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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  August 26, 2021 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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down the road. i want our viewers to take a look at the live pictures coming out of the white house where the american flag was lowered to half staff. we learned that the death toll among u.s. troops has gone from 12 to 13. 13 american troops killed in this horrific attack. and 18 u.s. service members injured, seriously injured in this attack. we're staying on top of the news. the breaking news. good evening. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, we have the breaking news. we will hunt you down. those are the words of joe biden delivering a blunt message. that number just a moment ago, as i'm coming on to air, went from 12 to 13. >> to those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes america harm, know this -- we will not forgive.
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we will not forget. we will hunt you down and make you pay. >> isis-k is an isis affiliate, the group that claimed responsibility for the attacks. and he is vowing to hunt them down and retaliate. >> i've also ordered my commander to develop operational plans to strike isis-k facilities. we will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we choose and the moment of our choosing. >> that was retaliation promise for the deadliest day for the u.s. military in afghanistan in a decade. the 13 american service members are the first american troops to be killed in afghanistan, in fact, in 18 months. another 18 service members were wounded. and more than 60 afghan citizens were also killed. and 140 more injured.
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it was a mass attack, and he also paid tribute to those who lost their lives. >> these american service members who gave their lives, that's an overused word, but appropriate here, they were heroes. heros who have been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others. they're a part of an airlift, an evacuation effort unlike any seen in history. jill and i, our hearts ache, like i'm sure all of you do, as well. for all those afghan families that lost loved ones, including small children. >> small children. and videos show the horrifying scene just moments after the blast. i warn you, it's incredibly graphic. images that are difficult to watch, but important for the world to know to expos the inhumanity that happened in afghanistan today.
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>> body after body, strewn in a sewage canal at the airport. one eyewitness saying that people were hurled everywhere. and marines, dead. young, innocent children, dead. among the injured, as you can see in these horrifying images. but despite this attack, this is the true devotion and dedication of american troops, evacuations of americans is still taking place. the top general in the middle east warned the threat from isis is extremely real, and that more attacks are still expected. after the deadliest in a decade. joe biden coming out moments
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ago, sending a message to those behind the carnage in kabul today. >> reporter: he did not hedge. he said he would not hesitate. his military commanders have been directed to give him options and the u.s. will strike those they determine to be responsible for the terror attack that killed 13 u.s. service members today. it was something that underscored a steadfast position of the president in the midst of basically his worst fears coming true. the thing he made clear over the last several days, publicly and privately, is that his nightmare scenario was u.s. troops dying, u.s. troops not dying had been one of the things his administration had been pointing to, as they proceeded with evacuating more than 100,000 individuals over the course of the last 11 days. that has now transpired. as you noted, military officials and white house officials have been abundantly clear, the threat still chexists. and they believe it is a guarantee there will be another
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attack while u.s. personnel are on the ground. he has made clear the evacuation mission will continue. he is not has dating at all on the august 31st withdrawal, sticking to that timeline. but just in the 12 hours over the course of today, even after the attack, more than 7,000 individuals were evacuated. the planes are still going in and out that. is expected to continue. the white house says they still have the goal of getting every single american who wants to leave afghanistan out of afghanistan, as well as as many afghan allies as they can. one thing to keep in mind, the very compressed time window that the administration is dealing with right now, and who that affects most, and republicans and democrats believe it is the afghans, the real potential right now, because of the compressed timetable that thousands could remain in the country, despite connections to the united states. which is another issue, and such a dynamic and fluid situation the administration is trying to grapple with on the most tragic
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day of his time in the office. >> he makes the point that saying even afghans that didn't help the united states, millions of them, if given the opportunity, would get out tomorrow, as he tried to set the stakes for just how difficult it would be to actually get out, even those who have everything in place and are able to get out. the u.s. flag lowered to honor the lives lost in afghanistan. for this horrible day, for the american military and the united states. oren lieberman is "outfront." >> reporter: chaos outside kabul airport became a catastrophe thursday afternoon when two bombings killed 13 u.s. service members and dozens of civilians. this graphic video, lairing bare the horror of the attacks. the victims, thrown across the street. this man able to sit up after the attack. unlike so many others. afghans so desperate to flee the country, now racing to get the
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wounded medical help, pushing some of the injured in makeshift wheel barrels. >> we believe it is their desire to continue those attacks. >> reporter: wednesday, the u.s. warned of threats, telling americans to stay away from three different gates, abby, east and north gates and a suicide bomber passed through a check point and approached the abbey gate. >> these gates where people come on the airfield, there's no substitute for a young man or woman, a young united states man or woman, standing out this conducting a search of that person before we let them in. >> these are the first u.s. troops killed in afghanistan since february of last year, before the signing of the agreement that began this withdrawal. the news of troops killed coming just five days, about 100 hours, before the august 31st deadline
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to withdraw from afghanistan. still, the evacuation operations continue, including for the few hundred u.s. citizens the state department believes are still in afghanistan. >> the plan is designed to operate while under stress and attack. we will continue to do that. we will coordinate very carefully to make sure it's safe for american citizens to come to the airfield. >> reporter: the taliban say they will seek justice for the attack, as coordination between the u.s. forces and the taliban continues. they have asked the taliban to push out the security corridor and shared some information to prevent attacks. >> we believe it's possible that others have been thwarted. we cut down the information we give the taliban. they don't get the full range of information, but we give them enough to act to prevent these attacks. >> reporter: we got a statement a moment ago from the chief of naval operations where he acknowledges that the u.s. marine corps and the u.s. navy lost service members in this attack. he says, this is a solemn day for the u.s. navy and marine corps team. those warriors who died gave
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their lives to save thousands of men and women and children. their we pay tribute to their sacrifice. joe biden said strikes on isis-k would come at a time and choosing of the u.s. military and administration. >> thank you very much. i want to go "outfront" now to an investigative journalist in kabul this evening. i really am appreciative of you being able to speak tonight to all of us. what can you tell me about the security situation on the ground in kabul, particularly around the airport? >> reporter: the situation is volatile at the moment. there is just chaos, people are confused. the emergency services, the reality is, there is no control
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at all. it is a very moving situation, and the parties involved just don't seem to have their hands on it. you >> that's just incredible to hear. no control at all when you have u.s. some there is at a checkpoint. joe biden, the pentagon, the state department, as you know, suddaf, they've all been saying for days they expected an attack from isis-k at the airport. the uk also issued this warning. and yet there was still so many people at the airport, despite those warnings. tell me why, why people went in spite of that. >> reporter: the reality here, the people standing inside this airport had no idea about this imminent threat. so they had been waiting hoping to receive safe passage out of here. they were thinking we are finally going to achieve safety for our families abroad.
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most of the families i've been covering, they were simply unaware of the imminent threat. for days, foreigners based in kabul and across afghanistan are warned, please, do not go to the airport. 24 hours in advance. i was one of the first reporters that shared that there was an imminent isis attack at the airport. they had infiltrated the airport. so what is remarkable is, considering the amount of time, both parties had, they could basically stop this attack. this is what the concern is, that this was a concern over a week ago, i raised it at the official press conference as well with the taliban. and my response that i was given was, my crew and i should report from a safe distance from the airport, because there are rogue elements inside. they did not deny or confirm that, and the sad reality is, the development that i reported
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on had led to this tragedy today. >> so where are we now? when you say their answer was, just stay away because they're there, you know, is your feeling that another terror attack is imminent, inevitable? >> i'm not sure if another terror attack sis imminent, because obviously at this point the taliban are still developing a centralized government, and they are trying to present an image to the international community that they can bring afghanistan towards some stability. so i don't think they would allow it to just be completely, you know, fall into an anarchy state. i think the reality now is that isis-k is a real concern and they are most likely addressing
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it. i have spoken to the parties in the taliban, and they say that they are dealing with the matter at hand. we don't know in what capacity, what strategy is being employed in terms of men on the ground, if they are talking to the u.s. counterparts. obviously, it's a developing situation. we will probably most likely receive details about how they dealt with the situation this evening tomorrow. but i can't imagine that the taliban would let isis-k take more control, because they are archrivals, as you know. >> it's important to emphasize that. i appreciate your time and thank you very much. all of us do. still worthing there so fearlessly from kabul. i want to go to leon panetta, who was the defense secretary and also served as cia director under president obama. secretary panetta, of course, you know, i remember traveling
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to afghanistan with you years ago. joe biden and his on aides have repeatedly said that any pullout you believed any administration would have led to the place we are now, the chaos we are seeing. do you think the attacks today were inevitable? >> well, there's no question that what happened here left us in a very dangerous and difficult situation. general mckenzie pointed that out today. we've got thousands of our troops located in a very limited area in an unfriendly country. we've got thousands outside trying to get into the airport area. we've got the taliban, who are terrorists, and certainly supporters of terrorists, but they're operating checking points for terrorism. and we've got isis, looking for the opportunity to blow people
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up. this is a dangerous and difficult situation. and there's no question that it's probably joe biden's worst nightmare to lose 13 marines as a result of what's happened here. this has to be the worst day in his administration. >> so he is sticking with the august 31st deadline. he made it clear after that they'll do whatever they can. but he is not extending it. it is what it is is what he says. do you agree with that? is it right to stick with this august 31st date? >> well, erin, the bottom line is that our work is not done in afghanistan. i know we'll be removing our troops by a certain date. but the bottom line is, our work is not done. we're going to have to go after isis. i'm glad the president said we're going to hunt them down and pay a price for what they
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did in killing our warriors. and we should. we're going to have to go back in to get isis. we're probably going to have to go back in when al qaeda resurrects itself, as they will, with this taliban. they've gave safe haven to al qaeda before, they'll probably do it again. so yeah, i understand that we're trying to get our troops out of there, but the bottom line is, we can leave a battlefield, but we can't leave the war on terrorism, which still is a threat to our security. >> so the president today, you know, vowed as you said, to hunt down those behind the attack at a time and place of america's choosing. but it sounds like what you're saying is that will require putting more people back in afghanistan. which is the opposite of what he wants to do. >> well, what we're going to be doing is counterterrorism
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operations. we're going to have to go after those that are responsible. i think we have pretty good intelligence on the leadership of isis. i think there's a pretty good chance we can identify who is involved with this attack. and once we are able to locate them, we have to go after them. that's what the president promised today, and i suspect we will. so counterterrorism operations are going to be something we are going to have to continue to do against isis, against al qaeda, against boko haram. those are terrorist groups at war with the united states. we've got to go after them. >> i want to ask you about something that you know so much about t. in your former role as chia chief. bagram air base, it was closed earlier this summer. there's been a lot of the
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criticism about that. today, joe biden defended his decision. here he is. >> i asked for their best military judgment. what would be the most efficient way to accomplish the mission. they concluded, the military, that bagram was not much value added, that it was much wiser to focus on kabul. so i followed that recommendation. >> so, former defense secretary and director of the chief, do you agree that there's not much value added from bagram and this was the right thing to do? >> well, i take the president -- [ no audio ] >> all right. i'm sorry, it sounds like we have lost his audio. i appreciate his time very much.
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i apologize to all of you. our breaking news continues now. there is a new warning. new threats from isis-k attacks, now imminent yet again. plus, attacks from the right that joe biden has blood on his hands. i'm going to speak to republican congressman kinsinger who served in afghanistan. visible. unlimited data as low as $25 a month. or bring a friend and you both get a month for $5. do you struggle with occasional nerve aches in your hands or feet? try nervivenerve relief from the world's #1 selling nerve care company. nervive contains alpha lipoic acid to relieve occasional nerve aches, weakness and discomfort. try nervivenerve relief. oh! are you using liberty mutual's coverage customizer tool? so you only pay for what you need. sorry?
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breaking news at this hour. u.s. officials warning of more imminent threats from isis-k in afghanistan. the group claiming responsibility tonight for the deadly blast at kabul airport. the one in which we can now confirm 13 american service members were killed, an additional 18 more injured. >> let's talk about the threat streams. so very, very real threat streams, very tactical, that means imminent, could occur at any moment. we assess the suicide vehicle is high right now. >> nick paton walsh is "outfront" right now. nick, given what we just saw and the most deadly day of american troops in a decade, and now they expect more, what do we know about this group, isis-k and how big of a threat they are in terms of their ability to execute major attacks?
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>> reporter: yeah, since we first broad cast pictures of them about 2016 in afghanistan, they have sort of grown, essentially by harnessing what seems to be the youth who were disgruntled perhaps with the taliban. they're a very long lasting insurgency, a lot of their elders, a lot of the government structures they have don't appeal so much to the radical extremists. they have harnessed some of that in the east, they held territory. that was pushed back by the afghan army in 2018. one of the largest bombs ever dropped nonnuclear by the u.s. was dropped on an isis network of caves. but since then, they have concentrated more on just the sickness of what they can do in terms of the zbghastly attacks that they can carry out. they have gone into the most
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densely populated areas they can find, quite similar to today's tactics. a lot of the times isis-k seem to be blamed for things. a lot of the things they're blamed for, some suggest may be other rogue groups like the taliban or even al qaeda doing things and blaming isis. but at the same time, too, the attack today, they go into a densely populated area, detonate one blast, general mckenzie talked about gunfire after that, as well. and then a secondary blast. you have one more thing to think about, it appears that this attacker was able to kill a horrifying number of u.s. personnel. that must mean the bomb was detonated in a relatively small space. it's unlikely the marines would have come out, given that we
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know they are selectively choosing people to come over that gate. so it suggests this individual may have been picked out and brought into what we know as the search lane there, a much more densely crowded area, where possibly a device could have gone off to greater devastating effect. that is part of the puzzle they're trying to piece together now. how did this extremely ruthless suicide bomber get to that particular point to cause this devastation? given how well defended that point at the airport already was. erin? >> it is incredible. we know he had gone through a taliban checkpoint before getting through that gate. nick, thank you very much. in doha, where so many of the evacuees are leaving on their first stop out of kabul, "outfront" seth jones, an expert on afghanistan and terrorism. and also juliette kayem, former assistant secretary at the department of homeland security. both, thank you.
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seth, the pentagon today, in that press conference, you heard from the general describing isis-k as a very real threat that is ongoing, talking about attacks. you heard the specificity here, talking about, again, the vehicle-born bomb. how concerned are you about america's ability to respond to those threats? i mean, we knew that they were going to plan an attack at the airport, because the u.s. military said so, repeatedly. yet they managed to do it, to devastating effect. >> i think the problem here, the united states does not control the checkpoints, the roadways into the airport. i mean, i've been to that airport numerous times. the u.s. has to rely on the taliban to do the counterintelligence and the counterterrorism checks leading up to the airport. so the u.s. is incredibly vulnerable to someone else securing the perimeter. that's the challenge the u.s. finds itself in right now. >> so juliette, isis-k was able to pull off two major attacks,
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in a public place, a main gate, under high alert, expecting an attack. yet they were able to do it. i think nick's detail was very crucial. it suggests getting into a -- kind of an inner sanctum, that you were able to kill so many service members at once. >> it says a lot of bad things, and first with isis-k, that they are well organized. they were able to get the detonation in the way that nick described, in the size and capacity that is it. you get two suicide bombers likely to organize, synchronize, a at a facility that is heavily guarded. we are talking about the city where all eyes are. so it means that our intelligence capacity, we knew something was going on, and that's the second point. here is a group, the taliban, who has overtaken or reclaimed their country in basically
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without a firefight over the last three weeks, and cannot top a terrorist group. i think that suggests that their capabilities are not as strong as they might have imagined. and we are looking at a long-term fight between the two, which may lead, i'll just end here, may lead the taliban to return or grow greater ties with al qaeda, which is -- which was something we definitely wanted to deter at this stage. >> right. of course, you know, joe biden made the point today, america went into afghanistan because it harbored al qaeda. and once america dealt with that, as far as he was concerned, that was the end of that mission. but if that is the upshoot of this, that happens again, you ask for what was this for? seth, isis-k, deadly attacks. what we saw today was horrific. american service members dead, the deadliest day in a decade. and there are many more american
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service members very seriously injured right now. in critical condition. and you have, you know, many, many afghans, children killed. and yet we've seen this. there was a school for girls that they attacked in kabul in may. and they killed many of them, at least 68 people were killed this that attack. they wounded more than 165 and most of them were girls. how ruthless is this group, seth? >> this group is very ruthless. one of the things that isis-k has done over the years, they really started in september of 2014 and began to ramp up in 2015, aierin. but what we have seen is high profile attacks, in kabul in particular. other afghan cities, as well as pakistan. but they've killed 50, 80 in one case. they had an attack in july of 2018 at the kabul airport. this is not even their first attack at kabul. but they are fully capable of suicide attacks with individual
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bombers, with vehicle born explosive devices and they'll do it again. >> joe biden was asked about the point you raised, the united states depen dandence on the taliban. that is who supposedly screened whoever it is got through. that is who is guarding the perimeter. here is what joe biden said tonight. >> there is no evidence thus far that i've been given, as a consequence by any of our commanders in the field, that there has been collusion between the taliban and isis in carrying out what happened today. >> now, obviously, the taliban and isis-k are sworn enemies. yet the enemy of my enemy can be my friend.
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there's no evidence of collusion. he didn't dismiss the concept all together. how significant is that? >> i think right now we should believe what the evidence is suggesting. if you just take a step back and look at the motivation for the taliban. they need to assert chrome over t -- control over the country. they're not even unified at this stain. -- at this stage. so more evidence will come out. it suggests that this was a terror attack. we may be leaving afghanistan, we aren't quitting afghanistan. the terror struggle and the counterterrorism effort continues. and what that looks like is to be determined. >> juliette, seth, thank you both. >> thanks.
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more, next on this breaking news. joe biden pointing to the role of his predecessor. >> the commitment was made by president trump, i will be out by may 1st. that's why no american was attacked. >> republican congressman adam kinsinger, who served in afghanistan, is my guest next. and then 1,000 americans still in afghanistan tonight, including 14 students from california. so will they get out? snacks that taste great, and come straight from the earth. and last time i checked, pretzels don't grow on trees. just saying. planters. a nut above. boost is the only mobile carrier to give you the power of free 24/7 access to live doctors from your phone. get a free samsung galaxy a32 5g when you switch to america's largest & fastest 5g network. more power to stay healthy. boost mobile don't settle for products that give you a sort of white smile. try new crest whitening emulsions
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relax people, my wireless is crushing it. that's because you all have xfinity mobile with your internet. it's wireless so good, it keeps one upping itself. breaking news. the white house saying joe biden never considered keeping
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american forces in afghanistan past the august 31st deadline, despite today's deadly attack in which 13 american service members were killed and 18 more are right now wounded. he pinned the blame on president trump, who negotiated with the taliban and set a deadline for full withdrawal of may 1st. >> imagine where we'd be if i had indicated on may the 1st i was not going to renegotiate an evacuation date. we were going to stay there. i would have had only one alternative, pour thousands of more troops back into afghanistan to fight a war. >> "outfront" now, republican congressman adam kinsinger of illinois. he is a member of the foreign affairs committee and served as an air force pilot in afghanistan. he knows this better than
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anyone. congressman, i appreciate your time tonight. you know, i know first, as a human, but in your case as a veteran who was there, who served in afghanistan, when you heard today that that imminent attack happened, and those numbers, first it's three, then it's four, then 10, 11, 12. and just before we came on the air, 13 service members dead. 18 more wounded. some of them critically. what was your reaction to that? >> well, i mean, it's heartbreaking, it's surreal. we haven't lost anybody in afghanistan since february of 2020. i wasn't surprised, sadly. we had gotten a briefing a couple days ago in congress that had very crystal clear intelligence and details about what was to be expected. so i wasn't overly surprised. but it's a tragic day, and i can't imagine obviously the families of those lost, particularly since we're getting
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ready to leave afghanistan. it's a reminder that as much as people talk about ending the endless wars, the enemy gets a vote. and they made that vote clear today, because they knew we were leaving, and still attacked and inflicted damage and killed americans. >> so joe biden today got into an exchange with a reporter and made the case -- today is the deadliest day in a decade, at least, for american service members in afghanistan. he said the reason no american service member has died since february of 2020, because in the deal that president trump struck with the taliban, it was, if you don't kill us, we'll leave by may 1st. he said that's why no american service members had died. it was because of that negotiation between president trump and the taliban, and he continued to say, if we would have come in and said forget it, i'm going the trash that deal and stay in, that was not the scenario that would have hatched -- that what would have happened in order to throw out that deal, he would have had to
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put thousands more troops back into afghanistan to fight a war. do you think he's right? is that fair? >> i mean, he's right in that he would have had to put more troops in, because keep in mind, president trump went from 5,000 troops to 2500 at the very end of last year. there were a lot of people realizing he did that, so that he could box joe biden in. joe biden would have to increase the troop level or withdraw everybody. keep in mind, we had upwards of over 100,000 troops in afghanistan for a significant part of our history. but, look, both people bear blame here. i know in such a tribal moment we live in, we can't fathom republicans and democrats can bear blame. but president trump set up a deal, you know, that would make nevel chamberlain plush, saying my goal is to leave, then he
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empowers pompeo to negotiate a deal. they weren't following the deal, the taliban, they still went forward as if this deal was working. and then after he got out of office, e said i boxed joe biden in. at the same time, joe biden, who has reversed a lot of president trump's stuff, including sanctions, made the decision to leave. he owns this decision as much as president trump and the execution. i just think both republicans and democrats have failed the american people. >> so congressman, one thing that biden said tonight in that press conference, he seemed to say directly for the first time, he cannot guarantee that every one of the united states afghan allies will get out. i wanted to play the exchange so that everybody who didn't hear it can. >> what do you say to the afghans who helped troops, who may not be able to get out by
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august 31st? >> i say we're going to try to get you out. it matters. getting every single person out is -- can't be guaranteed by anybody. >> he went and said throughout history, at the end of a war, nobody has ever gotten everybody out. do you accept that as the reality here? >> no. i mean, look, there's no doubt when we chose the easy decision, quote unquote, to leave, you know, following this endless war stuff, it confronts us with really bad decisions. the decision now, is we either fall through on arbitrary august 31st deadline, that only exists because it was september 11. then the white house realized the on tiblgptics of that, or w to stay past that. you're not going to get everybody out that wants to leave afghanistan. but we owe it to those that we promised out, and to every
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american citizen. i think we need to stay until that job is done. >> congressman kinsinger, i appreciate your time. thank you very much. >> you bet. thank you. and now i want to bring in a presidential historian and the former director of the nixon presidential library. so tim, joe biden has been a long-time critic of maintaining u.s. troops in afghanistan, made his position clear again and again. here he is moments ago at his press conference. >> i have never been of the view that we should be sacrificing american lives to try to establish a democratic government in afghanistan, a country that has never once in its entire history, been a united country, and is made up, and i don't mean this in a
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derogatory way, but made up of tribes who have never, ever, gotten along with one another. >> he laid out the intellectual underpinning for what he's doing and tolerating and for what is happening. this sort of, that's how he perceives his legacy, is saying america is not just going to go into every single place and turn it into something that it isn't. in his view, that's what this situation in afghanistan had become. is that -- does he have a chance of that being the legacy here? >> well, he understands -- joe biden has a very intuitive sense of the american people. he understands that there's a great deal of american support from republicans, as well as democrats, for reducing america's involvement in the world. and one of the things he's banks on is that a short period of chaos will be accepted by the
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american people as a down payment on the -- on a future american position, a more sustainable american position in the world. the problem for thim is this is not vietnam in 1975. the successor of government in afghanistan could potentially pose a threat to us. north vietnam did not pose a threat to the u.s. homeland. the taliban is arguing they're a different group of people. joe biden said he doesn't trust the taliban. so we have to ask, is he correct that sit a better counterterrorism strategy to take our finger off the scale in afghanistan and to use over the horizon capabilities, i suppose he means hell fire missiles, to deal with future terrorism. or was it better for us to
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meddle a little in the politics of afghanistan, because that place is so unstable, that there are many terrorist organizations to disrupt and it's harder to disrupt if we're outside of the country. that's to be seen, and that's going to be the legacy. >> tim, thank you very much. evacuating all americans from afghanistan who want to leave, the president says that's the goal, even though admitting it may be an impossible one to meet. right now, more than a dozen american students are stranded in afghanistan with their families. the frantic effort to get them out safely, next. for what you ! with customized car insurance from liberty mutual! nothing rhymes with liberty mutual. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ visible is wireless that doesn't play games. it's powered by verizon for as little as $25 a month. but it gets crazier. bring a friend every month and get every month for $5. boom! 12 months of $5 wireless.
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breaking news. joe biden assuring the americans stuck in afghanistan that the united states will get them out if they want to come home. >> we will complete our mission, and we will continue after our troops are withdrawn to find means by which we can find any american who wishes to get out of afghanistan. we will find them and we will get them out. >> a top general says roughly 1,000 americans are still believed to be in afghanistan. among them, 14 students and 8 parents from a san diego area community, with a large population of afghan refugees. they traveled to afghanistan earlier this summer to visit relatives, but have been unable to reach kabul to leave since the taliban took control of the country. "outfront" now, the board president of the cajon valley
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board president where those students go to school. i appreciate your time tonight. i know these students and families have been desperate to get out, and obviously that was before these two horrific suicide attacks that killed so many american service members and afghans at the kabul airport. >> well, we're in constant communication with them. our liaisons who work for our family and community engagement office have made connections with all of those families. initially, those students connected with them, and they asked them to hold their spots in their classrooms because they didn't think they would be home on time. thankfully, those lines of communication are open, and so we have been able to keep that communication going. we're extremely grateful for congressman darrell issa's office and his support in helping us get families out. >> so what do you understand now in terms of what have u.s. officials told them about
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getting to the kabul airport safely? obviously, it's got to be terrifying. it was terrifying before, but now they're saying more imminent attacks and there was an attack at the key abbey gate today. >> they're absolutely tarified. i can't reveal or know what the process is to get them out. that's a very confidential process, and of course, their safety is our number one priority right now. >> so i know the families didn't all travel there together. and we know that five families are still stuck there. the latest as i understand, that three families have made it. >> with the help of congressman issa, they were able to get three families out. we know one family has returned to the united states, and two, we believe, are en route. but we know those three families are out of afghanistan right now. with the help of congressman issa, we were able to get them out. we, again, are -- it's a fluid
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situation, so it's constant updates and communication. >> all right, thank you very much. i appreciate your help. president biden asked what his message was to the thousands of afghan allies who helped the united states. and now may not actually be able to leave the country. here's what he said. >> we're going to continue to try to get you out. it matters. getting every single person out is -- can't be guaranteed to anybody. >> my next guest is one of the lucky ones. and he's using the pseudonym abdul to protect his and his family's security. we first told you about abdul last week. he worked for five years as an interpreter for u.s. special forces. he was desperate to get out, fearing the taliban would kill him and his family if he stayed in afghanistan. and thankfully, abdul and his family have just gotten out of afghanistan and are now safely
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in the united states where he joins me now. so abdul, many afghans getting out have faced immense difficulty just getting to the airport. and that was before these deadly attacks in which so many died. tell me about how dangerous it was for you just to get to the airport and out of the country. >> hello, thanks for having me on your program. it is really tough, it is really hard for everybody to get into the airport. so i went to the airport, my wife was beaten by the taliban, my kids were beaten by the taliban. i myself, i was beaten by the taliban. so we had a tough night. we had to spend a tough night at the north gate of the airport. so two of my sons, they got sick. you know, on that night. so yeah, tomorrow morning, i
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took them to a doctor for checkups and we went back home. so it was impossible to get into the airport. >> so abdul, when you hear about these attacks, more than 60 afghans died. 13 american troops, 140 injured. i mean, i know there's a part of you that has to be thinking that could have been me. >> yeah. i heard that. i was excited, like, i'm out of afghanistan. i'm safe now. but when i heard that, that lots of people are killed at the airport, i feel bad. you know. >> so the pictures that we have seen after that deadly attack are horrific, abdul. they're just horrific. we heard about bodies being thrown in sewers. we have seen it. what i'm going to show everyone is extremely difficult to watch, but this is -- this is what isis-k is doing.
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this is the inhumanity of what they had no problem perpetrating today. i know that you can't see it from where you're sitting right now, but it shows bodies strewn in a ditch, others visibly injured, calling for help. some obviously dead. how worried are you for your family and your friends who are still in afghanistan, abdul? >> physically, i'm sad. physically, i'm in the united states, but mentally, i'm back with my afghan brothers and sisters. i feel really bad for the u.s. service members who got killed. i'm really sorry for the loss, you know, but physically, i'm saved, but mentally, i'm with all of those people who are left behind. we got lots of people that are left behind. >> so what happens to you now,
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abdul? you're in the united states, but now what? looks like we lost the audio on that question. but that was abdul, as i told you, a pseudonym because he still fears for his safety after, thank god, being able to leave afghanistan with his wife and children. >> i want to bring in kim motley, an international human rights attorney. she's spent more than a dozen years inside afghanistan working with people. she helped shed light on abdul's story and the story of many other afghans who have the right to leave their country and come to the united states, as has been promised them. kim, the administration has been blunt now, that many of the afghan allies of the united states will be left behind when u.s. troops formally leave next week. is that feeling starting to sink in there? especially given how dangerous it is in afghanistan now ?
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>> sorry, kim. i'm having a little trouble hearing you. i'm having a little bit of trouble hearing kim right now. while we're working on that audio, i do just want to reiterate, kim worked with abdul and it's how abdul, we found out about him as he had been a translator assisting u.s. special forces who had been in afghanistan and she's working with others now who are desperately trying to get out of the country. kim, let's try again, see if i can hear this audio. tell me about how many more people you have been speaking to
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that you are trying to help that, of course, you have gotten to know over your more than dozen years working with afghans. >> i mean, my messages are full full, like many of my friends who worked in afghanistan for a number of years. i have probably gotten thousands of emails, messages, you know, voice mails and what have you. and it's really disheartening. it's disheartening that we're going to leave american citizens behind. it's disheartening we're going to leave our allies behind, and ultimately, the u.s. is going to be a lot less safe because this white house was irresponsible in their withdrawal. i think they have been disingenuous with saying this is how the withdrawal would have looked like no matter what. that is absolutely -- i don't think that's accurate. and i think it's really a shame. there's americans that are showing up to the airport every single day with a blue passport that have to show this to taliban members that are outside the airport to try to get in. and many of them are continually being turned away. imagine what that feels like. you're an american citizen with
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a blue passport trying to get through the gates of the airport. before you get there, you have to show your passport to taliban members who then look at it and tell you no. you're not getting on any flights. >> and they control it, and abdul was also talking about just the assault, the physical assault. he was beaten, his wife was beaten, his children were beaten. i would imagine you have heard of that and so much worse. >> i mean, absolutely. particularly with women, it's been really horrific. i mean, i wish that this administration had thought of allowing or providing for a safe passage for people to get to the airport, particularly those that are allies, women, as well as those foreigners who have been working in the country, like i have, for many, many years. i think it's really frankly irresponsible that our white house didn't tell our u.s. funded program that they were going to do this. and many, many -- thousands.
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>> all right, kim motley, thank you very much. i appreciate your time and your talking to me again. thanks very much to all of you for joining us with all of this breaking news. it's time now for "ac 360." >> good evening, on what's been one of the most tragic days in the two decade long mission in afghanistan with a threat of more such days to come. take a look at the flags on capitol hill and at the white house. they are at half staff, honoring the now 13 american service members including ten marines who died with 18 more wounded after two explosions at and near the hamid karzai international airport in kabul. an affiliate of the isis terror group in afghanistan known as isis-k has claimed responsibility for the attacks. more than 60 afghans also dead and 140 wounded. a short time ago, president biden spoke to the american people from the white house and promised retro