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tv   Inside Politics With John King  CNN  August 20, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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hello, everybody. welcome to "inside politics". i'm john king in washington. a consequential news day. desperate afghan parents are begging american soldiers to take their children. next hour the president of the united states addresses this crisis. plus a glimmer of covid hope. 1 million americans got vaccines thursday. but hospitals are filled to the brim with covid sick. and up next, a look at who wants to be california's next governor. what he believes.
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>> there is still a massive crutch of people who need to get out. they're waiting. clarissa ward has been at the airfield and says not one flight has left kabul in the last eight hours. let's get to kylie with the breaking news. >> the u.s. is pretty urgently examining other locations that they can fly out the evacuation flights. because most of them have been going to qatar. they are now close to capacity there. so they're looking at other locations. including in europe, including potentially germany for the flights to go. what this tells us is that capacity is hampering these evacuations. you can't get these people out if these flights have nowhere to go. of course, telling that on the ground clarissa ward hasn't seen any flight take off from the kabul airport in the last eight hours. one thing complicating this is the fact that the u.s. was in discussions with multiple countries to relocate afghan sieves. that's just one group of the
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afghans they're going to be flying out of the country, because it's not just the folks who applied for the special visas, but there are also other groups of afghans flying out. that's complicating things. they're having to go back to the countries and discuss some of the details as a crisis is unfolding. john? >> and kylie, to this point, they're doing this after the fact, as opposed to knowing the number of afghans that would need to be evacuated if qatar has the capacity of 8,000, knew you were going to need more locations. right? >> yeah. they were in active discussions with a lot of the countries over the last few months. but none of them spolidified. that's the problem they're facing. we know some of the flights are going to kuwait as well. but clearly, not enough of these flights are getting out of that airport. >> kylie at the state department. appreciate the hustle on the breaking news. the president will offer his take on the crisis most likely to address this hour as well next hour from the east room in the white house. the pace of the american exit quickened thursday. 3,000 people evacuated from
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kabul's airport. outside the perimeter, you see the pictures, disarray. a tangle of humanity pushing to the airport gates through a near constant pulse of gunfire. inside long lines in the hot sun. children sleeping on gravel, and what you might just call bureaucratic cruelty. >> when you see the few people that come in and have started the application, but it hasn't been finished yet, and you see them being escorted back out through the very gate that they got crushed in for seven hours, just to get their chance to leave, so if your paperwork isn't in order, and you don't have a sponsor with you, it is very tough to get to this stage where you're finally on the airfield and ready to go. >> we're keeping track of the developments globally. kaitlyn, let's start at the white house. we'll hear from the president in about an hour. obviously a crisis unfolding. what new are we going to hear? >> well, the big question is
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what the president says to address the chaos of this. because that is a subject that he has largely avoided over the last week. he's only done one interview on this. and there are a lot of questions about what's underway logistically. why it's been over eight hours since any plane has taken off from the airport as cla race have a who is at the airport noted. there are complicating factors as kylie noted. that's where to send the people. we knew that the white house has been aware basically since saturday that they had limited third country party options right now. and so they were really working on that over the last several days to try to figure out how to make this happen. and we are seeing how the white house is monitoring this, essentially hour by hour, just like we are, john. because they have just changed president biden's schedule because after the remarks that he is giving this afternoon, he was initially scheduled to go to delaware for the weekend. but the white house has just informed reporters he will not be traveling there this weekend. that's notable in and of itself as they're facing questions about why they did not move to evacuate people sooner.
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we heard the president in his address to us on monday say that part of that was because they didn't want to trigger a panic you're seeing now and have this crisis conflict in the afghan government when it was still in existence. that's a line his top aide echoed earlier today on cnn. >> whenever we began a mass evacuation like this, it was going to trigger chaos. it was going to signal that the afghan government was on its final legs. it was going to bring people rushing into the airport. >> and one big question about all of this is right now the u.s. is still facing this august 31st deadline. president biden has said he would extend it if americans are in afghanistan. but they have not formally or officially extended that deadline or say whether or not it does specifically apply to those endangered afghans that clarissa has been lining up outside the airport. nato allies are calling on the u.s. to extend that as well. with whether or not he does, of course, remains to be seen.
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>> kaitlyn collins live at the white house. let's get to nick paton walsh who is in qatar for us. nick, you left afghanistan. one of the big questions is what is the state of play as we are days into this. we see the pictures, chaos there. you hear gunfire and afghans saying that many of them are hassled at the taliban check points on the way to the airport. in the pictures from around afghanistan, occasional protests. people marching with the afghan flag, the old one, protesting against the taliban, and some reports of recriminations by the taliban even though they promised there would be no such thing. >> yeah. certainly the situation in central kabul is worsening. we've seen the crackdown against protests of people carrying the old afghan national flag, still the afghan national flag. we've also heard that the family member of somebody working for the german news agency was, in fact, killed by the taliban. that news agency themselves
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reported. isolated ens dense. possibly the initial weeks worth, we saw from the taliban, they're desire to look like they were calm and control and not vengeful may be fraying. obviously the focus at the airport. we have an extraordinary situation. there's a log jam outside of the airport from videos we've seen from tonight. hundreds of people cramming these gates. a log jam inside the airport grounds itself. i've spoken to afghans who were supposed to be going through but are being held on the outer ridges of the airport in secure areas but not being brought in because the inside of the airport was referred to as a dumpster full of trash. so obviously they have a problem with the number of people on the airport. and clarissa has been saying they can't get planes off the airport to reduce that backlog as they begin to have success. that isn't going to do anything to slow down the number of people trying to get on the airport. they are essentially in a lose/lose.
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their own ability to move people will worsen the conditions outside. to speak to kylie's reporting about the air base in qatar, when i flew in on wednesday morning, they were already having chaos around them, frankly, seeing the volume put upon them. since then they could have had 3,000 descending on that base so they are most likely unable to fit anymore. you cannot put people off c-17 after a journey into the 50 degree heat here. way into the hundreds in the baking sunlight, and expect them to come out of that well. so a lot of problems to be fixed here. and even if they do begin to fix them, they're likely to get more afghans coming to the dangerous airport. >> every time you hear new reporting it adds to the list of problems. the list of challenges for the president. nick paton walsh in qatar for us. as we wait, new evidence today the biden administration did receive a clear warning that chaos was coming and that it needed a better plan.
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remember, the president told abc news, quote, the intention community did not say back in june or july that, in fact, this was going to collapse like it did. that from the president the other day. today proof that american diplomats in afghanistan, meaning americans closest to the crisis point warned of collapse. t"the wall street journal" breaking news of a cable dated july 13th warning of the taliban's rapid advance and afghan forces folding as the american forces withdrew. with us, vivian, the reporter who broke the news. again, this puts the president's credibility in question, and more importantly, it tells us those cloeest to the crisis saw this coming and warned the secretary of state? >> john, this is something that we've been asking now for a couple weeks is who knew what and when tdid they know it? obviously the administration sort of parsing words and saying this cable said that probably kabul could collapse shortly
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after the u.s. deadline of withdrawal. that was august 31st. and so they say well, we've been saying that all along, but actually, the diplomats in this cable according to my sources had said that it could come at very shortly after the withdrawal deadline. obviously they were a little bit off because it happened even before that. but more importantly, john, in that cable, they were calling for swift evacuation, saying that they needed to get moving on getting these afghans who have worked with the u.s. embassy as well as with other organizations including news organizations like yours and mine to get them out beginning on august 1st. now, the administration says well, we started doing that before august 1st, and we have been moving kind of processing the people, trying to get them out. but we haven't really seen any significant numbers of afghans being removed from country until the last few days, and as clarissa and our correspondents on the ground are reporting, even that has been mired in
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chaos because of the situation on the ground. obviously, kabul falling last sunday and so the situation is just getting harder and harder. and so a lot of questions now about why did you not start those mass evacuations a month ago before things were falling apart in kabul. before things -- before the taliban was getting that close to the city. the diplomats that signed the cable two dozen in total, saying that it was imminent, the taliban were moving quickly. the afghan military was weak to stop it. and so they were really sending this urgent plea to the white house, to the state department, pardon me, to say get us out of here quick. >> and you see some of the ramifications or what they warned about playing out right now. the air base in qatar nearing capacity. no flights have left in at least eight hours. maybe other locations. places to bring these afghans. that was part of the cable. was it not? that we need a better plan, because when this collapse is,
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it's quickly, and then you'll get chaos. >> the diplomats who sent the cable, offering recommendations to get people out faster and like kaylee reported, also my own reporting that the administration has been speaking to colombia about possibly taking 4,000 of the afghans temporarily. now there's a scramble, what to do with them. how can we process them when the embassy is functioning on a bare phones capacity? now we're having to deal with this sort of chaotic situation. you have the taliban outside the airport for now we hear that they're not fiering at these people, and it could change at any time. a dangerous situation. >> very important reporting. thank you for sharing your time. we know you'll stay on top of the story. remember at the top of the hour, we showed you photos of the baby being handed to a
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united states marine. the marine corps tells us the baby was handed to the marine and taken to a medical treatment security and cared for by medical professionals. president biden facing a test of judgment and credibility. that's up next. the president's test as the chaos continues in afghanistan. i don't hydrate like everyone else. because i'm not everyone else. they drink what they're told to drink. i drink what helps me rehydrate and recover: pedialyte® sport. because it works... and so do i. ♪ hydration beyond the hype. ♪
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public schedule referred to as the evolving situation in afghanistan. with me to share the reporting and insights, olivia knox at "the washington post." sabrina, and kaitlyn collins. kaitlyn, this news that the united states is now looking to use an air base in germany and perhaps other locations around the world, that's part of diplomacy on the president's part to try to alleviate the crisis, find me new places to send the afghans. >> that's why the coordination with other world leaders has been a question. and that's why it took a little bit for the president to be on the phone with counter parts. tuesday evening with the british prime minister, boris johnson. this is what the white house says they're focussed on instead of looking back as you've seen critics and even democratic allies of the white house talking about how this was carried out. they're focussed on trying to get this done and get everyone out of there in a safe way,
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because so far they have been working, of course, with the taliban to facilitate passage to the airport. that's a precarious situation. they're counting on the good will of the taliban to let people through. they're fleeing the taliban. i think a lot of this obviously is a massive logistical undertaking. that is something that white house officials stressed behind the scenes of just how chaotic it is to get everyone on planes and get everyone out. and that has been really obviously the focus of the president's briefings on this and how he's been telling people he doesn't want any of these planes leaving kabul to have empty seats on them. the issue also appears to be not only once the planes take off, which is where they are going. so that is a big issue that the white house is focusing on dealing with at the moment. >> normally the president's time would be valuable time. as in the president doesn't come out to give you the numbers. the president comes out when the administration has something to say. do we have any indication they have something new to say either about we have found these locations or streamlined in visa
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process the afghans who served with americans, with western organizations, say is bureaucratic it's leaving them at life's risk? >> the white house has been tight lipped about what the president is going to say. they say they are tsingularly focussed on evacuations. the question is whether you'll hear about the moral able gags the united states has to take in more afghan allies and their families. that has been something that has been missing from his remarks so far. also there are a lot of questions about how many people may be left behind. white house officials say that in the last 24 hours there have been about a dozen c-17s containing more than 2000 people that have taken off. no flights have taken off in the last eight hours. the president is committed to keeping troops there as long as needed to get americans out. but it's kind of -- it leaves the door open to potentially leaving afghan allies behind.
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that's something we'll see if he addresses more clearly. >> can you do this out of the kabul airport? some people are saying you need to retake the bagram air base or someplace us to have a second processing facility. >> the big one for me is whether and how you get americans from all over afghanistan to -- c karzai international airport. that's a question. parts of kabul that are not safe, how do they get to the point of evacuation? one of the repeated messages from the u.s. embassy is they can't guarantee safe passage. why are the french, brits and germans able to get into kabul and get their set zens to the airport and we're not? the line from the pentagon is we don't have the -- the real line is we don't have the authority
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to do it yet. that's a big question. the other thing i think you're right about the interpreters and helpers. the other question is did you -- with the deadline. the august 31st deadline. obviously he's staked out a public position. that will not hold if there are americans in afghanistan. but there's a real question of how many americans are in afghanistan. people don't -- americans don't always register with the consulate when they enter. they almost never deregister with the consulate when they leave. there's a real question of how many americans are still there. >> several administration officials said cut them slack. this is chaotic. not everybody checks the ledger. but you're evacuating all americans. one way to do that, you have to know the number. >> how many americans, american citizens remain in -- >> i don't know. >> the u.s. government doesn't actually know the precise answer to that question. >> we don't have a precise number. so what we're doing is working to identify how many americans are there. >> it's part of the challenge,
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kaitlyn. and again, because you have chaos unfolding, it's a much more difficult challenge that it could have been or some would say should have been. >> it is, but it also raising the question of how do you know when this mission is over, that you can have u.s. troops all leave if you don't know you've gotten all the americans who are in afghanistan out. and one thing the white house has said repeatedly, and this is true. they have warned for months that americans who are in afghanistan needed to leave. because they could not secure safe passage for them. that's a warning. that's when the situation was very different and the president was saying publicly that he thought it was highly unlikely the taliban was going to be able to take over and run everything. so this is an issue, and jake sullivan, the national security adviser explained it well, i thought yesterday by saying that when you're an american and go to afghanistan, you have to register with the embassy. this is something that i know other nations have struggled with as well. figuring out how many of the citizens are there, and of
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course, that's a big headached aing to a bigger headache of trying to get the evacuations underway. >> well, long list of questions for the president at the top of the hour. we covered some of them here. we'll see what we get to. up next for us, the covid crisis. back to school for some quickly means back to covid quarantine. >> and hospitalizations of children with covid at an all-time high. millions of vulnerable americans struggle to get reliable transportation to their medical appointments. that's why i started medhaul. citi launched the impact fund to invest in both women and entrepreneurs of color like me, so i can realize my vision and give everything i've got to my company, and my community. i got you. for the love of people. for the love of community. for the love of progress. citi. ♪ ♪ i had the nightmare again maxine.
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there is one somewhat data point in the latest covid numbers but most are bleak and on troubling trajectories. this is the one bright spot if you want to call it that. a new vaccine doses administered to americans two times higher than a month ago. you see thursday more than a million doses. the administration says it wants to keep it above million. we'll see if they can. americans initiating vaccinations nearly four types higher than one month ago. the public health says it's too low. a month ago 157,000 americans on average initiating their vaccinations. up thursday, the average was lower. those are positive data points heading in the right direction. when vaccines became available first responders, people in nursing homes, available to the public. people were eager to get a vac nation. then the numbers go down. this is vaccine hesitancy. this is august. let's see if the number can
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boost up because of this. the case trend is going up. at this point, let's bring in the executive associate dean at the emory university school of medicine. doctor, thank you for your time today. the vaccination numbers are more positive after a bleak stretch. they're getting a little bit better. the question is too late in many ways in the sense that as of yesterday 141,000 new infections a day is the average. one month ago it was at 35,000. every vaccination is welcome. the question is how fast can you go to stop what is a pretty steady climb? >> yes. john, unfortunately if you started your vaccination today or yesterday, you're not going to be fully protected until six weeks from today. so you're talking about really we need to remind people getting their vaccines, and i'm happy people are getting finally more vaccines than they were before, that they still need to bay
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heavy as if they were unvaccinated. the reality is the protection takes some time to happen. >> it's an excellent point. i appreciate you making it. of all the stats, many of them are frankly depressing. this one is scary. as a parent of a ten-year-old, today there are 2,066 children under the age of 17 in the hospital with covid. that's the highest level ever. higher than the initial surge. higher than the horrors of last winter. why? >> well, we need to fully understand this, but clearly yes, we're seeing much more transmission of the delta variant to children in the winter peak, there were about 230, an average of 240 children hospitalized with covid. it was very rare. now as you see, it's ten times that amount. and we're seeing an increase in the numbers probably for a variety of reasons. i think the most important one is more adults are infected and bringing the covid into their house and the kids are getting infected. as a proportion of all
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hospitalizations, children make about 2.5%. again, that's a really high number when you consider where we were before. >> a high number especially if it is preventable. one of the things you see, i know in georgia as well, we're getting close or we're in back to school season. the places in back to school, we're seeing this. rural schools shut down to keep covid-19 from overwhelming schools. this is florida. 8 400 students in a single school quarantined. mississippi, texas. in places where masks are discouraged, in some cases you can't have a mask mandate in schools, you're seeing kids going back to school and in quarantine? >> undoubtedly. what we needed to do to have our kids go safely back to school is we needed a couple things. number one, we needed to be sure that all teachers and every adult and every personnel jibl in the schools is vaccinated. number two, mask mandates. number three, we needed to have
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good ventilation in the schools and number four, we needed to use testing more effectively to prevent outbreaks. unfortunately, we didn't do that. it's a hodgepodge of things being done, and as you mentioned, many states have -- make it illegal to mandate masking in schools. i think it's really unconscionable and putting our children at risk. >> something that puts all of us at risk is this. adults in icu units across the country in ten states the percentage of icu beds taken up by covid patients is above 50%. 53 in alabama. 53% in georgia. help us with your experience in a health system. why does this matter? why is it troubling? >> you know, it matters, john, because if the -- you know, the sweet spot for an icu is about 75% capacity. you need to have some empty beds in order to take care of trauma. to take care of unexpected things and the patient who comes in with a complicated surgery, let's say a heart or cancer
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surgery that's going to end up in the icu. most of the icus are occupied and most are running in 100% capacity with 50% of the beds occupied by covid patients. if you need an emergency surgery, a major surgery that was going to need to end or the recovery phase take you to the icu like a heart or brain surgery, that's not going to be able to be done. it's not scheduled. and if you have major trauma, you may not end up in an icu. you may end up in an emergency room in the hallway. that's dangerous. the fact that icus are occupied at 100% capacity is putting everyone at risk. >> doctor, grateful for your time. i wish it was a more upbeat conversation. up next, a close look at the leading republican candidate in the california recall race. he's already a host with a long history of sexist comments.
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the embattled california governor getting high profile help as he tries to fend off a recall effort. kamala harris plans to campaign for newsom. whether to he call the governor is the question. if the answer is yes, the candidate with the most votes on question two becomes governor.
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the top republican in the field is a radio host and trump supporter who has never held elected office. a national correspondent reports here. larry elder's long history includes derogatory comments about women. larry elder won't stop to answer our questions outside his public rally. what he prefers, the prepared stage and his fans. elder is the leading republican candidate in the recall election of democratic governor gavin newsom. >> this man i'm going to defeat on september 14th -- >> a trump supporter and talk radio fixture, elder is energizing the republican base. >> i know it's a democratic state. larry elder is the one that can save us? >> the momentum is going with the republicans hopefully. >> a first time candidate, he's never held office better known for inflammatory take no
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prisoners talk in conservative radio. his sharpest comments are on race and gender. >> i argue the welfare state has incentivize women to marry the government. >> in may 2000, elder penned this editorial writing women no less than men about political issues, economics and current events. adding the less one knows, the easier the manipulation. on family leave he tweeted you have no right to maternity leave. just this week, elder said employers should be able to ask women if they plan on getting pregnant. >> i believe that a female employer could ask questions of a female employee or a male employee that directly impacts on whether or not that person is going to be available to work a full-time, a full 40-hour week. >> this was his position in 2008. >> the bad news is that global warming is a crock. >> it's a position his campaign
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indicates he's evolved from, but elder spent years promoting global warming as a myth and posted a ten steps to -- eliminate corporate taxes, take government out of education. arguing it should be in the hands of the private sector. eel liegal use drugs and abolis the minimum wage. elder tweeted this month the ideal minimum wage is zero. one position shifting just this month? who won the 2020 election. to the sacramento bee. >> i believe that joe biden won the election. >> then just two weeks later, after blowback from the trump base -- >> do i believe that joe biden won the election fair and square?mulligan. no, i don't. >> was there election fraud in 2020? >> but the flip-flop isn't sitting well with trump
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supporters. >> i'm answering the question. >> he didn't want to talk to us about it either. >> this was the second to last question. >> why don't we talk about what else i talk about. >> he didn't stick around long enough for me to ask. >> so could this really happen in a state as blue as california? a governor larry elder? well, democrats believe that it's possible. and here's why. the ballot is in two parts. question one is yes or no to recall newsom. question two, newsom's name was duz not appear, and the person they believe is the biggest threat to the governor is larry elder. >> thank you for the reporting. cnn has learned booster shots will be made available on capitol hill for people with compromised immune systems.
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10,000 afghans processed and ready to go are stuck. soldiers at the airport in afghanistan tells us thousands of afghans are waiting on flights now as the united states searches for new places to land evacuation planes. new places because qatar stopped accepting afghans. at the top of the hour president biden is set to address this crisis. let's get perspective on the challenge in the former u.s. beside to croatia. grateful for your time. if you had a minute with the president who is going to speak at the top of the hour, in the middle of a mess, what to you is the greatest challenge for the president? >> i think the greatest immediate challenge is to evacuate the rest of the u.s. and foreign nationals from kabul. the afghans who worked with the
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not only with the united states, but with the united nations, with the international humanitarian organizations, and find a place for them to go. if necessary, to guam which is where we've evacuated people from during stan in the 1990s until they can be reprocessed to someone else. that's the immediate one. >> the administration says it planned for every contingency and yet, no flights out of kabul in eight hours because it's scrambling to find new locations to send the plans. they obviously didn't plan for that. how? why? >> i think it was a tough situation. obviously they didn't anticipate the speed of the collapse and you have to consider, i was in afghanistan on the very day the soviets withdrew. it took another two years before the soviet installed regime collapsed. it even outlasted the soviet
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un union. this unit didn't last long enough for the u.s. to complete the withdrawal. >> and to that point, if you see this cable, "the wall street journal" reporting, this cable sent by 23 american diplomats at the embassy in kabul. you know how important diplomats on the ground are. essentially warning the secretary of state, blinken, this collapse is going to happen quickly when it happens we need a better plan to get the afghans out. why do you think the administration was caught flat footed? is that the right term? >> again, i think it's very difficult to plan for these kinds of contingencies. what happened in this situation is that you had a snowballing collapse of the afghan military. so at a certain point, they were simply unwilling to fight. nobody wants to fight in a war that they see as already lost.
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you don't risk your life for a lost war, no matter how much you believe in the cause. that produced the rapidity of the collapse. clearly things were not as well managed as they could be. that's a diplomatic understatement. but i think the focus now has to be on getting people out. >> help me with your deep experience here, answer a question i think everybody around the world is asking. certainly, especially americans either waiting for a loved one to get out or american servicemen and women trying to help their former translators. afghans get out their with their families. the administration says it's in daily communication with the taliban trying to ensure safe passage of people to the airport. doing business with the taliban is risky business. is that the only choice at this moment? >> it is absolutely the correct thing to do. the taliban are the government of afghanistan, and having dealings with a government, whether -- no matter how much
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you may dislike it, it's a recognition of the reality. i hope there will be some kind of continued diplomatic presence even going forward. again, it's not approval. it's simply recognition of reality. but there's some things that can still be accomplished. promotion. some effort to push the taliban to do more on the rights of women and girls to protect the ha zar, the ethnic minority, that fate, that risk a faced a potential genocide the last time they were in power. and in the short term, we can help get people out. if we leave, then the possibility of getting people out disappears. >> you hear that running commentary that this is a giant stain on america's image in the world. do you agree? >> well, it certainly doesn't -- it isn't a plus. but it is the whole afghanistan episode, and even more than that, the iraq war that has diminished america's leadership in the world, it isn't how it
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ended. it's the fact that it went on for 20 years without a strategy to produce success. and yet, constantly representing by our political and military leaders that everything was working out great. and then this accompanied by an unnecessary war in iraq that is also proved to be very costly. >> ambassador -- >> so when -- the stain is not just on how this ended. or even primarily on how it's ended. it's how it was conducted and again, the parallel war that took place in iraq. >> ambassador, grateful for your time. appreciate it. thank you. thank you for joining us. ana ka bcabrera picks up our spl coverage next. fits your high s. why have over two million people welcomed bath fitter into their homes? it just fits. call now or visit to book your free consultation.
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hello. thank you for being with us on this friday. at any minute now president biden addresses the nation on afghanistan. this will be his second such address in four days. a measure of the extraordinary crisis now testing his presidency. his goal? assure americans that the evacuation from afghanistan is under control. a tall task given the grim images and the bleak reality on the ground. here a reminder of the
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desperation as a baby is handed to a u.s. military. there was a backup and the commander on the ground has just issued the order to recommence. outside the airport taliban fighters rule the streets. it's not known how many americans and afghans are -- correspondents are covering all angles of the developing story. i want to start with jeff zeleny who got reporting about flights about to resume. what can you tell us? >> we're learning from the white house that the flights are going to resume shortly. at least that is the plan at the kabul airport. white house official telling me that there was, indeed, a backup in


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