BLITZER: Osama bin Laden’s surprise videotaped message to America is raising several questions, among them his whereabouts, whether he’s planning more terrorist attacks, and if he’s trying to influence the U.S. presidential election. For some answers we turn to two guests who have both met with the al Qaeda leader in recent years. In Los […]

Saturday, Oct 30, 2004 The new bin Laden tape

Since the 9/11 attacks bin Laden and his chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, have released more than two dozen audio and videotapes, an astounding average of one tape every six weeks. Tracing back the chain of custody of these tapes is the one guaranteed method of finding the location of al Qaeda’s leaders. However, despite the […]

Thursday, Oct 21, 2004 Tora Bora: What Really Happened?

The Battle of Tora Bora: What Really Happened?

The question of whether the United Sates missed an opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden during the battle of Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan in December 2001 has become an issue in the razor-close campaign. During the October 8th presidential debate, Sen. John Kerry said of capturing bin Laden, “The right time was Tora Bora, when we had him cornered in the mountains.” Writing in the New York Times this week, General Tommy Franks, a Bush supporter, and the overall commander of the Tora Bora operation, said that this charge “doesn’t square with reality”. Franks also stated, “We don’t know to this day whether Mr. bin Laden was at Tora Bora,” and that the US did not “outsource” the battle to Afghan warlords of questionable competence and loyalty, as Sen. Kerry has repeatedly charged. At a town hall meeting in Ohio on Tuesday, vice president Cheney said Kerry’s criticisms of the Tora Bora campaign are “absolute garbage.”

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I’m Neal Conan in Washington.

On Saturday the people of Afghanistan voted in that country’s first-ever presidential election. UN officials report a higher than expected turnout as Afghans waited on long lines. Some stood for hours in rain and snow. The country’s previous rulers, the Taliban, proved unable to disrupt the vote. Official results aren’t expected for weeks. The counting is not yet under way because many ballots from remote areas have yet to arrive at designated counting centers on donkey back.

Monday, Oct 11, 2004 Terror Attacks in Egypt

Al Qaeda and the Terrorist Attacks in Egypt.

The multiple bomb attacks on Thursday at resorts on Egypt’s Red Sea coast, which killed dozens and wounded more than a hundred fifty, the majority of whom were Israelis on vacation during the Jewish holidays, bear the unmistakable hallmarks of al Qaeda. While Palestinian terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas have historically not operated in Egypt, the Egyptian Jihad group, which merged its operations with al Qaeda in the late ’90s, has carried out numerous terrorist operations in Egypt over the past two decades. And so, Egyptian members of al Qaeda must be considered the leading suspects in the attacks.

Sunday, Oct 10, 2004 Afghan election

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) — There is no reason to nullify results from Saturday’s presidential election in Afghanistan, despite voting irregularities that caused the opposition candidates to demand a new election, according to the head of an international group monitoring the process. Millions of Afghan voters — including veiled women — braved threats of Taliban violence […]

From Peter Bergen, Gardez, Afghanistan.Visits to polling stations in Paktia province in eastern Afghanistan and Loghar province, south of Kabul, indicate that the problems with the ink used to mark voters’ fingers in Saturday’s Afghan presidential election extend beyond the capital. At the Kolangar polling center in Loghar election supervisor, Said Narullah, said “this ink […]

Friday, Oct 01, 2004 The Long Hunt for Osama, Part 2

As has often been observed, the leadership of al-Qaeda is highly secretive, running the organization in a compartmentalized manner, which makes it hard to penetrate?and also ensures that any operative who may be captured will know only a portion of the group’s secrets. An illustration of this is the limited number of al-Qaeda leaders who […]

Friday, Oct 01, 2004 The Long Hunt for Osama, Part 1

Where has he been? How did we ever let him get away? Our correspondent?one of the few Western journalists ever to have met Osama bin Laden?traces the al-Qaeda leader’s footsteps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and describes the sometimes hapless American pursuit

When you fly over the icy peaks of the Hindu Kush, which march in serried ranks toward the Himalayas, dividing Central Asia from the Indian subcontinent, you get a sense of the scale of the problem: Osama bin Laden may be hiding somewhere out there. Wherever he is, bin Laden continues to give substantial ideological direction to jihadist movements around the globe?and so American forces are scouring the Hindu Kush to find him.

Thursday, Sep 23, 2004 Hope in Afghanistan

Based on what Americans have been seeing in the news media about Afghanistan lately, there may not be many who believed President Bush on Tuesday when he told the United Nations that the ”Afghan people are on the path to democracy and freedom.” But then again, not many Americans know what Afghanistan was like before the American-led invasion. Let me offer some perspective.