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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  August 24, 2021 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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good evening. chris is off tonight. top of this second hour of the 360 the accelerated pull out from afghanistan. more than 70,000 people in the
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last ten days according to president biden have been evacuated. he gave those figures while announcing the country would stick to an august 31st deadline. the president did say, however, he asked the pentagon and state department to continue plans to extend the stay if needed but strongly suggested this would not be the preferred option. one reason he's concerned what the isis affiliate might do. >> another day on the ground is a day we know that isis seeking to target the airport and attack both u.s. and allied forces and innocent civilians. additionally, thus far the taliban have been taking steps to work with us so we can get our people out. but it's a tenuous situation. we've already had some gunfighting break out. we run a serious risk of it breaking down as time goes on. >> the president did not say how many americans remain in the country. that he said would be coming
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tomorrow from secretary of state blinken. the number needing to be evacuated is probably lower than one might think because this official says many left in the weeks before the country fell. more now from cnn's orrin leiberman. >> reporter: the tide of afghan evacuees flowing out of kabul is at a new peak as the effort to move as many people as possible enters its final seven days. 12,000 people flown out in 12 hours. the u.s. alone flew out 6,400 people averaging nearly 350 per flight. that's 15 times what the u.s. flew out a week ago. since august 14th more than 70,000 people have been evacuated from kabul. the airport which once had 14,000 people on the field waiting for flights now down to about 5,000 though there are more many outside desperate to get in. but as the operation improves the environment grows more tense. the military is monitoring threats from isis k and others
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aware that crowds at the airport are targets for terror groups. and the taliban warning the u.s. to be out by the end of the month, saying they will not be able to pass the road to the airport. >> translator: we have talented people. they should not leave this country. they should work in their own specialist areas. they should not go to other countries, to those western countries. >> reporter: one question the biden administration hasn't answered, how many americans are left in afghanistan. the white house promised to evacuate every u.s. citizen who wants out, but the pentagon refusing to say how many that is. >> i don't think there's a perfect number that we know with certainty of all americans in afghanistan. >> reporter: the sheer number of afghans leaving the country has created its own set of problems. the lack of basic sanitation at the air base in qatar, the first stop for many of those fleeing kabul. . we recognize that things were and are in many ways still not
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at the level of sanitation and good hygiene that we want. >> reporter: meanwhile afghan evacuees beginning to land in the united states. in the past 24 hours, four flights landed in dulles outside d.c. with more than 1,000 passengers. with the operation just starting, the pentagon has only days left before it winds down the effort in kabul. with 5,800 troops on the ground and an august 31st deadline to get them out the pentagon knows the last 48 hours are critical. the focus, how to get out thousands of troops who have made it possible to move tens of thousands of people. >> orrin, so the president mentioned contingency plans possibly to adjust the timetable. is there any detail on that? >> reporter: no, president biden didn't offer any details on what those contingency plans might be. as you point out, he said, it's in case the u.s. needs to adjust that timetable. biden has made it clear, as has the pentagon, that they want to be done with the evacuation mission by the end of the month, by august 31st.
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but if it's not possible they are planning to see if there's wiggle room or maneuvering room or if they need more time to operate. the catch here and what makes this difficult, this basically needs to be coordinated with the taliban. there has been constant communication with representatives for taliban commanders, but they've now made it clear they want the u.s. out by the end of the month and moving that timeline even a little bit may be incredibly difficult. a worst-case scenario, a firefight and exchange of fire and the situation rapidly deteriorates. it'll be very difficult if the biden administration decides it needs any more time. the goal is the end of the month. >> orrin, thanks so much. i want to get perspective now from someone on the ground that knows afghanistan well. najib haja, a correspondent for tv2 in denmark, he has been traveling with the taliban at times as they patrol the streets of kabul. so a taliban spokesperson today
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said the airport road is now closed to afghans. does that mean there's no chance for afghans now to get out? >> it's actually an ambiguous statement. it could also be interpreted as they don't want afghans to leave. you know, he's not being really clear about what he means. and i think the main reason why he's saying that is to put pressure on the americans so they can hurry up. >> president biden today said the u.s. is on pace -- his term -- to finish operations by the august 31st deadline and he's also asked for contingency plans to adjust the timetable if necessary. that also seems like it could be a warning to the taliban. i mean, the idea they're going to have contingency plans, it seems both the taliban and the u.s. are trying to kind of negotiate with public statements.
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>> they are. from an american point of view, you know, it's a priority to evacuate all the people that they need to get out of afghanistan and get as good terms as possible. and from a taliban point of view, from the leadership especially, it's about the pressure they get from the low level commanders who are not satisfied with the agreement with the united states of america. they wanted the u.s. to leave in may, and actually there have been talks and they've been convinced to accept that the u.s. is staying until the 31st. and it just didn't look good for the leadership from doha, the americans, they're not going to live up to this agreement. >> the taliban have warned there'd be what they say are consequences if the u.s. military stayed longer. you've spoken to taliban fighters in a lot of different places.
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what are you hearing on the ground because i've heard you talk before about kind of divisions within the taliban itself. we think of it as this sort of monolithic group, but it's actually -- it's actually not. >> it's multifaceted group. you have different layers in this group. you have the guys who are living an international life, meeting political leaders, meeting people with different political opinions in doha and other countries, sitting together with women and conversating with them. and then you have the guys living off the radar in afghanistan and pakistan. and these guys are not as pragmatic and flexible as the guys we know from the media. and they're not as afraid of actually becoming -- getting on, you know, bad terms with the united states. they're used to fighting.
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they're used to their friends getting killed, a lot of them every year. so for them it's like, okay, we've been fighting for so many years, why should it be a problem to fight now at the end of the battle? americans, they're fleeing. so it's just business as usual. and other guys who have fought to get international recognition, for them, you know, they're going to lose all they've built up, you know, for the past years. so we have some clear frictions. >> so what taliban takes over afghanistan now? you know, they've said we've learned from the mistakes from the past. is that true? it seems hard to believe. i mean, they do have a very, you know, severely strict interpretation of islam. >> they have learned from the past. but the thing is with the taliban, you have like -- you
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have the guys from the south who are the hardcore taliban. and the ones who look most like the old taliban from the '90s, and then you have some of the other guys, a bit more progressive, the taliban from the east. i can give you an example of, you know, one of the experiences that i have from underground. i went to university because i thought they were opening a couple of days ago, and then i was told the school location had been extended. and i asked if there were any orders from the top about women. and he said, women, they can't get in. and he was from the south, from kandahar. later i met this guy and said they were denied access to the university, and they were really angry and said you shouldn't do that, that's against islam. i followed up on the question and asked about their own sisters and wives and they were like, of course they can get an
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education, of course they can work. this is a part of islam where they can get educated. so a clear example of how you have different segments of taliban actually disagreeing about some things. >> according to letters obtained by cnn, the taliban sentenced an afghan's brother who served an interpreter to american troops. the letters contradict assurances the taliban spokesman has been making at press conferences saying nobody would be harmed in afghanistan, and there's a huge difference between us now and 20 years ago. do you think reprisal killings are going to become common? >> nobody knows. there are definite rumors. but first of all the leadership they've clearly said there's a general amnesty and nobody from the taliban should kill anybody who worked for the government or foreign forces. but the thing is you have sublevel commanders who are doing their own things, who are not listening and obeying some of these orders. this is short term. long-term the question is
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whether all the people from the leadership will continue this path. we don't know that. you know, we've seen this organization roll some of the things they said, roll it back earlier in the history. so people, they hope history won't be repeated. >> it's really a pleasure to talk to you. i really appreciate your expertise. thank you so much. >> you're welcome. pleasure to be here. more now on how the president's words today and his policy more broadly are being received by lawmakers especially those who have direct experience fighting the war there. shortly before airtime i spoke with two. brian mast and jake -- congressman, president biden cited the growing threat to u.s. troops in afghanistan from isis-k as a main factor in this decision to adhere to this
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withdrawal deadline. you served in afghanistan. is that justification enough for sticking to the deadline? >> there's a dangerous situation going on there. we understand this bipartisanly. there has to be an objective that's met in order to actually withdraw otherwise you're just doing it for optics. so is our military safer? is the world safer? is our enemy debilitated? and if that's not the case, we shouldn't move out of there. if our people aren't safer we shouldn't move out there. and i don't think think that metric is going to be met. >> the president was asked if he could guarantee every american will be out of there before the troops leave. how confident are you every american will be out by the deadline? >> we're talking about a country whose moniker is the graveyard of empires. there's no guarantee. but on the current trajectory, we should be able to get all americans out by august 31st.
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but make no mistake, the president has been clear every american who wants to leave afghanistan will leave afghanistan. the taliban do not have a say in that. >> congressman, what about the afghans? do you believe that's still a priority for this administration? >> i don't think they ever truly were a priority for this administration given the hearings we've had from the state department over the months past but also to give you a historic vote from joe biden. he said this following the withdrawal from vietnam, we have zero obligation to withdraw foreign nationals, moral or otherwise, 1 or 100,000. that was his direct statement about foreign nationals as it related to vietnam. and i think we're kind of seeing that exact same mentality as it relates to foreign nationals within afghanistan. yeah, if we can get a few out, great. but it's not by any means their focus to get out afghans who stood sold by shoulder with us. >> congressman, i know you've been personally involved in trying to get afghans out who have assisted us.
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i'm wondering how that process has been in the people you're working -- or have been working on because i talked to a lot of people, a number of former service members who were trying to get out, former translators and stuff for years and said with the last administration and this administration, the whole process, it seemed like it was being slow walked. >> so both of those statements are true. there have been cases we've been working for years, and you're getting the message from the state department this person from through the cracks or finally we were able to just get them through because all of a sudden it hit an emergency situation. cases we'd been working like i said literally through two administrations. and there were cases veterans brought to us because of the emergency saying this interpreter are worked with, can you get their picture to the checkpoint, get their paperwork to the state department, get them out of kabul or pakistan or qatar or anywhere else? both situations were playing out, absolutely. >> congressman, you also served and it's remarkable how history repeats. we saw this in iraq with trying
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to get translators out. we saw this certainly in vietnam. it seems like there's -- obviously these are chaotic situations, any time a country is falling apart or a government collapses it's a difficult situation. but it does seem like there's a track record of the u.s. not living up to its promises to the people that helped them. >> this president and his administration have made clear we're going to have a special priority for afghans who work as allied interpreters, prominent advocates for the rights of women and girls, journalists, those who face risk of taliban reprisal. they've been part of the evacuation to date. they'll continue to be evacuated, and this president is going to keep america's promises. not every afghan who wants to leave afghanistan is not going to be able to. just like not every somalian who wants to leave somalia or every syrian who wants to leave syria is going to be able to. that's why it's so important that america is a global beacon for democracy and human rights
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so we can work to improve. >> the taliban said today the road is closed for afghans to get to the airport. so how confident are you that's not the case or that -- there's a week left before the august 31st deadline. if that road is closed what options does the u.s. have? >> it's important to remember the united states retained significant leverage over the taliban. we have 90% of their assets in u.s.-controlled banks. 75% of taliban governing resources come from the international donor community. the united states has leverage over the taliban to ensure we can continue to work with ngos for evacuations. and it's important to remember the taliban are inheriting a country that's made significant progress over the last 20 years. literacy rates have doubled. infant mortality is halved. access to electricity has increased. there are 4 million afghan girls in schools right now. the taliban may not be able to govern as brutally as they did in the 1990s. >> congressman mast, do you buy that? >> i would say at this point maybe in the long-term we have
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an advantage over the taliban because we can control banks, monetary funds, things like that. in the short-term we went from a situation where the taliban were our hostages to a situation where americans and those that helped us are basically the hostages of the taliban in afghanistan. >> congressmen, i appreciate your time. thank you both. >> thank you. a lot more ahead tonight including a look at the legacy of america's longest war. what 20 years in afghanistan has and has not accomplished and what happens next. also tonight, will new polling on the popularity of mandating mask wearing in schools have any impact on florida's governor who remains bent on forcing school districts not to do just that even as cases and deaths reach new highs in the state.
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remarkable is the word retired lieutenant general mark hurtling used in the previous hour to describe the evacuation effort we've been seeing president biden had already gotten more than 70,000 people out of afghanistan. miraculous is how he described
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the outcome if the effort continues at the pace it's now going. however, it turns out to be just one chapter in a 20-year story. given the reconstitution of the taliban and other bad actors it might not even be the final one. joining us to talk about it all past, president, and future the editor of foreign affairs magazine, the latest edition seeking to answer question who won the war on terror. dan, thanks for being with us. it's an interesting issue you put out here. the war on terror was central to u.s. policy since 9/11. how do you think history is going to see the u.s. involvement in afghanistan in terms of what was actually achieved? >> so if we go back to those days and weeks and months in the immediate aftermath of the september 11th attacks there was this real sense of moral clarity, this mission and purpose that had really taken
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over american foreign policy. president bush's rhetoric at the time was the clearest example of this. but it was really this broad sense there was this newfound mission for the country and for american foreign policy. but we never really reckoned with what we were trying to achieve in that process, what it would mean to win. and the 20 years in afghanistan is in some ways the starkest example of this, the shifting sense of objectives, what the mission was. we never really settled on that. in some way if we could go back and talk to our september 12th selves and tell them in the next 20 years there'd be something like 107 american citizens killed on u.s. soil, if you remembered the fear in the days afterwards that would seem like a remarkable achievement. if we had told ourselves we would get involved we'd see the war on terror as this catastrophe. so it's such a murky record in the way we've seen in afghanistan over these 20 years. >> also in afghanistan there are so many layers in that society
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as there are in all societies. and when you're coming from outside and think you can, you know, nation build, there are unintended consequences for all sorts of actions you take. you think it's going to have one consequence and it has another. you think we come to the country and start pouring money into the country and the people we end up dealing with often, you know, if they're not shady or skimming money, they all have their own agendas and you start to see mcmansions popping up in kabul owned by generals and shady businessmen and afghans on the ground suddenly have a changed view of what the u.s. is, of the money we're giving to these people, there's still widespread corruption, and any interaction between an afghan and the government is usually involving some sort of payment. so it's such a fraught, such a difficult thing to do.
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and i don't know if we did a good job or not. but certainly a lot of people worked very hard to try to make it work. >> you raise a good point. i worked in the state department about eight years after the war in afghanistan had started. and even then we were struggling to define what our basic objectives were and what our basic metrics were. and there were times you could look at the numbers of girls or women in school or the numbers of new ngos serving in kabul and you could see indicators of success. but we never really addressed the government, the corruption you mentioned. we never really had a good handle on just how many troops there actually were, how many afghan troops there were in this army we were building at huge cost. so you saw over the course of multiple administrations -- right, this goes back to bush and obama and trump and now biden -- trying to figure out how to measure progress even as we didn't have a clear sense of what we wanted to achieve. and biden has now gone back to this minimal sense of what we wanted to do.
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we killed bin laden and addressed that basic threat but we've given up on the rhetoric that was central to the mission in afghanistan certainly at the beginning in those days when we thought we could build this new nation and transform afghanistan and the region more broadly but even in subsequent administrations when we thought there was something taking hold and had a really hard time as outsiders, having a sense of just how profound the problems were. >> i remember going out with marines on patrol and driving to some village and the marines risking their lives to get to this village, a tiny speck on a map, meeting with elders who are kind of on the fence and not sure who to side with. and it was nation building without calling it a nation building. and i still can't get over the fact that every time i went i was told we're standing up the afghan army, then it was standing up the afghan police. but to your point we were never
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sure if anyone said there were 300,000 afghan army forces. no one was sure, that was the numbers on the rolls. but if some commander in some province was just padding the books and taking the money. >> that's right. and there were times as you know as well as anyone we were perfectly aware of what was going on but felt so incapable of dealing with it there was this inclination again over multiple administrations to sweep that under the rug. if you go back to those first years in afghanistan that was really the moment when we probably had the best chance to commit to a nation building mission in a more serious way, and we failed to. and we failed to in part because it's much harder than we imagined at the time. we also failed because we turned our attention to iraq. but we spent many years trying to recover from those mistakes. and in the last few years you've seen american foreign policy just really want to wash its hands of all this. it wants to turn to new threats to china and russia and great power competition. and what's happening in
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afghanistan now is just a reminder of how profoundly this reshaped american foreign policy, american power, and the united states over the last 20 years. >> yeah. daniel, i really appreciate you being on tonight. i really look forward to talking more in the future. thanks so much. just ahead, florida school districts fight against their governor over mask mandates. at least two not backing down in new letters with new polling suggesting voters are on their side. the superintendent of one of those districts joins me next. are you packed yet? our flight is early tomorrow. and it's a long flight too. once we get there, we will need... buttercup! ♪ discover card i just got my cashback match is this for real? yup! we match all the cash back new card members earn at the end of their first year automatically woo! i got my mo-ney! it's hard to contain yourself isn't it? uh- huh! well let it go! woooo! get a dollar for dollar match at the end of your first year. only from discover. as someone who resembles someone else...
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multiple breaking stories out of florida tonight, all concerning the fight surrounding mask mandates. first just moments ago orange county said it will enact a 60-day mask mandate for students and staff.
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a doctor's note will be required to opt out. also breaking tonight a new poll that suggests florida voters may be at odds to governor desantis' opposition to mask mandates in schools. 60% of florida voters say they support requiring teachers and students to wear masks, 36% oppose. just this week two districts say they'll not comply with the governor's order for parental opt-out. the state board of education is threatening to withhold school board members' pay. and as part of their responses the school boards in broward and -- counties forwarded information about members' salaries, demonstrating their not backing down from this fight. the superintendent said in her letter that universal masking will, quote, help us keep our students in the classroom and out of the hospital. superintendent simon, thanks for being with us. before i even get into the this battle with governor desantis and the florida board of education i want to give people an idea why this mask mandate is so important in your district. it went into effect because you had positive cases, even deaths amongst your staff.
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and even with the mandate in effect, covid is still a big issue in your schools, right? >> yeah, so we lost two of our employees actually before we even had our teachers start coming back to campus the week before we had our actual classes start. and we were noticing as well beyond the two students that passed the positivity rate for employees were increasing quite quickly and we were having projects having to be shut down because of the amount of people who tested positive. now we are running into our students are on campus, we're in our third week of classes. we have over 360 students who have tested positive and we have the quarantines that are going on. we also have over 60 faculty and staff who are also testing positive. and we're just running into the logistics of being able to run our school system so we can have face-to-face. i worry, had we not had mandatory masking, we'd be considerably worse than we are right now.
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>> the letter you received from the florida state board of education accused school board members of violating parents' rights and called not allowing parents to opt out of the mask mandate, quote, unacceptable behavior. what's your response to that? >> so we believe we're in compliance with the laws. the governor and the commissioner of education -- excuse me -- they requested that the department of education, the department of health have rules. and one of the rules that they applied was a voucher that would allow families to opt out. and we see that as compliance with their rule. we also have the medical exemption for individuals who have a medical need that requires them to not have a mask. and so we actually believe that we have two options for families to opt out, and we are following the rules of the state. >> and as far as punishment goes i mentioned the board of education threatening to withhold a portion of school
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board members' salaries. do you expect if the money is withheld the federal government would reimburse those funds? >> the federal government has already reached out and they said they would support us financially and are also looking through supporting us through legal means as well as political means. and they're helping us and offering their support associated with us managing the actual covid situation, from testing to just helping us keep our schools open. we want to make sure we have face-to-face, and we need their support. we also have had lots of support from our local governments as well as many members in our community as well as the country. >> now that the fda has given full approval for the pfizer vaccine for people ages 16 and up, will your district issue a vaccine mandate for all teachers and for students who are eligible? >> i believe we're at the place where we need to have serious conversations between the superintendent and our board members. we have been trying to offer carrots and incentives for people to get vaccinated but it's not having the type of impact we would prefer.
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when our faculties specifically are not able to come because of not being vaccinated and they get ill, it has a huge impact on the system. so we're running into just the logistics of needing to run our business and our organization. we need people healthy and we need people at work. and because of how fast this disease is spreading we can have multiple people who need to quarantine for an extended period of time, and it really impacts our human resources. >> do you know what percentage of teachers are not vaccinated? >> we don't. we're in the process of getting the actual information from the department of health but that's taking time. but i'm estimating somewhere around 50%. >> wow, that many. wow, all right. superintendent simon, i appreciate your time tonight. thank you. >> thank you for having me. still ahead, i'll speak with a nurse who contracted covid while she was pregnant last fall before the vaccine became available. i'll tell you what happened to her and her baby. she has a message for pregnant women next.
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a missouri nurse is urging pregnant women to get vaccinated. vanessa alford, she got covid last fall while pregnant and sadly she lost her baby, a boy named axel, when covid caused a blood caught to form in her placenta that eventually erupted. this is before the covid vaccine became available. she joins me tonight. you contracted covid in november before the vaccine was available. you were pregnant at the time, i think 20 weeks pregnant. can you walk us through what happened? >> yeah, so i'm a registered nurse at a hospital working around covid patients, and you know my hospital protected me. they gave me all the ppe we needed. you know, other nurses would help take more covid patients just to protect me. my husband came home from work, and he started having symptoms, and we decided he should get tested. so he was positive, and then the next day i started showing the symptoms.
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so the next day i tested positive. i did feel, you know, good at that point for those first couple days. >> then it started to get worse. what happened with the pregnancy? >> i started getting weird back pains and front pains. so i went to the local o.b., and, you know, they sent me home, said it was a side effect of covid, they didn't check me or anything. so then that night they sent me home because at that point i was stable. so at that point i went home. that night i started getting some bleeding and the pain, you know, became more. but it wasn't until the next morning around 1:30 in the morning i woke up and i realized i was in labor. so, yes. >> and do you -- what week was this in the pregnancy? >> i was 22 weeks, 5 days.
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>> you lost your baby. >> yes. and i wasn't really saying what i thought was going to happen but i knew. we got to the hospital, and they checked me out and they said can i get you upstairs now, you have membranes showing. so they rushed me upstairs and at that point they realized i was fully dilated. my placenta or my bag was protruding and axel was coming no matter what. >> i can't imagine what you and your family have gone through, and i'm so sorry for your loss. you got the covid vaccine finally and you wrote on facebook, you said, i didn't do it because i'm a nurse and it was the trend. i did it for every person i take care of, for my friends, my family.
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i did it for you. i'm hopeful this vaccine will prevent another death of a grandfather, grandmother, father, mother, son and daughter. every person deserves not to lose someone to covid. this is for my axel, axel, the boy that died. what was that day like for you to get that vaccine? >> it was an emotional day. you know, i was working a 12-hour shift that day so i went upstairs in the bathroom and just cried because i thought, man, if this was last month i would not be in the situation i am. so it was very bittersweet to get that vaccine. but, you know, it was too late for my story. >> what is your hope in sharing what happened to axel, what your family has been through, what you've been through? >> my hope has always been that someone else doesn't have to be me. you know, these vaccines are here.
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and i'm not pushing, like, the mandate. i'm pushing people to talk to their doctor, to talk to medical professionals. do not do this hearsay or all this stuff that gets spread so easily when it's not really the medical facts, because these lies are killing people. and, you know, we're -- we are tired of seeing people die. you know, i'm just tired of covid happening again, especially after what i've gone through. and, you know, i thought when we got this vaccine there was going to be, you know, fresh hope. we were going to get a rest, and we were going to get back to our lives. and now it's just -- it's come back worse than it was. >> and when you were pregnant, if you had been able to get a vaccine, if the vaccine had been out there, you would have -- you would have gotten it because it's safe for pregnant people? >> yes. we had been talking about it. you know, my husband was not really thinking he would but i knew i was because i see covid and i did not want to risk -- at
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that point before i had my son i was worried about my father-in-law, everyone i loved and i was going to get that vaccine to save others. so it's -- now is the time for people to do their research and save themselves because they're going to be asking to be helped and it's too late. >> vanessa, i appreciate talking to you, and again i'm so sorry for what you have gone through and so thankful that you are telling your story and also what you do every day, i mean, working 12-hour shifts and more in the hospital, helping people who in many cases have not taken a vaccine that they could have. vanessa, thank you so much. >> thank you so much. there's more ahead. what the ceo of the travel community site airbnb is saying tonight about helping thousands of afghan refugees. that's next.
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one of the many enduring questions in the wake of the mass evacuations of afghan refugees from kabul is where exactly they'll go. american military bases of course are only one answer. tonight the ceo of airbnb says his worldwide network of homes will be available free of charge to house those refugees, up to 20,000 of them. brian chesky, the ceo of airbnb, joins me right now. so brian, this is a really cool thing that you're doing. why did you decide to, you know, personally step in to try to help resettle these afghan refugees?
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>> well, we've been doing things like this for the last ten years with airbnb and we've been providing housing for people in need whether people displaced by a disaster or starting four years ago we started housing refugees. we've housed about 25,000 refugees. so when it came over the weekend, we were housing -- we've housed about 200 refugees over the course of this past weekend. and we started realizing, you know, there's going to be a much greater need and we thought maybe we can add a couple zeros to this and really make a huge impact. i think this is obviously one of the greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime. thousands of people need homes. we have thousands, actually millions of homes around the world. >> so how does this work? you don't own the properties, obviously. i guess a host has to volunteer to host a refugee? >> yes, so i'll explain. so we were working with resettlement agencies. the international rescue committee and the church world service. so they work with the department of state and different governments to receive the rev sooez. they do all the screening, make sure the refugee families are ready to find housing and we match those refugee families with our hosts.
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thousands of hosts will open their homes. just to give you an example, last year during covid 225,000 hosts opened their homes to front line workers. so we're confident we'll have more than enough homes. and what we're doing, airbnb, is we'll pay for it. we'll pay the host out of our pocket. our technology, our cost so the host doesn't have to come out-of-pocket for this. >> how long can you do this for or will you do this for? >> we'll do this for as long as they need housing. this isn't permanent housing. obviously most host families can't host refugee families on a permanent basis and most of these refugee families do want to have permanent settlement. but we'll go wherever the need is. we're taking guidance from these resettlement agencies. which is also why we're not certain what the cost is going to be. we don't know how long people will need housing. but so long as people need housing we don't want to turn people away. we want to make sure they're housed. >> just so we're clear, these are people that have been cleared by or gone through irc or the other agency you mentioned and they've done processing and things like that? >> yeah, that's their expertise. we're not the ones screening the
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refugee families. those organizations that have been around for obviously a very long time are doing the screening. they matched us and we work on the host side. >> and are you doing this in countries around the world? >> all countries around the world that will receive refugees. so obviously, united states here but we're in 220 countries and regions and so i expect us to be able to -- our hosts to be able to receive refugees and refugee families in countries all over the world. >> there are those who might be concerned that the evacuation process has been rushed and some of these refugees may not have been fully vetted, some of them are not necessarily people who have been through the s.i.v. process for long periods of time. what do you say to any potential person who might be willing to open up their home? >> well, we've housed hundreds of thousands of people over the last ten years through a variety of disasters, variety of resettlement issues. every one of these is a last-minute scramble.
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i have total confidence in the partners on the ground, the rescue committee, the church world service. and we're also here 24/7 to be able to help and we're going to be there each step of the way with our host families. >> and i mean, can -- if somebody ends up having a family needs -- ends up for six months, i mean, tied up in some sort of red tape, can you house somebody for six months? >> a host family, i presume, can host them for as long as they want. but we're not going to expect anyone to house people longer than they can. so what somebody should do is if you want to host somebody they go to and they host for as long as they can. if they can't host the guest anymore, we'll take it out of their hands and find another family suitable for them. >> brian chesky, it's cool that you're able to do this. thanks for being with us. >> thank you. >> appreciate it, thanks. just ahead, we remember a legend, the drummer for perhaps the most legendary rock 'n' roll act ever.
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how do things look on your end? -perfect! because we're building a better network every single day. we end tonight with a celebration of the life of charlie watts. the drummer for the rolling stones died today. he was 80 years old. no cause of death announced. though the stones announced earlier this