Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Live Event/Special

Taliban Says They Know Where bin Laden Is; Pakistan's President Speaks Out; Ashcroft Warns America More Terrorist Attacks Are Coming

Aired September 30, 2001 - 22:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: While the U.S. searches for public enemy number one, the Taliban now say they know where Osama bin Laden is, and they are willing to negotiate. But will they hand him over?

Pakistan's president talks about that, and what it's like to stand by the Taliban while standing with the United States, in an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

Plus, a dire warning.


JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think there is a clear, present danger to Americans.


WOODRUFF: What can you do to be ready?

Good evening. From Washington, I'm Judy Woodruff. This is a CNN special report.

In the next hour, we'll go live to Islamabad, Pakistan, to talk to the parents of one of the Westerners on trial in Afghanistan, accused of preaching Christianity. CNN's Christiane Amanpour's exclusive interview with Pakistan's President Musharraf is just ahead, but first a check of the latest developments at this hour.

The Taliban say they have Osama bin Laden under their control, but they won't consider turning him over to the U.S. without proof that he was involved in the September 11 attack.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft today warned Americans that U.S. military action will most likely encourage terrorism reprisals on U.S. soil. Ashcroft also says that at least 500 people have been arrested or detained during the U.S. government investigation into this month's attacks in New York and Washington.

Here, a live look at the ground zero site in New York City, 314 people are now confirmed dead. Another 5,200 are missing and presumed dead. And as the cleanup continues, Mayor Giuliani says the city is issuing $1 billion in bonds to pay for its recovery. In Afghanistan, as tens of thousands of people head for the border, a top United Nations relief official warns that as many as three million Afghan citizens will need food and medical supplies.

And some relief is on the way. A U.N. convoy carrying 200 tons of food began the journey from Pakistan to Kabul this weekend.

The president of Pakistan says that he has little hope that Afghanistan's ruling Taliban will hand over suspected terrorists, including Osama bin Laden. CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour sat down for an exclusive interview with General Pervez Musharraf. Here's a look.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pakistan is a frontline state in this emerging international coalition against terror. This country borders Afghanistan, and it has sizable minority who sympathize with the Taliban. And right now, of all the world leaders, perhaps the president of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf faces the most daunting task.

Mr. President, thank you very much for joining us.


AMANPOUR: That day when President Bush called you after those terrible events, what was your first response to him? What were your first words?

MUSHARRAF: That I, first of all, certainly condoled all the tragedy that has struck the United States. I condoled the loss of lives in the United States and expressed our cooperation in fighting terrorism around the world.

AMANPOUR: Will you allow U.S. troops, U.S. military hardware, support, logistics to be based on Pakistani soil?

MUSHARRAF: Well, we have -- certainly we've been asked for intelligence and information sharing. We've also been asked for utilization of our airspace and logistics support. And we have said that we will certainly cooperate in all these three areas.

Since we haven't gone into the detail, I wouldn't like to go into the modalities of our tactical details.

AMANPOUR: But as a last resort, if it becomes absolutely necessary, would you allow U.S. forces to be based here?

MUSHARRAF: Well, as I said, certainly we need to consider. And we have said that we will cooperate in these three areas of logistic support and use of airspace. We need to get into the details of the modalities as they come along.

AMANPOUR: What is Pakistan -- what is your bottom line? What are you not prepared to do in any military campaign? MUSHARRAF: Well, I would not like Pakistani troops to be crossing the borders into Afghanistan, because I don't think that is a requirement from our troops also.

AMANPOUR: Has the U.S. presented you with an operational plan yet?

MUSHARRAF: No, not as yet. We don't know anything about the operation plan.

AMANPOUR: You know there have been reports of special forces from the U.S. and the U.K. already taking part in reconnaissance in Afghanistan, and there's been reports that thousands or hundreds of U.S. troops have been based here already.

MUSHARRAF: Well, I see these in the news, yes. So my -- there's no such information. I don't at all know those who are based in Afghanistan, but I'm certainly very clear that nobody's based in Pakistan as yet.

AMANPOUR: Are you personally convinced that Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda network is, was responsible for what happened in the United States?

MUSHARRAF: Well, frankly, we haven't been -- there's no evidence that has been shared with us as yet. So therefore, all that I know is from the television. I don't have any details myself.

AMANPOUR: And are awaiting, are you expecting a full sharing of the evidence from the United States?

MUSHARRAF: Well, yes, we have indication that parts of the evidence which can be -- which do not have any confidentiality, maybe, could be shared with us.

AMANPOUR: And do you believe that, to sustain this coalition, there needs to be a public presentation of the evidence?

MUSHARRAF: No. I really don't know what the confidential part of this evidence, so if there is confidentiality in it, in the interest of justice, we certainly would understand that. But those parts which would facilitate in better understanding of the people at large should be shared, I would say.

AMANPOUR: Many people say that you were taking a huge risk by standing with the United States in this matter because of the very vocal segment of the population that simply supports and sympathizes with the Taliban. Will they destabilize Pakistan?

MUSHARRAF: No, I don't think so. Those who are against whatever my government and myself am doing are a very small minority. These are generally, if not all, religious extremists, and they do not form the majority of Pakistan certainly. Therefore, certainly I have no doubt that there is no destabilization within or there's no opposition, there's no mass opposition to me and my government on whatever we are doing. AMANPOUR: Now, there are many who say that successive Pakistani governments that simply allowed hard-liners and extremists to gain too much ground. Is now a time for you, for your government to redress that balance?

MUSHARRAF: Well, I wouldn't say that. We are concerned about extremism, religious extremism and in that religious -- in the garb of religion, these terrorists acts, sectarian terrorists acts that are being done here in Pakistan.

So we certainly -- I certainly would like to address this issue. We're already addressing them as a part of our law and order improvement in Pakistan. And I would like to certainly go along and see what effects these religious extremists and sectarian extremists have, and I would certainly like to move against them.

AMANPOUR: Some of the so-called madrasas, the religious schools here, are in effect breeding grounds for terrorism. We've heard of the mullahs who preach hate, who say that it's OK to kill Americans, who say that you can do all this for heavenly reward.

Isn't that the real enemy? Isn't that the kind of message that needs to be stamped out now?

MUSHARRAF: Well these are -- I would like to elaborate on this issue of madrasas in Pakistan. These are misunderstood organizations, may I say. There are about 7,000 or 8,000 madrasas in Pakistan, and they have about 600,000 to 700,000 students in these madrasas.

But let me very clearly say that actually those who know what is going on in madrasas would support this point that I'm going to tell you, that this is the biggest welfare organization anywhere in the world is operated today. They get -- about 600,000 to 700,000 children of the poor get free board and lodge, and they get free education.

Now, the issue is that in many of these madrasas, education is only religious education. But in many of them, they get other forms of education also.

So what we need to do actually, and we are doing -- we are following an education strategy for madrasas where we have -- we want to teach other subjects other than religion also in these madrasas so that we won't -- we will then absorb these students, these religious students from madrasas into the mainstream of life in Pakistan.

But what I certainly would like to say is that there are influences within these madrasas by political extremists or religious extremists just like they have in any other university or college or educational institution of Pakistan. So therefore, one shouldn't think that all madrasas in Pakistan really are under the influence of religious extremists and they are teaching some kind of terrorism. No, that is not the fact.

AMANPOUR: But the fact is that, in some of them, they are. And if you... MUSHARRAF: Yes.

AMANPOUR: ... are aware of this continued hate speech, which is the birth place, the breeding ground, for this kind of fanatical anti- Americanism and terrorism, will you stamp it out?

MUSHARRAF: Yes, certainly. Any madrasa which is preaching terrorism or militancy will certainly we would like to move against it.

AMANPOUR: There's talk of support within some of your own ranks in the army, some of your own intelligence services for the Taliban. You yourself, in your speech to the nation, spoke about the security of your strategic assets.

Have you taken special precautions to protect your nuclear facilities? And would you and could you self-destruct them, destroy them, if you were afraid they would fall into the hands of the wrong people, fanatics?

MUSHARRAF: No, I'm very, very sure that the command and control set-up that we have evolved for ourselves is very, very secure, is extremely secure, and there is no chance of these assets falling in the hands of extremists.

The army is certainly is the most disciplined army in the world, and there is no chance of any extremism coming into the army. We have an excellent command system, we have excellent traditions. And I don't see this doomsday scenario ever appearing.

AMANPOUR: Are you still concerned about potential U.S. or other support for the Northern Alliance, those anti-Taliban forces in northern Afghanistan?

MUSHARRAF: Not concerned, really, to the extent that we must understand what Afghanistan requires. We must understand we are interested in Afghanistan's peace and stability and unity of Afghanistan. We are interested in having a friendly Afghanistan. And we certainly are interested in having government which takes into consideration the ethnic layout, demographic layout of Afghanistan.

To that extent, I really don't know what is the extent of support that is going to be given to the Northern Alliance. Our concerns are in having whatever I've told you.

AMANPOUR: Would you ever contemplate an interim or party U.N.- led administration then?

MUSHARRAF: Well, we haven't gone into the details of -- I don't even know what is being contemplated, what is the plan of action in Afghanistan. These things certainly can come under discussion after one knows what is being contemplated in Afghanistan.

AMANPOUR: Let's talk about the Taliban. There has been a great deal in the past of Pakistani's support and sustenance for the Taliban; a great deal of sympathy amongst certain big segments of your population.

Do you think now that, either by military action or the march of history, this is the beginning of the end for the Taliban, that time is running out for them?

MUSHARRAF: Well, may I say that this term "Taliban" is being used rather loosely, I would say, in that "Taliban" really means a religious student. Now, there are millions of Taliban. I would say all these children in the madrasas are Taliban really.

AMANPOUR: The ruling militia then, the Taliban militia as we know them in Afghanistan -- is time running out for them?

MUSHARRAF: Well, as it appears because of all the coalition- forming against them, certainly there's a danger of damage coming to them.

AMANPOUR: When you say a danger, is the Taliban, ruling militia, a liability to Pakistan now?

MUSHARRAF: Well, they are governing their own country. We have had diplomatic relation with them. We are the only country left having diplomatic relation with them.

To the extent of a degree of views in the world, we, Pakistan, acting against world views on Afghanistan, we have suffered for their sake, but that was because of our national interests. Certainly Afghanistan is a country which concerns us the most, so whatever our diplomatic relation with them were based on our national interests. So I can say that diplomatically certainly we suffered internationally because of our support to them.

AMANPOUR: And their very close alliance with Osama bin Laden has obviously now backfired on Pakistan, hasn't it?

MUSHARRAF: Well, as I said, we were interacting with the Taliban in Afghanistan because of our national interests, and we are directly concerned with whatever is happening in Afghanistan. So to that extent, our policy towards the Taliban and Afghanistan was absolutely correct.

It's a different matter whether we suffer diplomatically or not. Now the situation is very different, and we are still interacting with the Taliban to moderate their views, to change their views in accordance with the dictates of the world opinion. We are still carrying on doing that.

AMANPOUR: And do you think that's likely? So far, two missions that you've sent, putting your own personal prestige behind them have failed.

MUSHARRAF: Yes, I would say yes. We haven't been able to succeed in moderating their views on surrendering Osama bin Laden or even -- we would very much have liked that the eight foreigners against whom they are holding trials, maybe they need to be released. We haven't succeeded as yet, but we have our doors open. And some progress has been made, and we hope a little more progress could be made.

AMANPOUR: Do you have any realistic hope that the Taliban government there will do what's expected of them?

MUSHARRAF: Expected of them in what form?

AMANPOUR: Well, isn't the demand that they hand over Osama bin Laden, close down the terrorists camps there?

MUSHARRAF: I think the passage of time as the situation is, the hope is very dim, I would say.



AMANPOUR: No hope?

MUSHARRAF: One can carry on engaging with them. And there is a little bit of flexibility being shown after the edict by the Ulamah (ph), by the Shura in Afghanistan. But the signals that come out certainly are not very encouraging.

AMANPOUR: President Bush said Osama bin Laden is wanted dead or alive. It appears he's not going to be handed over. Do you think it's time for Osama bin Laden to be shut down?

MUSHARRAF: Well, I think certainly Afghanistan is suffering, the people of Afghanistan are suffering. And as I said, because of this, even Pakistan diplomatically has been suffering.

So I think in the interest of the people of Afghanistan, a resolution to this impasse on Osama bin Laden must be resolved certainly. I would urge the Taliban to do that, and that is why we keep interacting with them.

AMANPOUR: And terrorism in your own country -- there's been incidences where Pakistan has been fingered for harboring terrorists or having their own terrorists groups. You know, one of them is on the list of the United States terrorists groups.

What are you going to do to make sure now, as part of this U.N. resolution, that there's a complete crack down on any opportunity for terrorism from here?

MUSHARRAF: Well, when you talk of terrorists groups here in Pakistan, there is no terrorist group in Pakistan. You are talking of probably Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen...


MUSHARRAF: ...which has been banned.

AMANPOUR: Which you've just closed down.


AMANPOUR: The offices.

MUSHARRAF: No, Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen is not here at all. They are operating in -- they were operating in Kashmir, in Hel (ph) Kashmir. And we have no contacts at all with them whatsoever. So they don't have offices here.

The other office which was -- what was the name of this office? That has nothing to do with Kashmir. The trust that has been -- the accounts which had been frozen, that has nothing to do with Kashmir. And if at all they are involved in terrorist acts, we certainly will take all actions against them.

AMANPOUR: The United States and some European countries and other countries have offered you now relief from sanctions, some debt rescheduling, some economic relations again. Is this significant, or is it so far symbolic, a drop in the ocean? Do you expect more?

MUSHARRAF: Well, this is not a deal that is going on, so I wouldn't like to say that there's some exchange or we have made a deal for whatever we are providing and you give us this much. I haven't gone into this.

And I only expect certainly that we have been faced with a difficulty, and, as you yourself said, that we are again a frontline state. We were a frontline state for 10 years when we fought the Soviets with the allies, and now again we are a frontline state.

This has its fallout on Pakistan. I'm sure United States understands our difficulties and certainly whatever is happened does not address all our difficulties at all.

But there's no deal as such. I would leave it at this.

AMANPOUR: But are you expecting more?

MUSHARRAF: Well, again, I wouldn't say that there's a deal. One certainly expects the United States to understand our difficulties and help us in removing those difficulties, overcoming those difficulties.

AMANPOUR: Is one of the difficulties the fact that, so far, no Islamic state has openly joined the military coalition, unlike during the Gulf War when many Islamic states did? Do you think that that's a necessity if there is military action?

MUSHARRAF: Well, I had told everyone, I even have conveyed to President Bush, that certainly a United Nation umbrella would be extremely helpful in removing certain doubts or putting certain doubts at peace. And also we are trying to have an OIC foreign ministers conference, which is being held, I think, in a few days time on the 9th of October, I think.

These will go a long way toward removing this anxiety in the minds of some people that maybe we are the only Muslim states. But all of the Muslim states have also voted in favor of the U.N. resolutions which do call on cooperating for the fight against terrorism around the world and also the perpetrators of terrorism and those who abet terrorism. So therefore, Muslim countries are onboard on this issue of fighting terrorism. So to that extent, all Muslim countries are onboard.

AMANPOUR: Are you afraid that the delicate balance that exists in Pakistan right now could topple one way or another if a military action starts?

MUSHARRAF: Delicate balance within...

AMANPOUR: Within your own country. We've talked about the vocal minority.

MUSHARRAF: No, I don't think so. I think I have the support of the entire people of Pakistan. It's only the religious extremists, as I said, who have this extreme views.

Other than that, I place -- I divide Pakistan into three groups actually: the religious extremists, who are in a very small minority. Then the other is the middle class, the upper-middle class, and the upper class of Pakistanis, who certainly have moderate Islamic values. They are moderate Muslims.

MUSHARRAF: They don't believe in extremism and they are fully, always have been in support of whatever we are doing.

The other left, the third party is the lower-middle class and the working class of people of Pakistan, whom I tried -- who maybe did not have the full comprehension of the situation. And I tried to address to the nation, to this third group of people, and I think I managed to explain to them what the reality is. And I'm very sure that I've converted opinion in my favor.

And therefore, the only people left are the religious extremists who are in a small minority. I'm sure they don't hold sway on whatever will happen in Pakistan.

AMANPOUR: Well, you sound very confident, Mr. President.

Just one last question: Despite this crisis, are you committed to returning this country to full democracy next year?

MUSHARRAF: Yes, I still remain committed because that is in our national interest. It's not for any other country of the world or any world opinion that I'm doing it. I'm doing it because it's in our national interest. And I will do it. The time schedule and the road map that I've given, I will still go forward on it.

AMANPOUR: On that note, thank you very much for joining us.

MUSHARRAF: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WOODRUFF: That was Christiane Amanpour's exclusive interview with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf.

Coming up: The Taliban change their story. They now say they do know the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. White House reaction next.

Plus, we talk live with the parents of a woman facing trial in Afghanistan, accused of trying to spread Christianity.


WOODRUFF: Welcome back, and checking some headlines this hour -- President Bush could name his "terrorism czar" as early as this week. Senior government officials say the president is considering retired Army General Wayne Downing for the job. After the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, Downing authored a report critical of U.S. commanders for not ensuring tighter security.

Saudi Arabia's ambassador today says that his country stands with the United States, but he says the U.S. has not asked for the use of Saudi bases.

Four more people who died in the Pentagon crash have been identified. So far, 84 of the 189 victims have been named there.

And the Justice Department instituted a "zero tolerance" policy today on hate crimes against Americans of Middle Eastern backgrounds.

The Taliban now say they know how to find Osama bin Laden, but say they want proof of his involvement in the September 11 terrorist attacks before they will even consider turning him over.

Members of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance say they have a good idea where Osama bin Laden can be found. They say they have reason to believe that he may be hiding in or around Jalalabad, a town in eastern Afghanistan.

The Taliban's leader is saying it would be a mistake if Afghanistan's exiled king tries to return home to govern. Mullah Mohammed Omar also says that the Afghan people would never tolerate what he calls a "puppet government."

The 87-year-old exiled king apparently has no desire to return to power, but says he could play a role in a post-Taliban government. Today he met with a U.S. congressional delegation and with members of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance.

There was prompt reaction from the White House to the Taliban's claims they know the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, and that the Taliban are willing to talk. CNN's White House correspondent, Kelly Wallace joins us now. Kelly, is the administration sticking to the position that it is not going to negotiate?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, absolutely sticking to that position. The message coming from the White House today, the same message we have heard almost every day, that this administration will not negotiate with the Taliban, that the U.S. will not be turning over any evidence to the regime either. The message is that the Taliban are fully aware of President Bush's demands. Those demands include turning over Osama bin Laden and any other associates in the al Qaeda network and also shutting down any terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, that those demands are non-negotiable, that it is time to act, not time to talk.

Also, Judy, we heard Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, he was out on some of the Sunday talk shows saying that he has questions now about any of these claims coming from the Taliban. He said just a few days ago they were saying they didn't even know where Osama bin Laden happened to be. So continued pressure on Taliban. The message is if they don't adhere to those demands they will pay a price -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Kelly what are you -- it is of course now Sunday night in Washington. What are hearing at this point about the Bush Administration offering to help any groups that are working to overthrow the Taliban?

WALLACE: Judy, it was an interesting weekend because CNN obtaining an internal White House memo on Saturday which basically said that the administration would aid or help any group seeking to overthrow the Taliban.

The administration walking a delicate balancing act here, not publicly coming forward saying one of its goals happened to be overthrowing the Taliban, but making it clear that it would help any groups seeking that goal. On the Sunday talk shows today, White House chief of staff Andrew Card would only go as far as to say that the United States wants the Taliban out of power if they continue to harbor terrorists. He also made clear the administration does not favor one particular group over another in terms of replacing the Taliban, but clearly the administration offering assistance in that regard -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: CNN's White House correspondent Kelly Wallace. Thank you. The trial of eight international aid workers resumed today in Kabul, Afghanistan, with a promise from the Taliban. The Taliban's supreme court chief says that the workers, two of whom are Americans, will get a fair trial, and that the threat of a U.S. attack will not influence the outcome.

The workers are accused of spreading Christianity in Afghanistan. Joining us now are two people with a very personal interest in the outcome of that trial. The are John Mercer and Deborah Oddy. Their daughter, Heather Mercer, is one of the Americans detained in Afghanistan. And they are joining us from Islamabad where it is now Monday morning. Mr. Mercer, Ms. Oddy, thank you for being with us. Let me ask you first, Mr. Mercer, how do you interpret what you heard today from Afghanistan?

JOHN MERCER, HEATHER MERCER'S FATHER: Good morning, Judy. We are very hopeful. We have interpreted the words we have heard from our lawyer in Kabul, as very positive signs, that all the detainees will get a fair trial and that they will be well cared for during this process.

WOODRUFF: MS. Oddy, are you seeing it the same way, taking the Taliban justices at his word?

DEBORAH ODDY, HEATHER MERCER'S MOTHER: I am. It's what we have to do. And we are so pleased that at least at this point there is movement. There hasn't been movement since September 11. So this is a process we have to go through and the sooner we get it done the better off we are going to be.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Mercer, you have not seen your daughter since early in September, almost a month ago. What do you know for a fact about how she is doing?

MERCER: Judy, we last saw Heather on 11 September. She at that time was physically well. Since that time we have received a couple of letters from her. And we have been able to get letters in to her. Her physical condition as the other detainees is well. I think their emotional state is up and down at times just like ours. But I think they are hanging in there. They are doing well as group together.

WOODRUFF: MS. Oddy, how you are getting information about your daughter and why are you not in Afghanistan?

ODDY: Actually we were in Afghanistan until the 13th of September. And then were sort of asked to leave as there would be no more support for us there so we were on the last United Nations' flight out of Kabul. And as far as getting word on our daughter, as her dad just said, we have been getting letters out from her that are written in her own hand and yesterday we had a conversation with their attorney, the attorney for the eight detainees who had been with them for two hours yesterday and he said that Heather in particular was doing better yesterday than she had been doing the day before. So, to us that was encouraging.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Mercer, the charge we are told is that Heather and others were proselytizing, preaching Christianity. Is that the sum total of what they are accused of?

MERCER: That seems to be the major charge against them, Judy. Yesterday in court, the chief supreme court judge presented six pages of charges however, written in Persian. These hopefully have been translated overnight and the detainees and the lawyer will be able to see specifically what other charges are being levied against them.

WOODRUFF: Ms. Oddy, what would the defense be if that's primarily was she is charged with, preaching Christianity, what would she say to that in response?

ODDY: I believe Heather has already said it, and that was if she has done anything to offend the Taliban or the faith of Islam, it was unintentional and she has denied that she was preaching Christianity.

Their interpretation might be something different, but if she done anything to offend them she is very remorseful and that was never her intention. WOODRUFF: Mr. Mercer, when you get this -- when you hear today the events surrounding the attacks of September 11 and the response of the United States should have no bearing on your daughter's trial, are you absolutely persuaded of that?

MERCER: Well, obviously the Taliban are very concerned about the aftermath of the events of 11 September. But I think also that this trial of the eight detainees is also very significant for them, and obviously for the parents of all the detainees. I do believe that they intend to keep them safe if there is any military action by the coalition, and they have treated them well up until today. And we continue to believe that. So it's difficult to separate them. I realize that, but I think they want us to us understand that they don't intend to judge them on the events of 11 September, Judy.

WOODRUFF: And MS. Oddy, finally, how are you holding up? How are both of you holding up? We have our good days and we have our bad days. I think it's difficult for us when we hear unsubstantiated releases in the press and it puts fear and panic in our hearts. We are all scurrying around trying to track down the reliability and accuracy of comments.

Today we hope it's going to be good day for us and the for the eight detainees because they will realize at this point exactly what the charges are against them and then they will be able to go ahead and prepare for their defense.

WOODRUFF: Well, Ms. Oddy and -- Deborah Oddy, John Mercer, we want to thank you both very much for joining us and we, of course, wish the very best for your daughter and for the others. Thanks you.

MERCER: Thank you, Judy. Thanks for having us.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

To get a closer look at life under the Taliban, stay with CNN for a special report, "Beneath The Veil." It airs tonight at 11:00 Eastern, 8:00 Pacific.

Up next, a warning to Americans. When we come back, strong words from the U.S. attorney general about future safety concerns.


WOODRUFF: Up next, a warning to Americans. When we come back, strong words from the U.S. attorney general about future safety concerns.


WOODRUFF: The investigation into the September 11 attacks is showing signs of progress. But U.S. officials say terrorism still poses a clear and present danger. CNN's Susan Candiotti reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Despite more than 500 arrests and detentions since the September 11 attacks, U.S. authorities offer no guarantees the violence is over.

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We remain in a situation where there is a significant threat of additional terrorist activity in the United States, that that threat of additional terrorist activity may well escalate as the United States responds to the assault on the United States to the acts of war perpetrated against the United States and our people.

CANDIOTTI: Appearing on CNN, the attorney general said he doubts all those who helped the hijackers are in custody.

ASHCROFT: It's very unlikely that all of those associated with the attacks of September 11 are now detained or have been detected.

CANDIOTTI: In some cases he added, authorities don't yet know who they are looking for. As the FBI continues to track down possible contacts and penetrate cells arrests are building overseas.

In Germany, where sources say the hijackers may have masterminded the attack, more FBI agents are arriving to help their counter parts there. And later this week in London another hearing on the U.S. request to extradite Lotfi Raissi. British prosecutors say he helped train some of the suspected hijackers in the U.S. Through his attorney, Raissi denies any involvement.

The United States has charged Raissi with lying to the Federal Aviation Administration on paperwork for a pilot's license. And in India, CNN confirms, the FBI is questioning the family of two men detained in the investigation. Ayub Ali-Khan and Mohammed Jaweed Azmath were taken off a train in Texas the day of the attacks after their plane was diverted.

The FBI says the two carried box cutters, hair dye and a large amount of cash. And agents are very interested in what they might know. Authorities in India say the two men sent home to their families more than $58,000 from doing odd jobs in the U.S.

(on camera): And a new development on the money trail. Besides the cash apparently sent back by some of the suspects just before the attacks, CNN has learned at least one of the men was also receiving money at that time from the Middle East. As to why, no shortage of theories.

Susan Candiotti. CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: And when we come back, the Bush administration says the danger of another terrorist attack is real. Is the United States ready? Just ahead, we'll talk with an expert on chemical and biological terrorism.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: While the United States government tries to assure the public, fears still revolve around the possibility of a biological or chemical attack.

Raymond Zilinskas, a bioterrorism expert from Monterey Institute of International Studies joins us now from Mountain View, California.

Dr. Zilinskas, how much at risk are the people of the United States?

RAYMOND ZILINSKAS, FORMER U.N. INSPECTOR IN IRAQ: We don't know. It's that simple. I can tell you that I think I know as much as anybody about terrorist capabilities in this area, and I know nothing for certain. So, that's really the bottom line of this.

WOODRUFF: Well, based on your years of study and research in this area, what is your best thinking at this point about what terrorists, anybody who wishes the United States ill are capable of doing?

ZILINSKAS: It depends on how much support they have from countries that have biological weapons, such as Iraq. Certainly Iraq has all the capabilities, all the people and so on. So, if they wish to provide terrorists with the knowledge and know-how and even the weapons, then it would go rather easily. But if the terrorists have to do it themselves -- really, to produce a weapon that's capable of causing mass destruction is technically rather difficult. So, it would take them sometime to do that.

WOODRUFF: All right. So, assume they were able to get both the material and the means of delivery from Iraq or from somewhere else, how would it work? I mean, without going into detail, what could happen in the United States?

ZILINSKAS: Well, the most likely way to do -- to really cause a lot of damage is through aerosol dispersion of a deadly pathogen. So, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) sect tried to do that in 1991 to 1993, and they didn't succeed. However, present day terrorists might have learned from their mistakes. So, the way they would try to do it I think is to use the same way, which is to put sprayer tanks and sprayers in the back of a truck, and drive the truck through the city dispersing the deadly agent.

WOODRUFF: And what -- you say pathogen, deadly agent. What are you talking about?

ZILINSKAS: Well, I'm talking about mostly bacillus anthracis, which causes anthrax, because that is really the one that is most deadly and, comparatively speaking, easy to secure.

WOODRUFF: And what are we looking at, Dr. Zilinskas, here in the way of casualties, if they were able to get it together to do something like this?

ZILINSKAS: Oh, we're talking about thousands, maybe tens of thousands, if it was, like I said, used through a truck. If a successful attack was done through an airplane, then it would probably be higher than that.

WOODRUFF: How difficult is it to pull off something like this, though?

ZILINSKAS: It's very difficult, because first of all, you have to secure the virulent strain, and most strains of bacillus anthracis are not virulent. And then, you have to grow it. And then, after you have grown it, you have to convert it into spores, because the spores are the ones that are hardy. And then, you have put them in a proper solution so that it sprays easily through the spray system that you have, and you need very, very small nozzles because particles have to be less than what they call 10 microns, which is -- one micron being one millionth of a meter.

And all of this is very, very difficult to do. Not impossible, but difficult.

WOODRUFF: You mentioned, you said earlier that Iraq perhaps among others has the supplies, perhaps the know-how. Are you saying that in Iraq and other places, they know how to do this?

ZILINSKAS: Oh, yes. I was actually a biological inspector in Iraq in 1994. And so, we got to learn about their programs pretty carefully. So, they had something like 25 missiles and 166 bombs that were filled with anthrax and botulinetoxin. So, they are well aware how to do this.

WOODRUFF: What should Americans be doing to prepare, or is there really nothing people can do, realistically speaking?

ZILINSKAS: Well, don't go and buy the gas masks and antibiotics. It's pretty ridiculous. But what you can do that is useful is to work on your representatives to find out if your local hospitals have an adequate disaster plan to meet biological and chemical emergencies in general.

There was a study that was done last summer by -- and it was published in the journal of the American Public Health Association that showed that less than 20 percent of all the hospitals that they surveyed, which was on the East Coast, had adequate disaster plans, 80 percent did not. So, I think that's the first thing that would be really useful for citizens to do.

WOODRUFF: All right. Dr. Raymond Zilinskas with the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq. Thank you very much for joining us. And the bottom line there is, people should be in touch with their hospitals. Thank you very much.

As the Bush administration makes plans for the global war against terrorism, some people are expressing their discontent. Hundreds of New Yorkers took to the streets for a peace march, asking for a non- violent solution to the problem of terrorism.

Up next, a quick look at the latest developments in America's new war, followed by an encore presentation of "Beneath the Veil," a rare look inside life under the Taliban regime.

I'm Judy Woodruff. We'll be right back.


WOODRUFF: Hello, I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Here now, a check of the latest developments in America's new war.

Taliban officials now say they do know the whereabouts of suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. The Afghanistan Supreme Court says a case against eight international aid workers accused of preaching Christianity will not be unfairly influenced by the threat of U.S. violence against Afghanistan.

And U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft say Americans face a, quote, "clear and present danger" of more terrorist activity if the U.S. begins retaliation for the September 11 attacks.

Thanks for joining us. A special encore presentation of "Beneath the Veil" is next. It is a rare look at life under Taliban rule.

I'm Judy Woodruff. Good night.