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.