tv Americas Newsroom With Bill Hemmer Dana Perino FOX News August 25, 2021 6:00am-8:00am PDT
>> thanks for joining us. so much news. ainsley, thank you very much. i won't be doing the milk carton challenge now. >> pete hegseth might do it. we were watching one girl who broke her arm. don't try it. >> see you tomorrow. >> bill: good morning. a lot moving at this hour. the u.s. working on the taliban's timeline in afghanistan. president biden conceding to the group on wrapping evacuations by tuesday. something our closest allies say will be impossible. a lot to get to as we begin our morning. i'm bill hemmer live in new york. >> dana: i'm dana perino. this is "america's newsroom." our veterans are enraged and heartbroken. you have americans stranded, allies who are furious and outraged. our reputation as america is diminished and the afghan people paying the price. >> bill: you ask yourself a
question what's going right? what's going well? >> dana: the white house has thoughts they want to spin you on. to that end the president is plowing forward with the deadline of august 31 despite our allies pleading for more time to get their people out. the decision is also drawing scrutiny from lawmakers at home. >> thousands of americans that president biden stranded behind enemy lines. instead of spending every minute working to get them out, he put a shot clock on them saying there is only seven days left to get all americans out. >> our office alone has received over 6,000 requests. many of these requests are from families with multiple people seeking support. >> president biden has signed a death warrant for thousands of afghans who helped us and he is washing his hands of afghanistan at our peril as a nation. >> i do not believe this can be accomplished by august 31 and i have requested they encourage the president in the strongest possible terms to reconsider that deadline.
>> bill: that's a democrat there at the end. here is where we stand at this hour. the president's national security team set to brief him on the situation next hour and we're expect to hear from secretary of state antony blinken later today on the number of americans still stranded. >> dana: fox news confirming the military drawdown is already underway. u.s. official saying there are fewer troops on hand insisting they can still defend the kabul airport. >> bill: new fox news questioning a taliban spokesperson on what that group expects to happen. we'll have that for you coming up at the bottom of the hour here. >> dana: we begin with a team fox coverage. griff jenkins at the state department with the latest on the evacuation. we begin with the pentagon. lucas tomlinson is standing by. >> several hundred troops have already departed as president biden says he will not extend his august 31 deadline despite thousands of afghans and some
americans languishing outside the gates. >> president biden: we're currently on a pace to finish by august 31st. the sooner we can finish, the better. each day of operations brings added risk to our troops. but the completion of august 31 depends upon the taliban continuing to cooperate and allow access to the airport. >> these young soldiers and marines are serving as air traffic controllers around the clock at the airport in kabul. evacuation flights launching every 45 minutes. a race against the deadline with a few days remaining. 19,000 people were evacuated yesterday, over 80,000 since august 14th including 4,000 americans. biden announced he would not move the august 31st deadline hours after the taliban said they wouldn't allow him to. 5500 troops remain in kabul and dozens of aircrafts and apache gun ships. the u.s. presence will go down to zero august 31 including
abandoning the $800 million u.s. embassy in kabul. the taliban will help protect the last americans leaving the airport from attacks from isis for al qaeda. >> roughly speaking you need at least several days to get the amount of forces and equipment that we have at the airport to get that safely and effectively retrogradeed. >> yesterday two members of congress both combat veterans flew unannounced to kabul airport in the midst of this chaotic evacuation stunning forces on the ground who had to protect them. those evacuation flights will begin to slow down as the u.s. military withdraw their teams. >> dana: the evacuation of thousands of americans and allies is taking on new urgency for six days until the august 31 deadline. griff jenkins from the state department. >> it is a race against the clock and a desperate attempt for americans, their families
and afghan allies to get out before the last flight departs. last night the spokesman at the state department tweeted an update on the efforts saying as of this morning, state department has called every american who has expressed interest in departing afghanistan via the repatriation assistance form on the u.s. embassy kabul website. we've made more than 4,000 personal calls over the last four days. unclear how many of those calls resulted in successful american evacuations. this after the pentagon said over 4,000 have left but that's not even half of the 11,000 of americans the white house estimated were still in afghanistan. and they still have yet to clarify exactly how many are stranded at this hour. white house press secretary jen psaki admitted we could have a situation where some are left behind after august 31st. >> our commitment continues to be to u.s. citizens. if they want to leave, we will
help get them out. again, we expect there could be some but i don't -- i won't get into it further. >> doesn't address the abandonment of the thousands of afghan allies who worked with the u.s. facing a harsh reality under taliban rule. this after g-7 allies frustrated but failed to convince president biden to extend the deadline. now united in pressing the taliban. u.k. prime minister boris johnson say they have to guarantee safe passage for those who want to come out through august 31 and beyond. yesterday the president said he has asked the pentagon and state department for contingency plans if they extend beyond august 31. we expect to hear from blinken a little after noon about what the contingency plan might look like. >> dana: the pentagon will brief at 10:30 and jen psaki at 1:00. >> bill: the white house pushing back on claims that americans are stranded in that
country. check out this exchange with peter doocy and jen psaki from yesterday afternoon. >> someone in kabul who says i am stranded. is there a better word for somebody who can't leave the house and get to the airport because jake sullivan said isis is outside the airport? >> i would welcome providing their phone number and we'll reach out to them today. >> dana: maybe that will help some of the people who are there. the issue about stranded not stranded is a semantic fight the white house won't win. reminds me when there was a refusal to call the border situation a crisis. eventually president biden said it was a crisis and americans do feel stranded. >> bill: they held that wall for a long time. >> dana: joining us now is general schoesser who commanded a division in afghanistan and he is the author of marathon war. dan hoffman, former cia station
chief who served in afghanistan and fox news contributor. wonderful to have you both here. maybe i'll start with you to tell me the lay of the land as we wake up today and realize that august 31st might have been a date that president biden initially came up with but the one the taliban says he must stick to. >> we are so much focused on kabul. we don't hear from the rural areas and the provision cities. there are american citizens there, afghan interpreters and families there trying to also get out. the challenge is the taliban controls the roads, they control all the airports, getting this emotion to kabul to get out in the next six days will be very challenging if not impossible. >> bill: you're right, a big vast country of 34 million. mountainous, extreme, and again you give one evacuation point and that's the airport in kabul. dan hoffman, you worked for the c.i.a. ce act to this. willian burns meets with the taliban two days ago in the
secret meeting. he tried to get us to stay longer. they denied that. he tried to propose the withdrawal by four days. that was denied. a promise to hand over and airport to the taliban after we clean it up and get it working properly and let the turks run it. they denied that. you are 0 for 4 in that meeting with the taliban. you call your boss back at the white house and say sir, they aren't giving an inch. you as an an sis. -- analysis, how would you react to that? >> the reaction of the meeting haven't been divulged yet. >> bill: this is what nbc news is reporting as of this morning. continue. >> right. i think there is probably a lot that happened in that meeting that hasn't been divulged. what i would expect some to be is director burns may have even shared some of our intelligence on isis. the u.s. government was
targeting isis in eastern afghanistan with really very, very effectively and also probably director burns asked baradar for threat information on isis and al qaeda and may have held the taliban accountable for providing us threat information to keep our people safe. the policy is set. burns didn't think he would be able to change the date. what he was trying to do, i think, was emphasize to the taliban if you really want this date to happen we need to keep our people safe and there is a mod couple of intelligence sharing that might be happening. i'm not suggesting it is a good thing for us. relying on the taliban is precarious at best. but i think it was likely the purpose of that meeting. >> bill: i would add this. isis threat is only talking about in the last two weeks. they filled the vacuum left by the united states. >> dana: to that point listen to jen griffin. she was on the five last night
talking about isis versus the taliban. how real is the isis threat and how we should be considering it. take a listen here. >> isis hates the taliban as much and the taliban hates isis as much as they hate us. isis would love to embarras the taliban right now and love to fire on the airport so americans had to pull out under fire. it boggles the mind that this was all known and this was all briefed to the president. >> dana: your thoughts on that, jeff. >> i think jennifer is absolutely right. i do want to remind our listeners and viewers that over the last year and a half isis has struck in afghanistan multiple times. they were responsible for the deaths of a woman, 85 children at a girls school. there is multiple other brutal attacks they've done. as jennifer said they hate the taliban as much as they hate america. they will do everything they can to make this withdrawal as extraordinarily difficult as
possible. >> bill: last comment here. jen griffin said we didn't keep our promise. it is a national shame. >> if we think our american citizens are stranded right now it will look a lot worse when we withdraw and our military capability. we don't have an embassy or intelligence footprint. we can't reach out and support them and protect them and get them out of harm's way. this is going to be an enduring crisis. let's not forget another crisis on the horizon. afghanistan will morph into a terrorist state with the taliban providing al qaeda safe haven to plot and plan against us. >> bill: thank you to both of you. waiting for speaker pelosi to come out and we'll take you live in a moment. let's go back to the president's statement delayed by 4 1/2 hours from yesterday. here we come twice now in a week we got this. >> president biden: thank you.
>> can you guarantee every american can be -- >> dana: a lot of questions for the president. the president hasn't taken many. i think it was strange yesterday the way they decided to sequence it. the white house press secretary came out at 3:30 to answer a lot of questions. >> bill: why would you do that? >> dana: the president's statement and answers should stand alone. she is capable as a press secretary. i thought it was strange and perhaps they didn't want him to take questions. >> bill: usa today, biden's handling of afghanistan, 62% disapprove. only 26 are in favor. and then his approval rating fell like a stone down to 41%. i saw that poll and i think what the american people are reacting to is someone on an emotional level as well. they see the u.s. in retreat
and also see a taliban that they assumed was vanquished 20 years ago and coming back and empowered and stronger than they ever were before. you think about all the terror attacks and terror warnings we had. think about the bally nightclub and time square bombing and all the stuff we went through. so much of that was put behind us. you get the sense now that those threats are back and they came back much quicker than any of us thought coming up on the 20-year anniversary of 9/11. that's reflected in that poll and you have a theory where the numbers go next. >> dana: i don't think they go up. i think the white house thinks they will. maybe eventually but they'll go down before they go up. >> bill: a lot more to get to coming up. the house meeting yesterday for the first time since the fall of kabul. mccarthy is here today and went off with his frustration on his colleagues and the president. that's coming up next hour. fox news alert.
supreme court reinstating a trump-era immigration policy delivering a major blow to president biden's agenda. what it means today for the border crisis. >> dana: president biden receiving the intelligence report on where covid came from. why investigate force are divided about its origins. >> bill: closed door briefing on the white house. updating the chaos we have left behind. mike rogers will tell us what he has learned to this hour coming up. >> the frustration was palpable. both sides of the aisle that we cannot leave americans behind. newday's low rate refi offers their lowest rate in history. two and a quarter percent. just 2.48 apr. save thousands every year and there are no upfront costs. not one dollar. the newday low rate refi.
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one of the people in the room mike rogers of alabama ranking member of the house armed services committee. good day to you. a couple things to get to. what was that meeting like if you have democrats and republicans both voicing their disagreements on what the commander-in-chief has decided? >> it was frustrating. there was no partisanship in the room. all of us wanted to make sure that every american that wants to leave afghanistan can get out. and that our friends who have helped us over the last 20 years can get out. there is nothing special about next tuesday. we need to have a mission focused on getting everybody out and when everybody is out the mission is complete. >> bill: he didn't listen and care. >> he is not listening to anybody. if he was listening to his military add o*rz we wouldn't be withdrawing the way we were. when he told george stephanopolous that nobody advised him about leaving he is lying.
he has not been listening and not listening now. >> dana: listen to what he said in april. >> president biden: we will not conduct a hastey rush to the exit. we'll do it deliberately and safely and full coordination with our allies and partners who now have more forces in afghanistan than we do. the taliban should know if they attack us as we draw down, we will defend ourselves and our partners with all the tools at our disposal. >> dana: what do you know what the administration was doing between april and today? >> they were rushing to the exit. and our allies, our nato allies in particular were not consulted. they were told we were leaving and they don't have the wherewithal to stay without us. they're unhappy about it. i came back from eastern europe last week with the chairman of the armed services committee and we got an earful from our nato allies how unhappy they are with our performance in afghanistan and questioning us
as reliable allies going forward. the repercussions of what is happening now will be with us for a long time but i want everybody to understand that the fact that we're in a dangerous situation in kabul now is solely responsibility of joe biden. we did not have to start pulling out troops before we got the americans out of there. we advised him not to do this. he just won't listen to anybody. >> bill: biden's rush to the afghan exit. taliban says to get out by august 31. the quote. end of the piece it reads like this. the afghan withdrawal is one of the sorryest american failures in decades. its consequences will play out for years if not decades as friends and foes recalibrate their will of america in general and biden's in particular. the president may want americans to forget the last two weeks but the world will remember. you said he doesn't care and he lied. >> that's right. >> bill: that's strong.
>> i will tell you in eastern europe last week. it was hard to sit on foreign soil and have our friends questioning us, question our reliability and that we were liable partners in nato. hard to hear but a fair question for them to raise because what they see us doing in afghanistan right now. but i want everybody to know that there is no need for us to be in harm's way right now but for joe biden and antony blinken. kabul would not have fallen if he had not pulled all the troops out when he did. so when you look at this circumstance we're suffering now it's solely the responsibility of joe biden. >> bill: i wonder what your democratic colleagues think now. it is really hard to put in words. we'll talk to one of them next hour and get her view then, sir. thank you. >> thank you. >> dana: fox news reporter in the middle east questioning the taliban on the u.s. withdrawal
as well as the group's treatment of women. we'll tell you how they responded. plus house democrats blocking a bill that would extend the evacuations until every single american is accounted for. republicans calling the move a terrible mistake. >> make no mistake if we get out on august 31 we'll condemn thousands to death. i don't care what secret side deal was struck with the taliban. this is america. we don't leave anybody behind. >> dana: we'll speak with the author of that bill congressman mike gallagher straight ahead. and it's easy. there's no money out of pocket and no upfront fees. and while some banks are raising their rates, newday is holding the line for veterans. lock in your rate.
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about getting both afghan civilians and u.s. citizens out of the country. today i did speak with taliban spokesman he said the group will insure safe passage for americans in other parts of afghanistan as long as they have a valid u.s. passport. now in recent days the taliban did announce afghans would no longer be per misted to leave as the situation outside of kabul's airport remains tense. here is what they said earlier today. >> there are thousands of americans who are stranded in other parts of afghanistan in places like kandahar, not just kabul. will the taliban insure their safety to get out of the country? >> yes, yes, yes. this is our policy. it is not for kabul, for kandahar and any place in afghanistan, those who are intending to leave afghanistan they can leave. so -- but of course they should have passports and visas. >> these words come as g-7
leaders are urging president biden to extend the august 31 deadline. german chancellor merkel expressed concerned afghanistan will become a breeding ground for terrorism. remember in february president biden told america's european allies this. >> president biden: america is back. diplomacy is back. at the center of our foreign policy. >> serious consequences on the ground about the changes in actions and words certainly major concern not only by countries like germany but also great britain about the u.s. actions and how quickly and efficiently they could leave afghanistan. bill. >> thank you, trey yingst live in doha. to capitol hill now speaker pelosi is meeting with reporters. she has talked a lot about the build back better plan and voting rights. a moment ago she said this about afghanistan.
>> we didn't make it known because it would be dangerous for them. a matter of hours but still until they were airborne it would not have been safe for them. the secretary of defense, secretary of state, there is a real concern about members being in the region and so with these, shall we say, knowledge of the secretary of defense as to what the risk would be to these members, a, the resources necessary to facilitate their visit and to protect them was an opportunity cost of what we needed to do to be evacuating as many people as possible. so it's not just about them going to afghanistan, but them going to the region because there is a call on our resources diplomatically and militarily and the rest in the region as well. so this is deadly serious.
we do not want members to go. >> you are disappointed in them specifically. >> i haven't heard what -- let me just say i think my letter speaks for itself in terms of these people shouldn't be going there. >> on that front, have you spoken to them since >> i haven't. i guess they're back now. i haven't spoken to them since, no. >> do you see it as a distraction? >> the point is we don't want anybody to think it is a good idea and that they should try to follow suit. again, i haven't -- i've been busy, it is an important thing. we wanted to make sure they were safe for themselves but also for what consequences could throw and ramifications if something happened to them while they were there. so they have to make their own case as to why they went and this or that but it is -- it was not in my view a good idea.
>> will you meet with them then ?oo >> we'll see. they had their committee. see, when e, when you go -- thi just like -- it's not just like i'll go to afghanistan. you need the approval of your committee chair in order to do that. we put out the word to committee chairs there ain't going to be no planes or this or that for people going to the region or any facilitation. you see, the defense department has to protect but the state department has to facilitate. really? we're trying to get people out. so again, without having a fuller knowledge of -- i don't think they had any committee approval. i don't know that. i don't know what happened on the republican side. my understanding they didn't have committee approval on the democratic side but in any
event, interesting. i don't think a major distraction because we put an end to any thought that anybody was going there right away. >> to that end on afghanistan with this effort to try to withdraw these folks and get people out safely and evacuate them. what does it say about the fact that the two numbers, democrat and republican. i've talked to a number of offices working the phones constantly to get people out they feel so desperate that they need to freelance on their own. does that speak to this problem about the evacuation? >> no, i think it speaks to that they want to freelance on their own. i wouldn't make anything bigger of this. we have a big challenge to get people out safely. and to get them -- i talked to milala. the
-- she basically in our conversation in a follow-up letter said most important thing right now is for us to have the u.s. to have a strong military presence at the airport and the opportunity for people to get to the airport. it's not in furtherans of that to have members going over there. >> as for the two members of congress republican and democrat made their way for kabul on the ground from 12 to 14 hours. not a wise move. they did it. it's over. they posted their descriptions on social media and what they saw at the airport they characterized as indescribable. speaker pelosi continues on the hill. >> dana: here with us now is wisconsin congressman mike gallagher. want to talk about the bill you put on the floor yesterday. let's get your first reaction. there are a lot of questions to nancy pelosi now about to t two congressmen going to afghanistan. you served there. what did you make of all of it?
>> well, speaker pelosi spent more time answering questions in that brief than she did all week on the house floor prior or advertising afghanistan-related legislation or our efforts to help get rid of arbitrary deadlines to make sure we don't leave any americans behind. for members going to afghanistan on their own, i think it is a bad idea and publicity stunt and counterproductive as getting as many people out as possible. we had an opportunity yesterday, dana, to pass bipartisan legislation that would require the administration to report to us every day on how many americans are still there and how many of our afghan allies are seeking refuge and prevent them from withdrawing until everyone gets out. every democrat voted against it. they did that because they didn't want to endanger the $5 trillion monstrosity, the bernie budget that speaker pelosi is trying to force
through congress on a purely party line vote. they revealed their priorities. rather than saving americans they're focused on the absolute progressive blow-out budget that will be damaging tore america. one of the most shameful things i've seen in my five years in congress. i'm very disappointed since in the briefing we had yesterday the same briefing where the secretary of defense and secretary of state refused to tell us how many americans they think are still there, there was democratic pushback. democrats very angry and democrats that say we abandon the 31st surrender. where there were on the moment of truth. we're betraying our people and condemning thousands to death in the process. >> bill: a remarkable statement you just made. within hours you have both of these matters coming to a head. kabul and house democrats
voting for the 3.5 trillion blueprint to go forward. what you just said is democrats in private supported you and democrats in public opposed you. make sense of that. >> well, the only way i can make sense of it is that they're getting pressure evidence by the progressives. we know that the president himself instead of spending time rethinking his disastrous withdrawal and arbitrary timeline has been on the phones twisting arms, pressuring members. we know former presidents have been doing the same and nancy pelosi has been doing everything in her power to push through this bernie sanders budget. i think it's fair to say they caved to progressive pressure and again this is just a shameful day. there is -- >> dana: i just want to play a sound from two democrats who publicly said what your bill would have done and then they voted against it. watch here. >> the deadline is when the mission is accomplished and we
bring our people home. >> i submit we have to stay until we get our -- certainly our american citizens out and as many of our afghans out as possible. >> dana: i don't understand. if you are willing to say it publicly why wouldn't you be willing to take the vote? >> and i know these members have been working very hard behind the scenes informally to help people they know. i respect their service but congress has more tools at its disposal than just going in front of a microphone or sending a sternly worded letter to the administration. we are supposed to be the branch of government to pass legislation that forces the executive branch to rethink their approach or at least include us in the process and yet we continue this surrender. we surrender our power to the executive branch and now because of that people are going to lose their lives and with it america's credibility is going to be lost on the world stage.
again, it's a sad day for the congress and a sad day for our country. >> dana: great point about congress's role if they
decide to take it. thank you for joining us today. >> bill: mike gallagher, thanks. >> dana: a reminder for those who have worn the uniform that help is available around the clock if you need it. call 1-800-273-8255 and then press 1. the veterans crisis line is also reachable if you text 838255. or you can chat online by visiting the site on the screen we're showing you there. please take a moment, write it down. if you didn't serve yourself but know someone who did, write it down and have it ready because these people might need help. of course just so you know, everything is kept confidential. >> bill: important message there. the biden administration dealt a serious blow setback on the border agenda after a ruling by the u.s. supreme court late last night. we'll tell you what that means. plus the future of the media under the taliban rule. and what about women?
the head of the most popular news channel in afghanistan shares his fears in a moment next. >> because
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>> bill: reminder the pentagon with word they'll brief next hour. we'll cover it live when it begins. afghanistan's first independent and most-watched news channel is facing a new threat under taliban rule. 20% of the women anchors who work at tolo news have left. remember, it's only been a week. what is their fate and their future? saad mohseni runs the news and our condolences to you. you have a remarkable story. you found this media company in 2002 when afghanistan was changing. you were living by different rules and then with the flip of a switch last week you go back 20 years. what is the fate for your workers there and your message from that news outlet?
>> thanks, bill. we don't know. the future is very uncertain because we have no clarity in terms of what the taliban will do with the media, with women at work, with education of women. they haven't even formed a cabinet. so there is lack of clarity in terms of how they are going to treat all of us. we have to wait and see. >> dana: our fox news digital team have an exclusive interview with a female afghan journalist and keeping her identity anonymous but listen to her here. >> very basic rights as a human that i have to speak, to go out of my home, to choose everything i want. it is gone. there is no hope for me, for my generation, for my people, for females, especially for the journalists who are very afraid. it feels like the end of the
story and end for me. >> dana: that has been repeated by many other journalists there. the country is quite young actually. it doubled in size from a population standpoint and 41% of the people there under 14 years of age. they don't know what they are about to experience. how might they be able to get news now? what is the capability of being able to find out what's really going on in their country? >> well, the country is plugged in and connected more than ever before. the majority of people have access to a television set, younger people have access to the internet. social media. 65% of the population is under the age of 20. so they are very plugged in and it will be very difficult for the taliban to take it away from them. so we should be able to still deliver news. we are pretty -- people get the
news or get content online on satellite and cable. and i think that genie will be difficult to put back in the bottle. >> bill: i hope you're right about that. less than 5% of afghanistan 20 years ago had electricity. now it's a much different world for the taliban. what message did they deliver when they went to your news outlet in kabul? what did they tell the people there? >> well, i think this is a very strange period for them. they have to win over the political opposition. they have to consolidate their rule over the country and win hearts and minds and most important of all they have to convince people like you, the internationals, that people you can do business with. so what they do today and what they say today could be very different to what we may experience in six months' time. don't forget troops will be out in the next few days. so we may get a totally different treatment in a few days' time. i think time will tell as to
how serious they are about engaging with the rest of the world and how open three in afghanistan. >> bill: how concerned are you that the world will even know this once we're gone? >> i think we'll be off the front pages and slowly forgotten. this is a fear that we have. and you listen to the president, your president, priority seems to be american citizens and translators but i think the 35 million people who will get left behind are going to suffer and for us this forever war, which is ending for you, is going to continue for us. >> bill: we wish you the west. best. thank you for sharing your story today and everybody who works for you. saad, thank you. >> dana: now this. >> no possible way we can get every american that's still in afghanistan out in the next seven days. >> dana: house republicans are sounding the alarm on afghanistan. they say the president and his party are more focused on big
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decision writing in part, quote, the department of homeland security respectfully disagrees with the district court's decision and regrets the supreme court decided to issue -- declined to issue a stay. dhs has appealed to the district court's oerd. as the appeal process continues dhs will comply with the order in good faith. as you look at drone video we shot here this morning of migrants being apprehended the question is how soon will they implement this order? there were rooum orls it would happen over the weekend. la jolla said there was a rush on the border migrants trying to get through before it happened. listen. >> this weekend was very chaotic. we had in less than an hour, about 200 people or more crossing through our area. we saw a huge spike from friday to actually yesterday. >> then take a look at this photo out of the yuma sector.
a 43-year-old nicaragua woman they caught crossing illegally. agri vaited felon. first degree murder, arson, armed robly, burglary and kidnapping. they will be prosecuted for reentry and deported back to nicaragua and to wrap up look at this final photo here. looks like an average border patrol vehicle, right? it is a total fake. this was in border patrol's tucson sector. agents foiled a human smuggling attempt. he cloned a border patrol vehicle and had a uniform on. he got arrested and the 10 migrants with him were all taken into custody. another typical weekend down here at the border. send it back to you. >> bill: it's astounding. >> dana: president biden meeting with his security team and the house committee is in a
closed door meeting in afghanistan. it is giving way to panic and terror as president biden refuses to extend the deadline to get out. welcome in a new hour of in us news. i'm dana perino. >> bill: i'm bill hemmer. we're learning evacuations could be halted in a matter of days giving the military time to pack out and get out by the 31st of august. the taliban has the airport surrounded cutting off access for many who want to get out. steve scalise slamming biden for making his massive spending bill the priority over getting americans safely out of afghanistan. here is what he said. >> instead of spending every minute working to get them out he put a shot clock on them saying there is only seven days left to get all americans out. he was wasting precious time this week burning the phones up pressuring democrats to vote for a $5 trillion spending bill and tax bill. that's what he was wasting time on. >> bill: more in a moment. the front page "new york post"
calling biden weak-willed. for caving to taliban demands that all u.s. troops be out in a week's time. >> dana: full coverage ahead. chad pergram on capitol hill. house republican leader kevin mccarthy with reaction and let's start with peter doocy at the white house and the latest on president biden's deadline decision. >> good morning and we've asked the white house what exactly the taliban is telling biden officials privately. >> if the taliban said that staying past the 31st would provoke a reaction and president biden decides okay, we won't bend. do they have the same kind of influence over military planning as the commander-in-chief? >> the taliban's deadline was made first. struck in a deal with the prior administration. the president's timeline was august 31st. >> north carolina republican senator thom tillis says we deserve to know the full extent of the agreement with the
taliban including the arbitrary and inflexible deadline that led us to the humiliating point of the taliban dictating terms to the u.s. and setting a red line right before the president took the mic last night new reports from the ground the taliban were making access to the airport in kabul extremely difficult. then the president goes and reads from some prepared remarks and said that the taliban are key to making his deadline. >> president biden: but the completion of august 31st depends upon the taliban continuing to allow access to the airport for those we are transporting out and no disruptions to our operations. >> the dispatches we're getting hour by hour from kabul carry a lot of urgency but the president is trying to stick to his long planned schedule. his only on-camera event today isn't about afghan security but cybersecurity. dana. >> dana: thank you, peter.
>> bill: so two congressmen, one republican and democrat under heat today. they took a secret trip to kabul airport. they made it into afghanistan to witness evacuation efforts firsthand and they said it was indescribable. chad pergram picks up the story. nancy pelosi asked about this. what happened? >> that's right. house speaker nancy pelosi wrote to members yesterday urging them not to travel to afghanistan. pelosi wrote that member travel to afghanistan quote, would unnecessarily divert needed resources from the priority mission of safely evacuating people. lawmakers are struggling to get people out so i asked the speaker just last hour if members were so desperate to assist that they began freelancing. >> this is deadly serious. i think it speaks that they wanted to freelance on their own. i wouldn't make anything bigger of this. >> the two are both veterans
and defended their flight saying they wanted to assist getting people through the gates at the airports and to safety. the lawmakers said washington should be ashamed of the position we put our service members in. some members defended their colleagues. >> and they're doing things to try to get people out. again, every minute of every day by all of us should be spent trying to help get people out. that's not where president biden's priority was. >> gop leadership blasted pelosi for bringing the house back to session to grapple with the social spending bill and not deal with afghanistan. they teed up a budget framework to help the senate sidestep a filibuster. >> dana: for more on this kevin mccarthy. leader mccarthy. let's get you on record what you think about the trip to afghanistan by the two congressmen overnight. >> i don't think it's the best decision because you put people in jeopardy as a member of congress taking away the work. but i understand why they would
want to go. you could not get the number of names of how many americans were there from the biden administration. the democrats here called us back but wouldn't work on it. spent time twisting arms to pass trillions of dollars. they're more concerned about social spending than saving americans. i think it was just the frustration that they felt that these are veterans and felt they had to do something. for nancy pelosi to criticize them after she wouldn't spend any moment of time. she stayed late into the night into her office twisting arms to spend trillions of dollars. what about those americans late into the night in afghanistan trying to find a way to the airport? she should have spent a little time on that. >> dana: a famous saying from the taliban that you have the clock, but we have the time. it seems that right now the taliban has the clock and the time. and yesterday when president biden came out to give his speech instead of meeting the moment he started with the build back better 3.5 trillion plan that just passed the house. what did you think of that?
>> he has ruined our reputation on the world stage. i think he is allowing the taliban direct our foreign policy and reputation. when you have countries such as the u.k. and france that are in afghanistan for only one reason, that america was attacked, that are begging us to extend the deadline past the 31st so they can get their citizens out, that the president sides with the taliban because the taliban told him when? that's a very sad day for america. and you know what nancy pelosi said on the floor? it was a good day for america and democrats. because all they focused on was this spending. are they so tone deaf that they don't know what's happening in the world? this is not going to harm us for the next week, it will harm us for the next two decades. we're leaving americans behind. when he gives the date, president biden of august 31st, it's really the 28th. that's when all the troops have to be out. they have to start shutting down now. what are you telling those
americans and maybe they're not in kabul but somewhere in afghanistan? how will they get out? >> bill: doesn't it seem like it's a deliberate strategy. the focus overseas and put it on america. they want to tee up the $5 trillion and get it done now. to them this is not a crazy idea. to them this is a strategy and it is deliberate. >> it is a selfish strategy. the other thing they did was change election law yesterday. that you don't show i.d. when you vote. a public servant should be caring about the public, not themselves. the democrats showed their true colors of what they truly believe in one of the greatest crisis that america has faced in a moment of time when you look for a public servant to put the public before yourself, the democrats did the complete opposite. and for the white house to spend time, president biden, calling democrats to twist their arms to vote on that when we had americans in harm's way? i don't understand this.
this should not be political. america should come first. the lives of americans. you were the commander-in-chief and the leader of the free world and you allowed to taliban to dictate foreign policies and shunned our allies, the greater supporters who gave their own lives because america was attacked 20 years ago and now just before you had a report on the border, he opened our border. we just released 5 thouf prisoners in afghanistan. we've been catching people on the terrorist watch list this year coming across the border. we're less safe today than we were 20 years ago. they have more blackhawk helicopters than australia has. they have drones, they have weaponry that we wouldn't want any other army to have. that's what this administration has done and they spent their time spending trillions of dollars this instead of focus ong on the protection of america. >> thousands of night vision goggles. we ran the night because we had them and they did not. we could do things they could
never get and now they have all of it. react to this "wall street journal." biden's rush. the key paragraph here. mr. biden's bloody-minded refusal to adapt to the collapse of the afghan government and military is another reminder electing the u.s. president is a fateful choice. character matters but character has many parts. one is judgment. another is the courage to admit a mistake and regroup. mr. biden is failing on both counts. with 3 1/2 years to go in his presidency the world is going to become much more dangerous. end quote. your reaction to that. >> i think you have 100% correct. we watched every crisis in this new administration that he ran from it. that he ignored it. first the border, he couldn't call it a crisis. he pushed it off to the vice president. we watched ransomware come in. what do you think the taliban thought when they saw the weakness and china and russia and what do you think will happen in the future to taiwan
or baltics or eastern europe based upon what president biden's actions have been recently. it is putting us in harm's way. >> dana: can i ask you one thing about the fact that you've spent a lot of the past few years recruiting veterans who have fought in iraq and afghanistan to fight and yesterday they held a press conference. you could feel their anguish and i wonder if you could reflect on that as we wrap up here in the little time we have. i thought that was quite remarkable yesterday. >> i want to thank anyone who fought and especially the gold star families. more importantly it isn't about one party. i watch democrat veterans stand up. ist is emotionally moving because they've seen what's happened on the ground. they've watched their friends die. i have members who lost limbs, legs, eyes. this is personal to them what their sacrifices are. to watch the commander-in-chief sit back and take the taliban
for our foreign policy, you would understand why they would get in a plane and go there themselves. every single veteran serving in congress has told me they would go back tomorrow given the opportunity. >> dana: we'll be talking to one of the democrats in a little bit on our show as well. thank you so much. >> bill: kevin mccarthy there. the last line the world was going to become much more dangerous. also a piece today about william gholston worked for clinton and gore and mondale and he has three simple solutions for trying to repair the relationship that we have around the world. number one, honor your commitment to your friends in afghanistan and do it before the deadline. two, get with allies in nato and make sure the relationships have been restored. number three with regard to the world being a much more dangerous place make sure estonia and taiwan know that you have their back because they are under direct threats between russia and china as we speak. >> dana: the intelligence
community delivering a highly-anticipated review of the covid things. we'll talk about covid origins and president biden talking about a spending agenda before afghanistan. >> president biden: we need both of those election bills. let me now turn to afghanistan. address my fellow veterans. o one of the benefits that our country gives us as veterans is the powerful va home loan benefit. it lets us refinance 100% of our home's value, not just 80% like other loans. that's a big difference. and it can mean a lot more money for you and your family. and this is the best time in history use it because home values are now at record highs while mortgage rates are near record lows. the newday 100 va cash out loan lets you take out $50,000 or more to use as you wish. improve your home, pay down debt, or just put it in the bank for the financial security every veteran deserves.
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>> dana: officials delivering a report to president biden on the origins of coronavirus. the assessment was inconclusive. jonathan serrie has the details from atlanta. i think this probably wasn't too much of a surprise. >> not much of a surprise. the report is still classified and we're awaiting a declassified version of it. but according to reporting by
the "washington post", biden was briefed on the report but again no smoking gun. the report was inconclusive as to the origins. the initial theory was the coronavirus jumped from bats to humans in a market in wuhan, china. however, later theories included an accidental release from the chinese research lab. today a chinese foreign ministry official dismissed the lab leak theory and suggested u.s. labs should be investigated instead. >> it's the united states in hyping up the lab leak theory this would set an example and invite the who to investigate the university of north carolina. >> johnson & johnson has released clinical trial data showing a booster to its single dose covid vaccine enhances the immune response. the company says it looks forward to discussing with public health officials a potential strategy of giving
the additional shot to people eight months or longer after their initial dose. dana, as you know, federal health officials are awaiting fda approval on boosters for the pfizer and moderna two-dose vaccines. thank you. >> thus far, the taliban have been taking steps to work with uls so we can get our people out. but it's a tenuous situation. we've already had some gun fighting break out. we run a serious risk of it breaking down as time goes on. none of us are going to take the taliban's word for it. >> bill: there it is. cooperation with the taliban key to evacuations. is the president giving legitimacy to a group that gave safe haven to terrorists al qaeda. representative houlihan. thank you for your time and thank you for your service. good morning to you. >> thank you.
>> bill: mike gallagher, republican colleague of yours, a veteran as well last hour was on our program. he was on the floor of the house yesterday trying to get this thing passed where we would not get out before we secured the release of all the americans. he said this on the floor. >> make no mistake, if we get out on august 31st we'll condemn thousands to death. i don't care what secret side deal was struck with the taliban. this is america. we don't leave anybody behind. >> bill: we've heard from many lawmakers, republican and democrat. in that private meeting yesterday many democrats said we support this but yet when it came to the floor they voted it down. did you speak up during that private meeting yesterday about protecting americans? >> first of all i want to say thank you to the tens of thousands of veterans who have served during this difficult 20 year time and in terms of that meeting it was very, very well
attended bipartisan very active conversation about all of the issues that i know you guys have been reporting on. there was a very, very long line of people leading to ask questions and we ran out of time for everybody on that line to be able to ask those questions. we've been asking those questions through other means. i came out of another briefing myself on the foreign affairs side and helpeding into another one on armed services this afternoon. the opportunity we have in smaller group settings to ask the questions that the american public deserves. >> bill: the line was long and you didn't get chance. so many other democratic colleagues had a chance and they said we can't leave people behind. so why in the world en masse would the democratic party vote against what gallagher was proposing? >> i think what's interesting right now is the president's conversation and we are pushing back. i am a part of a group called the problem solvers, an equal number of democrats and republicans that are questioning the date certain of august 31st. we're asking for the president
to explain a little bit better to us why that date has been picked and what the contingency plans are, if any. how we can be comforted to know that no one will be left behind with the timeline and trying to do the math behind to scenes to figure out if the date is an appropriate one. i understand and very deeply appreciate the fact as time goes by more and more opportunities for mischief unfolds on the part of the taliban. >> bill: it's obvious you guys had your chance yesterday and you stepped on it. >> dana: but you mentioned the problem solvers caucus. another thing that happened yesterday. for the last few weeks we've been following all of this back and forth between the problem solvers caucus and pelosi's office about the 3.5 thrill onspending plan that president biden wants to pass. and there was real strong feelings by the problem solvers caucus they would hold the line and make sure the infrastructure bill could go independently from the 3.5
trillion and overnight the resolve fades away and all the democrats voted to go ahead and push forward the 3.5 trillion dollar bill. i know they are supposedly be a vote on september 27th. what happened to the problem solvers caucus resolve here? >> i would push back a little bit on a couple of your ideas here. first of all the movement was not a problem solvers movement. there were a lot of problem solvers involveed and many other parts from the democratic coalition from all parts of the democratic caucus and spectrum. second of all, i believe that what was agreed to was that we were able to go ahead and guarantee a vote on something the american people support, the infrastructure package. guarantee by the 27th of september. we voted on moving forward on talking about this budget, this 3.whatever trillion budget. we set the top line for those conversations and began the process of being able to have our subcommittees and
committees meet on that issue. i'm part of the small business committee as well. in another week or so i'll sit down to begin that process. but we began the process, set the top line and now we're moving forward to make sure whatever we come up with is passable by the senate. i think that's one of the things that we universally as problem soefrls and others as part of that spectrum of our caucus believe it is really important for the american people that we move forward on legislation that can pass the senate and house and get signed by the president. >> bill: dana's point is you guys held the line and folded within hours. how come? >> i guess i would push back again on that. i think the major issues that this group of nine or 10 people were pushing on were solved in the sense that they got resolved. that they will be able to get a clean vote on the infrastructure bill by the end of this month and that they will separate those two from one another. >> bill: this will be continued for another month and to christmas. can you help our audience
understand what the commander-in-chief is thinking about this kabul deal? do you understand it? >> i'm trying to. of course, i come from -- i am a veteran and come from a military family. my dad and grandfather. >> bill: doesn't this sting to think after 20 years this is the conclusion? >> i think that it's an incredibly sad time for all of us and i'm sure we're all conflicted about our feelings about this. but i do very much respect the commander-in-chief, any commander-in-chief and their difficult decisions they have to make in the name of all of us. and so i am working hard in my position and my mission is to do the things that are required of me by article 1 which is to have oversight and ask the hard questions. to know that this is a very, very difficult process for all of us to navigate and go through. >> bill: don't let america down. thank you for your time today. thank you. come back. >> dana: we're waiting for the pentagon to update us on the situation in afghanistan and the efforts to evacuate
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what about the americans? answers on that hopefully in a moment. >> dana: thousands of americans and afghan allies are scrambling to get to the airport in kabul and board one of the evacuation flights. not everyone makes it past the checkpoints. four family members were turned away at the last minute because of their paperwork and told it wasn't in order. mansour escaped the taliban 20 years ago and living in the united states and joins us by phone. i know you are worried about your family. tell us your story. >> thank you for having me. so my family attempted to go to the airport wednesday of last week. and they only live about a mile or two away from the airport and it took them three hours to drive there. once they got there, there was a massive amount of people and they basically had to wait in the back and wait for everybody to get processed and as the day went, it turned into night and they had to sleep over and
basically the next day they woke up and lots of things happened. my aunt went unconscious, my uncle is claustrophobic and had a panic attack. one of my younger cousins, she fell and got stepped on multiple times and she got injured and everybody was dehydrated. nobody had charges on their phones and no way to communicate to them directly. >> bill: you are looking at a calendar that doesn't work in their favor. is there a way to make this happen? or are you losing hope by the hour? >> i am still very hopeful. i am calling all my contacts here in america and overseas to find ways and means to get them out as safely as possible. >> dana: white house press secretary said if there was anybody there who needed help she was specific about americans. you are an american, am i right
on that? >> yes, i am a u.s. citizens and been one for the past five to ten years. >> dana: we are glad to have you. get that information to our bookers and we'll get it to the white house press secretary and see what can happen. yesterday the president said that he was not moving on the august 31st date. what would you like him to know about your service and your commitment to being here in the united states and what you would hope could happen in the next few days? >> being a u.s. citizen and doing my due diligence working 8:00 to 5:00 and paying my taxes i hope and pray the president understands that we all have family members, we're all human and trying -- we all want our family to be safe. right now what the taliban are saying goes against what they actually did 20 years ago. so don't fall for their lies. don't listen to their stories and do what you can to get as many people that want to get
out as safely as possible. that includes these four beautiful people of mine as well, please. >> bill: do you think america has let you down at this point? >> i mean, they definitely didn't bring my hopes up when they left in the middle of the night without letting anybody know that they left in afghanistan. and so it could have been pulled off a little better. but i mean who am i to say anything to the commander-in-chief? >> dana: do you know if your family will make another attempt today? >> i don't think that will be possible. there are rumors and news that the taliban are not letting afghan citizens go to the airport by themselves either by foot or car or by any other means. so i am not hopeful for them making ayinde tempts but hopeful for finding help for them to find transportation to get there. >> keep at it. last question. when you talk about paperwork, do they have passports, visas?
what is in this paperwork that could easily be ripped up by the taliban if they showed it at a checkpoint? >> they have passports, they have ir5 visas pending with the u.s. immigration office and they also have a very important letter from one of their employers basically saying that their life is in danger and they have previously been harassed by the taliban. they actually had to go to a safe house closer to the airport to get easier access in and out. it's not so easy to get access. >> bill: listen, the white house said if we've got names we'll give it to them. we'll pass your message to them. thanks for your time. good luck. to the pentagon we go. >> efficiently and safely as possible. in the past 24 hours, we
exceeded the previous 24-hour flight departures and evacuated a number of passengers nearing the previous day's record. yesterday 42 u.s. military aircraft of which were 37 c-17s and 5 c-130s departed with approximately 11,200 personnel. combined with our 48 coalition and allied partners, those departures an additional 7,800 personnel left kabul. that is 90 flights total yesterday that left the kabul airport. that is counted for 19,000 evacuees, now safely out of afghanistan within a 24-hour period. since the u.s. and coalition forces began the evacuation to date approximately 88,000 have
safely departed from afghanistan. every 39 minutes yesterday, a plane departed kabul airport. these numbers are a testament to the hard working and brave service members carrying out this mission. in cooperation with the state department i can also tell you that there are more than 10,000 people currently at this time at the airport awaiting departure. this is a snapshot in time and as we said yesterday will continue to change as more people are able to come onto the airfield and as flights depart. as i said yesterday, in order for this through-put to remain steady we depend on capacity and efficiency of our intermediate staging bases and safe havens. we're appreciative of the support and rely on our allies and partners in this global endeavor. six flights will transport
about 1,800 vulnerable afghans from germany to the united states today. in addition, approximately 2,000 more. ramstein air base is scheduled to receive 13 flights. yu com has assisted 12,000 afghans and evacuees for transit to onward locations. more details today as the press scheduled with mr. kirby and general walters later today. several thousand evacuees have arrived in the united states so far. and will continue to do so. in the past 24 hours, five flights landed at dulles international airport with approximately 1,200 passengers. as part of this process, these individuals completed vetting and screening in accordance
with the f.b.i., nctc and customs and border control standards, all directed by the department of homeland security. we are working around the clock to provide safe, sanitary and appropriate receptions at processing at all of our locations throughout the world. we know you have questions about our current timeline and intent for departure. our mission remains unchanged. for each day of this operation we have carried out the direction of the president and the secretary of defense. until that mission changes, we will continue to put forth our maximum effort to safely evacuate as many people as possible and we will keep you updated. lastly i want to give you a short update on haiti. the department of defense and u.s. southern command are continuing to be in full support of usaid as the lead
u.s. federal agency. the bureau for humanitarian assistance team has been on the ground since the beginning and we've been supporting them since then. as have a lot of our allies and partners working with international community to identify points of need. this lifesaving aid and assistance mission is your dod capabilities in airlift and logistics are engaged each day to get that lifesaving aid where it needs to be rapidly. as of late last evening haiti has conducted over 364 full spectrum missions both with the d.o.d. assets and united states coast guard that assisted or saved over 436 lives and delivered over 163 pounds of vital aid as of late yesterday. thank you. >> this should be admiral
kirby, right? >> good morning, everybody. just one more note and then we'll get to questions. i think you may have seen now we have released the secretary's memo with respect to mandatory vaccinations for covid-19. he has determined after careful consultation with medical experts and military leadership and with the support of the president that mandatory vaccination against the coronavirus disease, covid-19, is necessary to protect the safety of our service members and force. mandatory vaccination will only use covid-19 vaccines that received full licensure from the food and drug administration in accordance with fda approved labeling and guidance. mandatory vaccination requirements will be implemented consistent with d.o.d. immunization program instructions 65 -- 62.05.02. the existing structure and
regulations that govern policies and procedures for managing mandatory vaccination across the force. this is consistent with the department's efforts to insure the safety of our service members and again to maintain the readiness of the force. with that we'll take questions. >> thank you. with regard to afghanistan, i wonder if you could give us a sense of what the evacuation endgame is likely to look like or expected to look like in terms of the sequence of events over the last three, four, five days. will the u.s. need to have exclusive use of the field and the apparatus to execute the final flights? >> i will ask the general to be more specific than me, bob. but what we anticipate happening in the last couple of days, so first of all we will
continue to evacuate needed populations all the way to the end if we have to and we need to. if you are an evacuee that we can get out we'll continue to get you out right up until the end. but in those last couple of days we will try to preserve as much capability as we can at the airport as you might imagine. in those last couple of days we will begin to prioritize military capabilities and military resources to move out. that doesn't mean that if you are an evacuee and you need to get out that we're not going to try to get you out but that we will have to reserve some capacity in those last couple of days to prioritize the military footprint leaving. because we want to be able to keep it there as long as possible to do the job that it is intended to do. >> the charter flights would be
finished earlier and you talking about american military resources? >> primarily u.s. military troops and equipment. we are now and have been working with our allies and partners to help them withdraw their people and will help them withdraw their forces as well. >> right to the very end or have you had to do that earlier? >> we want to preserve as much capability as possible. some of that capability is not ours. some of it is our allies and partners. there will be a balance there. it will be up to the admiral how he makes sure he has the maximum capability for as long as possible and striking that balance. there will be a transition more towards getting military assets out as we get closer to the end but again, we will continue to work the evacuation mission right up until the last day. >> i think what i would add to
the great answer mr. kirby gave there is as you've seen in the last three days, the complexity and amount of aircraft moving in and out. so the capability to continue to sequence and plan for the actual requirements that leave on a daily basis is going to be made on the ground. as you've seen, we have that capability to manage quite a lot of through-put and be able to put the right, you know, things on those aircraft as they come in and as they leave. >> john, who is guarding the u.s. embassy right now? who will guard after the u.s. military pulse out? -- pulls out? any contingency. do you have an agreement with any nato allies besides the turk to keep the kabul airport open after the u.s. military goes out. >> there are no military assets
guarding the u.s. embassy compound. it is working out of the airport. the turks are still on the ground at the airport assisting in the security mission that we have there. i won't speak for their intentions one way or another going forward. but there is not going to be -- when the mission is over and when we are leaving the airport, the airport will not be the united states -- our responsibility anymore. how it gets managed going forward will be something that the taliban, who are now in kabul, will have to manage on their own and i assume with the international community. that won't be an american responsibility. >> one more. how many individuals on terror watch lists have been screened
or found at any of the screening points either in qatar, ramstein or in the u.s. >> i don't know. we'll have to take that question and get back to you. >> a afghan people thank you very much for your hard job and good job actually. and afghan people are happy but some of them that they are not eligible for siv and p1 and p2 but they have a serious problem. they are not in kabul. they are hiding. they move from one place to the other place and they they contact me, more than 100 people contact with me a day what can we do? i say i am nobody to do something. do you have any plans from the state department or from the pentagon because they are the target of the taliban, but the
taliban spokesperson said why the united states make a problem for us, we are not allowing the people to leave afghanistan. now they are like in jail. on the other hand taliban is not one group. they are different groups like five groups and a lot of people there under problem but they are not eligible for the possibility. any other option for them to be safe? >> i can't speak for each and every afghan who wants to leave and is dealing with their own individual circumstances to get out. we know there are a lot of desperate people who want to leave and that's why we are you saw the numbers that we d continue to be able to get out. we're working as fast as we can to get out american citizens,
special immigrant visa applicants and vulnerable afghans. we continue to work at this. i can't -- i can't begin to try to give you specific advice on what these individuals ought to do. i would certainly encourage them to reach out to the state department. from the pentagon's perspective we are doing the best we can as fast as we can to move as many people as we can out on any given day. but i'm not able to -- i know my answer is unsatisfying and i apologize for that but i'm not able to speak to our ability to reach out and touch every single afghan that wants to get out. believe me, we're very mindful of the plight and trying to best we can to alleviate that. >> i want to follow up to what jen was asking about you said that there won't be a military presence guarding an embassy. post august 31st. >> embassy compound.
she asked about the embassy compound which we aren't operating out of. >> after august 31 after that date you will say there is no diplomatic presence of that? >> i can't speak for that. that's a state department issue. >> to follow up there is a report that somebody affiliated with isis got on one of the flights. what's going on with that? >> i've seen similar press reporting on this. i don't have anything to update you on that. i don't have any information. and what i should have said to jen was it's really a better question for the department of homeland security but we'll see if we can track down something for you. i'm not trying to evade it. i just don't know. we're doing the best we can to manifest people on these flights and get them out as fast as possible. there is screening being done. not by d.o.d. but d.h.s.,
immigration and intelligence officials are doing the they go on for onward flights. we're really focused on trying to get as many of these individuals out. >> one last one, the same question i had yesterday. have there been any air extractions in kabul, any additional ones since the two you guys told us about and have there been any efforts outside of kabul to extract people? >> there was an operation last night to be able to go out and safely evacuate people into kabul. they are tow at the airport and safely there preparing to be evacuated. >> when you said -- was it in kabul and then they brought them into the airport? >> outside of the airfield. outside of the airfield in a way and we were able to bring them back to kabul safely and they are preparing for evacuation. >> to the airport.
>> it was inside kabul, david. >> was that a helicopter operation? >> it was. >> can you tell us how many? >> we aren't going to provide specific details. less than 20. >> americans? >> less than 20. i won't provide additional details. >> that wasn't the question. yesterday it was reported that the withdrawal had already begun and several hundred troops had already come out. and you pushed back on that saying that these were people whose functions were no longer needed. but, you know, all withdrawals sort of begin with pulling out non-essential personnel first. why shouldn't we view that as clearing the decks for the hard core withdrawal that is going to come here? >> that's a great question. i wasn't pushing back on headlines that said withdraw.
i was simply trying to describe what happened. without hyperbole. the commander on the ground, in trying to manage time and space at the airport, determined that it was the prudent thing to do to let several hundred troops leave the airport. some of these troops did come in with the troops that were added for the non-combatant evacuation, the 5800. some of them were troops that were already there at the airport before any additional troops flowed in for the non-combatant evacuation. as you know, david, we were still in the process before there was a need to do a
non-combatant evacuation we were in the process of a drawdown at the airport under the previous plan by the end of the month. so some of the troops that flew home yesterday were in that tronch. they were very much in the original drawdown plan and the admiral saw fit that he believed he didn't need at the airport anymore even though they had flown in with the plus-up for the neo. these are headquarter staff personnel, some maintainers and some other enabling forces who either had completed their mission and were already scheduled to go, as i said even before there was a non-combatant evacuation, and others who the admiral determined their mission was complete and he didn't need them anymore. time and space are a premium at the airport. i wasn't pushing back -- the
withdrawal has been going on since april 14th when the president announced it. i wasn't pushing back. i just wanted to make it clear that we hadn't pushed some button and said go retrograde now. we still have on the ground about 5400 of the 5800 that reached at the maximum and the admiral has the authority to manage in a prudent way his force management on the ground. i haven't gone to the phones. i want to make sure i don't forget that. jeff. >> thank you very much. from talking to military groups, it is evident that the taliban are still blocking afghans from gaining entrance to the international airport and even when afghans make it onto the airport there have been instances they have been escorted off due to paperwork
issues. what steps is the u.s. government taking to make sure that afghans do have safe passage to the airport and under what circumstances are afghans with valid visas who are admitted to the airport ultimately escorted off of the airport grounds? >> it is difficult for us to answer that here at the pentagon when we aren't at the gates and on the ground at the airport. what i would tell you is a couple of things. and i recognize that no process is perfect. and that there are -- i'm not disputing at all the accounts you are relaying today that there may be hiccups and problems. we certainly recognize that. but let me take a couple of steps back and tell you how this is working and we talked about this before. we have consular officers, more than 30 at the airport stationed at the gates with
american troops who are helping them do their job of processing individuals as they come in. checking credentials, making sure that they are bho they say they are and that they are in a valid group that we are trying to move onto the airport grounds. outside of that, the taliban have set up checkpoints. we talked about this before and we're in daily communication with taliban commanders about who we want to see get in and what the credentials are, what they look like, what is valid. and that communication happens literally every day. we have been nothing but open with the taliban about who we expect them to let in. again, fully recognize that not every step of this process is in our firm control and that there are going to be instances where it doesn't work as advertised. i can tell you there isn't a single day that goes by where
admiral and the general aren't working in in a very personal way with taliban authorities outside the airport. let me go another one on the phone. tara. >> thank you for doing this, john. yesterday the president mentioned also that he was calling upon the department to create contingency plans in case the number of americans and afghans haven't gotten out by the 31st. can you just explain kind of what the department is thinking about what its options might be to continue to get americans out after the 31st if they haven't made it to the airport by then? and then just to follow on jeff's question with afghans that aren't getting through, for those -- have discussions gone on with the taliban to maybe find some negotiation space for
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