN PRODUCER: The morning of September 11 was a particularly fabulous day. It was just brilliant sunshine and it was also the first day of school in my neighborhood. So people were happy. They were taking their kids to school.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's primary election day in some 32 states. In New York City, four Democrats...

EDITH CHAPIN, MANAGING EDITOR, CNN NEW YORK: It was election day in New York, actually primary day, and so we had people out getting the candidates voting.


MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (R), NEW YORK: I do. I have no prediction other than it's going to be a great day and I'm going to enjoy it and I'd suggest all of you enjoy it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That may have been the last shot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ah, but Air Jordan is one step closer to taking the court again. It is the talk of the nation.

SID BEDINFIELD, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, CNN NEWS GROUP: On this day, Michael Jordan had let it be known that he was going to return to the NBA. And we were discussing fairly extensive coverage.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: It was the most routine day. There was virtually no news that day.

Hey, this is New York City you're talking about. Do people actually walk down the streets like that woman in the black and white top?

I mean the biggest thing we were talking about was fashion week and fashions for pregnant women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband tells me to put more clothes on.

LIN: Another day at CNN. This was like no other day.


ZAHN: You probably remember exactly where you were that time of the morning.


ZAHN: I have. I was getting kids off at school. I had no idea until about 9:15 what had happened.

BROWN: Well, none of us had much idea of what was going to happen, what kind of a day was going to unfold. As I walked up here at 9:30, I remember every step of that day coming up here. And I looked out behind me as I have now several times this morning and I felt this wave of nausea at what I was seeing.

We've all looked at this so many times. We saw this shot a minute ago. If you guys -- if it's possible to show the wide shot off Washington for just a second.

Washington this morning looked to me especially beautiful. It is the mood of the day, but it is also what has gone on.

The Monument, the Washington Monument looking particularly strong, the Capitol behind it, the White House in front of it just out of your range of view, your Capitol has changed. But it is no less beautiful than it was a year ago and perhaps in some ways even more so.

We, almost initially when we started to figure out what happened a year ago, we began to realize that it would not be long before Americans went to war and the war would take place in a country few of us knew much about, certainly, Afghanistan. But it was the place where al Qaeda had found its home, where the Taliban had opened its arms to this band of terrorists and murderers. It is the place where American men and women were then sent to fight.

Christiane Amanpour is in Bagram this morning. It is morning, well, probably later in the day than morning.

Christiane, it is very nice to see you this morning. Good morning to you.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, this was the heart of darkness under the Taliban that spawned those terrorist attacks on the United States. Now, because of the United States, one year later Afghanistan is free. But the war here continues. There are more than 7,000 U.S. military men and women here who continue the fight against the remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Here, in about a few hours from now, there will be a memorial service at the flagpole just behind me. The general in command of the forces here will make a small address. There will be a message from President Bush read out. There will be "Taps" played. The flag will be raised to the top of the flagpole and then brought down.

Earlier in Kabul, at the U.S. Embassy, a small piece of the World Trade Center building that was buried here at the embassy several months ago, today a plaque to it was unveiled. And the inscription thereon said, "Here lie the remains of the World Trade Center and those who perished. We serve the cause that they cannot." That in Kabul today.

Here, we've been talking to military men and women whose morale is extremely high. They continue their fight against al Qaeda. An operation called Champion Strike has just wound down and officials here confirm to us that what they call a senior al Qaeda financier has been captured.

We talked to men and women here today who say that they believe that this is the right cause and the just mission. A senior officer told me today that of all the missions the United States has conducted over the last 20 years, perhaps this one, if it's done successfully, will bear the most fruit for the United States and the rest of the world.

A real sense of mission, a sense of purpose, a sense of history here as people know that there's a lot of work to be done to make sure that Afghanistan never again becomes a breeding ground for the kind of fanaticism that showed itself last year in America -- Aaron.

BROWN: Well, and the reality, Christiane, isn't it, that Afghanistan, while a very different place today, is still far from an orderly place. There is a central government in place, but that central government, the government of President Karzai, has limited power, particularly in the countryside.

AMANPOUR: Well, what's happening is -- and Karzai will be in the United States today to take part in American memorials services -- there is a central government. It is quite heavily supported, certainly in the Kabul area and in the north of Afghanistan. But there are pockets of resistance to his rule. There are warlords who are regaining power. And, for instance, just east of here, a warlord by the name of Patt Shahan (ph) has been erecting barricades, for instance, over the last several months.

General McNeill, the commander of the U.S. forces here, has told him finally that he has to take those down because it not only interferes with American military operations, but also threatens the transitional government.

So there's a real sense that more security needs to be applied to this country, more peacekeepers need to be brought here and certainly people are saying that unless finally the money promise for reconstruction is delivered and the people here have a chance at a better life, then this hotbed for poverty, chaos and anarchy won't ever be solved -- Aaron.

BROWN: Christiane, thanks.




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