Dan Rather's Notebook

En route to Afghanistan, CBS News Anchor Dan Rather reports from Bahrain, a springboard for U.S. troops taking part in the war.

The talk of Bahrain and of much of the rest of the world this week has been of the battle to the death at Mazar-e-Sharif. Some images of war's savagery have the power to haunt and burn themselves into the world's collective memory. That's true of pictures we've shown you from the killing ground that was the Medieval-looking castle turned prison in Afghanistan's far north.

But this isolated battle was mostly about the enmity of Afghans who have been battling each other and outsiders for decades. And shocking as these images are, it is what you haven't seen pictures of that will determine the outcome of the war.

The battle at Mazar-e-Sharif, for all of its nightmarish horror, may still fall far short of what U.S. fighting men and women will face as they try now to close in on the leadership of the Taliban and al-Qaida -- many of whom came from around the world to inflame religious and racial hatreds.

CBS News has come to the region to get you closer to the scene. And we're going to travel this part of the world for a bit to bring you personal coverage from in and around Afghanistan in the nights just ahead. Pictures of war, and of war's many effects. And the stories at the heart of the conflict.

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