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tv   BBC News  BBC News  August 15, 2021 2:00pm-2:31pm BST

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this is bbc news, i'm yalda hakim. our top story... the rush to leave kabul, as the taliban make rapid advances, right to the edge of the afghan capital. the advancing taliban forces have set free prisoners from kabul�*s jail, but there are no confirmed reports of fighting within the capital itself. afghanistan's interior minister says negotiations are taking place to ensure a peaceful transition of power and the city will not be attacked. taliban militants have rolled through the entire country in a matter of weeks. in a bbc interview, a spokesman says women will be safe, if they wear the hijab. the policy is that women can have access to education and to work and of course, they will observe
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the hijab, that is it. hello and welcome if you're watching in the uk or around the world. taliban fighters have reached the outskirts of the afghan capital, kabul after a lightning advance across the country. the militant group now controls all the other major cities in afghanistan and look to be on the verge of toppling the afghan government. these pictures filmed by the bbc in kabul show people attempting to leave the city. the taliban says negotiations are taking place to ensure a peaceful transition of power. they also said they are in talks with senior officials in president ashraf ghani's government on a peaceful transfer of power. in a moment, we'll hear from the taliban spokesman who spoke
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to me a few hours ago about what the group plan to do next. but first, with an update on all the latest developments here's our world affairs correspondent paul adams. it's the final act, the fall of kabul. with the taliban closing in, those who can are leaving, taking what they can carry. and it's all happening without a fight. translation: the security forces i are in kabul providing security. | the international forces are also there to support us. yesterday, the president in a meeting decided to send a delegation to doha to reach an agreement there. we will provide security until they reach an agreement. the enemy is spreading rumours. until a peace agreement, kabul will remain secure. and the taliban say they won't take kabul by force. negotiations are under way, their latest statement says, to ensure a safe, secure transition. our forces are instructed to stand at the gates of kabul and not
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try to enter the city. translation: they want us to avoid bloodshed - and destruction to our properties, the people and not to get a chance for plunderers, looters, who are waiting for sanction, the moment to loot the properties of the people. but kabul is a place full of fear. tens of thousands of civilians displaced by fighting elsewhere are living on the streets, telling stories of abuses at the hands of the taliban. translation: the taliban came into our village in the night. - after a few days, we managed to escape as they were murdering the men and boys. they accused them of being in the army or the police. they were taken out of their homes and murdered because they worked for the government. away from the capital more success for the taliban,
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taking over the eastern city ofjalalabad, bringing control of the vital road connecting afghanistan with pakistan. far to the west, they are cementing control over another strategic city, herat. in just two weeks, every major city has fallen and most provinces, leaving kabul surrounded and isolated. back at the capital, the city's main prison is now in taliban hands. inmates are being let out. it is a pattern repeated across the country in recent days. personally, i hang my head in shame. the words "betrayal" and "abandonment", i think you used earlier, yalda, and that is what afghans feel, afghan colleagues, friends, afghans who have worked hard to build a modern afghanistan, worked hard as reliable allies and partners for us over the years. at the border with pakistan, afghans are fleeing. with or without fighting, the taliban's takeover looks set
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to trigger a fresh wave of refugees. paul adams, bbc news. earlier, i spoke to taliban spokesman suhail shaheen — about what they plan to do now. their properties, their lives are safe, there will be no restraint on anything. we are deserving of the people and of this country. our leadership had instructed ourforces to remain at the gate of kabul, not to enter the city, we are awaiting a peaceful transfer of power. when you say peaceful transfer of power, what do you mean? what is actually likely to happen? it means that the city and the power should be handed over to the islamic emirate of afghanistan and then we will have an afghan inclusion,
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islamic government, in which all afghans will have participation. when you say participation, do you mean one vote, one person? what do you mean by participation? participation means that we will have, in the government, other afghans, they will be a part in the future government. but it will fall under the umbrella of the government of the taliban? the islamic emirate, as you describe it? yes, there will be, as i said, an afghan inclusion, islamic government.
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will there be a delegation going to doha tomorrow to meet with mullah baradar? because there are a lot of rumours that he has arrived in kabul and the current president, ashraf ghani has handed power over to him. can you give our viewers some clarity on that, please? mullah baradar is here in doha, he has not gone to kabul, these are just rumours. there is also a lot of concern from women in afghanistan, in kabul, they have been writing to me, they have been texting me, they are concerned that you will reimpose the regime of the 90s back in afghanistan, where women could not go to school, where the girls could not go to school, they could not work. can you give us some clarity on what your plans that? we have taken already many...of the country, and also,
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many provinces of the country. there are hundreds of schools for girls in the west. there, the girl students are studying. they are there, there is no sanction on them, they are continuing their studies and they are going to schools, in the past. in herat, for example, women are telling me that when they arrived at the gates of the university yesterday, taliban fighters told them to leave and that there would be instructions about whether they could attend university or not. that is what the fighters on the ground are telling the women of herat. what i'm telling is the policy, the policy is that women can have access to education and to work and of course, they will observe the hijab, that is it.
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when you say, the hijab, do you mean a headscarf on the head or a burqa covering theirface? no, burqa is not the only hijab, there are many types. one of them you can one of them you can chan-e. let's speak to our south asia correspondent, anbarasan ethirajan. there has been so much confusion and suhail shaheen, at least outlined some of their plans for the days ahead. , ., , ., , ahead. yes, he has made it very clear that _ ahead. yes, he has made it very clear that it _ ahead. yes, he has made it very clear that it is _ ahead. yes, he has made it very clear that it is a _ ahead. yes, he has made it very clear that it is a peaceful - ahead. yes, he has made it very| clear that it is a peaceful transfer they want, and he is not talking about any transitional government. and so some kabul politicians on the government side, they have been talking and mentioning about that on social media. so what we understand is the complete takeover, that is what the taliban is insisting on in
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these talks, while some of the politicians that are talking about the transitional government, the inclusive government, because the taliban think they have one. they think they have won the military victory, they are at the gates of kabul, and they have been dictating terms now. they are not going to listen to any of these other arguments about return of power. in arguments about return of power. in a couple of delegations, they are going from kabul to doha to negotiate with the taliban and the delegation has just arrived delegation hasjust arrived in pakistan where many people think has got a lot of influence over the planet —— taliban. and over the afghan politics. there are behind—the—scenes talks going on as we know, but one thing is clear, that the government is becoming increasingly untenable and present ashraf ghani looks very uncertain, and that they are now at the gates of kabul. , . ., and that they are now at the gates of kabul. , ., ., ., , and that they are now at the gates of kabul. , . . ., , ., of kabul. they are at the gates of kabul. stepping _ of kabul. they are at the gates of kabul, stopping the _ of kabul. they are at the gates of kabul, stopping the fighters - of kabul. they are at the gates of kabul, stopping the fighters from j kabul, stopping the fighters from entering the city, but this
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government is effectively only peacefully sitting there because the taliban are allowing it to happen. the government does not have many options because if they are fighting arabs, but who is —— who is then blamed for the loss of life and bloodshed the? there is panic, this is a city of 5 million people, people are rushing back home and trying to get out, the road to the effort was this morning, but then only when they heard they were not coming in, there was some sort of normal return, people went back to their homes, but still, there is fear and tension about what is going to happen in the coming days. but what the taliban has re—sent out as a message is that there fighters will not take a city by force, they have two redefined the force, covers western countries including the european union and the us have said that they will not accept any government in a kabul which is taken by force. so the taliban wants
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recognition, they want a ban like they have been put on several lists, to be removed, so they have been holding a very clever negotiation for the last nearly two years with the american envoys, many afghans now despise because many believe that he was its rental is that whole process but the americans would say that they need a political settlement. the taliban have now been asking for a transfer of power and imagine it will be like 20 years ago, internationalforces led by and imagine it will be like 20 years ago, international forces led by the us turned up in afghanistan, to take —— drag away the telephone. we might see a scene where the taliban taking over the city in a few days where they will oversee the departure of americans from afghanistan. find they will oversee the departure of americans from afghanistan. and “ust da s ahead americans from afghanistan. and “ust days ahead of — americans from afghanistan. and “ust days ahead of 9/11, i americans from afghanistan. and “ust days ahead of 9/11, that i americans from afghanistan. and “ust days ahead of 9/11, that could i days ahead of 9/11, that could happen just weeks before. days ahead of 9/11, that could happenjust weeks before. yes. days ahead of 9/11, that could happen just weeks before. happen “ust weeks before. yes, that is a happen just weeks before. yes, that is a very clear _ happen just weeks before. yes, that is a very clear message, _ happen just weeks before. yes, that is a very clear message, the - happen just weeks before. yes, that is a very clear message, the taliban | is a very clear message, the taliban want to send out this. they want to be talking about their social media post. we have won against the
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world's biggest military power already. in their words. the pictures of american troops leaving kabul airport, what kind of propaganda they are using, what kind of message they will send to the wider world among the insurgents that have now beaten, they have now beaten, one of the biggest wealth or military powers. now the americans leave and then americans came and the taliban were a militant group, not controlling the entire of afghanistan, but now they are leaving, almost the entire of afghanistan under the control if taken the weapons were military bases, helicopters, one modern weapons from the security forces, now the remaining afghanistan security forces will be at the mercy of the supervision of the taliban, which means they are leaving with the taliban being more powerful, more potent, ruling the entire afghanistan.— more potent, ruling the entire afuhanistan. ., ~ . ., afghanistan. thank you so much for our afghanistan. thank you so much for your analysis _ afghanistan. thank you so much for your analysis there. _ afghanistan. thank you so much for your analysis there. really - your analysis there. really interesting and important points that you have made. we can speak now to
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the lord richard dannatt — former head of the british army between 2006 and 2009. thank you so much forjoining us here on the programme. interesting, my colleagues are making this analysis, that in 2001, when the united states and its allies entered afghanistan, the taliban did not control the entire country. there was anywhere between two and 10% less, but today, they are in a position where as the americans leave, they control or will be controlling almost the entire afghanistan.— controlling almost the entire afghanistan. controlling almost the entire afuhanistan. , . ~ ., afghanistan. yes, and i think that is a very important _ afghanistan. yes, and i think that is a very important point. - afghanistan. yes, and i think that is a very important point. i - afghanistan. yes, and i think that is a very important point. i think. is a very important point. i think most people would agree that it was right in 2001 for the american led operation which the british supported to get into afghanistan, to sweep out the taliban from that proportion of the country, that they controlled, but they also thereby hosted al-qaeda who have conducted the 9/11 attacks, so but what we
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have said to the —— what has been presented to the international treaty, rightly or wrongly of the last 15 years, it is to help the afghan government, the afghan people to create a more aggressive society, one in which the position of women is recognised, that girls are educated, but a lot of progress has been made in that regard. it has cost the uk billions of pounds sterling, it has tragically cost a47 of sterling, it has tragically cost 447 of our colleagues in the armed forces, their lives, but we did a lot of progress over at that time. but following on from presidentjoe biden�*s decision to withdraw from the 20th anniversary of 11, it allows the taliban to fight, for
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their successes, to go forward, and has broken the will of the afghan army, one that we worked so hard to build. and maybe also broken the will of the afghan government. we have this tragedy unfolding very rapidly. i have this tragedy unfolding very raidl . ., ., rapidly. i wonder for you personally. _ rapidly. i wonder for you personally, you - rapidly. i wonder for you personally, you lead - rapidly. i wonder for you | personally, you lead men rapidly. i wonder for you - personally, you lead men there rapidly. i wonder for you _ personally, you lead men there you lost men there, you were answerable to their mothers, so what do you say to their mothers, so what do you say to their mothers today? was all in vain? ., . , to their mothers today? was all in vain? ., ., , ., to their mothers today? was all in vain? ., .,, ., , ., vain? no, it has not been in vain. over a 20 — vain? no, it has not been in vain. over a 20 year— vain? no, it has not been in vain. over a 20 year period, _ vain? no, it has not been in vain. over a 20 year period, the - over a 20 year period, the reputation of the british army for the way in which our soldiers were fought, only enhanced significantly. the point i was making just now is that what we did was create a repeat of time, between five and 15 years, a much better opportunity, society for afghan people. and they brace that, girls go to school. women have
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a much better place in society, in much more progressive society in afghanistan. even afghanistan's got a world known cricket team. that would have happened in the past. we also lost a better part of a million people in the first world war, 20 years later, the second model started. there is a 1 million families sit back and think that that was a tragic waste of 1 that was a tragic waste of1 million lives, 20 years ago? no, i think you would have to accept that we all do our best in difficult circumstances, history does not stand still, things move on, you have to celebrate what was good, recognise what is now, and then actually try and negotiate and do our best. for the better future. and for the regions. no one is taking away and certainly not the afghan people, are taking away what they achieved in the last 20 years, but the question is, was there an actual strategy? was there a policy?
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how has it that the international committee has gone back to square one? i committee has gone back to square one? ., , , committee has gone back to square one? ., , ., ., one? i would say, first of all, there needs _ one? i would say, first of all, there needs to _ one? i would say, first of all, there needs to be _ one? i would say, first of all, there needs to be a - one? i would say, first of all, there needs to be a public. one? i would say, first of all, - there needs to be a public enquiry into the strategic decision making regarding this whole operation. time is too short to go into it in detail, but intel is and what we were right to go in, we were wrong ljy were right to go in, we were wrong by a degree of strategic biblical proportions then to be distracted by going into iraq in 2003, much better with the international community if it had community —— continue to build up a new society afghanistan, and that we would not have run the risk of being distracted, as we were, and then get to the situation that we are now. i were, and then get to the situation that we are now.— that we are now. i suppose this is not even a _ that we are now. i suppose this is not even a strategy _ that we are now. i suppose this is not even a strategy for _ that we are now. i suppose this is not even a strategy for the - that we are now. i suppose this is not even a strategy for the exit. l not even a strategy for the exit. this has been a mad scramble where, no matter what the intelligence community says about the length of time it would take for couples or full, there was still not a plan for
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evacuation of british, american, less assistance.— evacuation of british, american, less assistance. would take kabul. if the operation _ less assistance. would take kabul. if the operation gets _ less assistance. would take kabul. if the operation gets inside - less assistance. would take kabul. if the operation gets inside of - less assistance. would take kabul. if the operation gets inside of your| if the operation gets inside of your operational decision cycle, your strategy is one it and you are scrabbling. that is what we're seeing, a very disagreeable aspect at the payment. —— at the moment. we are seeing american and british troops scrabbling to extract and was of hope they will bring us lots of the interpreters and siblings who work for us, but this is not a strategy, this is the strategy that has failed, this operational plan that might work to save those people. —— interpreters and civilians. but in the past, a british soldier has done everything in our country could have asked of him or her. in our country could have asked of him or her-— in our country could have asked of him or her. ok, we have to leave it there, him or her. ok, we have to leave it there. thank— him or her. ok, we have to leave it there, thank you _ him or her. ok, we have to leave it there, thank you for _ him or her. ok, we have to leave it there, thank you forjoining - him or her. ok, we have to leave it there, thank you forjoining us - there, thank you forjoining us on there, thank you forjoining us on the programme. i'm joined now by peter galbraith, the united nations former deputy envoy to afghanistan. he's speaking to us from vermont. thank you very much, ambassador, for
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joining us here in the programme. your reaction to what you have been seeing unfold over the last, i suppose, weak and then 24 hours? i have watched it with disbelief, horror, and sorrow. they could not be a greater failure horror, and sorrow. they could not be a greaterfailure by horror, and sorrow. they could not be a greater failure by the horror, and sorrow. they could not be a greaterfailure by the united states and its coalition partners, that after 20 years, nearly $1 trillion, thousands of lives, that the whole place, the afghan government and military collapses in a matter of days, it's really stunning and of course have great feeling for the afghans with whom i worked, many were conscientious, certainly for the afghans who worked for the united nations. incidentally, we of the people being
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brought out of who works with the government, the batteries, but that is on the totality of the people, the un mission, the people who also works with the contractors and the ngos that were funded by the international community. so ngos that were funded by the international community. so when you look at the situation _ international community. so when you look at the situation now _ international community. so when you look at the situation now and - international community. so when you look at the situation now and there - look at the situation now and there is a mad scramble to the exit door, many commentators would say, and analysts and experts, that you couldn't even get leaving right. i am hopeful that the evacuation will go all right, i think when you have this kind of ending, the kind of scenes you see are inevitable, i do not know how else you would do it, just withdraw all the diplomats and personnel, journalists, ngos, when the government held 20 of the 24
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provincial capitals. so i do not think... �* . think... but the intelligence community _ think... but the intelligence community said, _ think... but the intelligence community said, to - think... but the intelligence community said, to the - think... but the intelligence - community said, to the present, that this city and this country would full. —— president. the government is too weak and it might take at best, 90 days, at worst 30. they managed to hold it for about seven in the end. to say we hope the evacuations are done well, but how else could we have planned around it? perhaps there was no plan? i think there was a plan for the evacuation, the larger picture is the utterly failed strategy that was pursued for 20 years, a counterinsurgency strategy that required an afghan partner when there wasn't one, when the government and military leadership was corrupt, ineffective, illegitimate as a result of
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fraudulent elections, incidentally a fraudulent elections, incidentally a fraud abetted by the united nations, and then the military of the generals, simply lied about it, they pretended they had a partner when he did not. the failure of that strategy is so apparent in the collapse of the government and military within one week. also, if you talk about an intelligence estimate saying 30—90 days, that this is a key point which is that men are not willing to fight in a lost war. they are not going to put their lives on the line once the war is clearly lost. that happens very rapidly and that is exactly what happened in afghanistan, it is what happened in afghanistan, it is what happened in afghanistan, it is what happened in iraq, in 2014, when isis took over with the sun parts of the country, and in parts of the vienna
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man in —— vietnam when he took of the country in a matter of weeks. i'm just going to read out to you what tony lincoln has said, he says that the afghan mission was successful. —— three. i that the afghan mission was successful. -- three.- that the afghan mission was successful. -- three. i have -- three. successful. -- three. i have -- three- i— successful. -- three. i have -- three. i cannot _ successful. -- three. i have -- three. i cannot imagine - successful. -- three. i have -- three. i cannot imagine that i three. i cannot imagine that statement. _ three. i cannot imagine that statement, it _ three. i cannot imagine that statement, it is, _ three. i cannot imagine that statement, it is, again, - three. i cannot imagine that| statement, it is, again, hard three. i cannot imagine that. statement, it is, again, hard to think of a greater failure by the united states and of the international community after 20 years to have the whole thing, the whole operation, which was premised on building an afghan government, that was capable of providing economic development and good governance to the operation, to win over the population, and for that to collapse against a much less well armed force.
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collapse against a much less well armed force-— collapse against a much less well armed force. and only a matter of da s. of armed force. and only a matter of days. of course, _ armed force. and only a matter of days. of course, the _ armed force. and only a matter of days. of course, the effects - armed force. and only a matter of days. of course, the effects of. armed force. and only a matter of| days. of course, the effects of the billions that the us have spent arming the afghan military is now the taliban will emerge with one of the taliban will emerge with one of the best armies in the entire region because they now have all of that military equipment provided by the united states and its allies. find united states and its allies. and then there _ united states and its allies. and then there is _ united states and its allies. and then there is the _ united states and its allies. and then there is the narrative, that we beat the greatest military alliance ever. in history. it is that narrative that we are seeing on social media, on statements, that the taliban are making. and if you look at it, regionally, the first place at the telephone went to, as things run folding and collapsing with china. —— as the mac that the taliban went to. it is not leaving on making sure of the great power competition, it is so much of that there does not seem to add up. i think president biden explained that
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we are leaving afghanistan because the mission cannot be accomplished. he is the one political leader who has been honest enough to recognise that truth. that after 20 years, the afghan military and government cannot last a few weeks once the united states is withdrawn, and another year, five years, ten years, 20 years, would not make any difference. i also think that is also the reason for the withdrawal, not because he is looking to focus on competition with china, but with other things, on competition with china, but with otherthings, i on competition with china, but with other things, i think i'm guessing that this will be a period when the united states will begin to pay more attention to matters at home. i certainly hope that is the case, i do not see any great reason to have an enormous completion with china. but do you think it has become about
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reputational damage as well? when allies and partners look at this, if taiwan is worried that china will turn up on their doorsteps, will the united states assist? this turn up on their doorsteps, will the united states assist?— united states assist? this is the same argument _ united states assist? this is the same argument that _ united states assist? this is the same argument that was - united states assist? this is the same argument that was made l united states assist? this is the l same argument that was made in vietnam, if we pull out of vietnam, a quick ability is going to be destroyed in the end. we did pull out of vietnam, the governor we supported collapse and in a very brief period of time. —— credibility. united states remains being a pre—eminent power in the world, and i think people in taiwan understand that that situation's entirely different and i think the chinese are sensible enough to not want to take military action to take over taiwan. the which would be disastrous for the economy of both china and taiwan and the world. ok. china and taiwan and the world. ok, ambassador. — china and taiwan and the world. 0k, ambassador, thank you very much for joining us in the programme. goad ambassador, thank you very much for joining us in the programme.- joining us in the programme. good to be with you- —
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in the last few minutes the us secretary of state antony blinken said the situation was patently not saigon and the us had succeded in its mission. he also said departure from the us embassy in kabul, presumably referring to staff who work there, had been done in a safe way. and he added that it was in america's interest to no longer be in afghanistan. let's go to washington to speak to lt.col. daniel davis, a senior fellow at the foreign policy think tank defense priorities. as a lieutenant colonel in the us army, he deployed into combat zones four times, including twice in afghanistan. thank you very much forjoining us here on the programme. ijust what your reaction to what the us secretary of state has just said. he secretary of state has “ust said. he has secretary of state has just said. he: has made similar comments before, but he is talking about the original plan and the original mission from 2001 to early 2002 which was to militarily damage the taliban and to
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harm the al-qaeda ability to conduct international terrorism, those were accomplished and i have already argued many times that shortly after thatis argued many times that shortly after that is what we should have withdrawn, instead of turning it into a nation—building war, but look, people will do whatever they can to put the best face on this, but there is no good face to put on this, this is an abject military defeat and it has now exposed more than 20 years of unwillingness to acknowledge reality on the ground, unwillingness to be honest about it and to still try and hope that something good can come out of it. now we have the bitter fruit of that failure. �* , ., , ., ., failure. ambassador “ust now was sa in: failure. ambassador “ust now was saying that h failure. ambassador “ust now was saying that the_ failure. ambassadorjust now was saying that the failure _ failure. ambassadorjust now was saying that the failure can - failure. ambassadorjust now was saying that the failure can just . failure. ambassadorjust now was saying that the failure can just be j saying that the failure can just be seen how quickly the actual government and the military collapsed. so the trillions of dollars that were invested into this country, over 20 years, crumbles within days. country, over 20 years, crumbles within days-— within days. and this goes back, when ou within days. and this goes back, when you look— within days. and this goes back, when you look at _ within days. and this goes back, when you look at the _ within days. and this goes back, when you look at the record, - when you look at the record, especially things that have been
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revealed with the afghan papers and with the wikileaks back in 2010, and with the wikileaks back in 2010, and with the wikileaks back in 2010, and with the special inspector general for afghanistan, they have been reporting net relentlessly. that the afghan security forces are not going to be capable, relying on that, i was senior officials knew it. that is something that is going to have to be... and if we continue to pretend it wasn't, someone has to answer for that because thousands of people have now put their lives and god only knows what happens when they get under complete taliban rule. ~ , ,., ~' they get under complete taliban rule. ~ , , ., they get under complete taliban rule. ~ ., ~ . rule. when i spoke to afghan leadership. _ rule. when i spoke to afghan leadership, they _ rule. when i spoke to afghan leadership, they saw - rule. when i spoke to afghan leadership, they saw the - rule. when i spoke to afghan - leadership, they saw the departure of americans as inevitable. they thought they would be a small counterterrorism force in the country, but eventually the united states would go. it is more in the
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way in which the exit strategy was implemented, there

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