Four reports on the battles in Afghanistan:
JIM LEHRER: Now, from the war on the ground in Afghanistan. Kabul is under control of the Northern Alliance, but fighting has intensified on several other fronts between pro and anti-Taliban forces. We start with the situation in Kabul. Julian Manyon of Independent Television News reports.
JULIAN MANYON: Taliban stragglers are still being hunted down in Kabul. Two men were set upon by the crowd on suspicion of being members of the fundamentalist army. Their denials did not prevent another punch being thrown by a Northern Alliance soldier. Finally, they were taken away by taxi for investigation.
At a Northern Alliance camp, suspects are kept in a lorry container: Inside, one Afghan and our Pakistanis. They, too, denied any involvement with the Taliban. One man said he had come to Kabul to work as a male nurse; another said he was sightseeing. Their guards did not appear convinced. Roles have dramatically reversed in the last 48 hours. This, I discovered, was one of the Taliban's secret prisons, equipped with primitive manacles and basement cells for their enemies. Our interpreter found some chilling documents.
INTERPRETER: For example, here is written: "In prison, I will not perform an unknown time."
JULIAN MANYON: An unknown time?
INTERPRETER: Yeah, yeah.
JULIAN MANYON: Reporter: So that could be as long as they like?
INTERPRETER: The days are not specified here, just in prison.
JULIAN MANYON: The prison was next to the former Prime Minister's mansion, from where senior Taliban leaders controlled Kabul and planned their war. Now, it is strewn with the debris of a hasty departure. The people of Kabul have been liberated from a bigoted regime that could lock someone up for anything from criticizing its authority, to failing to grow a long enough beard. Today, they're in the hands of an alliance whose last attempt to rule here in the early 1990s ended in chaos and civil war. It will now be up to the Northern Alliance to prove that they can help to heal the wounds of this ravaged city.
The Taliban legacy includes widespread poverty and the oppression of women, who were denied any right to be seen or to express themselves. Today, scores of them, still clad in the suffocating veil, which the Taliban required by law, came to collect a handout of free rice. They told me that they had nothing at home to feed their families. And one of them spoke of her hatred of the veil. While an official appealed for calm, a man beside him seized a stick and tried to silence the women before he was restrained. The Northern Alliance is changing the laws, but it still takes courage for a woman to show her face. Elsewhere in the city, refugees who fled are coming back. But it will take time-- a lot of time-- for anything resembling a normal society to emerge.
JIM LEHRER: Next, the battle for control of the key town in eastern Afghanistan. Bill Neely of Independent Television News reports.
BILL NEELY: Armed with rockets, radios and rifles, the Taliban retreat, but this unit of 18 men and boys say this isn't a defeat, they're heading for the hills to carry on a guerrilla war. They were based near the Eastern city of Jalalabad, which is under attack from the Northern Alliance and the Americans. As they headed away from the city, warplanes went towards it trying to maintain the momentum of victory over the Taliban.
American warplanes attacked just behind this mountain, but their main target has been Jalalabad. Overnight and early this morning six waves of American bombers targeted the city, in particular the airport and military installations. People around Jalalabad flee the fighting, but hardly know which way to turn or who's in control, or whether even the hills are safe now.
As night falls, the panic grows. As some leave Jalalabad, others move in. These Taliban, mostly Pakistanis, are heading to reinforce a city under siege. Their leader, Mullah Omar, says the only retreat they'll ever make is a tactical one. Here in the East, many Afghans are for the Taliban and against America.
MAN: America for this time -- America is not good.
MAN: American army is real bad.
BILL NEELY: Why?
MAN: All people is killing…
BILL NEELY: At Afghanistan's border with Pakistan, ambulances stream past -- Afghans have little idea of who is winning this war. The injured lie on the ground, the news is confused, the atmosphere tense.
JIM LEHRER: Next, the Pentagon assessment of a rapidly changing battlefield. Ray Suarez has that story.
RAY SUAREZ: The Arab network al-Jazeera showed these pictures of Taliban forces in the southern city of Kandahar today. In Washington, Navy Admiral John Stufflebeem provided an update on the accomplishments of the opposition to the Taliban.
ADMIRAL JOHN STUFFLEBEEM: The Northern Alliance has continued to make gains south of Kabul, as well as Herat, and at the outskirts of Jalalabad. But this is just a snapshot, and the situation remains fluid. Anti-Taliban opposition groups in southern Afghanistan are rebelling against Taliban control, especially near Kandahar. It's not clear to us that they have, in fact, taken the airport at Kandahar. They are, it would appear, engaged in a number of areas around Kandahar, but it's just not clear yet as to exactly what they have accomplished.
RAY SUAREZ: In Afghanistan, ere were reports that members of southern Pashtun tribes had joined to fight the Taliban.
ADMIRAL JOHN STUFFLEBEEM: There are a number of tribes... Pashtun tribes in the South whom would appear now to be opposing Taliban. Whether or not they're working in concert, we don't know. Whether or not they are being organized to work together, we don't know. All we know is that there are multiple groups now in opposition to the Taliban, and that's just the most accurate information I have.
RAY SUAREZ: After the Northern Alliance took Kabul, Taliban forces fled. Stufflebeem was asked if this was a strategic retreat.
ADMIRAL JOHN STUFFLEBEEM: We don't know. I think that we would certainly hope that it's a collapse, but it's not prudent to accept that on face value because it is a confusing time; it's very dynamic.
REPORTER: What evidence is there, from a military standpoint, that they have the ability to either regroup or launch any kind of counteroffensive given the pounding that they've taken for the past two months?
ADMIRAL JOHN STUFFLEBEEM: Right. Well, that's a good question and one that gets into the art of war in this part of the country. When you go back and take a look at the history of how they have fought tactically, it's been predominantly a guerrilla-style war done from hidden positions. So utilizing caves that they may be familiar with, especially if they're from a tribe that came from this part of the world, it may be where you feel that you may have a place to go to that provides you some sanctuary from which you can fight.
RAY SUAREZ: Asked if American forces were prepared to fight a guerrilla war, Stufflebeem said the U.S. would use any capability needed.
JIM LEHRER: Now, the story of Afghanistan's refugees. Some are headed to Pakistan. Lindsey Hilsum of Independent Television News prepared this report from the Afghan-Pakistan border.
LINDSEY HILSUM: Some tens of thousands of Afghans have fled to Pakistan, not the million initially feared. That's a relief for the Pakistan government, which thinks more would destabilize the country. But Afghans still need help. The U.N. refugee agency keeps pressing the Pakistan government to open the border so more refugees can come across. The government is not going to do that, and most aid agencies now agree that it's more important to get help to people inside Afghanistan.
The World Food Program says it must supply 52,000 tons of food each month to feed 6 million Afghans through the winter. The neediest areas are in the Northwest where the drought is most severe. Places which will be cut off by the snow also need urgent help. At the WFP Warehouse in Quta, wheat arrives destined for Afghanistan. Inside the country, the food is distributed by non-governmental organizations. The truck drivers who take it in may have bin Laden as their icon, but they're nearly reaching their targets and the WFP Says winter won't stop them.
HEATHER HILL, U.N. World Food Program: We're taking every precaution we can, from stockpiling fuel to bringing in the heavy equipment needed to keep these roads clear to keep the trucks moving even after the snows fall.
LINDSEY HILSUM: Two things would swell the numbers. Lengthy ground fighting and starvation. Life in Afghanistan is unbearably hard. One in four children dies before their fifth birthday, but a swift war and a concerted aid effort could now prevent the worst.