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American Morning

U.S. Secretary of Defense Makes Stops in Pakistan and India

Aired November 05, 2001 - 11:31   ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: As part of his five country tour, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made stops in Pakistan and India, two countries that were at bitter odds with each other for decades.

CNN's Mike Chinoy reports from the region.


MIKE CHINOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld wound up his four-day, five-nation tour by meeting India's defense Minister George Fernandez in New Delhi, with the war on Afghanistan and military cooperation on the agenda.

Before Rumsfeld's arrival, Fernandez had been quoted as calling the U.S. bombing campaign a "waste of explosives," but Rumsfeld said the campaign was becoming increasingly effective.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: There is no question but that the effectiveness of bombing is vastly improved, as you have people on the ground in communication with the aircraft overhead. And each day that we have been engaged in this since October 7th, we have been able to improve the effectiveness of it. We now have some larger number of teams of people on the ground that are assisting with resupply and humanitarian assistance, as well as targeting, and the effectiveness of the bombing is improving everyday. I don't think that there probably has ever been a bombing campaign that has been any more attentive, and precise and focused solely on the military capabilities than this one.

CHINOY: Despite the Indian defense minister's doubts, the government here in New Delhi has generally backed the U.S. campaign, but the emergence of Pakistan, India's bitter rival, as a key U.S. ally has generated widespread unease here.

India accuses Pakistan of funding and training Islamic militants, fighting to end Indian rule in the disputed territory of Kashmir, and there has been concerned voice over the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal should President Musharraf be toppled for his pro-American stand.

RUMSFELD: I do not personally believe that there is a risk with respect to the nuclear weapons of countries that have those weapons. I think those countries are careful and respectful of the dangers that they pose and manage their safe handling effectively. CHINOY: Rumsfeld said his visit would be fold by a series of high-level military meetings, as Washington and New Delhi explore new areas of defense cooperation. India is looking no buy U.S. military technology, and further develop a strategic partnership with Washington that had begun to emerge before the attacks of September 11th.

With Rumsfeld's visit to the region over, the focus of South Asian diplomacy now moves to the United States. Both India's prime minister and Pakistan's president are due in Washington shortly.

But in the sign of the continuing tension between these two nuclear-armed neighbors. While both leaders are scheduled to meet President Bush, they are not expected to meet each other, even though they are supposed to be on the same side on the U.S. war on terror.

Mike Chinoy, CNN, New Delhi.


HEMMER: I want to get back to the U.S.-led airstrikes again. Eyewitnesses on the ground said they keep intensifying in the past 48 hours. U.S. warplanes pounded targets around Kabul and Bagram, the air base there. Heavy bombing also resumed around the southern stronghold of Kandahar.

To the Big Board and Kyra Phillips watching more on the military tactics -- Kyra.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Bill, that's right.

Although many people call it carpet bombing, that the term military leaders say doesn't really exactly apply to the type of bombing the B-52s are doing in Afghanistan. Whatever you might call it, though, we have been seeing a lot of it in recent days.

Our military analyst, retired Air Force General Don Shepherd is back with us again.

General, what sorts of targets would the U.S. be going after with these type of bombing runs?

GENERAL DON SHEPPERD, (RET.) CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, basically we reject the term carpet bombing, because it brings back images of World War II, in which you did indeed carpet bomb cities. This is area bombing, Kyra, where you have mobile targets, targets spread across a wide area, perhaps half mile wide by a mile long.

These bombers coming from all locations, both the United States and Diego Garcia, can drop anywhere, from about 50 to about 80 bombs, and it covers an entire area, where they have troops in the open, vehicles in the open, and you can't target specifically, because they may move from time to time.

PHILLIPS: We have some video of bombings near Kabul. You can you see the line of explosions in this video here. Now we know the Northern Alliance troops can see these attacks, so are they designed to send a certain type of message?

SHEPPERD: Well, they certainly do send a message, but they are not designed for that purpose. They really are designed based upon intelligence that we receive in which troops are deployed in close to frontline positions. These are interdiction-type strikes, and you are hitting a wide area, and you are really hoping to hit troops in the open, or hit their vehicles, or hit their ammunition, or hit their POL, their gasoline and oil, if you will. They are not psychological weapons, although if you are watching them, they will certainly have a psychological effect.

PHILLIPS: All right, we've got an animation here. Let's take a look at this. This is an animation of a typical bombing run. The two B-52s, as you see, in formation, fly overhead, dropping a large number of unguided bombs. Now, here can you see it right here. This is exactly the formation you were talking about.

Now a different kind of mission, that may be going on in Afghanistan, with this MC-130 here, a huge plane, carrying a huge bomb, the BLU-82. This 50,000-ton bomb descends of the back of the plane with a parachute, and when it hits the ground, there you go, massive explosion destroying everything within a wide radius.

Now, general, what kind of message would this kind of bomb attack send to the Taliban?

SHEPPERD: Well, A couple things about that. First of all, we have no indication that has either been deployed in the area or used, but it is a concussion bomb designed for the Vietnam era, to clear a wide area. I've watched numerous of these being dropped, in which they tried to drop in the middle of the jungle and wipe out the trees, clearing out a helicopter landing zone. These could be deployed in caves, but again, we have no indication. This is a 15,000-pound bomb. That's the explosive nature of it, Kyra. It's a fuel, air explosive. It puts particles in the air, and then ignites them, much as you would a grain silo-type explosion. That's the theory in it. It sucks air in and sucks air out, and provides concussion over a wide area.

PHILLIPS: General Don Shepherd, thanks again. We will be checking in with you throughout the day.

Can you find out more by visiting our Web site, of course,, including lots of info on U.S. aircraft, including the B-52 bomber, and Keyword for AOL users is, of course, CNN.