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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Afghan Suicide Bombing; Long Road Home; Afghanistan: The Unfinished War
Aired February 27, 2007 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: At least 15 people were killed. More on that from CNN's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Security is always tight at the sprawling Bagram Air Base, and it was tighter than usual as the vice president's party prepared to fly out when suddenly at the edge of the base, a commotion.
LT. COL. JAMES BONNER, BAGRAM OPERATIONS MANAGER: A suicide bomber detonated himself outside the front gate of Bagram Airfield.
FOREMAN: The vice president says he heard the deadly explosion even though, according to the Pentagon, he was more than a mile away inside the base. He was hustled into a bomb shelter, but not for long.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The preparations for the vice president's departure were already underway, but they speeded up mightily.
FOREMAN: The vice president left and a short while later the Taliban claimed they launched the suicide bomber because they knew in advance Mr. Cheney would be at Bagram.
The White House says not likely.
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is clear that you've got the Taliban attempting to assert itself.
FOREMAN: The Taliban has been asserting itself much more in Afghanistan lately. Coalition forces here have seen a steady rise in improvised explosive attacks and suicide bombings, trademarks of the war in Iraq.
(on camera): So what's going on? What is happening here? Military analysts say, in effect, fighters affiliated with the Taliban are operating in this largely uncontrolled southern part of Afghanistan into Pakistan and in the tribal areas, and they have effectively set up a trade route into Iraq.
They are believed to be sending fighters across rural Iran, around the coalition strong points in Iraq and then meeting up with insurgents in the western part of that country.
(voice-over): And once there, these fighters are believed to be studying the most effective ways of hitting the Americans, then taking those ideas back to Afghanistan.
BRIG. GEN. JAMES MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: And also bear in mind you have Syria, which is to the west of Iraq, which is a safe haven for the introduction of new ideas and an opportunity for insurgents to go across that border, refit, regroup and reintroduce themselves into the fight.
FOREMAN: It all paints a picture of a war that goes well beyond the borders of just two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, a war that some military strategists fear is getting harder to contain.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: We're going to have a lot more about Afghanistan coming up later in this hour.
But first, what's happening in Iraq and what happened there more than a year ago.
ABC Newsman Bob Woodruff nearly died while reporting from the frontlines of the war. A roadside bomb blew up near the tank that he was riding in and blew off part of his skull.
Tonight, for the first time, Woodruff and his wife are revealing the details of their injuries and his recovery, which is nothing short of remarkable.
BOB WOODRUFF, ABC NEWS: And it's been great for me just over this time to recover to some way that I have.
COOPER (voice-over): Bob Woodruff, on the set of "World News Tonight," just 13 months after an attack that changed his life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My co-anchor Bob Woodruff and Cameraman Doug Vogt were on assignment in Iraq.
COOPER: It was January 29, last year. Woodruff and Cameraman Doug Vogt were embedded with the 4th Infantry. They were riding in the lead vehicle of a joint U.S.-Iraqi convoy, both wearing helmets and body armor. They were standing in the open back hatch when the vehicle tripped a roadside bomb.
Woodruff and Vogt, who was less seriously injured, were airlifted to a field hospital in Balad. And Woodruff went into surgery just 37 minutes after the explosion. Afterwards, he was airlifted to a military hospital in Germany. That's where his wife, Lee, saw him for the first time. She described that experience to Oprah Winfrey.
LEE WOODRUFF, BOB WOODRUFF'S WIFE: The left side of his face looked like a monster. It looked like a Frankenstein experiment. And in order to relieve the swelling in his brain, they immediately, the military doctors know to cut the skull. So his brain was swollen out of his head.
COOPER: This is a CT scan of his skull. The dots on the right show rocks embedded in his face and neck. The explosion damaged the part of the brain that controls speech. Woodruff was in a coma for 36 days. When he woke up, he couldn't remember his brother's name or the fact that he had twin 5-year-old girls.
Ironically, Woodruff explained on "Good Morning America," the accident allowed him to spend more time with those twins and his two other children.
WOODRUFF: If there's anything lucky in this past year, aside from the fact that I've recovered to the extent that I have, that I had so much more time to spend with my kids. And that has been an absolute gift.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Belt buckle.
B. WOODRUFF: Belt pearl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Belt buckle.
B. WOODRUFF: Belt pearl.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Belt.
B. WOODRUFF: Belt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Belt.
B. WOODRUFF: Bout.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, you're confusing him.
B. WOODRUFF: Belt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Buckle.
B. WOODRUFF: Buckle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Buckle.
B. WOODRUFF: Belt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Buckle.
B. WOODRUFF: Buckle. Belt buckle. You taught me!
COOPER: Lee, his wife of nearly 20 years, was by his side throughout the ordeal. She says there was only one thing that mattered to her.
L. WOODRUFF: I just want to know, will he still love me?
COOPER: In their just released book called, "In An Instant," Lee describes what happened when Bob woke up.
"When I pushed open the door to Bob's room, he was sitting up in bed, a giant smile on his face, and when he saw me he lifted his arms toward heaven. 'Hey, sweetie,' Bob said lovingly, with a little note of surprise. 'Where've you been?'"
After months of difficult recovery, Woodruff returned to the ABC newsroom on June 13th, 2006.
And today, on "Good Morning America," more than a year after the attack, Woodruff said he's ready to get back to work.
B. WOODRUFF: I want to get back to journalism.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any form?
B. WOODRUFF: Any form. Whatever I can do.
COOPER (on camera): 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta spoke to Woodruff's neurosurgeon shortly after the attack. He joins us now.
You are a neurosurgeon yourself. Were you surprised by the extent to which he could recover?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Absolutely. I think with this sort of injury -- and I talked to his neurosurgeons, as you mentioned. It was very difficult to say whether he would get some of that speech back, some of that ability to understand words, which is so critical for a journalist.
It was 37 minutes between the time of his injury and the time that he got to the operating room, which I think made all the difference. It is very fast. Speaks a lot about how they take care of people out there. This is how the neurosurgeons put it to me afterwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: There was a sign apparently on Bob Woodruff's bed that said, caution, left bone flap missing. And I think what they're referring to is what's called a craniectomy, which is actually removing part of the bone, leaving it off.
Why would that be done?
MAJ. BRETT SCHLIFKA, NEUROSURGEON, U.S. ARMY: We do the decompressive craniectomies either unilateral or bilateral to counteract the swelling of the brain because not only do we have to deal with the penetrating injuries, but the kinetic energy that's transferred that causes the brain to swell. And since these patients sometimes have to undergo transports back to Landstuhl and back to the states, it's one of the safer ways to protect them against malignant intracranial hypertension.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: And again, just being so fast, Anderson, I think was crucial. It's kind of doctory (ph), but what they're basically saying is he had this significant blast injury to his head and that just causes the brain to swell.
The goal is, just take off the bone. Let the brain swell this way, instead of downwards, which can be lethal. And you can see the scan there. You just see all that debris, all that shrapnel around his head. But most importantly -- I don't know if you can tell this, Anderson, but the left top of his head there, that bone is all missing. And that's exactly the goal of the operation. That's what you want to do acutely after an injury like this.
COOPER: What actually happened to his brain and what kind of problems does that cause?
GUPTA: Well, this is sort of -- these IEDs are causing this sort blast back and forth of the head. So the brain, think of it sort of as a beach ball sort of in a swimming pool and it's going back and forth within this water. And as it does, as you can see there, the brain just continues to swell. That's what happens.
What was crucial in this particular, in Bob's case, was that it was the left side of his brain. And that causes some very specific problems. It causes problems with speech, for example. It causes right-sided weakness. It might cause what's called word finding difficulties as well. So, you know, you're searching for the word Iraq and you might say eureka or something like that instead. Very profound problems. And then the memory problems, as well, you know, just not knowing who your family is and things like that.
COOPER: Hmm. It's just incredible that he's doing so well. It's so great news.
Sanjay, appreciate it. Thanks.
GUPTA: Thank you.
COOPER: You may be surprised at how many people suffer traumatic brain injury in the United States. Here's the raw data. Out of the 1.4 million injured people each year, 50,000 die; 235,000 are hospitalized; 1.1 million are treated and released from an emergency department.
Straight ahead tonight, another battle zone. Why five years after toppling the Taliban, the war in Afghanistan just won't end.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER (voice-over): Mission not accomplished. Suicide bombings. The Taliban regrouping. Drug traffic rebuilding. Americans under fire. Inside Afghanistan, America's unfinished war. Next, on 360.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER (on camera): Five years after the 911, here in Afghanistan, America's war on terror is far from over. Five years later, Osama bin Laden is still out there. And to make matters worse, here in Afghanistan, attacks by the Taliban and al Qaeda are on the rise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is what led America to war in Afghanistan. Terror on the home front -- 2,749 people killed on September 11, 2001.
And the mastermind of it all, Osama bin Laden, is still out there.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): ... realizing bin Laden has more than gone underground. He's slipped off the radar.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, an exclusive look at the manhunt and bin Laden's last known home.
Dying to kill. A terror tape titled, The American Inferno in Afghanistan. But is it propaganda or truth?
Plus, clash of culture, Afghan style. From music to prostitution and a modern shopping mall. Once banned under the Taliban, now thriving. But the vice and virtue cops may strike again.
This is a special edition of "ANDERSON COOPER 360," "Afghanistan: The Unfinished War." Here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: Thanks for joining us on this special edition of 360. Five years after the 9/11 attacks, the war here in eastern Afghanistan is raging. Al Qaeda fighters, Taliban militants and common criminals linked to a growing drug trade are threatening the stability of the Karzai government and threatening U.S. forces on a daily basis.
(voice-over): Tonight, in this next hour, we are going to take you to the front lines, to the fight, to ground zero in the war on terror.
We begin tonight with the hunt for the most elusive terrorist in the world, Osama bin Laden.
CNN's Nic Robertson investigates why it's taking so long to find him.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): I start a journey that will take me across Pakistan and into Afghanistan. The conclusion is startling. The leads are limited. No one has seen him in years.
Most recent intelligence reports have him located towards northern Pakistan, the Chitral Region, possibly slipping northwards across the remote lawless border into Afghanistan and possibly north again into the equally remote and lawless Tajikistan.
(on camera): Or he could be hiding here in a quiet suburban street in one of these nice big houses. Or he could be hiding on this crowded street or in one of these buildings just 10 feet away and we wouldn't know. Or maybe he isn't in the country at all.
(voice-over): The reason we don't know, Pakistan's former intelligence chief tells me, is simple, people like bin Laden better than they like the West and they won't rat him out, even for the $25 million reward.
HAMID GUL, FORMER PAKISTAN INTELLIGENCE CHIEF: Because there is no cause. On the basis of cause, you get glean information and intelligence, which is real good work by just donning out money. You cannot get the kind of information that you're looking for.
ROBERTSON: That's one strike against catching the world's most wanted man. Another, I'm learning from a religious leader who knows Osama bin Laden, is just how easy it is to evade capture, even in Pakistan's capital. He was accused of plotting to blow up government buildings and the U.S. embassy.
ABDUL RASHID GHAZI, PAKISTAN MULLAH: There was a time in 2004 when the whole army was after me. They were searching me. And I was living in Islamabad. They were searching everywhere in Pakistan. And I was living in one small house in Islamabad.
ROBERTSON: And if that Pakistani security failure isn't shocking enough, he tells me more.
GHAZI: I have one man who was going and taking my messages. I would leave my cassette and that's it.
ROBERTSON: Sounds familiar. Bin Laden continues to release audio messages. Journalist Amir Mir, whose outspoken criticism of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has cost him several jobs, tells me what many here think, but few dare to say.
AMIR MIR, PAKISTANI JOURNALIST: As long as Osama is at large, Dr. Zawahiri is at large, Musharraf thinks that he will continue to rule this country with the full blessings of the U.S.
ROBERTSON: It forces me to ask Pakistan's army spokesman how serious they are about the hunt for bin Laden.
LT. GEN. SHAUKAT SULTAN, MILITARY SPOKESMAN: It still is a major task even with us, but this is not the only task. This may be one task in the whole campaign. The whole campaign has a lot many other things to do.
ROBERTSON: I'm realizing bin Laden has more than gone underground. He's slipped off the radar.
(on camera): We're walking already into Afghanistan here, it's what, just a few hundred meters away?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
ROBERTSON: I head towards Afghanistan. From the Pakistan side of the border, I ask the general in charge about the hunt.
Do you think if Osama bin Laden were here today, the people in around here would tell you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would hope so, certainly.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): He seems less than convinced and for sure, it's not a daily priority for his troops.
(on camera): Just a few miles away over here on the Afghan side of the border, bin Laden has also slid down the daily to do list. Today's patrols are far more focused on today's clear and present dangers -- foreign fighters, the Taliban and criminals.
(voice-over): Patrols still go out, but the environment is increasingly hostile. Taliban, al Qaeda's ally against the war on terror, hold more sway. Their threat of violence, enough to intimidate most Afghans into silence.
COL. JOHN NICHOLSON, U.S. ARMY: We're here to defeat the insurgency in Afghanistan and to enable the government of Afghanistan to extend its reach out to all of its people. And that is our primary focus. Now, if in the course of that we run across Osama bin Laden, we'd be very happy to roll him up and bring him to justice.
ROBERTSON: I'm reminded of my conversation with Pakistan's military spokesman.
SULTAN: For a long time we haven't gotten information about him or his activities.
ROBERTSON: Absolutely nothing?
SULTAN: No information.
ROBERTSON: The trail's gone cold?
SULTAN: Well I won't like you to put these words into my mouth.
ROBERTSON: No one wants words put in their mouth, but it does seem to be the truth.
Nic Robertson, CNN, along the Afghan/Pakistan border.
COOPER: We may not know where Osama bin Laden is living now, but we do know where he last lived here in Afghanistan, in the town of Jalalabad. And tonight we take you there.
COOPER (voice-over): Leaving Kabul isn't as easy as it once was. To drive to Osama bin Laden's last known residence, you now need a half dozen SUVs filled with armed guards. These days no place is safe in Afghanistan.
(On camera): When the United States began bombing Afghanistan back in October of 2001, bin Laden was in the southern city of Kandahar. He then returned to Kabul and then began traveling down this road toward his compound, closer to the Pakistan border, in the town of Jalalabad.
(voice-over): It's about a six-hour journey through a countryside that's changed little in generations. A new road is being built, but life for ordinary Afghans remains a struggle.
When you finally get to Jalalabad, bin Laden's house isn't hard to find.
(on camera): This is the compound that was used by Osama bin Laden and several hundred other terrorists here in Jalalabad. It's been destroyed. It looks like it has been bombed. You know, a lot of the roofs are gone, obviously. Locals say though, however, that it wasn't bombed, it's just been looted.
This complex is about two acres. The entire thing is wall, as most of the complexes are in Jalalabad. There are about 70 rooms in it. There's cooking facilities. There's even a little area where there was a mosque.
(voice-over): There's not much left, a drain pipe perhaps for a sink or toilet. Broken bricks. A few shards of pottery.
(on camera): There were actually two facilities that bin Laden and his associates used as a headquarters here in Jalalabad. This is the second one. It's just a couple hundred feet away from the first complex.
In the corner of it over here we found this square hole. It's got a metal ladder going down. The walls are round, they're lined with brick and stone. Not sure what this was used for so we're going to go down and check it out.
(voice-over): The ladder goes down nearly all the way to the bottom. That's where we notice weapons still clearly visible.
(on camera): Climbed down into what I thought was a bomb shelter, now appears was perhaps some sort of a weapons storage facility because there is an RPG round down at the bottom and a mortar round. It's amazing that nearly, you know, five years after this place was evacuated there are still weapons laying around.
The significance of this place is this is the last place that Osama bin Laden was known to live here in Afghanistan. The Tora Bora Mountains, on a clear day, they're visible from here. It's about a 2, 2-1/2 hour drive to get there. And it's from here that Osama bin Laden fled with his followers into those mountains and then disappeared. PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: This is the place that he knew best as the United States forces began really attacking Kabul, bin Laden fled here. Last known to be here November 30, 2001.
COOPER (voice-over): Peter Bergen is a CNN terrorism analyst. He says it is impossible for us to try to reach Tora Bora.
BERGEN: It's now so dangerous in Afghanistan you can't go to places like Tora Bora. It's sort of a free fire zone. Even if we had -- I mean, we have security here, but even if we had a lot of security, it would still be a very dumb idea because what they do is, it's one road and they can see you going up that road. And by the time you come back, there's IEDs on the road.
COOPER: Bin Laden and the Taliban, which allowed him to operate here, may be long gone, but they remain popular in this part of Afghanistan.
It was much better under the Taliban, says this 17-year-old Abdullah (ph). It was more secure. Right now it's insecure. And the problems, like lack of power, we didn't have them.
The Taliban was much better than this government, 12-year-old Sadulah (ph) says. Back then there was a clinic, there was power. Now there's not.
Five years since bin Laden and the Taliban were driven from Jalalabad, into the mountains of Tora Bora, it seems their memory and their power remain very much alive.
COOPER (on camera): When we come back, we're going to take you on patrol with U.S. Forces fighting a very dangerous battle beyond this wire. Stay tuned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPTAIN JASON DYE, U.S. ARMY: Even before I came here, I was like, thank God I'm going to Afghanistan. It's going to be safer than Iraq. And now that I've gotten here, I can say for sure it is exactly the opposite of what I thought.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: This very much is an unfinished war. The combat is very real.
I went out on patrol with soldiers from the Bravo Company, Third Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. They are engaging with this enemy every day. This forward operating base has taken more incoming rounds than any other base in all of Afghanistan. And they have given as good as they have gotten. They have fired more shells than any other base. Every day, as I said, they are out there engaging the enemy. Out on patrol, we went to find some launch sites used by enemy fighters. We certainly found those and a whole lot more.
COOPER (voice-over): Captain Jason Dye has served in Iraq, but says his mission in Afghanistan is far more dangerous.
CAPTAIN JASON DYE, U.S. ARMY: Even before I came here, I was like, thank God I'm going to Afghanistan, it's going to be safer than Iraq. And now that I've gotten here, I can say for sure, it is exactly the opposite of what I thought. It is dangerous here. There's a lot of stuff going on.
COOPER: Dye commands Bravo Company, 3rd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division. His base is dangerously close to the Pakistan border.
DYE: This is one of the main infiltration routes for the enemy. They've begun to do a lot more rocket attacks. We used to get a rocket attack maybe once a week. Now it's every other day, every couple of days, every day. And they've resorted to that and IEDs and mines.
COOPER: Captain Dye doesn't know for sure, but he believes Taliban militants are learning how to make IEDs from foreign fighters trained in Iraq.
DYE: There's a trainer coming out here telling them how to do stuff. That's what my intelligence tells me.
COOPER: To stop jihadists and the Taliban from crossing into Afghanistan, Captain Dye and his men routinely patrol the rugged mountains along the border.
(on camera): The problem for the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division who patrol this area is that this border is really a border in name only. It's incredibly porous. People can move back and forth.
Intelligence sources we've talked to are concerned that now that the Pakistan government has signed a cease-fire deal with Taliban militants that those cross border incursions are only going to increase.
(voice-over): The soldiers fire mortars to clear areas they've been attacked from in the past.
DYE: Before they maybe had 30 guys in this whole area. Now I'm estimating they probably got about 250.
COOPER: The terrain is extremely difficult. The slopes, steep; the environment, treacherous.
(on camera): What's 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 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.
(voice-over): The markings are everywhere. Further up the mountain, the unit checks out a destroyed bunker position.
(on camera): U.S. helicopters passing over this mountain noticed this bunker. There were fighters inside. They fired rockets, later called in an air strike. It's been destroyed now. But what remains, you can see is pretty well built. These large stones were used to create like a supporting wall. Over here there's some heavy timbers which were probably used to build the roof of the bunker.
Soldiers say as many as 10 or 15 fighters could have used this bunker at any one time.
(voice-over): From the bunkers' firing position, there is a direct line of sight to Captain Dye's base, but there's no sign enemy fighters have been here recently.
On the way back down, however, the soldiers get some troubling news.
(on camera): The unit has just received some intelligence. And we can't tell you how they received it, but it indicates that there may be fighters in this area. It could mean an ambush, could be just talk, it could be nothing at all. It just means that the soldiers have to be extra vigilant as they head back down the mountain.
(voice-over): What do you look for?
DYE: Movement, personnel. Anybody gathering in a spot that looks odd. People trying to hide in the tree line, that sort of thing. Spotters. Usually the locals don't go up into these hills. If you see someone sitting on them, that's a spotter.
COOPER: On this patrol, however, there are no spotters, no ambush after all. Captain Dye and his men head safely back to base. One mission down, countless more to go.
DYE: You know, I have a family. All of these guys have families. We're out here fighting so that we don't have to do this at home, so that our families can stay safe and that makes you feel good. It makes you feel like you're doing something.
COOPER: It is not just members of the Taliban that U.S. forces are fighting. They are also facing al Qaeda insurgents, Uzbeks (ph) and Chechens (ph), foreign terrorists, jihadists who have come here to conduct what they consider to be holy war.
When we come back, some of the propaganda that al Qaeda is putting out, showing what they say is a foreign fighter about to commit a suicide bomb attack here in Afghanistan.
We'll have that when "Afghanistan: The Unfinished War" continues.
JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jonathan Freed in Union, Missouri. More on our 360 special in a moment. There is joy here in Missouri tonight now that Baby Abby Lynn Woods has been returned to her family, and a woman named Shannon Beck is under arrest.
The sheriff's department gave us this breakdown of how it went over the last few days. On Friday Beck is said to have had a miscarriage. Later that day the child was abducted. On Sunday, Beck called her sister-in-law, saying that she had had a baby. On Monday, her sister-in-law spent some time visiting with Beck and the child. Earlier today, on Tuesday, the woman called her sister-in-law again, saying that she had a doctor's appointment and that she needed some help with the child.
Now, when the woman went inside for the appointment, her sister- in-law noticed what she thought was makeup on the forehead of the child. And when she rubbed it, it was makeup. It came off, and she observed a birthmark underneath. And the woman, having seen the publicity over the last couple of days, recognized this to be the child that had been abducted on Friday.
At that point, when her sister-in-law returned from her doctor's appointment, she confronted her. They ended up going back to her home. There was a further confrontation. Ultimately, the child was handed over to the sister-in-law and then the sister-in-law, who is now being hailed as a hero, handed that child over to authorities. And tonight she is now resting with the family.
More on the 360 special, coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: If you want to get an Afghan rug, this is the street to come to. Chicken Street. In the 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's not just Taliban militants that U.S. forces are up against here in eastern Afghanistan. It is also al Qaeda jihadists, foreign fighters who come here to conduct what they consider to be holy war.
A tape now has been put out on the Internet by al Qaeda, a well produced, slickly produced tape that purports to show a suicide attack by a foreign fighter here in Afghanistan against U.S. forces.
We have not been able to independently verify that the events you are about to see on this tape took place and took place as described by al Qaeda on the tape. Nevertheless, we are showing them to you because we think it's very instructive as an example of the kind of propaganda that al Qaeda is routinely putting out.
The translation of this tape was provided by MEMRI, which is a monitoring service. Take look and see for yourself.
COOPER (voice-over): On the video, we see a man showing off a trunk filled with mortar rounds. Mortars like these 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: In your heart?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I pray that Allah accepts me. I've 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 a 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 (on camera): Some of the propaganda put out by al Qaeda. Of course, this is not just a military confrontation. This is in many ways a war of ideas, a counterinsurgency. And the U.S. forces here are trying to win over the Afghan population. They do that by building roads and building wells and building schools. The Taliban, of course, targets those schools, as you are about to see when this special edition of 360, "Afghanistan: The Unfinished War," continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: Back down there, there's two classrooms. They haven't been too badly damaged. This is where the major destruction begins. The roof has been blown off. The walls, completely blown apart. And this appears to be the spot where the explosives were placed. This crater in the ground here, that's where they were placed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Welcome back to "Afghanistan: The Unfinished War." While the fighting rages here in eastern Afghanistan and in the south of the country, increasingly it seems that the epicenter of terror is in Pakistan.
The government of Pakistan says they are doing all they can to combat terror, but many critics point to the religious school system inside Pakistan and say that those religious schools are training a whole new generation of terrorists.
CNN's Nic Robertson went to investigate.
ROBERTSON (voice over): It's late, 10:00 o'clock at night. We are uncertain about what we are witnessing. Are these devoted and peace loving students of Islam? Or is it a school where students gravitate to terrorism?
We're in Lehoul (ph), Pakistan. Dozens of children, some only five, are painstakingly memorizing every word of the Koran, every word. It can take years.
(On camera): These children begin their studies at about 6:00 o'clock in the morning. They get a break for breakfast around 8:00 a.m. Then they go back to their books. They get a break for lunch, then studying again all afternoon. A long break in the early evening, and then back to their books again.
(Voice-over): But is this about love, love of Islam or hate, hate for the U.S. and the West?
(On camera): Extremists could try to recruit young men from here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My students never do bomb blasts.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Schools like this are called madrassas. There are 15,000 in Pakistan.
This man, Mullah Abdul Rashid Ghazi, runs some of the largest anywhere. He says he met Osama bin Laden and describes himself as being ideologically close to the world's most wanted terrorist. In fact, he says jihad, war with oneself and one's enemies, a holy war, is part of the Koran, so he must teach it.
MULLAH ABDUL RASHID GAHZI, MADRASSA MULLAH: We have been asked by the government many times that you should stop teaching the jihad. So we tell them that we can't stop it because we cannot make any amendment in Islam.
ROBERTSON: In the 1980s the madrassas launched graduates of holy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. In the 1990s madrassas produced leaders and soldiers for the Taliban. And since 9/11, they have incubated a growing hatred for the West, declaring the war on terror a campaign against all Muslims.
GAHZI: If you talk about Afghanistan, yes, we say that American army can be attacked in Afghanistan and in Iraq, American army, because they are aggressive.
ROBERTSON: The investigations of the London subway and bus bombings, found some of the bombers had visited Pakistan shortly before the attack. Pakistan and the madrassas were implicated, and Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf tried to crack down on the madrassas, but many defied him.
GAHZI: We are against Musharraf. I mean, we say that he is a dictator. He is an agent. He's an agent of the United States.
ROBERTSON: And yet, despite growing Western suspicions that madrassas turn young innocence into easy converts for terrorism, madrassas have never been more popular. Mullah Gahzi says anger at the U.S. and the West is great for his schools.
GAHZI: 40 percent increase in the number of students and the number of people who are donating.
ROBERTSON: That is why we are not sure what we saw in the class this day. Devoted and focused students who love the Koran and Islam or if the day's lessons focus on the jihad chapter. Were we seeing the groundwork of recruitment for the next generation of holy warriors angry at the U.S.?
Nic Robertson, CNN, Lehoul (ph), Pakistan.
COOPER: From religious schools in Pakistan to U.S. built schools here in Afghanistan, the U.S. military is fighting a counterinsurgency. It is not just a military campaign, it is an effort to win over the local population. And they do that in some case by building schools and wells and roads. In one example here though, a school built by U.S. forces was targeted by Taliban militants.
Once again, here's CNN's Nic Robertson.
ROBERTSON: If you want to see what the Taliban are attacking, just check out the remnants of this school. The U.S. military had just finished helping fund and get it built. That was several weeks ago when the class was not in session.
LT. DANIEL GORDON, 10TH MOUNTAIN DIVISION: Once we heard that actual explosives were placed into it, it just -- just kind of took the wind out of all of our sails because we had high hopes for this place.
ROBERTSON: High hopes because the Army is running a counterinsurgency and that means showing Afghans they're here to help. It's exactly what the Taliban is fighting to stop and they're ratcheting up their campaign.
(On camera): Back down there, there's two classrooms. They haven't been too badly damaged. This is where the major destruction begins. The roof has been blown off, the walls completely blown apart. And this appears to be the spot where the explosives were placed. This crater in the ground here, that's where they were placed. Up there, shrapnel splattered on the freshly painted walls.
The Afghan government says this isn't the only school that's been attacked this year. They say so far 150 have either been attacked or threatened. That's a 70 percent increase over last year, they say.
(Voice-over): Soldiers say villagers already offered to help rebuild the school. But ask them who did it, and you can see the Taliban tactics of fear and intimidation are paying off.
GORDON: The villagers haven't said really anything to point it out. You know, they still live in a lot of fear due to the large amount of activities that happen in this area.
ROBERTSON: As we drive towards the nearby town, I see more of the Army's efforts to win the people over.
(On camera): The army is also helping the townspeople build a new road. It's vital to improve the economy and the security. It's classic counterinsurgency techniques, as the Army says, to separate the people from the enemy.
(Voice-over): The center of the town running through the bazaar is now paved, courtesy of U.S. tax dollars. Afghan contractors built it and made money. Everyone seems to have made friends. This is how a counterinsurgency is supposed to work.
(On camera): I notice we're walking around, you're not wearing your body armor here, you've taken your helmet off?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. None of the local people have it on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They feel safe enough to be in here. I'm in their community. I'm secure. If they feel secure, then I'm secure.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): According to this trader (ph), everyone does feel secure and is grateful to the U.S. army. I look for another trader (ph) to ask about the school attack and suicide bombers I'm told operate in the area.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you, my friend?
ROBERTSON (on camera): Your English is better than mine.
He's very friendly, but will he tell me who's behind the attacks?
God knows better than us, he says. We are scared of them.
Army Translator Asad Ahmadi, an Afghan-American from Glendale, Arizona, has been here two years helping to win the local population over.
Today, handing flyers out, explaining who attacked the school. He understands better than most why people are afraid to talk. ASAD AHMADI, ARMY TRANSLATOR: The bad guys are here. A lot of people are afraid to do anything about it. They control most of the places around here.
ROBERTSON: With sharp lessons in non-cooperation, it's clear counterinsurgency here is only just beginning and has a long way to go.
Nic Robertson, CNN, close to the Afghan-Pakistan border.
COOPER: On that long road there are some people uncomfortable with the new found freedoms here in Afghanistan. Prostitutes, western movies, even music, once outlawed by the Taliban, now for sale in the market. But could those days of freedom soon be over?
The battle over virtue and vice, when this special edition of 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: Five years ago on September the 11th, this is where I was outside the Afghan Supreme Court. The Taliban court at that time were trying eight Christian aid workers, accused of spreading Christianity.
The war started and eventually the Taliban let them go. But the court now has been faced with a very interesting case recently. That of an Afghan man converting to Christianity. The court that sat in there in the room, just to the right of the building only a few months ago decided because the Afghani converted to Christianity, he should therefore be executed.
The president here, Hamid Karzai, tried to find a way to back out of this awkward issue. What was concluded? The man was declared insane, and then he later moved to Europe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Welcome back to "Afghanistan: The Unfinished War." The Taliban regime which ruled this country more than five years ago and was driven from power by the United States was brutal. There's no doubt about it. Their abuses of human rights was well documented.
There are many here in Afghanistan, though, who wish the Taliban would come back into power. They see some of the newfound freedoms now in existence in Afghanistan as a threat to Islamic values.
COOPER (voice-over): The video is grainy, taken surreptitiously in an illegal Kabul brothel. The women are Chinese prostitutes. The men, Afghans and Westerners paying for sex. A brothel in Kabul would have been unthinkable under the oppressive rule of the Taliban. Now it's one sign of just how much here has changed.
In the markets there is music, once outlawed by the Taliban. CDs are everywhere. You can also buy DVDs. Jean-Claude Van Damme is popular. So is American wrestling.
There are beauty parlors and bridal stores, even a modern mall, where 21-year-old Narula (ph) sells perfume.
Under the Taliban, he says, I couldn't have had this business. They would have taken all of this from me.
(On camera): Despite Democratic reforms and newfound freedoms, Afghanistan remains a very strict Islamic society and many people here are simply uncomfortable with the pace of social change. There is widespread corruption, the drug trade is booming and the Taliban is on the rise. Now the government is threatening to crack down. Police are raiding restaurants that are accused of serving alcohol to Afghans. They've arrested dozens of suspected Chinese prostitutes and now they're threatening to bring back a government ministry, which under the Taliban became synonymous with human rights abuses, the so- called Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Discouragement of Vice.
(Voice-over): Under the Taliban, the vice and virtue police patrolled the streets, enforcing strict, sometimes arbitrary Islamic law. Women could be beaten if their ankles or wrists were visible. Men could be arrested if their beards were too short.
The government minister who would be in charge of the new vice and virtue department insists the mistakes of the past won't be repeated.
We wouldn't be punishing anyone, he says. All we'll do is advise people and show them the right way.
While most Afghans are outraged by the growing corruption and illegal activity, some are afraid the move to police morals will once again go too far.
The Taliban doesn't have a presence here, she says, but their mentality is present here. Members of the parliament have a Taliban mentality. Sometimes they're worse than the Taliban.
Malica Deama Amene (ph) was whipped by the Taliban and worries the few rights Afghan women have won in recent years may now be in jeopardy.
Women are still scared of intimidation, she says. They don't feel comfortable when they are outside. Afghan women haven't received 10 percent of their rights.
While the resurgence of the Taliban is not yet a threat to the democratically elected government of Hamid Karzai, it may yet threaten many of the freedoms that have come along with it.
COOPER (on camera): So just how powerful is this Taliban resurgence and where are their followers? When we come back from the break, we take you to the streets where the Taliban brazenly walked and even threatened our cameramen. It's not even in Afghanistan. Wait until you see where they are lurking, when this special edition of 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They also started resorting to, which was a new phenomenon in this area in the suicide killings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The Afghan government has little control over this part of eastern Afghanistan. The same can be said of the Pakistan government's control of the tribal areas just over the border. Both are breeding grounds for the Taliban, as CNN's Nic Robertson found out firsthand.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Watch as this man threatens our cameramen. He and his friends don't want to be filmed. It's un- Islamic, they say. Off camera they describe themselves as Afghan Taliban.
But these streets they brazenly stroll are not in Afghanistan. This is Quetta, a major Pakistani city close to the Afghan border. Exactly what is happening here is explained to me by Pakistani Journalist Amir Mir.
MIR: Pakistan is essentially for the Taliban. Almost their entire leadership of Taliban is hiding in Quetta.
ROBERTSON: In Pakistan.
(On camera): In Afghanistan American intelligence officials say the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, is also living in Quetta.
In London, senior British government officials says they are angry Pakistan has not rounded up the Taliban leadership who they say are planning and plotting and getting stronger from the safety of Pakistan.
(Voice-over): Tensions are mounting. The British and American death toll at the hands of the Taliban is rocketing. Talking to Pakistani officials, I realize nothing incenses them more than insinuations they turn a blind eye to the very men who kill their coalition partners across the border.
SULTAN: Let me make it very clear, that whosoever says Mullah Omar is in Pakistan, we would very clearly like to know the evidence so that we can move against it.
ROBERTSON: But the Pakistanis are moving against some Taliban in a way you wouldn't expect, by making peace with them.
(On camera): Roughly, how many soldiers do you have on each border checkpoint?
To get the details, I head to Pakistan's tribal border area.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm able to indicate to you the border once we go up there.
ROBERTSON: The general in charge tells me the Taliban he targets are homegrown Pakistani Taliban. And it's costing his soldiers dearly. Hundreds have been killed.
GEN. AZHAR, PAKISTANI ARMY: At night they will put some IEDs on the road. And later on, once the, one of the comrades is going, they will just blast it off from the remote control.
ROBERTSON: The Pakistani Taliban have been releasing attack videos reminiscent of Iraqi insurgent propaganda. Even their terror tactics like IEDs seemed honed in Iraq.
AZHAR: They also started resorting to -- which was a new phenomenon in this area to the suicide killing.
ROBERTSON: In this mountainous border area, where U.S. troops say Pakistani Taliban regularly cross into Afghanistan, Pakistani officials say Pakistani Taliban are growing ever more popular. So they decided to negotiate, not fight.
(On camera): The Pakistani government is very keen to show the world that its new deal with the tribes in north Waziristan can work, that they can effectively put an end to any Taliban cross border raids going into Afghanistan.
LT. GEN. ALI MUHAMMAD: We have not struck the deal with the Taliban. It is with the -- all the tribes of north Waziristan agency, which includes Taliban also because they're living there, they're the people of that area.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): The governor tells me, Pakistan will strike more deals like this. It seems they are taking care of their own problems first, apparently ignoring the Afghan Taliban on their soil.
Indeed, Pakistani officials claim they can't spot them among the quarter million Afghan refugees they say are in Quetta.
SULTAN: Who is Taliban amongst them and who's not Taliban amongst them? You can't differentiate because everyone is having the same beard, the same turban, the same dress.
ROBERTSON: Such cooperation hardly orders well for the next five years. Afghan or Pakistani, all Taliban have a common ideology -- driving Americans and other Westerners out of Afghanistan.
Nic Robertson, CNN, along the Pakistan-Afghan border.
COOPER: Well, in Pakistan and here in Afghanistan, the Taliban are showing their power. Suicide attacks, security fears. It makes you think of Iraq. You never feel like you get the full picture. Nothing seems stable. My "Reporter's Notebook," when this special edition of 360 continues.
COOPER: Afghanistan is such a big country. The situation here so complex. Sometimes it's hard to get an accurate picture of exactly what's going on. We have been traveling with as many cameras as we can to as many different places as possible.
Brent Sturdon (ph), a cameraman with Geddy Images has been following us, taking pictures behind the scenes. Here are some of his images and my words in a "Reporter's Notebook."
COOPER (voice-over): A few minutes after we landed in Kabul, there was a suicide attack. When we got to the scene, they were hosing down the street. I didn't understand why at first, but then I saw there were chunks of flesh all over the ground.
There are moments here it feels like Iraq. At the hotel where we stay there are guards and bomb checks. All of us have to wear bulletproof vests.
When we drove outside Kabul, we hired a half dozen armed guards. When we stopped for lunch, one of them carried his rocket propelled grenade to the table just in case.
(On camera): No matter how much time you spend here, you only feel like you are getting glimpses, a furtive glance at what life is really like.
(Voice-over): Women in burkas pass you by, avoiding your glances, refusing to talk. There have been elections and progress, openness unheard of under the Taliban. You can buy CDs and perfume. There's even a Western-style mall where young men dress up in their finest clothes. None of it seems stable, however. None of it seems permanent.
In Jalalabad we found what was once Osama bin Laden's home, a headquarters for al Qaeda. Now it's empty. Mud walls, dirt floors, all of it fading into dust.
At times, it feels like this is a land of dust. The old, the young, generations have come and gone, countless wars, endless conflicts. In the end, they, us, everyone, everything blows away with the wind. In the end, in Afghanistan, only these mountains, this land remains.
COOPER (on camera): I want to thank the soldiers of Bravo Company, Third Brigade, of the 10th Mountain Division for hosting us here at their forward operating base along the Pakistan border.
And thank you for watching this special edition of 360, "Afghanistan: The Unfinished War."
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