New Trend Magazine (from Our Pakistan Monitor)


American viewers saw the bombing of the Tora Bora cave complex on TV with CNN, MSNBC, Fox and heard of it on NPR network.

It was the most intense bombing of a small area in all of history, with America's biggest, most powerful planes and bombs in majestic force. The area was blown to bits, mile by mile, square yard by sq. yard.

Pakistani newspapers, reviewers, analysts and reporters of the Tora Bora display are nearly unanimous that the operation was a failure.

There were an estimated 1,000 Al-Qaeda Islamic cadres in the area. Of these, 200 were killed in the bombing. Another 35 who were captured were wounded. None of the fighters surrendered!

Pakistani writers say that the 200 killed were fighting a rearguard action to permit the bulk of the force to melt away into the region and perhaps across the border into Pakistan.

The U.S. forces never took the lead to attack on the ground. Instead they sent in a combination of Afghan headhunters, bandits and mercenaries. These groups attacked three times behind the curtain of bombs and were repulsed with losses each time.

Did Osama trick the Americans? There were reports that defenders referred to the presence of the Shaikh and called each other to listen to "the Shaikh." Was he there and simply eluded the Americans or was he simply playing a trick on the Americans?

Pakistani journalists seem convinced that Mullah Omar, Osama and al-Zawahiri are alive and well.

This could well explain President Bush's anger and frustration at the outcome of the massive display of American firepower at Tora Bora.
AMERICANS VISITING PAKISTAN usually talk to Pakistani media people whose constituency is the miniscule westernized Pakistani upper crust. One favorite of NPR and CNN has been Mr. Sethi, editor of the periodical FRIDAY TIMES. The latest issue ridicules just about every Islamic scholar, leader and activist in two large pages of cartoons (followed by ad nauseum publicity of Indian and other movies).
As a result, Americans cannot know what most Pakistanis think and they swallow Musharraf's line that only 15% (the "extremists") support the Taliban.

2002-01-02 Wed 08:52ct