Friday, September 08, 2006
Taliban adopting al Qaeda tactics
Anderson and senior producer Charlie Moore landed in Afghanistan early this morning.

We sent them because we figured many news organizations will use the backdrop of Ground Zero here in New York to memorialize the five-year anniversary of 9/11. Of course, remembering the victims is hugely important, but we also wanted to go back to where this all began and assess exactly what has happened to the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the presumed safe-haven of Osama bin Laden.

(Nic Robertson and his producer Henry Schuster and terrorism expert Peter Bergen arrived a few days ago to begin their reporting in Afghanistan and Pakistan for us.)

As for the massive explosion and suicide car bombing near the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan this morning, Anderson and his team had just landed in Kabul and were waiting for their equipment when Peter Bergen alerted them a huge blast had just occurred. They rushed off to the scene and found it already cordoned off by Afghan, French and U.S. troops. U.S. soldiers quickly confirmed to them that two of their comrades had died (and by now we know at least 16 civilians also died).

Anderson described the tremendous impact of the blast. They were about 50 yards away from where it went off. The street was covered with broken glass. Flesh and blood were everywhere, Charlie reports.

A U.S. intelligence official there told them they expect to see more of this -- the Taliban capitalizing on the 9/11 anniversary to remind the world it is anything but wiped-out. What about al Qaeda? The intelligence official told Anderson and Charlie that the Taliban and al Qaeda do not cooperate per se. Instead, he said, al Qaeda acts as a kind of big brother -- he called it a role model -- for the Taliban.

Naturally, you'll see Anderson on all of our prime-time programs tonight and he'll have much more to report on "360" tonight at 10 p.m. ET.
Posted By David Doss, "360" Executive Producer: 12:46 PM ET
  23 Comments
360 Team is redefining the "news"! IThank you and be safe...all of you!
Posted By Anonymous Jane, Toronto : 1:23 PM ET
Hello David-
Great, escalated violence by the taliban in commeration of 9/11. Must we give them publicity? As a viewer, I am a bit offended that you could send Anderson to Afghanistan after it came out just Wednesday that he had a summer job in college with the CIA. I don't know If I can bare to watch 360. I hope you all know what you are doing just for a news story. Anderson and crew are in my prayers.
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann Taylor Nacogdoches, Tx : 1:27 PM ET
I am not an Afghan by nationality but Afghan by race and I know that how much I was expecting all this. Just go through thousands of years history of Afghans which is is full of resistance. Bobody ever in history was able truely to conquerw Afghanistan even though they had puppet govt's like Karzai in Afghanistan. If there were no Al-qaeda they wud be using some other method but it is sure that they wud have any method of resistance whatever works for them.
When an Afghan child is born, he is welcome to the world with gun firing. The first toy he learn to play with is a gun and the first lesson he learn is that I have to protect MY FREEDOM.
Posted By Anonymous Asiya Gul, Tempe, AZ : 1:39 PM ET
i thought Taliban and Al Qaeda are the same...be safe..
Posted By Anonymous Rupa , Boston ,MA : 1:41 PM ET
I'm not pro-Al Qaeda or pro-Taliban or pro-war for that matter. But how else is the Taliban suppose to fight our forces. The only way is through gorilla style and hit and run tactics. In a stand up toe-to-toe fight we would wipe the floor with them in 5 minutes. The question remains however, should we even be fighting the Taliban. These are the people who were legitimate government of Afghanistan before 9/11. If Al Qaeda was in this country, do you really think we needed permission to go after them. If the U.S. wanted to hunt for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan with the Taliban still in power, do you really think they could have stopped us. We had WORLD opinion after 9/11 and since then we have squandered it. Since then the U.S. has created more hatred, martyrs, and terrorist then we have eliminated. When you kill family members, the other family members want revenge. So, should it really come as a surprise that the Taliban are behaving like Al Qaeda and that the two support eachother?
Posted By Anonymous Dave, San Antonio-TX : 1:54 PM ET
We certainly hope you do everything possible to bring all of the CNN staff home safely.

I saw Anderson with Charlie Rose this past Tuesday night, and he indicated he is afraid of being kidnapped and or killed.

Good job.
Posted By Anonymous Missy, Fairfield, CT : 1:58 PM ET
Please do not try to extract an interview from any Al Quaeda or Taliban operatives. You know the information will be straight up propaganda. And please don't do anything cavalier,- they don't play by the same rules we Westerners do. Godspeed.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - Chicago IL : 2:24 PM ET
Dear David,

I saw Anderson's report around 6:00 AM ET. The first thing I thought of when I heard your crew was going to Afghanistan was that it was the worst possible time to go, but then that is probably why you chose it. I am not surprised; when do you guys do anything the easy way? The combined anniversary of 9/11 and the escalating violence there was just too tempting for you. Instead of using, as you said, "the backdrop of Ground Zero here in New York to memorialize the five-year anniversary of 9/11," you went to where the tragedy originated and where the problem still exists.

It is not surprising that there is a relationship between al Qaeda and the Taliban. Although they may have been at odds in the past, they have one thing in common: their hatred for us. As for Pakistan, although the Bush administration will disagree, it has always been a question mark in this conflict.

When I hear about journalists running off to cover an incident like this morning's suicide bombing I often wonder who is determining when it is safe to do so. A group of gathering journalists would be a tempting target indeed. By the way, this may be a good time to start sleeping on the floor again.

Thank you for the update. Try to keep safe and give everyone our best. We will be thinking of you.

Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio : 2:25 PM ET
Hi David. I think it's a great idea to go to Afghanistan for the 9-11 anniversary. Things have been getting pretty bad there for a while now and hardly anyone was covering it. Will you be doing a story on how the Taliban keep destroying schools for girls? Something kind of cool I read is that a lot of these villages are so committed to educating their girls that some of them have actually run off the Taliban all by themselves. I look forward to 360's coverage.
Posted By Anonymous Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 2:58 PM ET
The Taliban has been able to regroup and counter-attack because a) the blunder in Iraq created a terrorist version of White Sands Testing Ground to advance IED technology and b) many innocents who were turned in merely for bounties, that US money has found its way to the Taliban. We have been careless in our anger and fed the enemy who harbored OBL and his minions.
Posted By Anonymous Gary, Portland, Oregon : 3:03 PM ET
The Taliban are nothing more than terrorists with a home base in Afgahnistan. These people (questionable) have so little regard for human life and are so completely consumed by a desire for martyrdom, they kill themselves in the process of killing countless others. They use religion and politics to justify mass murder. CNN deserves kudos for trying to stray from the norm here, but the journalists there are in the most dangerous place right now. I've read Anderson's book so I know this is something that he has to do. He talks about a certain kind of shark that has to keep moving to breathe. I think that's how he is too. I just hope the entire crew comes back home soon.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie Darby, Denham Springs, LA : 3:10 PM ET
I think I've been listening to AC360 to long. I had a feeling he was going there when he didn't do his show wednesday.
To learn that Al Qaeda and Talibans don't really work together really worries me. It leaves the door open to see to many groupuscules do their own thing.
I am worried to see Anderson and his crew there. I know it's there job but they are wonderful targets, aren't they?
But I want to know what's really going on there. Being Canadian, and seeing how the majority of Canadians here are not for our troops being at war there and not getting any answers from our Prime Minister, I turn to CNN to learn what's going on there.
I know that a soldier must be ready to fight but in Canada we have been used to a role of Peace Keeper. SInce Kosovo our role as change but never like what we are seeing now.

To all the troops,U.S.,Canadians,the NATO troops, be safe. They are doing great work. To Anderson and his crew, I know you will do a great job but be safe. Watch your back,never let your guards down.

Joanne Ranzell
Laval Quebec
Posted By Anonymous Joanne Ranzell Laval Quebec : 3:15 PM ET
Anderson, Charlie, Peter, Nic and crew...
Run fast, stay low and don't do anything stupid.
Peace in the Middle East!
Posted By Anonymous Rachel, Albuquerque, NM : 3:37 PM ET
Anderson,
You and the producers and camera men and everyone are so amazing. Your dedication to telling the whole story is overwhelming sometimes. Thank you for letting us know about world events. I am amazed to hear what you see and still you stay sane. Stay safe.
Posted By Anonymous Jennifer Steinhofer Lexington Ky : 3:51 PM ET
In response to Betty

I do not think David could stop Anderson, even if he wanted to.

Anderson is doing what he has always done since starting in the news business. Going where others do not want to go, covering stories that others do not deem newsworthy, being an eyewitness as events unfold before him. That is his passion.

He is never more alive than when out in the field and we are more enriched for it.

I cannot wait to watch tonight, and of coarse as always, will pray for the safety of Anderson and his crew.
Posted By Anonymous Jill Panama City, FL : 4:26 PM ET
It is sad but was highly expected with Musharraf throwing in his towel, ostensibly, with the tacit approval of White House. Once it was leaked that CIA disbanded their special cell tracking Osama and his host Mullah it was suspected that White House was hobnobbing with terrorists. Now we all know that Musharraf, America's over hyped 'best ally' in their so called 'relentless war on terror' has made peace with international terrorists and accorded them a safe living. What perhaps President Bush does not know is that in Pakistan criminals have the capabilities of managing their activities from their jail cells. It seems Americans will also fold up before this President relinquishes his office. Why are we blaming Mr. Clinton then for his acts of commission and omission ?
Posted By Anonymous nilludutta, Toronto, Canada : 4:40 PM ET
Going to Afghanistan at this time is dangerous, but let's face it, everyone will be tuning in to see what is happening. You guys are always in the thick of things which makes your reports very interesting and informative. Thanks for a great job that you do!
Posted By Anonymous Barb Kozlowski, Phoenix,AZ : 5:59 PM ET
On one hand, I completely understand why CNN chose to do the 9/11 coverage from Afghanistan. It is a terrible situation that is not getting any better and those of us at home in North America need to know what is going on. We have friends and family over there and we feel closer to them when we can see what is actually happening (even though it is terrifying). As a Canadian, I would rather that our troops were not over there, but since they are, I support them and the CNN team helps to keep me informed (despite it's uniquely American point of view - which is understandable).
On the flip side, I agree with those people who have replied to this blog posting with somewhat negative comments about sending the AC360 team over. It is a scary thought, especially with all the media personnel who have been kidnaped since this all started, and given that it is the anniversary of the attacks (and that CNN will still be doing coverage from Ground Zero). The more people we send over, the more likely we are to suffer tragedy. However, in the case of Mr. Cooper, and I don't presume to know him, but it seems that this is what he loves to do. Despite the fear. All we can do is applaud him and his hard working team, thank them for their devotion, and pray that they come back safe.
Posted By Anonymous Stephanie, Halifax, Nova Scotia : 9:21 PM ET
Hi David,
It appears the world is still a powder keg of a mess. If it isn't the Taliban, it's someone else..When will it become socially unacceptable, shameful behavior to be a hateful, closed minded killer. Until all countries say no more terrorism will be allowed, what will ever end it? Pardon the pun, but all this turmoil will bloom just like the poppy fields if we ALL don't say enough is enough and really mean it. Stay safe..Take Care ac360.
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton,Calif. : 12:15 AM ET
Yes,God speed for the safe return of the CCN crew in Afghanistan. But let's remember why they are there reporting. My family member is in the forward base where Anderson is today. I saw him last night on 360. (thank you) Our troops will still be there fighting for our safety long after the CNN crew comes home. All politics aside, thank you for helping everyone back home to remember the ones who are sacrificing for our freedon.
Posted By Anonymous Melanie Covington IN : 1:31 PM ET
Some of these comments, however well intended, seem a bit naive in the context of Islamic culture. I think to understand the source of current Islamic terrorism, you have to understand how they perceive the west. They are a tribal society that equates violent revenge with honor; there's no going around it or negotiating with it. Al Quaeda wants western influence out of the Arab penninsula, they want Israel off the map, and they want non-muslims off the face of the earth. Read the '98 fatwa to get an idea of their sense of purpose. bin Laden wanted the US military out of muslim lands, but he very well knew his actions towards the US would provoke just the opposite effect, thus creating more allegiance to his cause among muslims. How do we get to the end of this? I don't know. It seems an effective military solution would involve a level of collateral death that most of the world couldn't stomach. Appeasement and negotiation are futile. Big unanswered questions go on here...should the US have invaded Iraq in 1990? Should the creation of the state of Israel been done so haphazardly (or even at all)?
Anyway, the past is done, so now we are faced with this current situation, from which are finding it hard to escape.

Go Steelers!
Posted By Anonymous Walttis Nee, NY NY : 4:24 PM ET
And we are still supposed to play nice, by the queens rules, with one hand tied behind our back so we don't sink to their level ?? Check ancient history...,the last crusade lasted 200 years and was ended only by brutal annililation. Forget the ratings, let's just get the job done before its too late.
Posted By Anonymous jeff meska, orlando florida : 5:38 PM ET
For many of my 63 years, I have been turned off by the the negativity of political campaigns. My particular views have been somewhat flexible regarding the issues at hand, but lately, it appears that you must be red or blue. Catchy terms for sure, but my concern, is that the future of our country, as I knew it, is in the hands of of people who make monumental decisions based on their political affiliation, and not with the county's best interest at heart. Whether you are red or blue, get over the personal issues and consider the big picture.
These back biting and slanderous tactics, of late, reminds me of junior high school when, if you really wanted a fight, the best line was, "your mother wears combat boots".
Posted By Anonymous jeff meska orlando florida : 8:24 PM ET
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