Fall of Kunduz, Afghanistan
by Geraldo Rivera | Sep 29, 2015
From today's news reports: "For the first time since 9/11 the Taliban has taken control of a major city in Afghanistan. The U.S. military has carried out an airstrike on the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, in attempt to eliminate the threat of force and it is not clear if more airstrikes will follow."
I am currently in the process of completing a book on my years as war correspondent for Fox News. The following is an excerpt detailing the original capture by our Afghan allies of Kunduz from the Taliban in November 2001, almost 14 years ago.
The tentative title of the book is:
"Major Sack, From Tora Bora to Trump
"We left Panjshir heading north early on Tuesday, November 27th on our belabored old Mi-24 helicopter, burdened by our satellite entourage and a new load of diesel fuel. As I reported then, 'Once over the Hindu Kush we’ve arrived at the Northern Alliance’s new prize, the city of Kunduz, the last Taliban stronghold in Northern Afghanistan.
Kunduz fell Monday morning after a siege that cost the Taliban and its terrorist allies well over a 1000 dead, most killed by our airstrikes'.
With live satellite reports filed every several hours I was being propelled to the front rank of correspondents covering the war. Fox News was surging in the ratings, and that rapidly expanding audience couldn’t get enough of our work in the field.
Again from November 2001, 'You’re looking at first pictures of the newly liberated town of Kunduz. As you know this was the scene of a very bitter siege. The city is swarming with soldiers. Now remember this was Taliban territory until yesterday and there’s been this profound power change. Every vehicle commandeered by the army,'
As often happened over the last four and a half decades of high profile reporting, my every step was being stalked, my reports igniting fierce controversy and smoldering resentment. The core of mainstream journalists was just waiting for me to screw up, which I did, but that was later.
Now I was flying high and certainly didn’t care if my Warrior Journalist-style bugged my fellow reporters.
In Kunduz I broadcast from what was then a relatively rare live satellite hookup from on top of a moving armored vehicle. Just ten days on the job, by this time I was wearing a dashing scarf and gaining arrogant confidence that I alone among many reporters knew the score and how to tell it.
Reporting then, 'As you can see things are chaotic in Kunduz now. With 15,000 heavily armed troops in town many of them young volunteers from the countryside, the local commander General (Atiquallah Baryalai) Khan told me they represent the biggest threat to public safety now and they’ve been ordered out of town and back to their homes. They’ll be arrested if they don’t comply by Wednesday (November 28th).'
Thanks to the General Khan we had a front row seat for the action such as it was. The problem from our point of view was there wasn’t much of it. The most urgent development was the need to control those raucous volunteers. These were un-sophisticated kids who had rallied to the banner of the Alliance in the days following the start of the intensive American-led bombing campaign on October 7th.
As I reported, 'The 20,000 Taliban fighters who once held this town are all gone, allowed to melt back into the country side granted an informal parole. The hardcore and the imported terrorists, Arab, Pakistani, Chechen and other foreign fighters have either been taken to the big prison in nearby Mazar al Sharif or have escaped and are believed headed for Kandahar for a last stand.'
I was right about their gathering for a last stand, but it was not to be in Kandahar but in Tora Bora the following week."
Back to today. Kunduz will be recaptured from the Taliban. Our longest war can not and will not be allowed to end in defeat. But how will it end? For upcoming information about the still uncompleted book "Major Sack" check with my website, Geraldo.com