The major news from overseas came from Kunar Province in Afghanistan. None of the networks had a correspondent on the scene to cover the weekend's fighting at a NATO border outpost in Wanat, where the dead included nine US soldiers. CBS' Lara Logan narrated coverage from Washington; ABC's Jim Sciutto (embargoed link) handled the chores from London. The two described the attackers using different labels: Logan called it an al-Qaeda assault; Sciutto referred to the guerrillas as Taliban.
For many years this has seemed to be a distinction without a difference. Now two separate strands are emerging. The civil war in Afghanistan sees ethnic Pashtuns from the provinces around Kandahar in rebellion against the non-Pashtun Kabul government; those fighters are Taliban. The Global War on Terrorism is targeting the remains of al-Qaeda in the remote mountains of northwest Pakistan; US troops operate from bases on the Afghan side of the border while al-Qaeda tries to preserve its safe havens inside Pakistan. NBC anchor Brian Williams seemed to refer to these separate, but interrelated struggles, when he visited Afghanistan, although he did not spell out the contrast. Here is where he concentrated on the government's civil war against the Taliban; here is where he profiled the continuing manhunt in Pakistan by 101st Airborne commandos for al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
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