on the ground
with us?
u.s. military
Gen. Tommy Franks

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 outcome.


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.

Lt. Col. David Fox

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 himself.

Capt. Jason Amerine

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.

U.S. Special Forces ODA 534

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.

U.S. Special Forces ODA 555

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.

U.S. Special Forces ODA 595

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.

U.S. Special Forces ODA 572

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

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.

Richard Armitage

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.

Prime Minister Tony Blair

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.

Prime Minister Tony brahimi

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.

Reuel Gerecht

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.

Hamid Karzai

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].

President Pervez Musharraf

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

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.

Condoleezza Rice

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.

Paul Wolfowitz

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.

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