CBS ‘Evening News’ Highlights Ranting of Afghan Terrorist

Still Shot of Afghan Terrorist, June 16 On Monday’s CBS "Evening News," correspondent Lara Logan touted what was essentially a press release from a key terrorist leader in Afghanistan: "Afghan warlord Gulbeddin Hekmatyar spoke exclusively to CBS News about the state of the insurgency in Afghanistan in this interview smuggled out of his secret hiding place." Logan went on to offer a translation of the video: "‘The resistance is spreading in all directions,’ he says. ‘It's becoming stronger and more powerful.’"

Logan went on to repeat more of Hekmatyar’s propaganda:

‘Although I'm confined to one bunker and a village which is under the threat of American warplanes all the time, I sleep very peacefully at night, while George Bush cannot sleep in the White House without the help of sleeping pills,’ he says. Hekmatyar mocks President Bush as a warmonger and blames him for Iran's meddling in Afghanistan. He says the Iranians are pouring money and weapons into the fight that's destroying his country.

Earlier in the piece, Logan described how: "Hekmatyar was once embraced by the US as a freedom fighter, part of the Mujahideen resistance against the Russian occupation of the 1980s. Now he's a US enemy, accused of leading an insurgency that's killed American soldiers and destabilized Afghanistan." In a 1998 interview on ‘60 Minutes,’ anchor Steve Kroft discussed Hekmatyar with former Democratic Congressman Charlie Wilson:

KROFT: In this war, the Central Intelligence Agency and the radical Islamic fundamentalists were on the same side, but they had very different agendas, and Charlie Wilson knew it. He had no illusions about who he was dealing with. That's Charlie embracing Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the most radical of the Afghan commanders. Did anybody ever warn you that these were Muslim fundamentalists and that some of these leaders hate the United States every bit as much as they hate the Russians?

WILSON: Absolutely, and especially about Gulbuddin.

KROFT: Who gave you the warnings?

WILSON: You didn't need to be warned very much. I mean, he would tell you himself.

KROFT: What would he tell you?

WILSON: Well, he'd tell you that he hated the West. Gulbuddin had the reputation of throwing acid in women's faces that didn't wear a veil.

KROFT: Not only was Gulbuddin getting money from the US government to rid Afghanistan of the Russians, his radical cause was getting millions from Osama bin Laden, at the time a little-known Saudi aristocrat who wanted to see Afghanistan with a radical fundamentalist government once the Russians were gone.

Despite such descriptions of Hekmatyar’s ruthlessness, Logan still depicted him as the leader of a "resistance" movement: "...he claims American boots on the ground are only prolonging the resistance, and Hekmatyar offered this ominous warning for Afghan security forces: `Our fighting now,' he says, `is against those hired Afghan soldiers whom the Americans have placed in the front line to fight us.' Nearly seven years after that fight began, one of America's top enemies in Afghanistan remains as determined as ever."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

6:49PM SEGMENT:

HARRY SMITH: Taliban fighters today took over several villages just north of Kandahar and not far from a prison where hundreds of Taliban escaped last week. The US and its allies are not just fighting the Taliban. Chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan has an exclusive report on another rebel warlord who used to be an ally.

LARA LOGAN: From these remote mountains in northeastern Afghanistan, one of the country's most notorious terrorists has attacked US troops and evaded capture for nearly seven years. Afghan warlord Gulbeddin Hekmatyar spoke exclusively to CBS News about the state of the insurgency in Afghanistan in this interview smuggled out of his secret hiding place.

GULBEDDIN HEKMATYAR: (Foreign language spoken)

LOGAN: 'The resistance is spreading in all directions,' he says. 'It's becoming stronger and more powerful.' Hekmatyar was once embraced by the US as a freedom fighter, part of the mujahideen resistance against the Russian occupation of the 1980s. Now he's a US enemy, accused of leading an insurgency that's killed American soldiers and destabilized Afghanistan.

Today he lives on the run, hunted by the US military.

HEKMATYAR: (Foreign language spoken)

LOGAN: 'Although I'm confined to one bunker and a village which is under the threat of American warplanes all the time, I sleep very peacefully at night, while George Bush cannot sleep in the White House without the help of sleeping pills,' he says. Hekmatyar mocks President Bush as a warmonger and blames him for Iran's meddling in Afghanistan. He says the Iranians are pouring money and weapons into the fight that's destroying his country.

HEKMATYAR: (Foreign language spoken)

LOGAN: 'Iran has trespassed into Afghanistan,' he says, `and established military posts in very sensitive areas on our side of the border.' The failure to stop people like Hekmatyar is one of the reasons several thousand additional US troops have been deployed to Afghanistan. But he claims American boots on the ground are only prolonging the resistance, and Hekmatyar offered this ominous warning for Afghan security forces: `Our fighting now,' he says, `is against those hired Afghan soldiers whom the Americans have placed in the front line to fight us.' Nearly seven years after that fight began, one of America's top enemies in Afghanistan remains as determined as ever. Lara Logan, CBS News.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC