Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Interview With Massachusetts Senator John Kerry; Al Qaeda Terror Tapes: Reality or Propaganda?; Preaching Hate; The Shot Not Taken; Radical Islamists Attacking Other Muslims; Heroin from Afghanistan Affecting U.S.; Former Texas Governor Dies

Aired September 13, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. I'm Anderson Cooper, live in Kabul, Afghanistan.
And a special welcome to our viewers watching on CNN International around the would.

We are at ground zero in the war on terror here in Afghanistan. And you are about to see a photo of a moment that could have changed the face of the war.


ANNOUNCER: In the crosshairs, nearly 200 suspected Taliban fighters and commanders -- so, why didn't we pull the trigger?

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You love Osama bin Laden?

ABU ABDULLAH, MUSLIM CLERIC: Oh, yes. I love him more than myself.

ANNOUNCER: Loving bin Laden, hating the West, why so many Muslims agree, and how the hatred is taught.

Plus, call it the Taliban's weapons of mass destruction.


ANNOUNCER: A flood of Afghan heroin on American streets, with the money we spend going straight back to the Taliban.


ANNOUNCER: From Afghanistan, this is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, "Ground Zero of Terror."

Here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: And thanks very much for joining us. We are live in Kabul, Afghanistan, this morning.

This country really has become ground zero and continues to be ground zero in the war on terror. There are some 20,000 U.S. troops now in country, some 20,000 NATO troops as well. The fighting is very intense, and particularly in the south. We have been in the east of Afghanistan, along the Pakistan border, that porous border, contributing to the problem, fighters from Pakistan coming across the border fighting in eastern Afghanistan, and then going back across -- a lot to cover in the next two hours here on 360.

Some -- NATO -- the commander of NATO has called for more NATO troops. They need reinforcements down to fight the Taliban in the south. However, today, when NATO country members met, no member countries offered up more forces for this region. That is going to be a problem in the weeks ahead. We are going to talk about that more in the next two hours.

But we begin tonight with a photo that purports to show more than 100 Taliban fighters gathered together. The U.S. military saw the gathering. They did not open fire. The question tonight is why.

Here's CNN's Jamie McIntyre.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The single video frame shows a large gathering of suspected Taliban militants in the crosshairs of a U.S. spy plane, sitting ducks, except that no one pulled the trigger. The picture first surfaced on a Weblog written by NBC News reporter Kerry Sanders in Afghanistan, who says the image was declassified at NBC's request.

According to what Sanders was told, the 190 Taliban members, including top leaders, were at a funeral. And Army officers frustration the group was not attacked. "Why?" he wrote. "Under the rules of engagement, the U.S. cannot bomb a cemetery."

Actually, military experts say, the U.S. can bomb a cemetery in some circumstances.

JAMES CARAFANO, SENIOR FELLOW, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Commanders on the ground usually have a degree of flexibility, in terms of how they operate these rules of engagement. But, again, a rule of engagement which essentially puts cultural and religious sites off limits, that's not unusual.

MCINTYRE: Initially, the U.S. military refused to comment on the photo, saying it should never have been released. But, in a later statement, the military said the picture shows a July gathering of Taliban insurgents that it first considered a tactically viable enemy target, but then decided not to strike, because the group was on the grounds of a cemetery and were likely conducting a funeral for Taliban insurgents killed earlier in the day.

Another reason for caution, credible intelligence can be wrong, such as the time in 2002 when U.S. planes mistakenly bombed a wedding party in Afghanistan, killing several dozen civilians.

MAJOR GENERAL DONALD SHEPPERD (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It could be a missed opportunity. It could be a disaster averted. Again, we have had both.

MCINTYRE: The statement noted that a suicide bomber attacked the funeral of an Afghan provincial governor Tuesday, killing innocent civilians, and said the U.S. holds itself to a higher moral and ethical standard than its enemies.


COOPER: Hey, Jamie, do we even know if whatever drone or aircraft it was that -- that took this photo could have even fired instantly, if they had gotten the command to go ahead?

MCINTYRE: Well, we don't know for sure, but, presumably, it was, they had been following this crowd for some time, and been contemplating a strike against them.

It's only when they determined that they believed this was a funeral, where they were burying some of their own, that the commander made the call that attacking a funeral was not something he wanted to do, especially if he didn't know exactly who was among the mourners. So, presumably, they did have the capability, because they have been -- been looking, I guess, what they called a substantial amount of time.

COOPER: No -- no doubt frustrating for the U.S. commanders, but a tough call to make.

Jamie, appreciate that report.

Let's bring in retired Brigadier General David Grange, a CNN military analyst. He joins us now from Chicago.

David, what do you think about it? The right call?

RETIRED BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, again, you know, unless you have the information that, in fact, it's enemy Taliban -- and, at the time, they may not have known that -- it's a great target. It's the kind of target you want to eliminate when you have a chance like that. Those opportunities are very fleeting.

What happens if you don't? Then you fight those guys again in onesies and twosies throughout the mountains and the villages of Afghanistan. So, it is a tough decision. But I think, whether it was a funeral or not, if it was a -- for sure a Taliban gathering, it would have been a great target to hit.

COOPER: Is onesies and twosies one of those military terms, David?


GRANGE: No. That is my sensitive side, Anderson.

But, you know, rooting out people in small groups takes a long time, as you know. You have been on a few patrols yourself. (LAUGHTER)


You know, it is a tough counterinsurgency. And it is -- that is a difficult kind of operation to fight.

Talk a little bit about where the -- the fighting is, I mean, intensive in the south. That's where NATO troops seem to be concentrated -- U.S. troops also heavily in eastern Afghanistan, along the Pakistan border. Describe the battlefield.

GRANGE: Well, what -- you know, what's going on -- and, of course, you have seen this firsthand. You have smelled it, and walked it, and seen what's -- what U.S. troops, for sure, are doing.

But you have -- this is their country. I mean, these Taliban are from Afghanistan. They hide in Pakistan. They come back across in an appropriate time of weather and when they are going to plan an offensive. They have relatives in these villages. They can hide in the villages. They can hide in the mountains. That's where they -- that's how insurgents operate. And, then, they are financed by the opium crop, and, again, supported by the villagers, because they don't have an alternate means of cash.

And, so, it's very conducive to guerrilla activity. And they have not given up. I mean, they're -- they are still in the fight. And what you have now is, they know that NATO switched out with the United States. You have a seam there because of the transfer of authority of different forces. They know there's a bit of confusion here and there, and they want to work the seams.

But the NATO forces are doing very well. And -- and -- and they're actually stacking up the enemy in these fights when they find them.

COOPER: There's this Operation Medusa going on in the south with NATO -- NATO troops. I mean, there are problems that you mentioned with NATO forces.

I mean, like, the Germans can't be deployed to -- to a region where there's active fighting, I believe. I mean, all these different groups within NATO have different rules.

A, as a commander, how tough is that to -- to deal with? And, also, what kind of numbers are we talking about, in terms of Taliban?

GRANGE: You know, this is a -- that is a great question about the different nationalities making up a U.N. or a NATO force.

I just think back to Task Force Eagle in Bosnia. And, as an American commander, with 17 different countries, forces from 17 different countries working with you, they still have their national command authority, where they have to get permission to do a lot of different things that you ask them to do. And it is very frustrating. But to have an army and say, well, I'm not going to go into an area where you might get shot at or killed, then, why be in an uniform? I mean, that's part of being a soldier. That's a rather weak excuse.

But what really is disturbing to me is where NATO, they asked the -- the soldiers on the ground, the commanders on the ground, ask NATO for 2,500 more troops in order to do this fight correctly. And they -- and they can't figure out who's going to provide them to do that.

And, to me, that's -- that's really poor for NATO.

COOPER: Hmm. Taliban spokespeople say they have about 12,000 troops. The U.S. military is putting the number that we have been hearing closer to 7,000 to 10,000. But the battle, obviously, still continues.

David Grange, appreciate your perspective. Thanks.

GRANGE: Thanks.

COOPER: Retired Brigadier General David Grange joining us from Chicago tonight.

Obviously, the war here in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq have become, really, a political issue in the United States, particularly in this election season -- Republicans saying that Democrats want to cut and run in Iraq.

Recently, former presidential contender John Kerry, and perhaps even future presidential contender John Kerry, has accused the Bush administration of essentially of cutting and running here in Afghanistan.

I spoke to Senator Kerry earlier tonight.


COOPER: Senator Kerry, do you believe we're winning the war on terror here in Afghanistan?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: No. I think that the Taliban -- well, winning -- I think it is a losing proposition right now, in the sense that it's going downhill and backwards. The Taliban is resurgent in the south. And there are enormous difficulties on the border.

COOPER: Who do you blame for that? I mean, why -- why have the Taliban, in your opinion, been able to come back?

KERRY: Why do we have seven times the number of troops in Iraq that we have in Afghanistan? I think that tells the story.

The administration took their eye off of Afghanistan, shifted the focus to Iraq, which was not the center of the war of terror. It is Afghanistan. And we are facing enormous problems. COOPER: Some people, though, blame -- blame NATO. I mean, NATO's commander has asked for some 5,000 more troops. Even the troops that have already been promised, a lot of NATO countries haven't delivered.

KERRY: Well, the truth is, as I think General Pace said over the weekend, every member of the coalition, ourselves included, have been dragging their feet. So, the answer is, yes.

But here's the -- look, yesterday, Secretary of State Rice said we cannot allow Afghanistan to go downhill. If -- if Afghanistan goes backwards, we are in serious trouble.

The very next day, people are refusing to put the troops in necessary to be able to do it.

COOPER: The Bush administration says that they're able to fight two wars at once, that -- that the troops in Iraq, the fighting in Iraq, has not taken away from what's happening here in Afghanistan.

KERRY: Well, I think that is ridiculous, on its face.

There isn't anybody who can't see, very simply, that the entire focus of the war on terror shifted to Iraq. The fact is that Afghanistan always was the place where it was of greatest intensity. And this shifting has cost us enormously.

COOPER: How -- how many more troops do you think are needed here in Afghanistan? Do you have a number?

KERRY: Well, I suggested that, for the moment, if you were to increase the special forces units and the -- and the other sectors that I talked about by about 5,000, I believe you could send an important message and give us very, very significant added ability.

COOPER: Unless, though, the U.S. is able to either operate in Pakistan and chase insurgents, chase Taliban fighters, and -- and al Qaeda fighters, into Pakistan, or unless the Pakistan government ups the ante, and -- and, you know, goes after forces in their territory more vigorously, is this really winnable?

KERRY: No. If you can't -- if you can't do one of those two things, you have hit the nail on the head. We have a serious containment issue.

And I think, in the long term, it's going to become much more difficult. Clearly, this is a moment for Pakistan and it's a moment for Afghanistan. But we are completely diverted by an Iran that has become stronger because of our presence in Iraq, by an Iraq that is crumbling on a daily basis, by a Lebanon and a Syria that are deeply troubling, and a Mideast that is more volatile.

So, the administration has really unleashed unbelievably dangerous forces, rather than have contained those forces and brought the world to our side.

COOPER: Senator Kerry, appreciate your time. Thank you.

KERRY: Glad to be with you. Thank you. Be safe.



Well, of course, the war here rages on. Many Americans, hundreds of Americans, have lost their lives here. Let's take a look at the "Raw Data," the sheer numbers of losses of human life here.

At least 276 U.S. troops have been killed in and around Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom. One hundred and seventy- five died fighting the enemy. One hundred and one were killed in what they call non-hostile situations.

When we come back, we will take a look at a powerful new weapon that the enemy is using in this war on terror, al Qaeda is using, slickly produced sick videos that they put out on the Internet used to recruit terrorists and to terrorize.

Also, this:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Islam is a peaceful religion, but, at the same time, Islam is allowed to defend itself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is allowed to defend itself, you would say. Is it allowed to attack the West?



COOPER: A man who lives in the West, grew up in the West -- yet, he's a leading preacher of violent jihad. Why does he hate us? And what can be done to counter his message?

When this special edition of 360 continues, live from Afghanistan.



COOPER: What is so strange when you're on patrol is, even if the soldiers don't make contact with the enemy, even if you don't see any enemy fighters, you know that they were here. On a lot of the trees, you find these, these cross marks or horizontal slashes. They're reference points, helping enemy fighters figure out where to fire rockets that will hit the forward operating base.


COOPER: Hmm. We took that on patrol yesterday with the 10th Mountain Division, right along the Pakistan border, a fascinating day on patrol.

What you are about to see, what we are about to show you is a videotape. It's as slickly produced as anything you will get out of Madison Avenue these days. The problem for the U.S. service members fighting here, for coalition forces, and for innocent people around the world is, the product that this videotape is selling is violent jihad against the West, in this particular instance, a suicide attack.

This is a -- a propaganda tape put forward by al Qaeda, released on to the Internet. And it gives you just an example of how slick the propaganda arm of al Qaeda has become. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): The video starts with the animation for Al- Sahab, al Qaeda's production company, a flag map of the United States blown up by missiles.

The tape, titled "The American Inferno in Afghanistan," first surfaced on the Internet, and was translated by MEMRI, an Israeli monitoring service. We found the translation pretty accurate, but CNN could not determine when and where -- or even if -- the events depicted in the tape took place.

On the video, we see a man showing off a trunk filled with mortar rounds. Mortars like these used are commonly used in suicide car bombs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I pray to Allah that this operation will be vengeance upon the American pigs and their apostate collaborator dogs.

COOPER: The would-be suicide bomber, called Abu Muhammad, makes a statement. From a name we hear later on the tape, he appears to be from Yemen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To my family and friends, I say, we will meet in paradise, Allah willing.

COOPER: The video then cuts to inside the bomber's car. A crudely rigged detonator is attached to a wooden board.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will carry out the operation within a few minutes.

Test it for the last time, Muhammad. Only 10 minutes left until the operation. What do you feel, Abu Muhammad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel a great calm.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I pray that Allah accepts me. I have never felt so calm in my life.

COOPER: For a brief moment, we see the man who recorded these pictures. He urges the bomber forward. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allah willing, your prayers and ours will be answered.

COOPER: The two men survey their target. A voice says the vehicles are American.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are the American cars.

COOPER: There is an edit in the tape. Now the suicide bomber is driving on the road, his white car clearly visible.

The video is shot from a distance while the bomber talks to the cameraman on walkie-talkie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you see them in front of me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see the Americans in front of you? Go on a little further, and you will see them in front of you. Abu Muhammad, there are Muslims behind you. Move a little faster. They are in front of you now. Place your trust in Allah, Muhammad. Remember, paradise, my brother. Remember paradise.

COOPER: You can hear the cameraman's heavy breathing, waiting for the explosion.


COOPER: The U.S. military says it has no record of such an attack. It is not clear whether this video is purely propaganda, or a blend of propaganda and an actual attack. On the tape, the cameraman drives off, rejoicing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Glory to Allah, his prophet, and the believers!


COOPER: A couple of things to point out about suicide attacks here in Afghanistan.

They are -- have not been very effective against U.S. or coalition forces. Most of the victims of those attacks end up being Afghan civilians, Muslims killing other Muslims.

Also, another thing to point out is that military sources have been telling us that the enemy is learning and improving their use of IEDs and vehicle-borne explosive attacks -- vehicle-borne suicide attacks, and that is certainly a troubling development.

When we come back, we are going to talk about how -- taking you from Afghanistan to the streets of Saint Louis, Missouri, and how the Taliban is benefiting from something that could be very harmful in main street America. We will have that in a moment.

But, first, CNN's John Roberts has a "360 Bulletin" -- John.


And good evening, everyone.

Investigators still don't know why a gunman opened fire at Dawson College in Montreal, Quebec, up in Canada. At least 20 people were shot, including a female student who died. Eight other victims remain in critical condition. Witnesses say the shooter wore a black trench coat and a mohawk haircut. He was killed in a hail of police bullets. Police cannot confirm reports of additional gunmen, but they are still searching for other possible suspects.

On "LARRY KING LIVE" tonight, Jimmy Carter criticized President Bush on his handling of the war on terror and Iraq. Here is just some of what the former president had to say earlier.


JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I respectfully disagree with what President Bush had to say. I don't think that the safety of America depends at all on the extended presence of U.S. troops in Iraq.

My own preference would be that, over a period of time, in a very cautious and methodical way, that we could remove our troops from Iraq.



Out in the Atlantic, we are keeping a close eye on a tropical depression that could become Tropical Storm Helene within hours. It's harmless right now, but experts warn that the system could strengthen dramatically in the coming days, becoming a hurricane by Saturday. It's still too early to tell whether it will strike the United States.

And a very public and troubled marriage has come to an end. Whitney Houston has filed for divorce from her husband, Bobby Brown. The two singers, who have one child, have been married for 14 years -- their union plagued by arrests, drug addiction, and charges of domestic violence.

I'm surprised it lasted that long -- Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Yes. I think a lot of people saw that one coming.

John Roberts, appreciate that. We will check in with you for other headlines coming up.

Also tonight: In the war on terror, of course, there are many fronts. We are going to take you to Great Britain and an outspoken Muslim cleric who is preaching hate of the West. Coming up, you will meet him. He has now been arrested, behind bars. But what he told us before he was arrested was chilling.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RIVERS: You love Osama bin Laden?

ABDULLAH: Oh, yes. I love him more than myself.


COOPER: We will have more on that.

Plus: Americans who are funding the Taliban without even knowing it. It's all about a bumper crop of opium that ended up on the main streets in the United States -- another angle in the war on terror, when 360, live from Afghanistan, continues.



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you want to get an Afghan rug, this is the street to come to, Chicken Street.

In 1970s, the tourists used to come here. Under the Taliban, it was almost deserted. Now, five years on from the Taliban rule, there are plenty of foreigners here. But, when the Taliban decided to start striking back, one of the first places they targeted with a suicide bomb was here, on Chicken Street, targeting Westerners.


COOPER: Well, of course, it's not just Afghanistan. London has become a hot zone in the war on terror.

Today, there were some new developments. Today, six people, six more men, were charged in connection with recent police raids targeting terrorist recruiters and trainers. Charges had already been brought against four men. Fourteen in all were arrested in the raids, including a Muslim cleric named Abu Abdullah.

Now, CNN's Dan Rivers interviewed Abdullah just weeks before his arrest. And what he told CNN was chilling.

Take a look.


DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What was your reaction, for example, on September the 11th?

ABU ABDULLAH, MUSLIM CLERIC: Every sincere Muslim was pleased, because America deserved -- deserved a punch in the nose, you know? As many...


RIVERS: Three thousand people died that day.

ABDULLAH: Three thousand people was like a drop in the ocean, compared to the millions of Muslims that have been killed.

RIVERS (voice-over): Abu Abdullah calls himself a cleric, but his extremist views may be repugnant to the vast majority of Muslims, in fact, anyone who believes in God.

One of the most outspoken Muslims in Britain, he's an associate of convicted terrorist Abu Hamza, who is serving seven years in prison for inciting racial hatred and soliciting murder, and is wanted in the United States for trying to establish terror camps in Oregon.

ABDULLAH: My honorable Sheik Osama bin Laden, and Sheik Ayman al-Zawahri, I love these people dearly, for the sake of Allah. I couldn't express how much I love these people.

RIVERS (on camera): You love Osama bin Laden?

ABDULLAH: Oh, yes. I love him more than myself.

RIVERS (voice-over): Abdullah tries to use the Koran to justify terror.

ABDULLAH: The Muslims that have the -- obviously want to take up arms against the West, it's their Islamic right to do so. Islam is a peaceful religion, but, at the same time, Islam is allowed to defend itself.

RIVERS (on camera): It's allowed to defend itself, you would say. Is it allowed to attack the West?

ABDULLAH: Absolutely. If this person is killed by the West, then we have our rights to take it out on the West, those -- mainly the army, the British or the American army, government buildings, where they legislate from, banks.

RIVERS: So, they're fair game?

ABDULLAH: Well, it's absolutely -- of course it's fair game for the -- the Muslim.

RIVERS: So, Tony Blair is a legitimate target? George Bush is a legitimate target?

ABDULLAH: Absolutely, absolutely, yes.

RIVERS: Do you think that America and Britain will be subjected to further attacks?

ABDULLAH: They should be.

RIVERS: A lot of people will be horrified by what you're saying, that they think that you are bringing nothing but chaos and death and destruction and misery.

ABDULLAH: Well, I'm not here to please the West or to please people's understandings. My people are being killed, all over the world in many, many countries. RIVERS: But that doesn't justify...

ABDULLAH: It's not stopping.

RIVERS: ... killing other people.

ABDULLAH: It does justify. Of course it justifies it. When is it going to stop?

You people need to know, we're not going to take it anymore. You want to know why Muslims in this country are understanding what they understand? They're sick of the West. They're sick of the -- I owe this country nothing.

RIVERS (voice-over): And this from a man born and brought up in the United Kingdom, who only converted to Islam later in life.

(on camera): But do you think God really wants Muslims to go out and kill innocent people, in the name of...


ABDULLAH: God doesn't instruct Muslims to go out and kill innocent people.

RIVERS: But that's what you're advocating.

ABDULLAH: God -- God -- no, no, no, that's what you're saying. That's the terminology you're using and the words that you're actually using.

RIVERS: Well, let's clarify this...


ABDULLAH: We call it self-defense.

The difference between me and you is faith. The difference between me and you is trying to (INAUDIBLE) and forbid the evil. The difference between me and you, I live for the sake of God, and you live for the sake of the devil.

RIVERS (voice-over): Dan Rivers, CNN, London.


COOPER: Hmm. That man has now been arrested. He's in British custody. CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen joins us.

It's so fascinating. It's often the converts to Islam who are the most extreme. Really in any religion, they're the most extreme.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, certainly in this case, we've seen Richard Reid -- you remember him -- the so-called shoe bomber who tried to blow up the American Airlines flight between Paris and Miami. He was a convert, British-Jamaican. You may also remember there was a Belgian baker's assistant named Marion Degork (ph) who did a suicide attack with her husband November 9, 2005, in Iraq.

And so, obviously, yes, converts tend to be holier than thou and in the case of, you know, lots more minority and converts in Islam. It offers much more radical views and they may be tempted into -- into terrorism.

COOPER: In some ways, the U.S. has painted this as a clash of civilizations or many in the U.S. have. When in fact, I mean, the more you look into these jihadists, often they're targets. Their real target isn't necessarily the U.S., although it's become that increasingly.

But ultimately their real target is other Muslims, other Muslim groups that they disagree with and Muslim rulers who they believe not sufficiently Islamic enough.

BERGEN: Well, I mean, just look at it right here in Afghanistan. I mean, the main target of the Taliban is overthrowing the Karzai government. The main victims they've had are mostly Afghans. Every time they blow up a bomb, 80 percent of the victims, according to U.S. military, and I think it's a good statistic, are fellow Afghan Muslim civilians.

And in the long term, this is an Achilles heel for these groups, because they keep killing Muslim civilians. In the Koran, this is a sort of double whammy, killing a fellow Muslim, killing a civilian.

And we saw in Indonesia, for instance, when a lot of attacks against Indonesian civilians, the al Qaeda affiliate there took a big hit in recent -- recent year or so. Same thing you remember the wedding in Jordan, where they attacked the wedding in Jordan.

COOPER: In their minds, though, it's OK to kill other Muslims who they believe are not sufficiently Muslim and who don't follow their particular brand of Islam.

BERGEN: Right. They've painted most of their fellow Muslims as enemies, as apostates, people who aren't sufficiently Islamic enough. And so yes, as far as...

COOPER: And in terms of, I mean, it's important not just sort of intellectually to know that, but also just tactically, theoretically, the U.S. could use that to the United States' advantage and not just painting it as a picture between, you know, the United States and sort of this global jihadist movement.

But really, trying to drive a wedge and kind of point out the differences and point out that they're really targeting other Muslims ultimately.

BERGEN: Yes. The United States -- at least we have to understand the difference and sometimes exploit them. I'll give you a good for instance. There was a big debate within al Qaeda about 9/11 itself. A lot of people within al Qaeda said, "Hey, that was dumb idea. And tactically it worked. But we've got this 800-pound gorilla after us in the United States."

And there was a lot of criticism of bin Laden internally the year after 9/11 about those attacks. Now, that's a kind of unexpected thing I think that most Americans are surprised by.

That kind of information is useful. Can we use it? I'm not sure. But at least let's know about them and let's, as you say, not paint them more as just one kind of one mass of people who don't like us. The people often don't like each other as much as they don't like the United States.

COOPER: How do you think the fight is going here? I mean, you've been here now with us for the last several days. You studied this a lot. Is the U.S. winning here?

BERGEN: You know, I was here in '93 where, if you were here on this roof, you'd see shells -- we wouldn't be able to stand on this roof. It was a tens of thousands of people would be killed every year and so obviously, it's better than that. But the situation of 2000 to 2003 was very optimistic. The situation today is not. By any fair standard.

You know, I think there's a short window here for the United States and its allies to get this thing right. But we don't want to look back and say, hey, this is -- today in Afghanistan looks a lot like the summer of 2003 in Iraq. A rising insurgency, suicide attacks going up through the roof. Crime becoming a major problem. We don't want to say, "Hey, it was a moment where we could have saved this whole thing. And we blew it."


BERGEN: I think that window is closing.

COOPER: Peter, thanks very much.

And remarking on what Peter said we should also point out, I mean, that the NATO commander on the ground has asked for more NATO troops in the south because of how tough the fighting is right there. They tried to have a meeting today, tried to get more NATO troops.

Member countries met -- no member country has stood up and said, "OK, we'll contribute more troops." In fact, they haven't even contributed the total amount of troops that they had already pledged. Let alone these additional forces.

So if this is a moment, if this is a key moment, it may be passing very quickly, indeed. When we come back, we're going to show you what is happening here affects life at home inside the United States. In particular, how the drug trade here is reaching all the way in to the United States.

And take a look at this. We'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still out here. We are still doing what we came here and 2001 to actually do. I went home on leave. I went home on my R&R. People were asking me, "You know, how's Iraq?" And after a while I just got sick of correcting them. I was like, "No, I'm in Afghanistan." And people just again, like I said, people don't realize that, you know, Afghanistan is still going on.


COOPER: Well, Afghanistan is certainly -- Afghanistan is certainly still going on. We've heard that over and over from a lot of the soldiers that we've been talking to. They're frustrated that when they go home, people don't seem to realize the kind of intense fighting that they are seeing over here. Everyone's focused on Iraq, but they are -- what they are engaging in is, in many cases, in their opinion, more intense than what some of them have already experienced in Iraq.

They want people in America and throughout the world to know the level of fighting that is going on here and the level of sacrifice that they are making and the coalition forces here are making, as well.

One of the big problems here, of course, is the booming drug trade. The opium harvest, this year, the poppy harvest this year, is up some 49 percent over last year, a remarkable figure. More than 90 percent of the world's heroin supply comes from Afghanistan.

The money that that creates, of course, spreads corruption throughout the country, destabilizes this government. It causes so many different problems. And it helps the resurgent Taliban, of course, because they receive money from the drug trade.

The tentacles of that, the opium that is harvested here and has turned in to heroin also ends up not just on European streets but in the streets of United States. We're going to show you how in just a moment, but first CNN's Nic Robertson takes a look at how it got this bad this year in Afghanistan.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Southwest Afghanistan, just weeks away from the 2004 poppy harvest. With massive security, Afghan officials eradicate opium production. It was a wasted mission. The government official had no power, no forces to wage a drug war here.

Only a couple of fields out of thousands were damaged. He left disappointed. The farmers and even the police were happy, knowing the opium crop will keep bringing in the money. (on camera) From what we have seen in this, Afghanistan's biggest poppy producing province, significant destruction is still far from the reality.

(voice-over) The result here, more than 100,000 Afghans have become addicted to opium and heroin users, junkies. A handful like this form a civil servants that wants anonymity get treated in Spartan government clinics.

As I listen, he claims officials from the Ministry of Defense and Interior confiscate drugs, then sell them back to junkies like him.

(on camera) On these filth-strewn streets I just met with a police detective. He does undercover work here, and he won't appear on camera.

He told me he was disappointed. Every day, he says, he arrests drug dealers here. He turns them in to the police station, where he told me they strike deals, and they're back out selling their drugs the next day.

(voice-over) At checkpoints around Kabul, police search for drugs, turning up a small-time marijuana user. It's not who they're looking for. They want the drug kingpins. But big-time drug arrests are few and far between.

Today's counter narcotics minister knows how bad the opium trade is now but says he can't stop it. In fact, police are part of the problem.

HABIBULLAH QADORI, MINISTER FOR COUNTER NARCOTICS: There are many, many occasion the police officers are caught with smuggling heroin and opium.

ROBERTSON: And it's not just police, he says. Some senior government officials are part of the drug trade, too. And so are the Taliban.

(on camera) No one knows for sure just how much money the Taliban are making from opium poppies. One informed source that would lose his job if he appeared on camera told me it could be as much as a billion dollars.

What is for sure is that the money they are making is making them stronger.

(voice-over) Afghanistan is teetering on the brink, about to become, if not already, a failed narco state, a threat not only to itself, but its neighbors and its allies in the war on terror.


COOPER: So the poppies are harvested here, which is turned into opium. Is the heroin actually manufactured here in Afghanistan?

ROBERTSON: Increasingly it is. Under the Taliban days, that was virtually impossible, because they couldn't get the chemicals to produce the heroin from the opium. But now, increasingly, officials say they are seeing those labs being set up. And traditionally they've been close to the borders, a long way away from civilization.

But we went to see the Taliban destroy some a few years ago, and there were several of these sort of miniature factories way out in the middle of the desert in the middle of nowhere.

COOPER: And of course, now the Taliban is profiting from the drug trade, receiving taxes on it for protection money for allowing farmers to harvest it. Nic, thanks for that report.

When we come back, we're going to show you how the heroin that's produced here, how the poppies manufactured here, how those drugs end up in the United States of America.

Randi Kaye is going to investigate that and how the money spent on drugs in the United States can end up back in the hands of the Taliban benefiting them.

Also ahead, the war on terror, the fighting here in eastern Afghanistan, through the eyes of the U.S. soldiers. We'll be right back.


COOPER: And we have some breaking news to report to you tonight. The Associated Press is reporting that, according to a family spokesman, former Texas Governor Ann Richards has died. Reportedly, she has died at her home.

CNN's John Roberts joins me now from Washington.

John, do you have anything more on this?

ROBERTS: Hey, Anderson, yes. We heard that she died in Austin Texas, where is which is where she was living. Of course, she's the former Democratic governor of Texas until 1994, when she was replaced by Governor George Bush. Of course, now he's President Bush.

Esophageal cancer, apparently, was the cause of death. She's been suffering of it for sometime. She had just turned 73 years old, and she had been suffering from this disease for some time.

The news is just coming in, Anderson. So we're still trying to sort out the details, but what we know is that former Texas Governor Ann Richards who has been working as a consultant for Public Strategies Incorporated, a public relations firm, has passed away from esophageal cancer at her home in Austin, Texas.

More details as we get them, Anderson. Now back to you.

COOPER: And John, certainly, Ann Richards, well known in Texas for quite sometime, as governor, really broke on the national scene, probably, in a lot of people's consciousness at the -- the Democratic convention when she spoke out saying, you know, George Bush -- George Herbert Walker Bush born with a silver foot in his mouth.


COOPER: That certainly got a lot of people's attention.

ROBERTS: Of course, she was a huge figure in politics, not only in Texas but nationally, as well. And as soon as we get some more, Anderson, we'll get back to you there in Afghanistan and give you an update.

COOPER: All right.

Certainly known for her keen analysis of politics and also her sharp wit, which she used throughout her political life. We'll have more on the life and the death of Governor Richards over this next hour or so on 360.

We continue now from Afghanistan. We've been looking at the drug trade here, this booming drug trade, up 49 percent from last year. I mean, this is the largest opium crop in the history of the world. Some more than 90 percent of the heroin used throughout the entire world, talking about in Europe, through the United States, is grown right here in Afghanistan.

And it is generating billions and billions of dollars. Some of that money going to the hands of the Taliban who tax farmers to allow the opium to go through their territory, who receive protection money from the farmers.

So CNN's Randi Kaye now takes a look at how drug use in America, how heroin use in some parts of America, most notably Chicago and St. Louis, how some of that money ends up back in the hands of the Taliban.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This undercover narcotic team from St. Louis County is chasing a suspected heroin dealer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a black male in the vehicle. And a white and red shirt on and blue jeans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy didn't have any on him, but he's going to take him to a location where he can get what we wanted.

KAYE: We tail the officer and the suspect. They're riding in the undercover officer's car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any time you put somebody in your car, it's not good.

KAYE: Officers hope the suspected dealer will lead them to what they call china white. Heroin so pure, so potent, so powerful it killed 55 people in St. Louis in just the first six months of this year. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Sacramento.

KAYE: The suspect makes a buy on the street and gets back in the car. When he and the undercover cop move on, the other officers pounce on the guy who sold him the drugs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir, yes, sir, yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cuff him. Cuff him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't swallow anything. You understand?


KAYE: Turns out, this time it wasn't heroin. This guy was charged with selling crack cocaine. And the suspect in the car got away at the next stop while pretending to make another buy.


KAYE: But officers say they do catch someone selling heroin virtually every night of the week. One recent bust netted $20 million worth of china white.

(on camera) Who's selling it here in St. Louis?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're seeing it sold by street corner dealers, in some of the worst neighborhoods. And by well off teenage girls in some of the more expensive neighborhoods.

KAYE (voice-over): Sellers likely have no idea the Taliban in Afghanistan is supplying the heroin they deal in the U.S.

The DEA says the Taliban is to blame for Afghanistan's explosion in opium poppy, the raw ingredient used to make heroin.

(on camera) How does the heroin get from Afghanistan to St. Louis? Captain Jackson says it first goes to Nigeria, then to street gangs in Chicago. From there, it makes its way here.

(voice-over) China white isn't an inner city, back alley, shoot it up type of drug. This heroin is so pure it can be smoked or snorted, which reduces the stigma and the fear of dirty needles. This has only increased the drug's appeal among the affluent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The high school kids and even the college kids are using it as a designer drug. It's just a recreational drug to a lot of kids until they start dying, and they're dying. It's killing them.

KAYE: Inexperienced users, especially the young ones, easily overdose.

JACK RILEY, ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT, DEA, ST. LOUIS: We've gone down to the early levels of high school and some indication that it's actually available in the 7th and 8th grade. Students. And that's quite alarming.

KAYE: DEA Special Agent Jack Riley says besides the drugs, his agents have seized millions of dollars in cash.

(on camera) All of the money that's being made from this heroin could help the Taliban resurgence.

RILEY: That's what keeps me up all night.

KAYE (voice-over): But in St. Louis, the gateway to the west, stopping the flow of heroin is a daunting task, and the drug dealers know it.

Randi Kaye, CNN, St. Louis.


COOPER: Of course, it's not just the Taliban profiting from the drug trade here in Afghanistan, but there's also widespread corruption among government officials, from high up all the way down to the bottom, according to intelligence sources.

It is hard for many people here in a country where poverty -- this is the fifth poorest country in the world -- hard for many people here to resist the money that they can make from the -- the opium crop.

We'll have more on what's happening here in Afghanistan. The war on terror through the eyes of U.S. soldiers, coming up.

We're also following the death of Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas. We have just learned, in breaking news, has died in her home in Austin. We'll have the latest on her death and a look back at her life, coming up on 360.


COOPER: Documenting what we have been seeing, some of the work that we've been doing. Here's -- here's some of what we have seen over the last several days in my reporter's notebook.


COOPER (voice-over): It's easy to get lost in Afghanistan. In Kabul's crowded streets you hear mullahs and music. Horns honk; people pass you by.

A car bomb goes off. The casualties are counted. They wash the charred flesh, the broken bones off the street. Kabul doesn't stop for long.

Out in the country, you get lost in the silence. The mountains, the desert, mile after mile. You're an outsider, a stranger, and every day you feel it. A furtive glance, a quick laugh. More often than not what you get is a silent stare. Every day U.S. soldiers go out in the heat and the dust, in crowded Humvees, on foot, in the mountains, 70 pounds on their backs, guns, locked and loaded. It is an uphill climb.

Progress is slow in the mountains, in the mission. But the soldiers are motivated, perhaps the most I've ever met. They build schools; the Taliban blows them up. They get fired on, but they give as good as they get.

America paused this week to remember what happened five years ago. The truth is, these soldiers remember it each and every day. Al Qaeda, the Taliban. The past here is the present. The enemy is all around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're out here fighting so that we don't have to do this at home, so that our families can stay safe.

COOPER: It may be easy to get lost in Afghanistan. But it's important to remember our soldiers are still here.


COOPER: And they're doing remarkable work here in very difficult conditions.

We'll have more on what's going on here in Afghanistan the next hour of 360. Also, we'll have more on the life and death that we've learned just in the last 15 minutes or so of former Texas Governor Ann Richards. That will lead off the next hour on 360. Stay with us.



© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines