As the commander in chief of U.S. Central Command for the Middle East and
Central Asia, Gen. Franks is the head of all U.S. military operations in
Afghanistan. Here, he describes for FRONTLINE the development of the
unconventional military campaign, which relied on small Special Forces teams
working with Afghani opposition forces, and gives his assessement of the
Mulholland, the commander of the 5th Special Forces Group, was in
charge of all special operations in Afghanistan last year. As the head of Task
Force Dagger, he reported directly to General Tommy Franks, the
commander in chief of the Central Command.
After the battle at Tarin Kowt, when it became clear
that Hamid Karzai would play an important role in the future Afghanistan
government, Fox was sent in to supervise the Special Forces A-team that was
fighting with Karzai north of Kandahar. In this interview on July 9, 2002, he
describes for FRONTLINE the worst "friendly fire" incident of the war, which
killed 3 U.S. soldiers and at least 23 Afghani fighters, and injured Karzai
Amerine led Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 574, an A-team of eleven soldiers from the U.S. Army's 5th Special Forces Group which fought with and protected Afghan leader Hamid Karzai in battles against the Taliban during November and December, 2001. He was wounded by a misdirected U.S. bomb in the worst "friendly fire" incident of the war.
Operational Detatchment Alpha (ODA) 534
partnered with warlord Mohammed Atta, who combined forces with Abdul Rashid
Dostum to take down Taliban stronghold Mazar-e-Sharif in November 2001. This
was the first significant Taliban defeat.
Operational Detatchment Alpha (ODA) 555 -- known as "Triple Nickel" -- was
deployed to the Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul. Its mission was to join
Northern Alliance warlord Mohammed Fahim Khan -- the military successor to Ahmed
Shah Massoud -- and liberate the Afghan capital from the Taliban.
Operational Detatchment Alpha (ODA) 595 from the U.S. Army's 5th
Special Forces Group partnered with warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum in northern
Afghanistan. They combined forces with Mohammed Atta and ODA 555 to take down
Taliban stronghold Mazar-e-Sharif in November, 2001. This was the first
significant Taliban defeat.
Operational Detatchment Alpha (ODA) 572 was the only U.S. Special Forces
team operating in the Tora Bora area in last November and early December. They
provided close air support for Afghan troops led by General Hazrat Ali.
Dr. Abdullah is the foreign minister of Afghanistan. He also served as
foreign minister in the interim administration from December 2001 to June 2002
and prior to that as foreign minister for the Northern Alliance. In this
interview, he discusses the power struggles within the Northern Alliance when
it came time to create a new government for Afghanistan at the Bonn Conference.
This interview was conducted on April 5, 2002.
Armitage is the U.S. deputy secretary of state. He tells FRONTLINE, "After
Sept. 11, President Bush gave us -- the different secretaries, secretary of
state, et cetera -- word to go forth and to form a mighty coalition. We started
the next morning." In this interview he describes the critical importance of
Pakistan and Russia to the international coalition against terrorism. This
interview was conducted on April 19, 2002.
Blair is the prime minister of Great Britain. In this interview, he describes
his diplomatic efforts in support of the coalition against terrorism, including
conversations with President Bush, as well as the leaders of France, Germany,
Pakistan, and Iran. He also discusses his belief that the U.S. and its allies
needed to present concrete evidence of Al Qaeda's terrorist acts in order to
show that this was not a battle against Islam. This interview was conducted on
May 8, 2002.
Brahimi was appointed U.N. special representative to Afghanistan in October
2001, a post he previously held from July 1997 to October 1999. In this position
he oversaw the Bonn Conference, which was held under U.N. auspices to bring
various Afghan factions together to create a post-Taliban interim government. In this interview, he discusses the challenges of trying to
bring the various Afghan delegations to the table, while facing tremendous
pressure from the U.S. and other external players with a stake in the outcome.
This interview was conducted on May 4, 2002.
Currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Gerecht is a former
CIA agent who worked in the Middle East for many years. He believes that U.S.
intelligence was unprepared for paramilitary operations in Afghanistan after
Sept. 11. He tells FRONTLINE, "The Central Intelligence Agency simply isn't
structured to conduct operations against any type of Islamic terrorism." This
interview was conducted on June 19, 2002.
Karzai is president of the transitional authority that was elected in June 2002
to rule Afghanistan for the next two years while it develops a constitution and
prepares for nationwide elections. He also served as chairman of the interim
authority that held power from December 2001 through June 2002. Karzai
describes for FRONTLINE how he snuck back into Afghanistan from exile in
Pakistan, hoping to spearhead a grassroots movement to overthrow the Taliban. He also details the assistance he got from U.S. Special Forces in battling the Taliban and Al
Qaeda in southern Afghanistan. This interview was conducted on May 7,
2002. [For background on this interview, read FRONTLINE Associate Producer Chris
Buchanan's reporter's notebook].
Musharraf is the president of Pakistan. In this interview he discusses his
concerns about the domestic fallout of his decision to join the international
coalition and open Pakistan's airspace and bases to coalition forces. He also
describes his efforts to convince the Taliban to give up Osama bin Laden and
avoid a military confrontation in Afghanistan, which he feared would descend
into chaos. This interview was conducted on May 14, 2002.
Colin Powell is the U.S. Secretary of State. Here he recounts the process of
putting together international coalition to fight terrorism after Sept. 11 and
describes the debate over targeting Iraq, in addition to Afghanistan, in the
war against terror. This interview was conducted on June 7, 2002.
Rice is the U.S. national security adviser. In this interview
she recounts how President Bush made the decision to go to war, and discusses
how the Sept. 11 attacks caused the U.S. and Russia to realize that "[we] would
now have more in common than we had in conflict" and that forging a "common security
agenda" was a necessity. This interview was conducted on July 12, 2002.
Wolfowitz is the U.S. deputy secretary of defense. He previously served as
undersecretary of defense for policy (1989-1993) under then-Defense Secretary
Dick Cheney. In this interview he describes how the Bush administration came up
with a war plan for the operation in Afghanistan. He tells FRONTLINE, "I
believe this is probably a unique campaign, in terms of the level of
cooperation that has been required between the CIA and the Defense Department,
and probably also unique in the level of cooperation achieved. It's been truly
remarkable." This interview was conducted on April 22, 2002.