tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN August 30, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
>> you said some of the reporting about the united states giving afghans or americans to the fwanl was inaccurate and misconstrued. i'm wondering if you can clarify a bit more. last week the president said there's sometimes been instances where maybe it's coming through and names have been given but he also added that i can't tell you there's been a list of names. there may have been but i know of no circumstance. >> i think that's entirely consistent with what i said several minutes ago. reports we were given a proactive list of afghans or any individuals who want tods leave the country are inaccurate.
there could be cases where commanders on the ground coordinating with check points were saying here is individuals we need to get through. in any case that we're aware of, those individuals got through. again, these are -- this is coordination that's happening on the ground. i think we can all agree there's a big difference between providing a list of people who want to depart proactively and working at the moment, on the ground, in a coordinated way to get people out and save their lives. >> that's press secretary jen psaki on the final hours of the u.s. in afghanistan. also the administration response to what was hurricane ida.
the personnel, the millions of meals and liters of water that's been deployed to the southeast u.s. and into the gulf coast. let's bring in katelyn collins. we heard there's a small number of americans in afghanistan who still want to get out. of course, we'll see if that will reconcile their ability to get them out with the president's promise that all americans who want to get out will be extricate frdd from tha country. >> reporter: that promise is conditioned on the deadline, which is august 31 social security, which we're about 30 minutes away from in kabul now. there's a lot of questions facing the white house about when they consider the deadline to be the deadline. is it at midnight.
do they still have a few more hours left in the day, give tennessee flights. that's been a big question still facing the white house as well as what's happening to afghan allies who are still there. they've said they believe people will still continue to be able to leave. a big question is what the airport is going to look like once this does get under way. once the u.s. is no longer what's controlling it. that's been a big aspect of it. one other thing that stuck out to me from jen psaki there was saying that also there's going to be an investigation into the drone strike from the united states which was conducted on that car that was believed to be filled with explosives, potentially targeting the kabul airport. they had a drone striking to going.
any time that u.s. takes a measure like that, they try to avoid casualties and there's an investigation into the loss of life that happened there. she did say president biden will be addressing the nation this week on afghanistan as the deadline is drawing near. >> we should mention secretary of state anthony blinken is scheduled to give an update at 5:00 p.m. when they say the commitment of those left behind is enduring. what does that mean? we know there's people trying to get to the airport who are being turned away at the gates and being told to go home. >> that's a very good question. it's one i put to a seep your administration official. it means there will be americans and others left in afghanistan once the u.s. has fully
withdrawn. they are hesitant to put fact figures on it. around 6,000 americans, so far during the course of this entire evacuation in the past three weeks, 6,000 americans have come out. another around 114,000 nonamericans. the last figure we heard was just yesterday when they said there were around 250 americans who had expressed some sort of desire to leave afghanistan. the state department insists the american diplomatic presence on the ground in kabul has been trying to reach those americans, coordinate with those american, e-mailing them, calling them, texting them to try to figure out how to get them out. in terps of any sort of assurance that every single american who wants to get out by the august 31st deadline will get out, that's not there. the department of defense said they will do everything they can
but it's a very dangerous, very fluid situation there on the ground. that's just the americans. there are many thousands more, tens of thousands of afghans who either worked along americans, worked for aide groups or in danger that would have the right to apply for a refugee status here in the united states who will either have to get to a third country outside of afghanistan and the u.s. to process those applications before they can actually come here. we are hearing desperate calls from people in afghanistan. it is a critical question of how these remaining americans will get out and what the biden administration is saying have after the military operation ends that the efforts to get them out, if they want to leave, will endure. what that looks like, that
remains to be seen. >> colonel, katelyn picked up that august 31st is specific but it's not precise. we don't know if the withdrawal ends in a few minutes or ends in a few hours or the end of august 31st local time, east coast time. the question to you is, as this draws down, how many people potentially can be or will be evacuated on these planes? we know 1200 over the last 24 hours. just a fraction of what we saw at the height of this operation. >> that's the tragedy of this situation. there will be siv holders, people who have every authorization to be moved onto an airport. they have done the paper work and everything. the bureaucratic impediments for
some of them to move forward are quite considerable. it's incredibly frustrate for those of us trying to help them but for the people themselves. they believe they are at grave risk and you end up picking a few people out and trying to highlight them to various people within the department of defense and department of state and sometimes you actually get lucky and we have had a few people get out but it's nowhere near enough. if they're going to have to have the volumes they had in the previous few days. >> the u.s. retaliated against isis-k with the drone strikes over the weekend. i assume that's because of the intelligence they gathered on the ground. maybe other channels.
after the u.s. leaves tomorrow, what happens with that intelligence? how will the u.s. still get that? >> there are some things we'll have access to on the dprogroun. they will be nowhere near as robust we had when we were physically present in that country. the intelligence that was used could have come from a variety of different sources. it could have come from in country type intelligence assets but it could have come from technical means that are based outside of the country. there's a plethora of different things the intelligence community can access in order to achieve the desired goal of getting as much verifiable intelligence as much as possible. >> we heard from jen psaki
there's no assessment that any group in afghanistan can attack the united states. taliban, isis-k, al qaeda. that's the view of the administration. is that widely held outside of the administration as well? >> one of the lines you need to hear is you take the fight over there so it doesn't come over here. what is clear and we heard jen say it there is that the biden administration is keen to show that they can strike against those terrorists and terrorist groups inside afghanistan even after they leave. we have seen the two drone strikes that targeted both inside kabul and outside isis-k killing a number of their fighters, planners, facilitators to use the word of the u.s. military.
we have seen the complications of that with the civilians killed just yesterday. the focus is going to be on this group isis-k in afghanistan. in the longer term, as we just heard, it's going be much harder for the u.s. military, for u.s. intelligence to gather intelligence to try to carry out those strikes against terrorists inside afghanistan. all the professionals will tell you as the u.s. removes its intelligence and military equities that it is going to suffer. without a base there, it's going be harder to carry out those types of strikes. everything will be more difficult. they will be able to do certain things but their abilities will be reduced and that includes
keeping an eye on what's going on inside the country when the groups will try to grow and prosper. >> yeah. the administration says they have the over the horizon capabilities that they say they will rely on moving forward. the president says the states will get whatever help they need to recover from one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the u.s. we're starting to see some of the damage there here. this was a category 4 hurricane. this was from grand isle. one death has been reported. louisiana's governor expects the death toll will rise considerably.
>> emergency officials are on the look out for what the student surge will bring. ida made landfall sunday. this is what the wind sounded like. just harrowing trying to imagine to live through that. now the entire city of new orleans is without power. that's more than a many people. entry will be blocked up to a week. maybe longer. here is what president biden
said this afternoon. >> for a time, ida caused the mississippi river to literally change its direction and some folks are still dealing with the storm surge and flash flooding. there are roads that are im impassable due to debris and down power lines. we need people to continue to shelter in place if it's safe for them to do so. ed, what are you seeing? >> reporter: it was a long night for residents who were watching water flood into their home. the good news this afternoon is that the flood waters starting to recede a little bit in some places rather quickly. this is the high spot where people have been rescued out of their homes. they are being dropped off at this location that we're at. anywhere into this neighborhood
that you see behind us, many of the people have been telling us throughout the night, they got anywhere from four to ten feet of water inside their homes. one woman told me she was sleeping on her kitchen island hoping the water couldn't go above that. other people said they were escaping into the second floor of their home or into their attic. one family was really struck. you get this overwhelming sense of just how harrowing the evening was for many people. these are people who are fully accustomed and used to waiting out storms here. they said this within was far different. were you worried you were going to end in the attic. >> if it went past that, god take me. >> yeah. we were afraid for a little while because it was come up the stairs. >> i wasn't afraid of the water but the wind kept blowing. i felt the walls in the house move. this was hours of agony.
>> hours. it seemed like the longest day ever. >> reporter: hours of agony is how they described the experience. they say they are moving from the neighborhood that they were in after dealing with several storms over the last ten years. they say they are done. they will find some place that's higher ground and a bit further away from the coast. that's what struck so many people here is that the intensity of this storm t hurricane ida remained a much stronger hurricane farther inland than any storm that many people around here can remember. that's what made this so different. it was the intensity of the winds hitting here in the darkness of the overnight hours that made this such a terrifying experience for tens of thousands of people. >> oh, my gosh. just hearing that couple every one has a breaking point and it sounds like ida was their breaking point. thank you very much.
we understand that water rescues are still under way for some people stuck in their home. >> reporter: we were just in slydell, louisiana where there's water rescues took place. we filmed some of the flooding there. we tried to get up live there but talking about the power lines down. we tried to show you some of that last hour. we couldn't because we got no signal. water rescues going on. another example here of why the danger still has not passed even though the storm has passed. take a look behind me. this is the neighborhood norms e new orleans east. look at this power pole leaning onto the road. these power lines are very dans h -- dangerous here. this is why they don't want people roaming around the streets because the lines could be energized no matter where they are. people here in this neighborhood, they are doing
okay. they are shying away from this for good reason. they know the lines are very dangerous. other information about down power lines and the over all situation here in new orleans. some 2,000 miles of power lines are out. there's eight major power lines that feed the city of new orleans that sustained damage. they have to comb through neighborhoods like this one one by one by one. there's an electrical transmission tower in jefferson pa rel parish destroyed, pulled into the mississippi river. that gives you how many days, weeks, months it will take to get people online. over here, it's one of the levees around new orleans east.
these levees, did hold. they are much stronger, much higher, much more fortified than they were before hurricane katrina. the levee system did hold. you've got some measure of good news. >> that is good news. we keep hearing from some officials that a storm surge can happen after the fact. you think you made it through the worst of the worst and there's more catastrophe is on the way. >> the mayor was worried about that. he said even though flood waters
receded a little bit, he was told that shifts in the wind and remaining remnants of the storm would push the water from lake po ponchatrain back into the town. it continues to torture this area even with the remnants pushing some storm surge from lake ponchatrain. between that and the danger that we'll show you again, look at these down power lines. neighborhood after neighborhood, the danger has not passed even though the brunt of the storm is gone. >> which is why this is not the time for most people to get out and driver around. we know the rivers will crest soon and could cause more flooding in some of those communities. thank you. next, a conversation about the incredible amount of resources
that will be needed to get this part of louisiana back on its feet. as for afghanistan, there's just hours left until the u.s. is officially out of afghanistan. americans are still in the taliban controlled country and trying to escape. plap it's one way we're making a difference. low cash mode on virtual wallet from pnc bank. one, two! one, two, three! only pay for what you need! with customized car insurance from liberty mutual! nothing rhymes with liberty mutual. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ - [announcer] at southern new hampshire university, we never stop celebrating our students. from day one to graduation to your dream job, that's why we're keeping your tuition low
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. we're covering all the devastation of ida that's pushed out of louisiana and now into arkansas/mississippi. let's bring in -- >> i believe we have michael cooper. he's the president of the st. tammanay parrish. describe the night and what you saw when the sun came up. >> it was a long night. we had screeching winds, heavy rains and just a thought of the storm surge coming up into the neighborhoods along the banks of lake ponchatrain. it was a long night.
at daybreak, i like many others wanted to get out and do an assessments of exactly what happened. we saw, as you heard in other jurisdictions down trees, down power lines. we have widespread power outages and a lack of gasoline in service stations because of the rush to get gas before the storm hit. >> it's going to be a long time before things get back to normal. your governor said to expect the death toll to go up considerably throughout the day. is that what you're expecting?
>> we have no reports of any casualties or injuries. we did have high water rescues as you noted in the slydell piece. we want to thank our sheriff's office, our police department and fire district number one and other agencies that are providing the high water rescues overnight and throughout the day today. we hope to get our streets cleaned up and get our powered restored. >> i mention before the break the potential before these, the rivers will crest over the next few days. what do you expect the next couple of days will look like
for your parrish? >> we have four major rivers. they're all expected to crest in the next few days. we're expecting moderate to major flood levels which could prevent some major flooding in some of the neighborhoods and some homes. we're counting on less flood damage through the rivers. we'll be able to report the gauge levels to our residents as the day progresses. i stayed at our emergency operation center and i would
step out from time to time and hear the winds and hear -- see the pouring rain. >> a lot of technical difficulties right now dealing with anyone in louisiana. >> thank you to michael cooper for giving us the latest. we do have some new images of some of the hardest hit areas. this is grand isle. you can see that they are swamped right now, covered be water. those are buildings. they are destroyed. >> let's stay with this video. this was the section that took the north eastern side, the dirtier side of that eye that came. we know there were about 40 people who were there. they were trying to get out. communication so grand isle had been really, really spotty overnight and into the morning. we heard from the president of jefferson parish that they are
still trying to communicate with people they knew were there. >> i don't think they had any communication. >> no. have not had communications. we're broadening this and getting pictures from across the state. >> reporter: we saw destruction in just about every direction we looked, some form of destruction. we're finding even more. the folk who is live here tell me they use that mattress you see there to survivor when hurricane ida came. they put it up against the wall and held it there as the winds swirled around them. this is all that's left. that's all survived. if you look down here, up the
street, more destruction. in some parts of louisiana, water was the culprit here. it was wind as hurricane ida descendsed upon houma. it tore sections apart. now emergency crews are out and scanning the area trying to assess the damage. it's very here houma took a beating. >> our thanks to jason for that report. . now back to afghanistan. right now, in kabul, these hours are very tense. the u.s. military trying to pack up the final evacuation flights before america's withdrawal deadline expires. that's why we created low cash mode,
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u.s. forces racing to complete their evacuation before the deadline to withdraw all u.s. troops just hours from now. the pentagon spokesman says more than 122,000 people have been evacwatsed so far. the white house says that includes about 6,000 americans. at least 34 afghan children have arrived in the u.s. but they're
not with their parents. >> with thousands of civilians still in need of help many the last two hours, the terror threat by the pentagon from isis-k is very real. it remains active. the u.s. defense shot down as many as five rockets fired at kabul's airport yesterday. the u.s. carried out a drone strike against the suspected isis-k suicide bomber vehicle in a residential neighborhood. it caused subsequent explosions. ten people were killed. five of them were children. the youngest, two years old. it prevented a larger attack. >> we're investigating this. i'm not going to get ahead of it. if we have verifiable information that we did take innocent life here then we will be transparent about that too. nobody wants to see that happen. you know what else we didn't want to see happen, we didn't want to see happen what we believe to be a very real, a
very specific and a very imminent threat to the airport and our troops operating at that airport as well as civilians. >> for civilian who is want to leave after the u.s. deadline, the u.n. security council approved a resolution for a safe passage zone. we're not sure what that would look like or how it would operate. we know the secretary of state will be making a remark about this. we heard john kirby say they are trying to be transparent but it does seem as though the pentagon has opibeen less forthcoming ab specific deadline times and just specifics of this operation. what do we think we'll hear from
tony blinken? >> lets look at the clock on the wall. kabul is eight and a half hours ahead of east coast of the united states. when you look at the clock, it's just turned midnight there. it's now august 31st in kabul, afghanistan. the day of the deadline that president biden says for all u.s. troops to be out of the country. they have not made any announcements here in washington about what the status of those u.s. troops are. we want to be very careful. i think people can well understand that they have been drawing down for several days and the number of u.s. troops that would reasonably be left there on the last day, which is now upon us in kabul, would be a small number. security now paramount with the pentagon. they want to get every one out safely.
that is their number one concern. what they are telling us that while that is the concern, it was possible for last americans, if they can get to the arirport to be on plane to get out of afghanistan. the big question for the secretary of state this afternoon, how many americans, how many green card holders, how many afghans with those special visas because they help the united states. how many people are being left behind because they couldn't get to the airport, because they couldn't get through check points. they couldn't get processed and what reasonably can be done to get them out. >> we're getting this from state department senior official. they believe there's fewer than 250 american citizens who may wish to leave afghanistan.
that's the latest number. it was very vague at the beginning of this operation. we saw some more approximate numbers and it's dwindled as the process going on. sam, let me come to you on this drone strike that killed ten, more than half of them children according the local witnesses. what do we know about it? >> reporter: we know yesterday dm a residential area a vehicle was struck by a u.s. drone and what they are calling one of these over the horizon operations. some of which they say they will continue to be able to fight groups like ie sigs-k even without soldiers and boots on the ground. it hit a vehicle .
the implication is it was secondary detonations that sadly killed this family. not at all the way that the united states wanted to be leaving and far from how afghan people would want to be left. the taliban condemning the strike because they had not asked permission. they had not informed the taliban authorities this is pentagon they were going to conduct this strike. it was part of an effort to try to prevent further attacks against the airport.
it's this multiple missile strike from the back of a sedan early yn or e on today. a defensive system if it's not already become packed up into the back of a c-17, it surely soon will be. it's almost unguarded apart from air support and poses the greatest threat to american forces as they withdraw. >> on that note, thank you both very much for your reporting. obviously, we're monitoring what happens moment by moment. thanks to barbara starr. fewer than 250 americans may be
in afghanistan who wish to leave. we'll see as we await tending of this operation if those final americans want to leave are extricated from the country. if not, there's not going be a u.s. embassy in afghanistan. most of the allies have closed theirs as well. >> this is a great question. we're in final hours, if not minutes of the u.s. 20-year presence in afghanistan right now. there's no legitimately recognized government in afghanistan that one would negotiate with. taliban and u.s. military been in close contact throughout this remarkable evacuation in the last couple of weeks. i was told by a state department official there was no plans to do so for the foreseeable future. that remains an open question.
it's just impossible to get every last single american out especially because of the scenes of chaos and the great danger surrounding kabul airport over the last couple of weeks. there's not even a government in kabul that's recognized by anyone outside of the country yet. >> this is the most dangerous part of the entire operation because the u.s. has lost much of its security force. it's been widdled down to these last planes and last brave troops that are trying to make these evacuations happen. we have been told how tense these final hours are. >> yeah, i think that sort of
picks to itself. sgra you could travel over the border into pakistan. the pakistani government would be amenable to americans transitting. they have not closed the border. they are not letting afghans cross the boarder even with pakistani visas unless they have visas for other countries. you'd have to go through a fair amount of taliban controlled territory to get to the pakistan border. you'd have to go through regions where isis has a pretty heavy presence in afghanistan. not without risk but that's an option.
>> once the u.s. troops leave, describe the degree to which those americans who are still there become who these groups are looking for if they are trying to make their name u against the u.s.? >> i don't think it's just the americans. i think it's anybody who has cooperated with the united states. the international rescue committee estimated that 300,000 afghans have worked directly with the united states. last week the new york times did a deep dive on the number of afghans worked with the united states and came up with a figure of 250,000. even though this has been a very successful air lift on a certain level, about half the people who work with the united states have been left behind. that doesn't account if many other afghans that worked with ally, nato countries. will the taliban be looking for those people? they already beheaded an american interpreter in the past couple of weeks.
they will be looking for them, anybody that has worked with the united states. it's somebody they will take a d dim view of. >> there in lies the catastrophe of all this. i think so many people are hoping the taliban has turned over a new leaf. they want to believe the taliban wants international recognition and wants financial cooperation from the rest of the world but the taliban is the taliban. these are people who are so, you know, repressive in their thoughts. what do we think the next year will look like ? >> i'm glad you brought that up. this is a group that bans music. that says that boys, girls, women and men cannot learn along side each other. the lesson they took from 20 years of fighting and waiting out the united states was that they're back in control of afghanistan. they were able to do that without international
recognition before. there points of leverage and enormous amount of the afghan state budget in recent years come from international aid and aid from the united states and others. that's one obvious pressure point even with the u.s. military gone from afghanistan. but it seems to me that the lesson learned may not be the one that people in washington want it to be, but can be that we wait it out a super power and we're back in control, and all those triumphant claims of having defeated us, look who's going to be here on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 in control of kabul, the very people who hosted al qaeda back 20 years ago and began the war as a result of it. so, you know, i'm just very skeptical. some experts with whom i've spoken point out that it might not be the same taliban, it might be worse because they're now a fighting force that is technologically abled by not only the weapons left behind by
the united states but 20 years of experience by repressive governments around the world and how to use technology to enforce the kind of medieval theocracy that the taliban proclaim. >> yeah. and although a spokesperson in kabul or kandahar may promise moderation, there are so many factions that that cannot be guaranteed. susan glasser and peter bergen, thank you. now to the aftermath of ida with louisiana ravaged by the tropical storm. the threat is still far from over, so we'll get a check on where this tropical storm is headed. at pnc bank, we believe in the power of the watch out. that's why we created low cash mode, the financial watch out that gives you the options and extra time needed to help you avoid an overdraft fee.
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to louisiana and mississippi this week to survey the damage left behind from ida, which is now pushing out of louisiana and dumping heavy rains on alabama and mississippi. flooding, even tornados in some area, are still a big concern. >> tom seder is tracking ida for it, what's left of it. tom, where is the storm now and what can be expected? >> the center still a tropical storm. later tonight most likely a depression. it'll take the rest of the evening and overnight to leave the state. but a much different picture, more of a comma shape, not the large red buzzsaw we saw yesterday after staying overland for six hours as a category 4. it takes hours to release all of this energy so a tornado watch still in effect, it's going to be ending soon, but it's these bands that have been off to the east. we still have flood warnings into mississippi and alabama,
now going towards florida. the center though near jackson headed up towards starkville. at least drier air is moving in. last 12 hours it's all been sliding away from louisiana. they are no longer in the tropical storm warning for new orleans. good news here and we're going to continue to watch that dwindle away as well. a dozen states will be looking at 3-5 inches of rain in the days ahead. still some flash flooding on the way. >> tom seder, thank you very much for that. we'll have more coverage of two major breaking news stories. "the lead" with jake tapper starts after a quick break. enjoy the toasty, saucy chipotle chicken avocado melt on freshly baked bread. panera. order on the app today. oh! are you using liberty mutual's coverage customizer tool? so you only pay for what you need. sorry? limu, you're an animal! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
a little preparation will make you and your family safer in an emergency. a week's worth of food and water, radio, flashlight, batteries and first aid kit are a good start to learn more, visit safetyactioncenter.pge.com it looks as though america's longest war will be over in hours. "the lead" starts right now. rockets fired at the kabul airport as evacuation flights are coming to a close. so, what happens to any americans left behind? people trapped in attics, buildings ripped apart, boats to the rescue, it is déjà vu of the worst kind as ida slams louisiana 16 years t
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