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tv   America Reports With John Roberts Sandra Smith  FOX News  August 17, 2021 10:00am-12:00pm PDT

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the mission has changed, but the mission still continues. if you would like to learn more, go to missionfirst, and in the interim, everyone please go to to get everyone out. >> harris: we will get that information out. thank you. "america reports" now. >> sandra: thank you, harris. we are standing by for the first press briefing. thousands of americans remain stranded there, but the pentagon says that the kabul airfield is not secure, and evacuation is starting. hello and welcome everyone, i am sandra smith. >> trace: good day. i am trace gallagher in for john roberts. we are moments away from addressing reporters. we expect them to face questions on how this situation unraveled
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so quickly. >> sandra: the desperation of the afghan people to flee can be seen in this photo appeared more than 600 people squeezing into that u.s. air force cargo plane that left the country late sunday. >> trace: 6,000 u.s. troops are being deployed to secure kabul's airport. the only way out of the country. runways were cleared of thousands of afghan civilians trying to escape. the story continues to develop, and we have at all. mike pompeo is here and moments along with former u.n. ambassador, nikki haley, and her first interview since the fall of kabul. plus, senator joni ernst, bret baier, charlie hurt, and juan williams will all join us. >> sandra: that is a packed up show. heinrich is with us. and rich edson. >> flights have resumed, although they are are major challenges even getting to the airport. afghans there say there are
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checkpoints throughout the city. one contact centers videos from outside the airport, showing taliban fighters are resting and kicking a man in the face. he says taliban are beating others on the way to the airport, and that the scene at the airport yesterday, "they were kids, women, babies, old women. they could barely walk. very bad situation. i am telling you. at the end, i was thinking that there were like 10,000 or more, 10,000 people there running into the airport. the taliban were beating people, and the people were jumping from the fence, the concertina wire, and also the wall." an afghan who says he worked for the state department for about a decade, tele- banner going through his neighborhood, asking for him. he said like thousands of others, he just cannot get to the airport. the pentagon says that u.s. has not secured the airport. >> what we think is mass capacity, five to 9,000 per day, a couple of dozen, maybe even
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more per day. conditions permitting, but it has to be done in close concert with our state department colleagues, so we will do as much as we can for as long as we can. >> the pentagon says it can hopefully get to about one flight in our out of that airport. u.s. officials say that estimates this is a snapshot of a very fluid situation that, as of a few hours ago, there were about 11,000 diplomats and other nationals who were waiting for evacuation with about four to 6,000 afghans refusing to leave until their process to depart the country. remember, these are people who have gone to the airport. there are still major problems and even getting to that facility. sandra. >> sandra: rich edson, thank you. >> trace: president biden defending his decision to withdraw during remarks yesterday as he acknowledge the swiftness of the taliban takeover surprised his administration. the president also pointing
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fingers at the trump administration as well as the afghan military and the government for the complete collapse of the country. jacqui heinrich is live at the white house. >> trays, he did concede that his administration failed to gauge how quickly the government would collapse, and he also waives some blame on the afghan military, on the fighters. he said in some cases they just didn't even try to fight. he also blames the trump administration, committing the u.s. to a withdrawal timeline, really painting a binary picture, a binary choice between adhering to that timeline or sending in more u.s. troops, but the president has also received broad criticism for failing to explain why the withdrawal was executed so poorly, leaving thousands of afghan refugees and american citizens left behind, scrambling cured the president has maintained his administration gamed all the possibilities, but the, john kirby was pressed on just how true that is. >> my national security team and i have been closely monitoring the situation on the ground in
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afghanistan. and moving quickly to execute the plans we had put in place to respond to every constituency, including the rapid collapse we are seeing now. >> no plan is ever perfect, and no plan can be perfectly predicted. the level of panic that was going to happen at the airport. >> we did not expect to hear anything more from the president today, however we will be hearing from jen psaki and national security advisor jake sullivan. we hope to learn from them just how many americans are trapped in afghanistan, how many refugees are trapped behind checkpoints among a host of other questions. >> trace: we will bring that to you when it happens. jacqui heinrich live at the white house. jacqui, thank you. >> sandra: let's bring in former secretary of state, mike pompeo. great to have you on as we watch all of these developments. you saw how president biden yesterday, placing the blame squarely on his predecessor for
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where things are in afghanistan today. this was yesterday. listen. >> when i came into office, i inherited the deal that the dumb eric trump made with the taliban since 2,500. the taliban was at its strongest militarily since 2001. >> sandra: reaction, mr. secretary? >> he is right, but his logic is absolutely pathetic. we had drawn down from about 15,000 to 2500. we kept the lid on this thing. the strategic responsibility that mattered. president trump wanted to get out when he started campaigning. he knew it was the right thing to do. we were executing that mission, but we had done so in a way that made clear to the taliban that there would be enormous costs if
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they touched an american, even so much as scared and american. 411 plus months, february 2020, there was not a single american killed after we got the deal with the taliban because the taliban knew that the deal meant one thing, they had a set of obligations that if they fail to live up to them, they would be enormous costs posed on them. they broke some of them, the power-sharing commitments, their commitments with respect to how they would respond to certain actions, and when they did, we impose costs on the taliban, including the senior leaders. this administration begged, apologized. they did not protect american strength. so they began to make the decision to come down to 2500, where we had achieved -- where we could secure the american embassy, prevent exactly what you have seen in the past 96 hours. they drove a truck through it. you can see what is happening today around that airport. i know that airport very well, what is happening around that airport is dangerous.
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there are still thousands of americans that are going to really struggle to get there, and i pray that we get this right. the mere fact that they have now had to put back five or 6,000 american soldiers tells you how terribly executed this was. >> trace: he said during his briefing yesterday that they prepare for every contingency accept the fact that the taliban move too fast, which of course is not preparation at all. what i would ask of you is to give us a little bit more specifics. what exactly what you're administration, the trump administration, have done differently to keep the taliban at bay when and if you pulled those trips out? >> well, three things. the most important of which, we wehad a strategic understanding. we knew the risk, what that would mean. we knew where they live, where their community was. the first thing we do, we had
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established american strength, american power would be brought to bear, south's most important thing we would have done differently, we would have identified our people, gotten them out. we had an understanding about how we were going to execute the sequence. that includes importantly, president trump making abundantly clear to all of us we were going to get all of our equipment out. every stitch. we have begun to develop the plans to get that equipment out as well, and we would have never begun to withdraw our military with so many american civilians still on the ground. these are american diplomats and contractors who the secretary of state has responsibility for. we knew that we would need a military force on the ground capable of making sure that we could get them to the airport and get them where they needed to be. we had thought through these risks, and we were prepared to maintain our posture. while we were delivering on the president's objective to get our kids home.
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>> sandra: we are praying for these afghan people, many of them sacrifice their lives trying to attach themselves to the plane that took off yesterday. they want freedom. they want safety. we know that. we know that there's going to be a delicate situation that plays out there for some time to come. we are also left wondering what happens here at home. what is... the latest development in afghanistan post to our national security here? >> boy, that is an important question. over time if they have not done the hard work that we have fought our way through, our efforts, four years in the making. fought our way through how we are going to maintain a level of knowing what is on the ground, reducing the risk of another attack from the east, from the packed border. we have friends and allies we were working on this with. we still had work to do, but we believe we were in a place that we could continue to keep the risk at a reasonable level. that risk is much greater.
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i would add to this too, this is an interconnected world. you can see with the chinese are doing. you can see how the russians are responding, and we have an open southern border today. the terror brisket, as we begin to see people flee afghanistan, while we have an open southern border, while our law enforcement is being weakened by the fact that we have defunded the police. these are not separate issues. these were all part of the trump administration's understanding of how we keep america safe and free. the biden administration simply refuses to do that, to use the strength of american power to deter war. >> sandra: real quick, last final question there. do you believe any military leaders that helped carry out the president's orders here, do you believe anybody should be stepping down and resenting based on this? >> so, there's a time to make that evaluation. it is not today, sandra. i always remember my basic rules from when i was a cadet at west point. we had an obligation to execute
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the plans the president laid out for us when we were soldiers. in the end, it is the commander-in-chief that bears the responsibility for the decisions that he made, and in this case, president biden, he made this decision, he made the decision to pull the pin and begin to withdraw without adequate understandings and capabilities. in the end, it is the president of the united states that is responsible for what we are watching unfold in afghanistan today. >> sandra: he went back to camp david after doubling down on that statement yesterday. mr. secretary of state, mike pompeo. thank you for joining us. >> trace: thank you, mr. secretary. the point has been made again and again that then candidate biden would save a buck will stop with me. he cited again last night and continued to point fingers at everybody. >> sandra: "the new york post" covered today, you will see it. blowback, terrorist that obama let go. obviously that is a very big
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revelation. we will continue to get more action to all of this as we see that making its way back home at least safely. a lot going on. plus, the taliban back in power. just the tendon is not it took. what does this mean for the future of the women in this region? and her first tv appearance since the fall of afghanistan, nikki haley nikki haley will joining us live, next. >> noted that the president is blaming everyone, particularly the intelligence community under the bus. people need to reject this and understand this was a failure of leadership. ♪ ♪
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>> sandra: we are standing by at this hour for the first white house briefing since the taliban take over of afghanistan. let's turn to what this all means for the future of women in that country. president biden says the u.s. will continues to stand up for basic human rights, but the taliban is known for its brutality and intolerance towards women. former u.s. ambassador to the united nations, nikki haley, joins us now. wonderful to have you on the program. first and foremost, your first reaction to the fall of afghanistan and notably what this means for the women in that country. welcome. >> thank you, sandra. you know, you didn't have to be this way. that is the first thought that i have. it didn't have to be this way. in just a few hours, literally, biden destroyed the progress, the relationship, and everything we had done the last 20 years in afghanistan, and i think about this from the standpoint of i am
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the wife of a combat veteran that served in afghanistan. all of our military families are very distraught at what we watched often and how we basically were run out of town. as a governor who sent units to afghanistan, promising that we would always hold them up as heroes, that we would always respect them and always have our respect as a country there, for them, and i think about how they are let down. i think about as ambassador when i actually went and visited afghanistan and the women and girls that i met with, the women who were holding positions in government, that girls who were going to school, and now they are going to go back to being sex slaves hidden in their home. this is horrible. it could not have gone any worse. biden is trying to make this about what his options were. you know what? he didn't have to have it this way. it is not always what we do and how we do it. he failed miserably.
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he humiliated america, and the world sees us as less safe right now, and that's all because of biden. it's tragic. >> sandra: we know that they are urging women to join the government there. a taliban spokesperson just held a press briefing a short time ago, saying our women are muslims. they will also be happy to live within the framework of the sharia. they have rights, and they have rights to participate in education, health, and other areas. obviously, high skepticism hearing those words in that country. these are afghan women, investor, protesting outside of the white house, sounding off on the way this withdrawal played out. listen. >> our girls, you know, the young girls who are under 20 that don't know what life was like under the taliban. we are all incredibly disappointed in president biden and this administration for pulling out all the troops from
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afghanistan literally overnight. >> sandra: this, after an afghan emailed a journalist in the briefing yesterday, confronting the leaders, saying everybody is upset, especially women. ambassador, what does this mean for the women left behind in the country? >> it's insulting. it's insulting that biden, in his speech, could talk about human rights, knowing what he did to the afghan people. here, everybody talked about the fact that the afghan military should have stood up for themselves. has anybody thought about the fact that these men and women stood shoulder to shoulder with our soldiers? my husband, we help to get his translators back to america. these people sacrificed everything because they trusted us. they trusted that we would do right by them peer trusted that we would have their backs. there is nothing with us drawing down military. we had 2500 people, but the idea that we let those women, that we love those girls, that we left
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those interpreters, that we love those people, what is wrong with america? what is happening to us? we saw president obama go and hit our ally, israel, leading the charge to humiliate them at the u.n. now president biden goes and literally leaves the allies that kept our soldiers safe on the ground. you saw what happened in the airport. what you didn't see it as well as outside of the camera. there were thousands of people at the fence, begging to get there, and the taliban was around the perimeter, ready to kill them. that's what we left. that's what you did to the military families. that's what they have to think about now, after all of the sacrifices, after 20 years of this, you left those women. you left to those girls. you left those friends of ours, and now on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, you are going to have a taliban flag flying above that country.
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the taliban and that gave al qaeda safe harbor after they killed 3,000 americans. it is an insult, and it's absolutely a humiliation for your country, and i am terribly ashamed of what president biden has done. >> sandra: ambassador, you made many visits there, and you mentioned your husband who served active duty there. this is an incredibly personal situation for you. you sounded off on twitter in many ways, one of what you said biden is trying to distract and implied his option was to either send more troops or end the war. that was not the case. it has always been about protecting america. he gave that a terrorist so when met, and he knows it. he gave that speech yesterday and return to camp david. we are now left wondering how safe of any evacuation, how thorough of an evacuation we will see of the people there. we have seen bipartisan outrage as our reaction to what the president has carried out here. what do you want to see as far
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as consequences or accountability for this president? you've already got a democrat in the senate, head of the armed services committee, the chairman, saying that he will ask for a hearing going forward to ask how the president ultimately came to this decision. we know that military advisors were advising against this approach. >> this was a dereliction of duty. what you are going to see, the administration owes us answers, but it's not even that. you can have a bunch of congressmen ask for answers. answer the military families. answer the sacrifices that they had. answer the military veterans who are now looking, wondering what was all of this for? didn't their sacrifice mean anything? these men and women gave up everything to protect us here at home because they knew what the taliban was capable of. they knew it al qaeda did to those 3,000 americans, and for 20 years, they fought, sacrificed, and served with the
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promise that america was going to fight and do the right thing. do the right thing. we didn't do the right thing. president biden and kamala harris need to answer for that. how will they ever like another world leader in the face after what happened? i can't tell you this. taiwan is feeling less safe today, and china is feeling emboldened. ukraine is feeling less safe, and russia is feeling emboldened. iran is celebrating right now, and on the afghan pakistani border, all of this terrorist organization stand, they are all plotting now. you know what they are plotting? the same mantra they have always had, which is "death to america." that is what we are feeling now. they owe us answers. this was wrong. it was a slap in the face to every military family. it was a slap in the face to every american. and the afghan people deserved better. >> sandra: and now they are on a mission to secure that airfield, continuing evacuation there. we pray for these people appeared ambassador haley, we appreciate you coming on with us.
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thank you. >> thank you. >> trace: fox news alert. in haiti, the death toll rising to over 1400 as rescue teams continue searching the rubble from the flattened buildings for survivors. tens of thousands left homeless, and now tropical storm grace is adding to the misery. brian anis is on the ground for us in the haitian capital of port-au-prince. good afternoon. >> trays, good afternoon. we were actually able to catch a flight with the u.s. coast guard about an hour ago to les cayes. the cell phone signal is shoddy, which is why we are not going to be able to tell you too much as of now, but i can tell you what we have seen. we have seen about 160 people taking shelter inside a small room. they are on a soccer field in shelters that have been completely wiped out by the tropical storm. they are now homeless. we spoke to one woman with a child who says she doesn't know what she's going to do.
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we have seen a couple of hotels that have been completely demolished, including one in which the owner and three others died, and basically what we have seen also as hospitals in which those that need the most camera being triaged and sent onto u.s. coast guard helicopters back to the capital. overall, though, in les cayes, near the epicenter, you are seeing block by blocks of homes that are flattened. the home next to me is not flattened. what you're seeing is different spots where the devastation is severe. but so far, more than 1400 people killed. more than 6900 people injured. we will have more as we are able to see it, but we have not seen any really true government present as the people here are in need. trace. >> trace: they are still recovering from the earthquake back in 2010. thank you. >> sandra: we are just moments away now from the briefing at the white house.
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that biden administration scramble to evacuate tens of thousands of people trapped by the taliban there. senator joni ernst will join us with her reaction. >> trace: plus, the prison swapout is coming back to haunt us. he was released from gitmo. >> another false promise from the previous administration. america is going to be much, much, much less safe. ♪ ♪
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these people. they cannot get through the circle to the airport to get out. also reporting no hostile interactions at the airport so far. you have 4,000 troops by end of day today. 165 american citizens on evacuation flights overnight. that is the way, trays, that we have heard from the pentagon. we hope you get further updates as we hear from jen psaki on the national security advisor at the white house. >> trace: hey, we want to figure out how it is that we are going to get people out, including thousands of americans. how do you get them to the airport? we know the airport a secure, but it is surrounded by tele- band, and the question as there are some 68,000 presumably, afghans, who want to get out on planes, and here is jen psaki. >> secretary psaki: who will provide an update on afghanistan and take some of your questions.
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and with that, i will turn it over to jake. >> jake: thank you, jen, and hello everybody. i'm going to start with an update in terms of the president's engagement today and engaging with his national security team and make a few comments probably on the situation, and then i will be happy to take your questions. this morning, he spoke, commonly known -- he spoke with secretary austin, chairman milley, chairman mckenzie, admiral baisley, and myself. he was briefed about dod personnel have now secured it. it is open and u.s. military flights are taking off. following this briefing with his military commanders, they met by secure videoconference with their national security team. on the evolving situation.
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they discussed the status of ongoing evacuations as applications and other vulnerable afghans at risk and how we would do this safely and efficiently. and with a laser focus on preventing any potential terrorist threats at or around hkia. director haynes, burns, myself, ambassador wilson, general mckenzie, and other senior officials. just to say a few words about where we have come from and where we are, i want to start by saluting our troops and our civilian personnel. i want to salute the defense department, the intelligence community, the state department, the department of homeland security, and especially our team in kabul who have been doing an incredible work under very trying circumstances. they have safely and effectively
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drawn down our compound and retrograde in our diplomatic personnel. they have not secure the airfield and are conducting flights out of the country. they are moving american citizens as well as afghan nationals and third country nationals. they are facilitating flights for our allies and partners to get citizens and others out of afghanistan. these operations will continue in the coming days as we move to evacuate american citizens and afghan nationals who worked with us along with other vulnerable afghans. we are engaging diplomatically at the same time with allies in regional countries and with the united nations to address the situation in afghanistan. we are in contact with the telegram to ensure the safe passage of people to the airport. we are monitoring for any potential terrorist threats, as i just mentioned, including from isis. we continue these operations over the coming days, before completing our drawdown. when you work on any policy
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issue, domestic policy, foreign policy, any policy issue, the human cost and consequences loom large. and we are all contending with the human cost of these. the images from the past couple of days at the airport have been heartbreaking. but president biden had to think about the human cost of the alternative path as well, which was to stay in the middle of the civil conflict in afghanistan. there are those who argue that with 2500 forces, the number of forces in the country when president biden took office, we could have sustained a stable, peaceful afghanistan. that is simply wrong. the previous administration drew down from 15,000 troops to 2500 troops, and even at 15,000, the afghan government forces were losing ground. what has unfolded over the past month has proven decisively about it would have taken a significant american troop presence, multiple times greater than what president biden was
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handed, to stop the taliban onslaught. and we would have taken casualties. american men and women would have been fighting and dying once again in afghanistan. and president biden was not prepared to send additional forces or ask any american personnel to do that over the period ahead. there have been questions raised about whether we should have drawn down our embassy and evacuated our allies earlier. these are reasonable questions. we did dramatically move out a substantial number of siv applicants and their families, but the afghan government and its supporters, including many of the people not seeking to leave, made a passionate case that we should not conduct a massive evacuation, lest we trigger the loss of confidence in the government. our signaling support for the government obviously did not save the government, but this was a considerate judgment. when you conclude 20 years of military action in the civil war in another country with the
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impacts of 20 years of decisions that have piled up, you have to make a lot of heart calls, knowing that none have clean outcomes. what you can do is plan for all contingencies. we did that. the american forces now on the ground at hkia are there because of contingency planning and drilling we did over the course of months, preparing for a range of scenarios, including dire scenarios. president biden ordered multiple battalions to be prepositioned, and activated them for deployment before the fall of kabul. he also put them on a short string here in the united states. those have now flowed in as well. yes, there were chaotic scenes yesterday, but as admiral kirby said, even these plans do not survive first contact with reality, and they require adjustments. we have made those adjustments. we will stay in close touch with our allies and partners in the days ahead as we contend with the immediate need to complete
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the evacuation mission and as we deal with the broader challenges posed by the new reality of afghanistan. and we will remain persistently vigilant against the terrorism threat in afghanistan and in multiple other theaters across multiple continents. we have prevented other places that we can suppress terrorism without a permanent military presence on the ground, and we intend to do exactly that in afghanistan, and with that, i would be happy to take your questions. yes. >> saw, i wanted to ask, the president said yesterday, i want to give an understanding of what did he mean by -- what is he taking ownership of? not just the decision to leave afghanistan, but is he taking responsibility for the chaos that happened during the evacuation or the decisions not to do evacuation sooner? is he taking responsibility for that? and for any bloodshed that may be happening right now, is he
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taking responsibility for that? >> jake: he is taking responsibility for -- he said that the buck stops with him. i am also taking responsibility, and so are my colleagues. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the directors of our intelligence agencies. we has a national security team collectively take responsibility for every decision. good decision, every decision that doesn't produce perfect outcomes. that is what responsibility is. now, at the same time, that does not change the fact that there are other parties he responsible as well, who have taken actions and decisions that help lead us to where we are, so from our perspective, what we have to do now is focus on the task at hand. the mission at hand. you mention chaos at the airport yesterday. at the end of the day, the question is can we effectively evacuate those people who we intend to evacuate, and that is what we are planning for and
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executing against, beginning today, where the airport is secure, the flights are going, the people are coming, and we will continue to do that in the days ahead. >> what is president biden's response to you that people who are now in the hands of taliban terrorists? they are fearful that the u.s. will abandon them and the aggression of china. and what is president biden's response to people in israel and other countries who might also believe that the u.s. has abandoned them to terrorists? >> jake: the first question, president biden, as i said in my opening comment, we are heartbroken by the human consequences that have unfolded and can continue to unfold. we believe passionately in human rights and human dignity. and we want to work with the international community to advance that, wherever we can. but president biden was not prepared to have american men and women continue to fight and
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die in the civil works of another country in order to achieve that. we will use every other tool at our disposal to achieve that, and we will do so day after day, month after month, in the period ahead on behalf of the people of afghanistan. to your question about allies, we gave 20 years of american blood, treasure, sweat, and tears in afghanistan. we gave them every capacity in terms of training, equipment, to stand up and fight for themselves, and at some point, it was the time for the united states to say that the afghan people had to stand up for themselves. we believe that our commitments to our allies and partners are sacrosanct and always have been. we believe our commitment to you taiwan and to israel remains as strong as it has ever been. keep in mind that with respect to afghanistan, we said back in 2011 that we would be out in 2014. we stayed another seven years. far and above and beyond the
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commitment that we made more than a decade ago. in the last thing that i would say is that president biden is laser focused on accomplishing the core national security objectives of the united states. and when it comes to afghanistan, that was getting bin laden, destroying al qaeda. he believes that it was time for our troops to come home. >> you described a kind of choice that the president -- either save the folks, the allies in afghanistan, the folks that helped the united states for two decades, or sacrifice more americans. i think the question out there on capitol hill and around washington and elsewhere, wasn't there another choice? wasn't there a way he could have ended -- president biden could have ended the war the way that he wanted to so that americans don't sacrifice for their lives for this war, but at the same
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time, do a better job of either ignoring this request to not start evacuations, or, you know, figuring some way that we would not end up in a situation where there are people rushing through the airport in the execution over the last four, five, six days, that have seemed, just to about everybody, is not the way that a competent administration, not the result that a competent administration, you know, has, in the end. isn't that a false choice? why can you do both? >> jake: so, first what i would say, we were clear right going and when we made this decision. that it was possible that the taliban and would end up in control of afghanistan. we were clear-eyed about that. as the president said in his
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remarks, we do not anticipate that it would happen at that speed. we were planning for these potential contingencies. the reason i say that at the outset that we knew it was possible they could take over, and that had to be built in to our calculus and making that determination is the president did to drive down our forces, because once the taliban came into kabul, we were going to be faced with a situation, no matter if there were still u.s. troops on the ground or no u.s. troops on the ground, dealing with a significant number of people wanting to try to get evacuated. i will give you an example. we continued to communicate with american citizens for weeks, telling them to get out of the country. we offered financial assistance for those who would not be able to afford to get on flights themselves. many chose to stay right until the end, and i was their choice. we now are faced with a circumstance where we have to help evacuate them. that is our responsibility as the u.s. government, but the point i am making is one of the
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civil war comes to an end end with an opposing force marching on the capital, they are going to be themes of chaos and lots of people leaving the country. that is not something that can be fundamentally avoided. so, while it is a point for reasonable debate in my mind is how to think about the right moment to signal a complete loss of confidence in the government or not, which is going to lead to more suffering and death are not, the fact is that we made that judgments we made based on the information we had at that time while preparing for the alternative contingency, which was having to flow in these troops to get out folks in a mass evacuation. yes. >> do you believe that the mission would be completed -- national security advisor, do you think the taliban, do you
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see -- a new terrorist organization would be born, like i says? >> jake: just on the last point, it's fairly well documented that the taliban and isis fight one another, struggle against one another, so i do not foresee a symbiotic relationship there. we will have to see how it plays. we are working day by day to get as many people out. so i'm not going to speculate on the timetable question that you just laid out, and then finally, on what we expect from the taliban going forward, that is something that will have to be watched and observed over time. whether in fact they are prepared to meet their obligations to the basic human rights and dignity of people, to the safe passage of people to the airport, to the fair and
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just treatment of civilians. that is something they're going to have to show. i come at this with no expectations but only the sense that they will have to prove to the international community who they ultimately are going to end up being. yes. >> could you tell us what exactly is that commitment from the taliban, regarding the same passage, as well as the tens of thousands -- >> jake: the taliban has informed us that they are prepared to provide safe passage of civilians to the airport, and we intend to hold them to that commitment. >> do you believe them? >> are there assurances that it will go to august 31st, before or after that, for clarity on what you just said. >> jake: we believe that this can go until the 31st. we are talking to them about what the exact timetable as for how this will all play out, and i don't want you negotiate in
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public on working out the best modality to get the most people out in the most efficient way possible. speak yesterday, president biden said that the united states -- no mention -- it's the same -- to withdraw troops -- in south korea -- >> jake: the president has no intention of withdrawing our forces from south korea or europe where we have stood tanned treat presences for very long time. not in the middle of a civil war. but to deal with the potential of an external enemy and to protect our allies against that external enemy, so it is a fundamentally different kind of situation from the one we are presented with now. >> the president said yesterday
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about the situation has unfolded more quickly than they thought, but they told agencies that they were key intelligences, that they could overwhelm the country and take the capital. will they push ahead? >> jake: i'm not actually familiar with the intelligence assessment you are describing, but i also do not want to get into use specific intelligence, and one thing i will not do from this podium or anywhere else, talk about why a different component of the agency, what they did or did not do, because we are one team with one mission, trying to execute, and do so in the best interests of our interest and values. >> not complete by august 31st, and there are americans who will remain there. will u.s. troops stay until
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everyone is out, or will they leave? >> jake: so, i'm not going to comment on hypotheticals. i'm going to stay focused on the task at hand, getting as many people out as rapidly as possible. >> you cannot commit to bringing back every american? >> there are a large number of christian missionaries that are particularly vulnerable. can you get them to the airport and get them out? >> jake: we are working with a variety of different groups. to help facilitate their departure from the country, yes. >> talk about the contingency plan. when did your administration know that 6,000 troops were going to be needed? >> jake: wednesday evening, the president can be the principles to discuss the deteriorating situation on the ground in afghanistan. he posed the question as to whether we had to flow more forces and from the point of view of a contingency to draw
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down our embassy and to secure evacuation. he gave the order to begin flowing those forces end, and then as we watch the situation unfold over the course of the coming days, we determined that we would go from step one of the contingency plan, which was about 3,000 troops, to step two of that contingency plan, about 6,000 troops. >> why did he leave the white house on friday? >> jake: the president worked throughout the entire weekend. i was intimately familiar with his working habits over the course of the weekend because i was on the phone with him constantly. chairman milley, so he was monitoring developments hour by hour throughout that entire time. and has been making a series of decisions about troop deployments, giving us direction and guidance about how to take the shape of this mission and make sure we are executing it. and every turn, asking our
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military, executing this mission with bravery and valor, what do you need? i will give you anything you need. he -- president biden has been deeply engaged in this, yes. >> there is still a lot of anger in australia this morning about the way that this has played out. so many afghans who have helped the australian forces and helping the u.s. mission over the past 20 years. does the administration accept some responsibility? what would be your response to the people who are trapped? some are fearing execution because of the exit strategy. >> jake: we do take some responsibility for our allies and partners in afghanistan. as i said, we are working to facilitate clients and have already done so for countries that have lined them up and got their citizens to the airport, and we will be eager to work with australia to help get out
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australian citizens and other individuals who would like to get out. >> what do you say to the next generation of afghan women and children, the young girls who face fundamentally different human rights? >> jake: truly, deeply, my heart goes out to afghan women and girls in the country. to date. under the taliban. we have seen what they have done before. and that's a very hard thing for any of us to face. but this was not a choice just between saving those women and girls or not saving those women and girls. the alternative choice had its own set of human costs and consequences, as i said. and those human costs and consequences would have involved a substantial ramp up of american participation in a civil war with more loss of life and more bloodshed. families here in the united states who would be asking a different form of the question you just asked. these are the choices a
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president has to make, and it doesn't mean because we don't have forces in the country that we are not going to fight on behalf of women and girls and human rights and human dignity. we are. we do. and many other countries where we do not have active military participation. and afghanistan too. we will attempt to use every measure of tool and influence we have along with our international allies and partners to alleviate the burden that those women and girls will face in the days ahead. we are absolutely, resolutely committed to that. >> the taliban has legitimate governing power of afghanistan right now? >> jake: right now there is a chaotic situation in kabul where we do not even have the establishment of a governing authority, so it would be really premature to address that question. ultimately, it's going to be after the taliban to show the rest of the world who they are and how they intend to proceed. the track record has not been good, but it's premature to address the question at this
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point. >> committed to safe passage to the airport, but our reporting is that instead of checkpoints, people are being being the and wept when they tried to cross, and some flights are leaving nearly empty as a result. when do you expect them to stop? >> jake: two things about that. first, the earliest evacuation of science tend not to have every seed filled because the process of getting any evacuation underway has a throughput issue, so we believe that that is getting resolved with each successive flight, and we will be putting 300 passengers on your average military cargo plane, heading out of the country. second, in terms of people being turned away, by and large, what we have found is that people have been able to get to the airport. very large numbers have been unable to you and present themselves. there have been instances where we have received reports of
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people being turned away or pushed back or even beaten. we are taking that up in a channel with the taliban to try to resolve those issues. and we are concerned about whether that will continue to unfold in the coming days. as things stand right now, what we are finding is that we are getting people through the gate. we are getting them lined up, and we are getting them on planes, but this is an hour by hour issue. it is something we are very focused on, holding the taliban accountable. >> thank you so much. talking about your confidence in the contingency plan. i'm wondering if it's in hindsight, looking at that execution, what with this administration have done differently, knowing what it knows now? >> jake: that's a good question, and it is one that we will take a look at every aspect of this from top to bottom, but sitting here today, i'm spending every hour i have focused on how we execute the mission we have
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before us, which is getting all of these people out, yes. >> has the president spoken to you and the other world leaders since kabul fell to the taliban? >> jake: he has not yet spoken with any other world leaders. myself, several other senior members of the team have been engaged with foreign counterparts. and we intend to do so in the coming days. right now, the main issue is an operational issue. it is about how we coordinate with them to help them get their people out. and we are operating through logistical channels and policy channels to try to make that happen. >> you said that you will conduct a review of went wrong t went wrong here. will you publicly disclose what went wrong and to misjudge the intelligence here with the taliban to cover? >> jake: i did not describe
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that we are doing a review. we will look at everything that happened in this entire operation. in the areas of improvement, where we can do better, where we can find the holes or weaknesses and flog them as we go forward, and of course we intend, after we have had the opportunity to run that analysis, to share that with people. >> we have noted that you have encouraged americans on the ground to leave and that many chose not to. i just want to follow up on that. will the u.s. government's committed to ensuring that any americans that are currently on the ground get out? >> jake: that is what we are doing right now. we have asked them all to come to the airport to get on flights and take them home. that is what we intend to do. >> former officials from multiple administrations, obama administration, bush administration have said that they are certain that it will
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become a safe haven for terrorists. i know you and the president have disputed that. what do you think those officials are getting wrong, and can you ensure that americans are safer to that because of your actions than we were several months ago? >> jake: i want to be very clear about our position. we will have to deal with the potential threat of terrorism from afghanistan moving forward, just as we have to deal with the potential threats of terrorism in dozens of countries and multiple continents around the world. we have to deal with the threat of terrorism in yemen and somalia and syria. we have to deal with the threat of terrorism across -- we have to do so using a wide variety of tools and intelligence capabilities, and yes, in some cases, the support we can provide to local partners to help them deal with the challenge. and what we have shown is in many of the cases i just mentioned, among others, we have been successful to date and
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suppressing the terrorist threat to the u.s. homeland in those countries without sustaining a permanent military presence or fighting in a war, and that is what we intend to do with respect to afghanistan as well, so this is not a question about whether we are clear-eyed about this, it is about whether the terrorist challenge in 2021 is fundamentally different from 2001. we believe it is fundamentally different, and we need to be postured effectively to deal with the terrorism challenges today as opposed to 20 years ago. >> can you shed light on the decision to leave equipment? the contingency plan that you had, blackhawks and other equipment. why give the taliban access to state-of-the-art equipment that they can use to bolster their own defenses? >> jake: this is, i think, a very good example of the difficult choices about the
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president faces and the secretary of defense and secretary of state and national security advisor face in the context of the end of a 20 year war. those blackhawks were not given to the taliban. they were given to the afghan national security forces to defend themselves at the specific request of president ghani. so, the president had a choice. he could not give it to them with the risk that it would fall into the taliban's hands eventually, or he could give it to them with the hopes that they could deploy it in service of defending their country. both of those options have risks. he had to choose. and he made a choice. and from the point of view of that, the particular narrow example to a much wider range of examples that we contend with, at the end of the day, what the president has focused on all the way through here is trying to take the information that's been presented to him, the risks, costs, and benefits, and make
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decisions that were in the best national security interests of the american people. he talked about that at length yesterday. and from that perspective, he believes that the decision that he made in this context was the right decision. >> thank you. the president has not been shy about these policies, many of them. the taliban, they have violated already what they agreed to with president trump. >> jake: you are referring to the agreement that president trump made with the taliban in february 2020, which set a deadline. be out by may 1st 2021. walking away from that was not just kind of a cost free proposition for the united states. may 2nd, the taliban offensive was going to start. the taliban's onslaught was going to happen, and the question facing the president was what increasing numbers of american troops -- would we drop it down and try and give all of
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the capabilities necessary for the afghan government and the afghan army to step up? that is the decision that he took. that is the situation he was placed in with a mere 2500 troops in the country when he took over. this was a choice between dramatically wrapping up forces to satisfy it or drawing them down to end our military involvement, and that is a choice that he made, yes. >> he urged afghan leaders -- diplomacy, "this advice was flatly refused." did he think that he had a willing president and president ghani? >> jake: i'm not going to characterize anything about president ghani at this point, who is no longer a factor in afghanistan, and i do not think that there is much merit in me weighing in more deeply on him. yes? >> speaking to afghans who
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supported the mission who are now terrified for their lives. can you confirm that -- will you abandon them, or will you stay? >> jake: our plan is to safely evacuate the people who worked with the united states who are eligible for special immigrant visas, which is a generous program set up on a bipartisan basis by our congress. we have identified as individuals and families. we are making provisions to have them get on flights out of the country. that is what we are going to do between now and the end of the month, yes. >> one question, going back to president ghani. any top officials of the afghan government, making respects for asylum in the united states, among others, what they be
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welcome in the u.s.? >> jake: i am not familiar with any such request, and i'm not going to get into hypotheticals. yes. >> the president at camp david, the american people expect to hear from him in the coming days as the operation to get people out continues. >> jake: i will leave it to jen to answer that, but yes, you will hear from him in the coming days. >> expected to return -- the way -- and do you think -- the damage -- and what you would say? >> jake: president biden has a long and deep history of solidarity and commitment to the nato alliance. he is committed to article five. rock-solid and sacrosanct. just had a very successful nato
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summit where we committed to a new strategic concept and a new way forward on the emerging threats we are going to face. he believes in his personal bonds with the leaders of nato, and he believes in the institutional bonds between the united states and nato, and i would just note also that press secretary of state went to repeated administrative meetings for consultations on this decision and ultimately secured an agreement of the north atlantic council for tv carried out along the timetable that was laid out. all of the allies signed up for that. what the president also committed to you with sure that every last nato troop on the ground in afghanistan, and there were more nato troops in afghanistan then american troops when joe biden took office, that they would get out safely and securely without incurring a single casualty, and he executed that. he is committed to securing the flights of our partners to get their civilians out and to get
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others out, and he is on the process of doing that. in fact, planes have landed and taken off with their personnel over the course of the last 24 hours. >> and not enough to assure our partners because -- the united states commits only two -- how can you be sure -- call [indistinct question] how can you justify the u.s. involvement? and i also understand that the u.s. did not want to make sacrifices. how can you claim to be a global
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leader without making sacrifices? >> jake: i want to start where your question ended. because the united states made an extraordinary sacrifice in afghanistan. 2,448 americans lost their lives in afghanistan. tens of thousands of americans were injured in the war in afghanistan over 20 years. trying to help the country stand up and be able to defend itself. the united states spends more than a trillion dollars of its resources in afghanistan. the amount of sacrifice and solidarity and commitment to afghanistan to try to give it a chance was immense. and it was not just the united states. many other countries joined us and have their own sacrifice -- excuse me. let me just finish answering the question. so, the idea that there was a lack of sacrifice on the part of the american people is belied by
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the reals of headstones at arlington national cemetery where people have come home. when it comes to you taiwan, it is a fundamentally different question in a different context, and so, from our perspective, what we need to focus on -- i'm sorry -- i will take the next question -- >> what are your thoughts -- >> especially the comments that they made about protecting women's rights, do you have any trust that they are going to live up to that? >> like i have set all along, this is not about trust. it is about verifying. we will see what the taliban and end up doing in the days and weeks ahead. i mean the entire international community. >> americans and afghans -- including many africans who are
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there, what is the administration doing about their safety? >> jake: the administration is also focused on getting third country nationals out of the country. >> the humanitarian aid continuing to afghanistan. now that the taliban has taken over the government, does that stop? is there a possibility that it will restart at some point? >> jake: we will have to take a hard look at how we proceed on any basis at all, and as i said to one of your colleagues, it is premature to answer those questions. that is something we'll have to look for after we get to the immediate task of this mission. >> the u.s. relationship with them. >> jake: i'm sorry, can you repeat the question? >> the u.s. relationship with them -- >> jake: they appear to have
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essentially, you know, no longer operate as a coherent entity. they essentially have given way to taliban physical security control over the major populations. >> what tools does the united states have to hold them to do this, and if not, where it is the u.s. plan to go? >> jake: standing here today, i am not going to go into everything that we can do, but obviously there are issues related to sanctions, to marshaling international condemnation and isolation and other steps as well. the reason why i don't want to go into great detail as i want to be able to have our team communicate directly with the taliban, both the costs and disincentives are for certain types of action, and what our
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expectations are. that is a conversation that we will intend to have, and i think many other countries, including like-minded partners and allies will be having that as well. >> president biden said the united states -- maintaining some peace in afghanistan. would he reiterate that today? do we have no interest in having troops on the borders of iran, afghanistan, china? do you think that we should just give that up? >> jake: i would say that we should not be fighting and dying in a war for sustaining military boots near them, no. i would say that that is something that is not -- what you just laid out in national security interest, we would not agree that it is right to ask
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american soldiers to risk their lives for the purpose of maintaining a presence near tajikistan. >> what the u.s. gave afghanistan -- >> jake: we do not have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone, but certainly a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the taliban, and obviously we don't have a sense that they are going to readily handed over to us at the airport. yes. >> has the president seen images of what is happening, and what was his reaction? >> jake: the present, as he stated in his remarks yesterday, these images are heartbreaking. and as i have said repeatedly today, the human toll of the end of this conflict in this way is
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real. and it's raw. it's hard for everyone. you guys are journalists. i work in government. but we are also people. this is tough stuff. there's no doubt about it. these are hard choices too. and at the end of the day, the president had to make a hard choice about whether to avoid some of those human costs, the united states continues to send troops to fight. diane take casualties. that is the decision that he was not prepared to take, yes. >> i know that this was planned before the fall of kabul, but i just want to get your response to that, and how will you make sure that americans and other people, refugees, will have safe passage to the airport? you talked about securing the airport, but how do you ensure that they actually can get
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there? >> jake: as i said before, we have been working, engaging, coordinating with taliban on the ground to ensure safe passage. we will continue to work that issue day by day until we have completed our mission. >> the administrations were not prepared -- the reconstruction. >> jake: one of the findings was that 20 years, hundreds of billions of dollars spent. huge amounts of capability is provided, huge amounts of advising and assisting, and you had a security force that at the end of the day was not prepared to stand up and fight for itself. that is a collection of decisions taken over the course of many years.
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>> will the u.s. military presence be necessary to secure port-au-prince and the disaster zone for humanitarian aid? and secondly, does the earthquake in haiti affect the election to be held later this year? >> jake: it is too early to tell what the impact on the political process of the earthquake is. we are in the process of assessing that. on your first question, right now what we are focused on is getting the team that has been deployed out and active in helping address this. we have got u.s. coast guard elements. mobilizing with logistical and other support to be able to provide the kind of emergency response that is necessary in the human tragedy and catastrophe like this. there are no current plans to speak of to deploy u.s. military personnel to haiti. >> thank you.
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will the u.s. recognize the taliban -- sanctions, currencies, is there a chance that if they do take power, that they would be able to tap into -- anything in that regard preventively? >> jake: we are working on those options right now. i do not want to get ahead of the president's decision-making. >> if you don't ever recognize them, how can you be sure that the president's promise of aid, that people will -- >> jake: i don't want to get into hypotheticals, but i will point out that there are a range of different diplomatic relationships that u.s. has with different countries around the world, including some very difficult or nonexistent relationships with government where we still provide forms of aid to people, and i will leave it at that because we are not at a point yet where we can speak directly to how things will play
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out in afghanistan, but that is at least a partial answer to your question. i know you guys have many more questions, but i think probably your patience with me is also wearing a bit thin, so i will get back to you. >> thank you. >> secretary psaki: i just have a couple of additional updates for you. some of which was provided by the department of defense this morning, but i want to make sure you have this information this morning. the airport, as jake noted, open for military flight operations as well as limited commercial flight operations. they delivered 1,000 troops. additionally, they have departed. 700 to 800 passengers, and we can confirm that some are american citizens. the rest are a mix of applicants and third country nationals. i would also note that in
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addition, the intention is to have additional flights out this morning. there is obviously going to be operational updates that will be provided on a regular basis by the department of defense, but as you saw, our focus over the last 24 to 48 hours has been securing the airport and make sure that we can begin to expedite flights of both american citizens, siv applicants, and others out. i wanted to note that i did administration officials join the meeting of the u.s. conference of mayors to discuss our eviction prevention efforts. it provided an update on the state of the pandemic, and reiterated ways that mayors across the country can work with local courts to set up eviction diversion programs in their city. this meeting is just the latest in our efforts to communicate and work with local officials to make sure we are getting assistance out to key people in their homes. i know we have been here a while, but there are lots of topics out there.
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>> the booster shots, how many shots are available for visitors, and wealth it has any impact around the world? >> secretary psaki: let me first note that our health and medical experts held this briefing and we will discuss next steps as it relates to boosters. i would also note for your planning that you can expect to hear from the president on this topic as well, following their briefing, so i will leave it to them to provide additional details and to answer what i know are you are good questions about data and an understanding of what leads to decisions along those lines. on the supply component of that, i'm sure they will address that, josh, but i will note i said back in may and july, part of our operational focus is that we have enough supply to supply booster shots. should that be a decision made by the fda. that has been in our planning processes, and we plan for this
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contingency and will wait for a formal announcement. >> do they plan to get booster shots? >> secretary psaki: they will certainly plan to follow the guidelines, of course. >> what is the schedule? >> secretary psaki: well, i think rachel assets earlier, so the president will -- >> sandra: has a chaotic situation continues to unfold in afghanistan, it appears that questioning at the white house has no transition to covid. in this moment, you just heard from national security advisor jake sullivan saying we secured the airfield. the evacuation flights are taking off at this hour. they are working to get as many people out as they can. he also suggested that while president biden still remains at camp david, that we will hear from him in the coming days. but no imminent speech by the president or taking of questions. on my chaotic scenes that we saw
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a plant, including this one at the airport they were in kabul yesterday, sullivan, the national security advisor said yes, he acknowledge the scene, quoted on merle kirby, saying even these plans do not survive first contact with reality. we made adjustments, he said. the buck stops with him. they were pressed on president biden taking ownership of everything happening there and the fast fall of kabul and afghanistan. he said every decision on the u.s. government has taken is the responsibility of the presidents. insisting continually, just moments ago, that the white house plan for every contingency plan and was clear-eyed with their approach. hard to believe, considering the scenes that we saw. let's go to jennifer griffin. jennifer, your thoughts on what you just were there because it
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appears grabbing a lot of headlines at this moment is that contingency plans that were prepared for. the 82nd airborne, did they have a heads up that they would be flying 640 passengers packed into that c-17 yesterday? did they prepare for all of the equipment the afghans required over two decades getting turned over? most of it to the tele- band? so, why do we continue to hear that now from the national security advisor and from the president yesterday? >> i think what was interesting was that jake sullivan was clearly put out there with a message, to clean up the messaging that has been the absence and vacuuming over the last few days. you heard him say about the president and the team went and clear-eyed that they could and would likely take over after the u.s. left. nobody thought that it would be as quick as what we have seen in
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recent days, but it is also clear that the message he wanted to get out, already started the finger-pointing between agencies, the defense department saying that it was the state department's fault, that they had been slow to get the sivs out of afghanistan. the intelligence community pushing back and saying there was no intelligence failure. we told people over the years, we told the defense department that the afghan military could -- would likely fall apart after the u.s. leaves. so there has been a lot of finger-pointing. jake sullivan, responsible for keeping the national security community together, clearly with a message, saying these are heartbreaking scenes, but that they did expect some of them as humanitarian chaos when they plan for that withdrawal. i will take you back, sandra, to a very detailed the situation meeting back in april where it was leaked out that
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general milley had basically given a very emotional presentation of what a humanitarian disaster would look like if the taliban took over if the u.s. withdrew all troops. that was no secret at that time. president biden was presented with this picture. he took a decision, and now it is for his national security team to defend it. there were plans in place for the 82nd airborne and others. they were positioned in kuwait and there was a battalion in kuwait in the event that they would have to extricate american citizens under duress from the kabul airport. those plans were in place, but what is really -- but i don't think the chain of what was put in place clearly led to a lot of chaos at the airport yesterday. nobody has been able to explain
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to us why the u.s. military left to the airbase when there was still so many people that needed to be evacuated. that seems like an unforced error, and leaving them very vulnerable to rely on the international airport. the military went into this withdrawal really with plans, expecting that it would be months, if not two years or maybe a year before the taliban would take over. no one expected that they would take over in a matter of six days. speech you now trying to get these people out, jake sullivan said that the taliban have informed us that they are prepared to provide safe passage to civilians to the airport, and we intend to hold them to that commitment. we've barely heard, when taking a question back in july, joe biden said we do not trust that all's. now we are getting word from rich edson at the state department that they are notifying some to go to the airport. this is according to any
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official involved. state is notifying americans in stages. we are awaiting an update from the state department. the briefing is expected about a minute from now. are americans in kabul to go to the airport, trusting that the taliban will allow for safe passage? >> i think what you are hearing, listening to the white house briefing just now, that the u.s. military is going to stay on the ground as long as they can with it being safe for their personnel. they are not going to take casualties, so if the situation changes in the coming days, i do not expect the u.s. military to stay there beyond august 31st deadline. and they may have to leave sooner than that, so i think that time is of the essence. right now, the taliban leaders, that they are talking to in qatar, it is in their interest to see that chaos that we saw,
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the american evacuation, the humiliating evacuation that looks very similar to the soviet pullouts back in 1979, which spawned of the groups that the u.s. has been fighting for all these years. right now it is in the taliban interest to look very civilized, peaceful, look like they are not going to carry out retribution, but what happens when the last american c-17 lifts off sometime around august 31st if not sooner? that is when the taliban, who are already going house to house, taking names, looking for collaborators, that is when the soccer stadiums will be filled, and they will start if start beheading women in making examples of those who worked with the americans. that is what was in the situation room by the u.s. military commanders who did not want to pull out of afghanistan, but they were ordered to do so, and they are trying as best as they can to airlift as many people out to save those who
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worked with the u.s. government, but it is unlikely that they will be able to get all who they have made promises to over the years. >> trace: standby if you will. let's bring in bret baier. it's great to see you. i want to pick up where jennifer griffin left off because she's talking about the fact that when that last c-17 leaves, you might have these stadiums filled with the taliban beheading people, and i was surprised to hear jake sullivan talking about what the administration believes are the obligations of taliban. i want to play that sound bite for you. and i will get your response on the other side. >> what we expect from the taliban going forward. that is something that will have to be watched and observed over time. whether in fact they are prepared to meet their obligations to the basic human rights and dignity of people, to the safe passage of people to
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the airport, to the fair and just treatment of civilians. that is something they're going to have to show. i, that's with no expectations, but only the sense that they will have to prove to the international community who they ultimately are going to end up being. >> i was a little stunned by what happens if they don't? we are expecting a terrorist organization now to behave or else? and the response is there could be sanctions. your response? >> i was stunned. i want to start by saying jennifer does an amazing job with the pentagon team. she talks to all kinds of people. but from my analysis point of view, if the plan is that you are going to tell more than 10,000 americans scattered throughout afghanistan, kabul and other cities, to make it to the airport, and trust about the ring of taliban fighters who surround the airport are
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suddenly going to get the word from their leaders to let them in and not have any problem, and that's the white house plan, that's stunning to me. and i think there are a number of things said and not press briefing, which just shock to me. i think the false equivalency that you had the decision to leave 2500 troops, get the evacuation to happen. and then pull the troops out, once you lose the airbase, that changes the dynamic. now you're trusting that taliban, who just recently put out a statement saying "death to america" in the last few weeks. the last u.s. soldier to die was february 20th. february 8th, 2020. there was a plan, but it was that you had to get the people
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out first. if you are one of the 10,000 outside of the taliban ring surrounding the airport, it's a big risk to believe that you are going to get through there without harm. and what happens if, as jennifer mentions, something transpires? whether it is a terrorist attack at the airport, an attack on the outskirts of the airport, and the u.s. military then decides it is time to go, what do we do with the people who are still on the ground? >> sandra: on the evacuations, i too found this comment from sullivan stunning. listen. >> so, from our perspective, what we have to do now is focus on the task at hand, the mission at hand. you mention chaos at the airport. at the end of the day, the question is can we effectively evacuate those people who we intended to evacuate? and that is what we are planning for and executing against, beginning today. >> sandra: why is not a
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question, and why was there not preparation for that if every contingency was planned for, bret? >> every contingency could not have been planned for. it's just last week you have the secretary of state saying it's not going to happen over three days. it is not going to happen over a long weekend. you have the president saying there is not going to be a saigon helicopter. that is what is transpiring. not only that, but 2500 troops on the ground. now, you have since put in some 7,000. that seems like it's adding, and they're obviously trying to get everybody out. they are not calling it a combat mission. but the second anything starts firing there, it is a combat mission. and i think that having jake sullivan try to explain this in this way it was interesting. and you saw the white house correspondents kind of pricing on different sides to get at the same question. what happens if they can't get
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through? >> trace: yeah, and it's a great point. jennifer asked this question yesterday. why have we not heard from the defense secretary, the secretary of state? >> sandra: why isn't the president standing at the podium? why hasn't he at the white house? >> we heard that the president of the united states has not talked to one another world leaders since kabul fell. timeout. what? the president of the united states has not talked to another world leaders? it's not like he doesn't have access to the phone nor the zoom or than protected lines. understand that they have reached out, and other counterparts have talked, but i just found that stunning too. he has not talked to other world leaders who have been talking to themselves about what is going to happen next in afghanistan. >> trace: there were comments made today by people in the u.k. about listen, china and russia
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are looking at this, and they are related. they see was happening on the ground, and they are elated. one is that here is build up going to happen again? you made a very good point earlier about the bagram air base that did not come up, but it is a fair assumption because jake sullivan started out by saying that it was time to say to the afghan people that they had to stand up for themselves, and the question is do they sink or swim on the basis that there is nobody at the bagram airbase who can deliver air support for these people if, in fact, they do start fighting? we all know that the afghan air force is severely diminished. >> while jake sullivan did a great job inserting empathy, which was not in president biden's speech, about the women in the human toll about seeing these people grab onto the plains, what she did again, which was in the president's speech, the afghan
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soldiers never stood up for themselves. that is just false. tens of thousands of afghan security forces have been fighting the fight for really the last six years. and i'm talking north of 50, 60, 70,000 have died fighting for their country, dying, fighting the taliban. now, they did that because we trained them to work with close air support. we trained them that if you get in this fight, you call in the bombers, and you laser target. this is how it works. a lot of them learn how to do that. once they knew that bagram airbase had closed down the troops were leaving, that air support was no longer there. and the taliban in province after province, going in, from anecdotal information on the ground, executing people, beheading people, saying this is what is going to happen to you. instead of saying we are going to see that happen, they lay
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down their arms. for the white house to say about that is to show that they cannot stand up for their country is really quite something. we have had 2500 troops, capped this ad bay, why was it not that we kept bagram activated, provided close air support, get everyone out, first. and then everyone exits. >> sandra: you know, there was an attempt to explain that, and if my team can follow along here, i asked for something else, but what we just heard from jake sullivan, he tried to explain it here, i believe. all right. it will take them a second. he tried to describe why that did not happen. bret, listen. >> that is not something that can be fundamentally avoided, so, while it is .4 reasonable debate about how to think about the right moment to signal a
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complete loss of confidence in the government or not. >> sandra: that was the explanation, why they did not evacuate sooner, the afghans were fearing the optics of any evacuation earlier signaling a loss of confidence in the government there ahead of all of this. >> that's a choice that they had to make. the intelligence had to play a part in it. and the fact that everyone believed that pulling out those troops, that they could still hold on on their own, that it is a failure. it is a failure also of the u.s. intelligence community, and this white house to make that decision. >> sandra: it is remarkable how we acknowledge to ourselves how many times you heard jake sullivan stand by every contingency plan was prepared for. while also describing their view
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heading into this as clear-eyed. here is more from sullivan taking that stance. here he was a moment to go. >> when you conclude 20 years of military action in a civil war in another country with the impacts of 20 years of decisions that have piled up, you have to make a lot of heart calls. none with clean outcomes. what you can do is plan for all contingencies. we did that. >> sandra: at what point do we hear from the president in the coming days, do we hear an acknowledgment that this was not planned for? the scramble, this chaos that we are seeing, american still in kabul, not able to get to the airport, bret? >> we all hope that this works as jake sullivan says, that the taliban produces safe passage for these people to somehow get to the airport and get beyond all of these fighters that are surrounding it, but that doesn't seem like a legitimate plan, considering that this is not a
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finely tuned military machine, the taliban force. it is at times ragtag. it is also bloodied and has a history of being horrific, especially to afghans who support the u.s. >> trace: i know it has been a rapid fire question and answer, but you have been remarkable. he was asked, and you has touched on this earlier, what would you have done differently? and he went back and said we are going to give it a hot wash, i guess that means a review. he clarified and said the hotwash was not to discuss what they did wrong but the totality of the mission. so, there is still this resistance, this defiance for them to say well, this thing was screwed up from start to finish. >> a couple things, and that is one, it is a straw man to say you either left 2,500 troops
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there any eternity, or you are fighting a civil war or some other country. that is not what was happening. there was an effort to get those troops out. it was about sequence and preventing the chaos. and this did not happen in this case. tonight, we have set a majority -- senate minority leader, i should say, mitch mcconnell, on the show, who has a lot to say about this particular topic. and then we have the u.n. ambassador from pakistan. and one of the reasons i really want to talk to him is to get a sense of what the next-door neighbor is going to be looking out on how they are going to deal with counterterrorism. many experts are really, really worried about al qaeda 2.0. it becomes al qaeda 3.0, and it is a real threat ahead of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. >> trace: i would just say in closing to you, bret, we talked about this many times, but when
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you talk about recruiting tools, recruiting potential terrorists, and there is nothing better in the recruiting world, ask any great football coach, than victory, and this was a victory that they will use to recruit for a long time to come. bret, great to have you on. >> sandra: we will be watching "special report" tonight. >> trace: it could be easy to forget that the united states designated them a terrorist group, right? they are trying to rebrand as a new, nicer taliban, promising not to rule with fear and bloodshed this time around. still, it will take more than words to convince the country. let's get to trey yingst live four us in jerusalem. >> the taliban took a victory lap today. they wanted to focus on diplomacy and working with the international community, saying things like they would respect women's rights in the country, and they would grant amnesty to
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all afghan civilians, regardless of whether they worked with the united states during the 20 years of war. the reality on the ground will likely not match up to these commitments, and i think that is the focus when we hear the white house talking about what the taliban has to say on the promises they are going to make. remember, the united states was at war with the taliban when they were on the ground controlling the afghan security forces as they fought this organization. just in six days, they were able to take over the entire country, so the declared victory at this press conference. but they try to rebrand themselves using some of the officials that came from qatar and around the region peering out the suicide bombers, not that people who have committed the assassinations of afghan pilots over the last several months, for example. one note that you did not hear a lot about, the government information building where this
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took place, the man who used to run that was assassinated just a week and a half go by the taliban. we have seen assassinations across the country against people who speak out against the taliban and the organization, and it is not just, we are talking about. the second and third largest cities in afghanistan, significant, significant taliban presence throughout the cities now. you see the fear in the faces of the people who are running after those c-17 american planes yesterday. they understand the brutality of the taliban. people in washington, the biden administration, they can say all they want that this is an organization that they believe could interact in some capacity with the international community, but when you look at the civilians who understand the taliban because they grew up amid it taliban and rule and in part having the taliban has the opposition in their society, that is really that gauge on the
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people you should be looking at you understand what will happen, as jennifer griffin pointed out, when those c-17s leave. the last american forces leave afghanistan, that is the real timeline that you need to be looking at, about what is going to happen on the ground in afghanistan. unfortunately, civilians acts are worried about a very, very dark chapter possibly ahead. >> trace: all very good points. back to you as the news breaks. >> sandra: let's bring in walid phares. thank you for being here. a stark warning from nikki haley, the former ambassador joined us top of the program this afternoon. let's listen. >> this could not have gone any worse, and you know, biden is trying to make this about what his options were. you know what? he didn't have to have it this way. it is not always what we do, but how we do it. and he failed miserably. he humiliated america.
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the world sees us as less safe right now, and that's all because of biden. it's tragic. >> sandra: a dire warning there. welcome. >> thank you. yes, well, sandra, yesterday the president and today the national security advisor, trying to convince the american people of the decisions they made, and they are presenting two arguments. putting aside of course the drama of the evacuation, the first argument is that we do not want to fight a civil war. that is the actual argument they are using. and then they say we are going to do counterterrorism as in somalia, syria, but what is the difference? they are also local, so that is a civil war. syria is a civil war, so the arguments that this is a civil war is not standing right with me. the second is that we are now applying a previous agreement, previous treaties, which was
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signed by the previous administration. no kidding. you have canceled it all, except for that one. and actually, that was not the same. the taliban would engage with the afghan government, that they will form a government, and gradually, what we have done under this administration over the past week is just the opposite. we did not engage with the taliban on the government. we allow the taliban to take over, and by the way, we are engaging with the taliban and talking with them about what? what is the long-term process? i am very concerned, and asking what was done between the biden administration and the taliban? what is this about? >> trace: trace gallagher here. very good point, sir. this whole concept of the administration now believing that we are possibly dealing with a kinder, gentler taliban. you go back to 2000, and remember it was that taliban
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that went to kabul university and gunned down 32 people. why? because they were having a book fair. they were against book fairs, and now you have women at kabul university, and this concept that they will just let all the women stand kabul university and bring women into the government is just preposterous on its face. what do you think of this concept being at least half-heartedly sold by the administration? >> you mentioned it 2000. we have discussed it many times. what they have done before the liberation of afghanistan. the taliban and spokesperson went on arab tv talking with a very different language than the statements we are getting. they looked like a muslim brotherhood, they look very cultural as part of the international community narrative. we are here to reestablish the
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same regime that we have lost 20 years ago, they are not lying. they are telling the truth. somebody else is lying here in the united states unfortunately. >> sandra: nikki haley also sounded off on what this means for women when she joined us earlier. listen. >> i think about, as ambassador, when i actually went and visited afghanistan, and the women and girls that i met with, the women who were holding positions in government, the girls were going to school, and now they are going to go back to being sex slaves head in their homes? this is terrible. >> sandra: gave a briefing, said that our women are muslims. they will be happy to live within the framework of sharia. what are the implications of the women over there? >> the first victims are and will be women, but there is a big difference.
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before 2001, women in afghanistan for many, many years where living the actual civil war that was ended by the taliban because they controlled the country and actually established a very -- a movement against women. now, between 2020 and 2021, a whole generation. i mean, in 2001, if a baby girl was born, she is not 20 years old. she has been to university, to colleges. she has an iphone, most of them, at least. and now they are going to come and suppress them. the tragedy is much bigger now because those women will be forced. they will be forced to be live under the taliban. so that is a very very important issue, tragic issue for the women of afghanistan. >> sandra: walid phares, i appreciate you this afternoon. >> trace: tens of thousands of americans, some of whom have helped the u.s., trying to
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escape taliban real. kabul's international airport is the only way out of the country, but sources now tell fox news that militants formed a ring around the area and will not let anyone inside of it. u.s. marine corps major who served in afghanistan, also the treasurer for the nonprofit, no one left behind. you are the best person to have on this right now because we are all trying to figure out exactly what is happening on the ground in afghanistan, and kabul right now. we know the airport is secured by the u.s. military. the question remains, we are now being told the state department is advising americans to actually go to the airport, as of the taliban are just going to escort them through and let them get on a plan and leaves. it just seems hard to believe, and if they are telling that to the americans, my guess is that they would be telling that to a lot of the afghan interpreters we have had over the years, and not also as a bridge may be too far your thoughts?
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>> i appreciate that you continue to bring a light to the subject. clearly this is a failure of planning on many parts. the fact that the roads leading into kabul are not secure, the fact that the roads leading to the airport are not secured, all part and parcel of a policy that is starting to fall apart right now, and although i am heartened to hear that the american military and administration are prepared to keep the international airport open until 31 august, i question how many people will be able to get out of there, and then what happens to the ones that are left behind after that point? >> sandra: we all left wondering that. we've got a few minutes left here. as we watch that unfold at the airport, we understand the pentagon is saying that they hope that they can get the situation under control, that they will be able to evacuate more people here. an important part of all of this
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is the messaging, and we are seeing a lot of mixed messaging from what we have heard from joe biden in the past about how he was going into this withdrawal. the way that this withdrawal is going to be executed, obviously been called into question. he seems to continue to double down on his decision to do this. what you expect from the president when we are told he will speak in the coming days? nothing imminent, but he is still at camp david. >> i think the president and the administration are doing what they can to resolve the situation. clearly they were very upfront about the fact that they were overcome by events. certainly the fall of kabul and the government happened much more quickly than anybody had anticipated. that being said, there is still no excuse for not having plans in place for getting individuals out of afghanistan in the previous four to five months. i remember back in may and june, there was intelligence reporting that kabul probably had six to nine months left before the
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taliban took it over. likewise in july, i recall intelligence reporting saying that afghanistan and kabul probably had 30 days, so i think there was ample time and wanting to prepare for this eventuality, and this is the result of not properly preparing for that. >> trace: christopher karwacki, thank you for joining us. we appreciate your time. >> sandra: we are going to throw to jacqui heinrich, reporting for us in everything rim a few moments ago. he saw the handoff from the national security advisor to press secretary jen psaki. covid questions at the top, but then jacqui heinrich asked of this. >> the administration left to negotiate with the taliban, including why khairullah khairkhwa was released for bowe bergdahl when joe biden was president. does he have any regrets, and how is he digesting that? >> i would point to the
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intelligence community to assess the identity of the individual. i know there has been reporting on it, but that is not my position to do here. i would also note that in prior negotiations and commitments made during the trump administration, there were thousands of individuals who were released, so our focus right now is on, again, not taking the taliban's word for it. we are assessing, closely watching, and being very clear about the capacities that we have at hand, should they be needed. of course that is not our objective. >> sandra: okay, so that is the latest from the white house on that. jen psaki took questions on covid and other things, but in this moment with chaos at the airport still, and still trying to secure the situation with the service men and women the ground there, it's quite something to see all of this play out. >> trace: and i think the clarity we need on this from the state department from the white house is exactly what is the next step for the americans right now? we know that there are tens of
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thousands of afghans who desperately want to get out of the country. many of the interpreters who helps the united states and the 20 years that they spent in the country, and those people desperately want to get out. we talk to somebody yesterday who said that they have family who were involved with the united states, and because of the fear of the taliban, they are actually burning their documents, burning the documents that have any ties to the americans. well, the counterpoint to that is those documents are desperately needed by these people so that they can actually get on a plan and get out of afghanistan and be safe, so that they are burning their tickets to freedom, and the question noe americans? do you trust that the taliban are going to stand back and let you get on a plane, sandra, because that's a question everybody has here? are they talking to people? the embassy is no longer manned, so they cannot call the embassy and say are you sure this is a
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good idea that we go to kabul international's? >> sandra: mike pompeo sat with us at the top of the last hour we pray for those americans still there, many in kabul still, and those afghan civilians were so desperately trying to flee the country. that is the goal. that is the mission right now is you just read from the national security advisor. we can add to you that that there have been no additional security kabul's airport since monday. they are trying to get the situation under control there. people who rushed into the air field, they are no longer there. they are assisting with the airport security and turkey is assisting. we will likely get updates throughout the day. i believe we were expecting a briefing from the state department just a short time from now. >> trace: "the wall street journal" editorial board was talking about the fact that there was a possibility that president biden may be finished with afghanistan. the question is, is afghanistan
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finished with president biden because of this whole al qaeda 3.0 that some believe could take hold if, in fact, there is now resolution and the taliban and decides to go back to its old ways. >> sandra: many are going to continue to question where is the president right now? thanks for joining me through all of this. i'm sandra smith. >> trace: >> martha: thank you. good afternoon. i'm martha maccallum in new york. breaking right now on "the story," we're moments away from an update from the state department. we just heard from the white house, jake sullivan. now you're about to see a grilling of the state department. what is going on at this airport in terms of what they're telling americans, can they get out safely as the scramble continues to get thousands of americans who still live in afghanistan out now that the taliban have taken control most hastily


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