[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/09/art.afghan.ied.ac.patrol.jpg caption="U.S. Marines on a counter IED (improvised explosive device) patrol in Nawa district."]
AC360° Associate Producer
It’s a big night for President Obama. He will deliver an address on health care to a joint session of Congress at 8 p.m. CNN will have live coverage of the speech and we’ll be breaking down the President’s message with our panel of experts. We’ll look into the points he made and the reaction from members of the GOP. Who are the most important targets for his message and who he is trying to convince? More on the speech – as well as reaction from our spot polls – tonight.
Anderson will be live from Afghanistan tonight. He’s been reporting this week from a U.S. Marine base in Helmand province where he’s gone out on IED patrols with Marines and seen the daily challenges the troops face on the front lines of this war against the Taliban. He’s joined by CNN Security Analyst Peter Bergen, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Michael Ware are also reporting live from Afghanistan on what President Obama has called “a war of necessity.”
Dr. Sanjay Gupta profiles one officer in Afghanistan who sleeps with his boots on. Why? Because speed matters. His job is to get injured people transported to medical centers – quickly. In his job, seconds matter. He is part of the Army’s “Dust-Off Crew” – an elite group of combat flight medics that ferry people to and from field hospitals. Dr. Gupta joins them in their chopper on one harrowing mission.
Do you want to know how the war in Afghanistan is going? Michael Ware did. He went back to what was once his hometown of Kandahar. The city is the birthplace of the Taliban and is now the capital of what has become the fiercest combat zone in the country. Local commanders tell Ware there are few signs of improvement. Although the major U.S. military offensive in nearby Helmand is weakening the members of the Taliban, it still hasn’t damaged the group’s ability to wage war. As Michael Ware reports, the view from Kandahar is one of a war machine that shows few signs of abating.
Meanwhile in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai extended his lead in the country’s elections, getting more than 50 percent of votes needed to avoid a run-off. But allegations of fraud continue to be raised. Is the Obama administration advising the commission responsible for investigating the claims of voter fraud? Also in the country today, a New York Times reporter who was kidnapped last week was rescued in a pre-dawn raid conducted today by NATO forces. This rescue comes about 11 weeks after another New York Times reporter escaped after more than seven months of captivity in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. More on the situation tonight.
What else are you following? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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