October 7th, 2011
11:43 AM ET

Brothers' tragedy mirrors story of Afghanistan

By Nic Robertson, CNN

Ten years ago, as the first bombs began to fall on Afghanistan, I was almost 500 miles away with our live satellite transmission dish on the roof of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Two weeks earlier the Taliban had forced me out of the country, but before they did I managed to get to their spiritual capital Kandahar, and to our make-shift office in a dusty, drab one-storey villa.

That visit was now proving vital. My cameraman, Alfredo Delara and I set up our staff there - two Afghan brothers - with a camera and satellite phone. Their job was to be CNN's eyes and ears once we were forced out of the country.

At that time, no other TV network had a presence in Kandahar. So as the United States began its response to the 9/11 attacks on October 7, our staff were able to relay details of the bombs falling around the airport.

Later we would learn the target was the al Qaeda training camps where Osama bin Laden's fighters had infamously been recorded swinging on monkey bars and crawling through mock tunnels.

That night it was enough to know the United States had gone to war.

Read the full story from CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Bangash

    NIC YOU HAVE BEEN TO AFGHANISTAN AS A JOURNALIST AND YOU MIGHT HAVE SEEN THE RISING HATE AGAINST USA FOR THEIR THREE DECADES LONG WARS IN PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN. NIC YOUR PROFESSION DEMANDS SPEAKING OF TRUTH THEREFORE JOURNALISTS LIKE YOU AS AN EYEWITTNESS MUST HAVE A COURAGE TO TELL AMERICAN NATION ABOUT THE GROUND REALITIES AS IT WILL NOT ONLY SAVE YOUR COUNTRY BUT WILL ALSO SAVE US AND OUR BABIES OF DAILY KILLING AT OUR HOME STREETS AND TOWNS. ACCORDING TO UN SURVEY THE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS SPENT ON WARS IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ IF HAD BEEN SPENT ON HUMAN WELFERE PROJECTS ALL OVER THE WORLD IT WOULD HAVE ENABLED EVERY INDIVIDUAL TO GET CLEAN DRINKING WATER, FREE EDUCATION AND FOOD. SO I HOPE NIC YOU WILL SEE THE DIFFERENCE AND TELL THE TRUTH TO AMERICAN NATION WITH CLEAR VISION WHETHER AMERICA SHOULD REMAIN THE SAME AS IS TODAY AS BABY KILLERS OR SAVIOURS OF THE WORLD.

    October 9, 2011 at 4:41 am | Report abuse |
    • D.A.N.

      How could all afghans be schooled under Taliban rule? They are ruthless killers and they prove it everyday! WE ARE HELPING AFGHANS SO THEY ALL CAN GET AN EDUCATION AND RUNNING WATER AND ELECTRICITY ALONG WITH THE REST OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE AND ALL YOU WANT IS SOME 7TH CENTURY GOVERNMENT THAT CONTROLS THE PEOPLE AS THEY TERRORIZE THEM AND KILL THEM IN PUBLIC SQUARES! GOD DOES NOT WANT THIS FOR HIS PEOPLE!

      October 9, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
      • Bangash

        D A N you cannot prove a single project American have completed in Afghanistan.and all they did during 10 years of occupation fed their army with foods and weapons to kill and destroy Afghanistan. Why you are hated despite spendings in billions dollars and loosing thousands of Army personnel. Be sincere to mother land and support when your rulers are in right direction. You see where you stand today in world due to this sensless war and to me it is quite foolish to speak of wars in any form . Key D A N is in your pocket. so you have to choose whether world continue to hear the stories of death and destruction or it should be on the way to peace and prosperity.

        October 9, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
      • ++

        https://www.irp-af.com/?pname=welcome

        USAID report on on infrastructure projects in progress in Afghanistan.

        October 9, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • ++

        Not so. We all understand that your only response when confronted by data that contradicts your agenda is to throw insults and abuse at the truth sayer. Shallow halakat. Shallow, ugly minded, and full of cheap shots.

        October 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • ++

        You are amazing!

        October 10, 2011 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  2. krm1007

    WE SALUTE YOU, PAKISTAN......The Americans acknowledge the innumerable sacrifices made by Pakistanis in this ongoing war. The Americans appreciate the bullets taken on the chest by the Pakistanis in fighting the enemy. The Americans appreciate the ultimate sacrifices made by Pakistanis in sacrificing their lives while trying to make America and the world safe.

    October 8, 2011 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. D.A.N.

    First off sorry Nic, I misspelled your name, but Pakistan and it's intelligent service also will not see God's glory if it assists and/or allow these killers to roam free across borders!! They also are responsible for many attacks among their own people when they allow these tribal radical Islamic fanatics to continue their attacks from north Waziristan. They should obliterate them!

    October 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. krm1007

    The road to world peace and prosperity has been paved by the blood of Pakistanis. A tip of hat for PAKISTAN. A role model for the world.

    October 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. D.A.N.

    GOOD Story Nick, I just wish these killers and bombers would see that killing promising men, women and children for the country's future are not going to give them God's glory but He will throw them in hell for eternity!

    October 7, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. D.A.N.

    Even if you could ever make sense what you say is totally opposite of the truth. The Taliban were hated by most afghans and now that they have aligned themselves with the terrorists from North Waziristan in Pakistan they have killed many more afghans and when we leave you will TRY to kill thousands more for power and your 7th century government here in the 21st century. YOU WILL NOT SUCCEED!

    October 8, 2011 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. ye here

    I think D.A.N is somewhat right. Look at the contribution of certain groups of Pakistanis in their support of the Taliban. This is why Afghans believe they are a nuisance, perhaps equal to the North Americans (if they do consider the N.Americans a nuisance). They provide support in many ways; a decent portion of the Taliban is/was Pakistanis, and they they also provided territorial, as well as other means of, support.

    October 8, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |