tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN August 21, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PDT
hours. the commanders are metering how many people come in and out of the gate to ensure the safe and ability to screen applicants as they come on. there has been no reported change to the current enemy situation in and around the airplane at this time. >> yeah? >> kabul airport, it was advised for u.s. citizens to avoid gates at this time unless you receive a specific call to come there. so can you explain what is this threat? is it taliban? is it -- is there an isis or al qaeda angle to this? >> i think you can understand why we're not going to get into specific details about the threat environment or what our
intelligence is giving us. we have said havfrom the very beginning of this we're going to try to do this in a safe and orderly way. that means making sure nobody gets hurt to the maximum extent possible. so what you're seeing out of our state department colleagues, i think, is a prudent notification to make sure that whatever movement there is from the gates from outside the airport is done as safely as possible, and that people have the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves going forward. i do understand the question and the interest, but i hope you understand we're going to be very careful about what kind of extra context we're going to put out there in the information environment. >> there was a crown threat that led to the evacuation via helicopter on thursday of some americans from right near the airport. what we're trying to figure out
is, is this just a, there's large crowds and it is difficult for americans to get there, or is there actually a threat against the airport? >> again, i'm not going to get into specific threat assessments. the situation in kabul, in the whole city, is fluid and dynamic. you have seen the images over the last 24 to 48 hours yourself of the situation outside the perimeter of the airport. and it changes. it changes almost by the hour. it changes in locations around the airport. it's very, very fluid and dynamic. i don't want to speak for the state department, but like our military commanders, they're going to make decisions in real time about what is in the best interest of innocent civilians that have need to get to the airport. we want to get inside the security gates. we're just going to -- this will change, you know, every day. there will be modifications to our assessments of the security environment and what we think is in the best interest.
>> can i ask you one other not related to this? there are reports the afghan military and maybe some others who are rising up against the taliban, particularly some in the north. i'm wondering if there has been any request for u.s. military air strikes to support them? if so, is that the kind of thing the u.s. military would engage in? >> doe >> want to anticipate the future. no current requests for that have come in, but we continue to maintain the current scapabilit we've had on the ground and in the air since beginning operations. >> the only thing i'd add is the mission hasn't changed. the mission of the united states military in kabul is to secure that airport and keep it secure. conduct, manage, and lead air operations so we can continue to move people out. that's the focus of the military mission. >> a week ago, there was a mission to support the -- and still to support the afghan military with air strikes. so, i mean, that was supposed to
continue until august 31st. it stands to reason, i know the situation has changed a lot in the last week, but it stands to reason the u.s. military would still have the authority, if not the -- to carry out strikes if requested by the afghan military. i guess at this point, they have not been requested, is what we're told, right? >> well, the general said there has been no request. i just want to stress that the military mission that we are executing is a non-combatant military operation. >> last 24 hours, taliban leadership named the officials in charge of securing the streets and city of kabul. has that been part of the changing situation on the ground and making it less safe for americans to travel to the airport? >> again, i'm not detailing the threat assessments and what the intelligence is saying. it is fluid and dynamic. what i would tell you is we continue to have regular communication with taliban leaders there in kabul,
particularly those that are manning or in charge of the checkpoints around the airport. that communication and decon f -- it's not changed. >> taliban near the airport, is there a lot less visibility the farther you go out into the city and that's possibly where there might be threats of kidnapping or -- is that what really we're trying to avoid here? >> there's a lot. there's a whole canopy of security concerns we have. again, my answer to courtney, this is a non-combatant evacuation. that's what we're focused on. so the idea, as the general very clearly indicated in his opening statement, is to get as many people out as fast as we can. that's what the focus is. clearly, in being able to -- or in trying to accomplish that mission, we're taking in a whole wealth of information about what the security environment looks like. but our presence is there at the
airport. the mission is there at the airport, and that's the key focus. >> is there a sense, though, that the window of opportunity here is closing? closing maybe possibly quickly as the security situation on the ground -- >> i think we've been very honest about the fact that we know that we're fighting against both time and space. that's really what we're -- that's what we're -- that's the race we're in right now. we're trying to do this as quickly and as safely as possible. i'm not going to speculate about whether windows are closing or opti opening. we're focused on accomplishing this mission as quick as we can. >> two days before kabul fell, you said from that podium, quote, the city is not right now in any imminent threat environment. how could you get that so wrong? >> in the moment i said it, lucas, it was true.
and i understand, i've seen the reactions out there on social media to what i said. >> surrounded by taliban. >> in the moment that i said it, based on what we knew at the time, it was a true statement. and, yes, two days later, things dramatically changed. i readily admit that. things moved very, very quickly, lucas. and as you heard the chairman up here just a few days ago say, you know, there was -- there wasn't any indication that, you know, that they had received that things could evolve as quickly as they did. >> cities had been falling all week, every day. >> yes, i understand, lucas. i understand. i understand. all i can tell you is in the moment that i made those remarks, they were accurate. i'm committed 100% to being as truthful and honest and transparent up here as i can be. i'm comfortable that while others may ridicule what i say
and take issue with it, i'm comfortable that what i'm giving you is the best information i have the moment that i have it. and i would hope and understand that people would see that events have continued -- did and have continued to evolve very, very quickly there. to courtney's excellent line of questioning, the assessment, the threat is going to change and it could change literally by the hour. so we're trying to give you the best we can and lean as far forward as we can in the moment, but that moment is going to change. >> it could be changing by the hour. you said there was no imminent threat of kabul falling. >> again, i think i've answered the question. >> ten years ago, then general lloyd austin was head of u.s. forces in iraq and recommended to the president not to full troops out of iraq. months ago, now defense secretary austin recommended the same thing in afghanistan. is he frustrated that presidents are ignoring him? >> the secretary is 100% focused on the mission at hand right now, which is a non-combatant evacuation operation.
and he is comfortable that throughout this deliberation, his voice was heard. that he had an opportunity to provide his best advice and counsel to the commander in chief and the national security team, as did other leaders here at the pentagon. it was a very inclusive, deliberate process, and the secretary believes that the president was given the benefit of a lot of different views, not just his but a lot of different views. and then the commander in chief made a decision. that's how it works. that's exactly how the process should work. a very calm and deliberate decision-making process. and once that decision is made, you execute. that's the way this building ope operates. you execute, and that's what we're doing. >> is the secretary frustrated that now not once but twice his advice has been ignored? >> the secretary is focused on
the decision at hand and not revisiting the past. you give your advice. a decision is made, and you follow that decision. an order is given, you follow the order. that's what we're doing. as you heard the secretary say just after the president announced his decision in mid-april, that he fully supports that decision. he's been very clear about that. >> has the secretary thought about resigning? >> no. >> one factual question. how many of those 17,000 are american citizens? and have there been any further outside the wire operations by u.s. military? >> i do not have a breakdown of how many of the 17,000 are americans. to my knowledge, since you and i last talked yesterday, there have been no additional operations, as you put it, outside the wire, outside the security perimeter of the
airport. but, look, without getting predictive here, we have troops in a very, as i said, dynamic environment, perilous mission, and they understand that. they also understand why they're there, which is to help people. and i'm not going to rule out the possibility that if they see a moment, if they see an opportunity to do it, that they won't do it. >> what is the sensitivity of going outside the perimeter? the brits don't seem to have problem acknowledging it. they seem to be doing it pretty openly. i saw a british soldier quoted as saying they were conducting joint patrols with the taliban. is there something restraining u.s. forces from going out and
getting people? >> you want to take it? >> yeah. just going back to, i think, your first question, you talked -- can you give me the question again that you asked? >> how many of the 17,000 -- >> okay. >> -- are american citizens. >> i think i can help with that, john, on the numbers of the american citizens, is that what you were asking? >> total number of american citizens. >> yeah. possibly 2,500. >> okay. >> yes. when you talk about the operations, i'm not familiar with, you know -- remember, as we look at the joint and coalition of what is operating, the british forces at the gate are part of the entire kabul, you know, security zone. those patrols you're talking about, i don't have knowledge of people going outside the wire, as you speak, of patrols. what we do see, both the british marines that are on those gates
are conducting what we call those local security operations, to continue, the best they can, to make sure they're safe, that all of those, you know, large crowds that are there, trying to continue to ensure there's, you know, control. to allow the people that are allowed to and have the right documents to come into the gates. >> security operations in or outside? >> in at the gates, at the gates. >> and are british and other forces there under the operational command of the u.s. commanders at the airfield? >> so those british forces that are there at the gates are part of the operational control of the commander that has kabul airport. >> operational control of the british forces. >> yes, he is the commander.
>> okay. all right. >> general, you talked about how the local commanders are now metering people coming into these gates. does that suggest the kflow is continuing into that -- >> absolutely. >> into the -- >> yes. >> if you are an american citizen inside kabul or in afghanistan and can get to the airport, you should try to get to one of the entrances? >> what i would say, as the american citizens come into the gates, we are continuing to process them and get them to safety. i mean, that's our mission. >> right. and have any of these gates been actually completely closed in the last 24 hours? >> let's make sure -- you know, when you look at the gates and those, you know, we're ensuring the gates always have the ability to be open and process the right people that come to the gates. so that's, i think, very important to understand. the gates are always manned by
forces there that can process the right people that come to those gates all the time. >> i'm still confused here. you've got a u.s. embassy that's sending out an alert, telling american citizens in kabul, "do not come to the gate if you want to get out of here because the security situation, as john described, is too threatening." yet, you're saying you should come to the gate. >> i did not say you should come. what i said was that there are military forces at the gate. they have the ability to continue to process those that come to the gate. >>. [ inaudible question ] >> there's three, four main gates that we're processing evacuees through. >> overnight, it was reported two were opened, is that
correct? two additional gates. >> two additional gates? i don't have that report of two additional gates. >> okay. >> let me get to the phone a little bit more. >> john, thanks. just want to confirm, over the past 12, 24 hours, how many gates have been closed? have they been for long periods of time or short? >> just to go back, those gates are open and closed as required. there's been short durations throughout the last 24 where gates have been closed to allow the proper people to come in and out of those gates. >> okay. let's see.
kelly from nextstar. okay. anymore in the room? >> can i go back to the 2,500 americans estimate? that's a very small portion of the 15,000 that the president has said may be the top number of americans inside. are you making efforts to try to bring more americans in? i know you're cautioning them to be aware of the threat environment at the gates. at the same time, how do you get all those -- that many americans into the airport if there really are that many americans in country? >> i think you've heard us say before we don't have a perfect figure of how many are in afghanistan, let alone kabul. and as the general said, if you're an american and you're at a gate, you'll be let in that
gate. the state department is doing the best job they can to advise americans who still haven't made it to the airport, what the situation looks like around the airport. that would be the prudent thing to do. and as you also heard the president make clear yesterday, that we're going to continue to explore options to assist americans as needed. we will do that. we will do that here at the pentagon. if there's a need to do something different than what we are already doing to facilitate them getting into the airport, then we'll certainly consider those options. >> is there a separate advisory that goes out to afghan nationals who have the visas in hand? i mean, are they, too, being told the threat dynamic is dynamic. i mean, the threat situation is dynamic right now. be aware? >> yeah. >> i mean, are they getting similar messages?
>> i would have to refer you to the state department. my understanding is that there is a -- that there's ways to communicate to that population, but how that's done, that's not a dod equity. i wouldn't be able to speak to that with any great clarity. >> since the mission with the three chinooks that rescued the americans, have there been any other airlift rescue operations? is that maybe a way that other americans who are still stranded might be able to get to the airport? >> no. i won't speculate about the potential future operations going forward. >> you talked about the throughput and increasing the throu throughput. >> yes. >> of afghans. talk about the different bases opening up, and how is the sorting done? how did three aircraft go straight to dulles and straight to bliss, and some go to germany? how are decisions being made? >> as flights are manifested, meaning the roster that's put
together of who is on the aircraft, then a decision is made of where that could go to. let's say, you know, some flights were going into qatar to take some there, so afghans could then be held there, you know, temporarily. then waiting for other flights to go. so what we're trying to do is keep the airflow that is in the theater, right, from having to go far, that continue to drop people off, to allow other flights to take from qatar forward to, for instance, into dulles. so, you know, it depends on how many folks we have, what is it, a full flight of siv? is it other afghans? is it, you know, americans? so that is just extremely dynamic. you know, with transcom and the commanders, as the manifests are done, naythey make the decisionn the spot. >> the idea that sivs fully processed are going to be coming
into the u.s. for now, or will there be a situation that any of the afghans evacuated will be brought onto bases and work through the system once they're here? >> it's very important, we'll continue to do the full screening and vetting process that takes place from the beginning all the way to making a final decision of where somebody goes. i know we will continue that. then going back to right now, the guidance is and will continue, is to continue to increase our outflows to make that happen. >> general? >> yes? >> is the american flag flying at the airport in kabul right now? >> yes. >> there was some talk from veterans, people who served in afghanistan, that the u.s. embassy, which cost nearly $800 million to build, why was that closed and the flag taken to the airport? shouldn't the flag come down last from an embassy when conducting an evacuation?
>> i can't speak for the decisions the embassy makes and what they've done. i know that embassy operations continue on kabul airport. as you know, at the military headquarters where u.s. personnel are continuing to execute the mission, the flag flies. >> when evacuating a country, doesn't the american flag come down from the embassy last? that's what a will oflot of vet are saying. >> i was just going to say, the fact the flag continues to fly and the mission continues right now. >> just a couple more. courtney? >> one for each of you. john, the congressman mccarthy put out a statement last night saying that, within moments of president biden saying we've succeeded in afghanistan, the secretary austin and general milley provided a bleak assessment of the situation on the ground. he is saying that secretary
austin specifically acknowledged americans were being beaten on their way to the airport. can you give us any more detail about what -- who these americans are that secretary austin was talking about? >> courtney, we've been talking about this for several days here, here at this particular podium. we know of cases, a small number that we know of. we don't have perfect visibility, but we know of a small number of cases where some americans americans, and certainly as the secretary after said in the statement, afghans, afghans that we want to evacuate. it wasn't just americans that he talked about. have been harassed and, in some cases, beaten. we don't believe it is a very large number. matter of fact, the numbers would indicate, and i've said this before, that most -- by and large, most americans who have their credentials with them are
being allowed through the taliban checkpoints and on to the gate and onto -- into the gate and onto the airfield. by the large, most americans are having no problems that we're aware of. now, i have to caveat it and i'll do it again and i've done it every day. we are aware of sporadic cases where they aren't being allowed, where there is some harassment going on and, yes, some physical violence has occurred. and as the secretary has made clear and he made clear in the phone call, that's unacceptable. the admiral has made that clear to the taliban commanders that he is talking to, that it is unacceptable. >> what i'm wondering is the cases that the secretary was talking to the members about, were those occurring yesterday? i mean, are these recent, or are we talking about cases that were -- >> over the course of the last week, we have become -- we have been made aware of. >> more cases since the u.s. started talking to the taliban and telling them not to do this? >> i don't have an exactly
breakdown daisy by day. we've been in touch with the taliban over the course of the last week. we've certainly made our concerns known, and i think equally frustrating is the fact that not -- what appears to be happening is that not every taliban fighter either got the word or decided to obey the word. i can't speak to the taliban command and control. but by and large, and for the most part, americans with their credentials are being given the passage they need through the checkpoints and are getting onto the field. again, security conditions permitting. >> just one for you, general. there were some reports overnight on social media, including pictures showing empty c-17s flying out, passengers saying they were virtually empty when leaving. is that the case? do you have any sense of are aircraft leaving kabul aircraft relatively empty without
evacuees? if so, why? >> first, you know, that flight cycle continues. you know, what the commanders on the ground know is to continue to evacuate and ensure everybody gets out as fast as possible. what we don't know is maybe on that situation, which i'm not aware of that exact flight, it might have had a different mission, to do something else. i can't answer that. what i do know, as you've seen in our throughput, is that we are getting those that are ready to fly, that have been fully screened and ready to fly, on aircraft and moving to onward destinations. >> the 3,800 you mentioned in your opening statement, that is -- those are including the 32 charters that went out and other -- >> that's correct. >> do we know how many were on the c-16s? >> approximately 1,600. >> okay. >> 17,000 have been evacuated. do you know rroughly how many
have gone to qatar or the uae and bahrain, who also took some of the initial flights? is the qatar facility essentially full at this point, you'll have to permanently transition to other international weigh stations? >> as we talk about the number that continue to move, i just want to talk about qatar, you know, specifically. there was time period yesterday where we delayed flights going in there to allow other flights to leave, to ensure that the current capacity of qatar, which was really well done there, to continue to build that capacity so fast, to allow those flights to depart before we bring flights in. now that we have ramstein open also, as i mentioned earlier, that will allow us today, in the next 24, is the plan to assess to get back into numbers that we saw the day before and moving them out. >> thanks, everybody.
>> quick one. >> we have to get going. >> is the terrorist threat against the united states increased as the taliban took over the country? >> are there -- >> all right. right there, getting pentagon briefing there. what we're hearing is it is continuing to be a very fluid situation there in and around afghanistan. we heard from authorities there, saying the primary imission continues to be a non-combat banon-combatant evacuation. evacuations include 2,500 americans. within the last couple hours, three flights have landed at washington dulles airport. we've got team coverage on the latest developments. let's go first live to cnn's oren lieberman at the pentagon there. so, oren, certainly, they were trying to give as much information as possible, but still a lot of questions remain. primarily, however, they made it very clear that there is access for americans who want to leave out of that airport, even though the situation remains tenuous.
>> reporter: at first, the biggest bottlecheck was processing. they were trying to process all these people, americans and afghans coming to the airport. now, the stoppage, what's causing the delays and the lower number of people moving out of the airport changed from the ability to process to simply where do you put these people? john kirby, press secretary, as well as general taylor spoke to that. qatar filled up, the first place to take evacuees. they needed time to get people out of qatar to ramstein, to other places, dulles, so they could be moved to fort bliss, texas, to fly more people out of afghanistan and more people into qatar and out of the country. we see that in the lower numbers. in a 24-hour span, there were six 17s with 1,600 people on board. 24 hours previous, the numbers were more than triple that. 15 or 16 c-17s with some 6,000 people. that's a result of the bottleneck in processing. he said it at the end there, general taylor. they're trying to get to the higher numbers, but it is a
scramble now to find more places, not only to take these passengers, both americans and others, but also to get those places ready so quickly. that's why we're seeing these delays. that's why the general said they are -- the word he used was metering. there are closure of the gates at kabul international airport to limit the number of people that can get in. there's only so many people they can process and move there. that's part of the challenge here as they try to move this forward as quickly as possible. general taylor also said there is no change. i'll look at his exact words here. no reported change to the current enemy situation. that, of course, raises the question about the u.s. embassy notification to americans to wait until instructed to go to kabul international airport. we were looking at asking for more information about what prompted that, but there wasn't a clear answer to the question. they simply won't talk about the threat assessment and the threat environment. the only key there was general taylor saying there's been no reported change to the current enemy situation. so that's something we'll keep
an eye on as they try to move people through the process. we do know there were other flights, as well. 32 charter flights. that doesn't include other flights from other militaries getting their own people out. >> then, oren, part of the confusion, too, is general taylor, while he said that u.s. forces have the ability to manage the gates at the airport, at the same time, there has been at least one notice sent out to americans who are in afghanistan to say it is dangerous at the airport, so stay where you are. does the pentagon feel like or do we feel like there was an adequate response coming from the pentagon on whether mixed messaging is also a sizable problem for americans who are trying to get out? >> reporter: mixed messaging has been a matter of confusion. we've seen it here and asked about this. our colleagues at state asked about this, as well. i can only imagine what that does to americans who are trying to get out of the country. that's what we were seeking clarity on. is there a new security threat in and around the airport from the taliban, from al qaeda, from
isis, oarr is it simply telling americans to hold on until they clear the bottlenecks and get more people moving in and out of the airport? that's a question we're looking an answer to. we haven't gotten clarity on the situation yet. >> oren at the pentagon, thank you so much. let's go to the white house where we find jasmine wright. what is the message coming out of the white house on this saturday? >> reporter: well, officials just told reporters, fred, that president biden will not be making his scheduled trip to wilmington. instead, he will stay here at the white house. we was expected to go after he received a 10:16 prbriefing by s national security team. earlier today, we saw secretary of defense, general austin, joint chief of staff milley come in to give the briefing. what you heard from the pentagon is an extension of what president biden said yesterday at the white house. the top line was that he said that any american who wants to
come home, we'll get you home. any afghan translators or folks who worked with the u.s. over the 20-year war, if they wanted to come, he would get them out. so -- but one thing we heard from john kirby is something we've heard from officials. they don't know exactly how many americans. when we heard that americans are currently in afghanistan. when we heard the overall update from kirby now, he says he doesn't know how many americans have been evacuated out of the 17,000 number. just clearly demonstrating how difficult and what a large mission it is to get these people out and get them out safely. one of the other things i think we heard yesterday from president biden was when he said he had no indications of americans not being able to get to the airport safely. as we heard from the pentagon briefing, fred, a lot of those questions were around the security of the airport, whether or not the security situation has changed. so that is something, as oren just said, we'll be looking to hear enough about. it's one thing to try to get folks out and try to get them
processed, but it is another thing to try to make sure americans and the afghans who worked with the u.s. can actually get to the airport to get out safely. >> jasmine wright at the white house, thanks so much. cnn global affairs analyst kim dozier also with us here. kim, we heard john kirby and the general talk about the continued volumeatility in afghanistan. while it is a non-combatant operation, because of reports of harassment and possibly even beatings, including the taliban against americans, the window and the doors are open. are they not, for any potential u.s. military engagement? the pentagon not being specific about whether that would be ground or air, but it is there, isn't it? >> reporter: well, the financial for some sort of clash is there, absolutely, especially if troops stay beyond august 31st when the taliban have indicated they will announce their official
government and we'll get to see whether they include members of the past government. the problem is, as jasmine was saying, it is safe passage to the airport for americans, americans who are dual citizens, or all of the other people that president biden has promised safe passage out. people like afghans who worked for u.s. media companies, non-profit types, women, lawyers and journalists, people who feel threatened. i'm hearing from a network of americans and others who are trying to get these people out, they can't tell them to go to the airport because there's -- many of them have either been turned away, some beaten by the taliban and missed their flights. they don't have third countries willing to accept them. the state department hasn't yet given us an answer on these categories you've said the u.s. is going to take. where are they allowed to go? just weeks ago, wlenhen they
announced this p-2 category for people who used to work for the u.s. media, they said, you can't apply for it until you leave the country. now, they've said they'll take them, but where do they go? i'm talking to people trying to organize charters. the other thing is, they're only given permission to land and take off in an hour. how do you get a plane filled and take off in that short amount of time when you've got such chaos at the airport? all of these questions remain unanswered. >> yeah. we've seen some of the pictures giving us a little taste of just how chaotic it looks and it is. thank you so much, kim dozier. cnn's atika schubert on the ground at ramshtein air base in germany, a place receiving afghan evacuees. what can you tell us about what's happening there? >> reporter: absolutely. it is a huge logistical effort. what we're seeing at the moment is 15 flights have already landed here. they started arriving yesterday
evening. they come very regularly. one after the other. there are already almost 2,000 evacuees that have been settled here. more are arriving. now, the capacity here at the moment is 5,000. that could grow to 7,500. clearly, there is the need for that. but as was pointed out in that presser, it takes time to get all the facilities up and running. what we went into the base earlier today, we saw a flight arriving, and it is heartbreak to see the people arriving. they have smiles on their faces, happy to be here, but they've left family members behind. when they get off the plane here, these huge c-17 globe master planes, take can take in 75 to 400 people at a time. once they get off, they're met by an imam who welcomes them to the base. they get a medical check, id check, then they're settled at temporary quarters. but they're only expected to be here for a few days. they can't stay for long.
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plus, free premium delivery. ends monday. atropical storm henri is no a hurricane. it strengthened a short time ago. with me now is allison chinchar at the cnn weather center. >> we wanted to mention, and very important factor, just because it is now a hurricane as opposed to a tropical storm, the impacts expected for the northeast have not changed. sustained winds are up around 75 miles per hour, gusting to 90. now, the forward movement ticked up ever so slightly, up to 14 miles per hour. we've also seen an expansion of the tropical storm warnings. that's the blue color you see here.
the hurricane warnings, those are in red. as of right now, we anticipate landfall will likely be over long island around lunchtime tomorrow. fred, we'll give more information on the impacts coming up in a little bit. >> allison chinchar, thank you so much. federal officials tell cnn that full fda approval of pfizer's covid-19 vaccine is imminent and could come as soon as monday. joining me right now is dr. megan ran ky, associate dean of public health at drown univ -- brown university. doctor, good to see you. you've been calling for the fda to issue full approval since june. immunocompromised people are getting their third shot. i have three members of my family who got their third shot, yay. what difference will this make for the masses to receive sit? >> this fda approval can't come a moment too soon. i can't overstate how important this is on multiple front. the first thing is, there is a group of those folks who have
not gotten the vaccine yet, who say it is purely because the fda has the vaccine still under emergency use authorization. it'll clear the way for the folks to get the vaccine. the second thing is, it is going to open up a path for a number of organizations across the united states to mandate the vaccine for those who work for them. most importantly, the u.s. military. that's going to have a huge impact on the vaccination rates of our country and on the safety of our troops and their families. and the third thing is with this full approval in hand, we're going to have a chance to message again about the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine. we can help to fill the airwaves and the newspapers and social media with messages about what a difference this vaccine makes in terms of preventing hospitalization and death, even in the face of the delta variant. >> what is the timetable you see between full fda approval of a third dose for everybody who
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as we watch the scenes unfold in afghanistan, the desperation to evacuate, it is heart wrenching. i want to bring in dan blakely. he is the coauthor of a book called "the 20 year war," that will be released on 9/11, it's a photo journal dedicated to vet veterans, and he served in the 75th ranger regiment including tours in afghanistan he was with us last weekend, if you recall, and he's back with us now with a look at all that we have witnessed this week. what goes through your mind, dan? particularly when we saw the first images this week of the desperation, people running after the aircraft, the barbed wire here, the reports now of people being beaten and we've seen video of the scuffles. what's going through your mind? >> again, my heartbreaks for the
afghan people and the american people that are left in afghanistan. not only our partners and our allies, but everybody who has a connection to the united states. and it's something that's going to be images that will be engrained in many people's minds for months and months and years to come. i've heard multiple people say this, especially when you saw the people falling from the plane that this last week has really been afghanistan's 9/11 and it's really frustrating to see this come full circle with a country that we committed so much time the last 20 years. >> perhaps you saw the pentagon briefing at the top of this hour. and it has been made clear from the pentagon this is a noncombatant evacuation, this is the primary mission. thus far 17,500 people have been evacuated. we know there are more who are desperate to get out.
do you believe america will meet the goal of getting everyone out who wants to come out? >> i hope so. the press secretary said it over and over again, it's fluid and dynamic and i can't agree more. it absolutely is. my hope, as somebody who's been on the ground before, the escalation path is going to be clear enough so that people on the ground can make an adjustment for the safety and security for people to get through the checkpoints and to the airport. but i think there's going to be people stranded out in the outer provinces that can't get through the checkpoints, to the airport, that are going to be sheltered in place. i know a pair of twins, 15-year-olds girls, separated from their parents who are sheltered in place in kabul cannot make it to the airport. we're trying to figure out how to get them out. it's frustrating to see situations like this unfold throughout the country. >> documented americans who want to come out and those with
special immigrant visas who want to get out whether they'll all be able to get out. i wonder, dan, real quickly. what do you think is going through any of these military members' minds when they are being handed a baby, a small child, the family so desperate that they'll let their kids go if only they can get on the flight? what do you think those military members were feel ing and thinking? >> in the military you try and find calm in chaos, that little piece of thread that you can cling to that's going to keep you in the fight, keep you connected to it and to see situations like that unfold over and over again is, again, just heartbreaking. but i know our u.s. military and i know how strong they are and how capable they are, and just to make sure that they have the ability to make decisions like that on the fly and really make sure that they are there for the afghan people. and i think, you know, we're
showing that over and over again, i've been inspired this entire week by how many veterans have gotten together to work with ngos and private companies and raise funds and get private planes into kabul to make sure not only the military side is working but also the civilian side so we can get as many people out f as possible. >> it's inspiring and crushing. i can't imagine what it is to have had to make that decision to hand your kid off and hope against hope that all will be much better for them on the other end. dan blakely, thank you so much, appreciate it. thank you for your service. >> thank you, fred. thank you. we're back in a moment. t by? it's neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair® smooths the look of fine lines in 1-week, deep wrinkles in 4. so you can kiss wrinkles goodbye! neutrogena®
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♪when they want it♪ ♪we got it, yeah♪ ♪ we're just a few hours away from we love new york city. the homecoming concert. shimon prokupecz is near new york's central park where the concert will take place. so nice to see you smiling. what can we expect? >> reporter: it feels good to smile. i tell you, it's going to be really, really exciting here. just about a couple of hours, people will be streaming in. it'll be about 60,000 people inside the park enjoying the amazing concert. it's really a star studded event. when you think of the people, the performers gathered, bruce springsteen, jennifer hudson, ll cool j, just some of the names
that are going to be here. you have to be vaccinated to attend this but they're using it as a way to encourage people across the country to get vaccinated, saying if you want to come to concerts, do events, go to shows, you should get vaccinated. that's one of the big themes here, but, of course, everyone here very excited, hoping things get under way here, it's going to be an exciting day, exciting night, things kick off at 5:00. >> i can't wait, too. i'm not there, but i'm going to feel like i'm there as will all the viewers all you have to do is tune in. we'll be doing that. shimon prokupecz, thank you so much. so where and how do you tune in? it's this afternoon, cnn's special coverage of we love new york city, the homecoming concert, beginning at 4:00 p.m. eastern hosted by anderson cooper, the concert kicks off at 5:00 p.m. and in the storm's path more than 40 million americans prepare for rain