tv Democracy Now LINKTV August 18, 2021 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
08/18/21 08/18/21 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> government offices will be activated soon and all employees, including women, will return to work and work in areas permitted by sharia law. amy: the taliban holds its first news conference since seizing control of afghanistan, about to form an inclusive government. thousands of afghans and foreign
nationals are desperately trying to flee the country. we will go to kabul the latest is be to former marine and state department official matthew hoh. in 2009, first u.s. official to publicly resign in protest over the afghan war. then we go to texas. >> this is governor greg abbott. i have tested positive for covid-19. i test myself every day in today's the first day i have tested positive. amy: republican texas governor greg abbott test positive as he banned vaccines and mask mandates in texas and blames immigrants for the spread of covid-19. the immigrant rights group raices tweeted -- "turns out it wasn't an immigrant or asylum seeker who was spreading covid 19 all over texas after all." we will speak to raices about resettling afghan refugees. all that a more, coming up.
welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the taliban held its first press conference tuesday, two days after it seized control of afghanistan. a taliban spokesperson said the group would respect women's rights and press freedom, would not launch attacks on the u.s. and others from afghan soil and said it was forgiving opposing forces. >> we forgive everyone because it is an interest of peace and stability in afghanistan. other groups that were confronting us are all forgiven. amy: the u.n. and others expressed doubt the taliban would carry thought on their statements, as images emerged showing wounded afghans, reportedly attacked by taliban forces as they tried to make their way to the airport. there have also been reports of violence against anti-taliban protests, including deaths.
an activist for girls' education, pashtana durrani, said the taliban needs to take more concrete steps. >> the taliban shoulgive a statement out that all the girls should be going to public schools and not target them or stop them into continue the way they are studying. if they are ok with that, then i'm optimistic. but they have to walk the talk and right now they are not doing that. amy: top taliban leader and co-founder mullah abdul ghani baradar returned to afghanistan for the first time since 2001 on tuesday. the pentagon is investigating after human remains were found in the wheel of one of its military jets that left kabul monday amid the chaos of the taliban takeover. this comes as the u.s. and other countries continue evacuating their own citizens. the white house said tuesday at least 11,000 americans were awaiting evacuation.
calls are growing for the u.s. to accept more afghan refugees. meanwhile, "the washington post" is reporting the biden administration has frozen billions of dollars in afghan reserves held at u.s. banks to cut off the taliban's cash flow. several top democrats have found to look into biden's afghanistan exit strategy, including senator bob menendez, chair of the foreign relations committee, who blasted the administration for misleading congress on the afghan army's readiness to fight the taliban. meanwhile, a report from the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction said the u.s. "struggled to develop and plement a coherent strategy" over the last 20 years. in haiti, the death toll from saturday's 7.2 magnitude has jumped to nearly 2000, with nearly 10,000 injured and 30,000 people left without a home.
in les cayes, near the epicenter of the quake, displaced residents were forced to huddle under tarpaulins as tropical storm grace unleashed torrential downpours, further complicating recovery efforts. >> i am sick. i fell down when the earthquake happened. i am in a lot of pain. we have been promised medicine. i was told to wait. yesterday the distributed aid but i was not able to get anything. it rained a lot at night. we could not sleep. we have nothing to eat. we have nothing. amy: texas republican governor greg abbott has tested positive for coronavirus. abbott's office said he has been fully vaccinated and was not experiencing any symptoms. he has been vaccinated three times. he is being treated with regeneron's monoclonal antibody treatment, which is given to people with a high likelihood of
developing severe covid, though it is unclear whether abbott fits into that risk group. nbc news is also reporting he may have had a third booster dose of the vaccine. abbott imposed a statewide ban on vaccine and mask mandates in july. two school districts are challenging the ban in court. the day before his office announced his covid diagnosis, abbott attended a packed, indoor republican club fundraiser in dallas, where he and most of the attendees were unmasked. there were hundreds. in other news from texas, health officials have requested mortuary trailers from fema as the rising number of covid deaths could surpass the state's capacity to hold the bodies. alabama has run out of icu beds amid the surge in hospitalizations. in louisiana, over 3000 students and school staff have gone into quarantine in the new orleans public school district after a number of positive covid cases.
in other coronavirus news, the transportation security administration is extending the federal mask mandate for airline, bus, and trains into january 2022. this all comes as the united states topped 37 million cases, just eight days after it passed 36 million infections. in international news, new zealand is on a strict, nationwide lockdown for at least three days after identifying its -- one, its first covid case in six months. this is prime minister jacinda ardern. >> delta has been called a game changer and it is. it means we need to go hard to stop the spread. we have seen what happened elsewhere if we fail to get on top of it. we only get one chance. amy: since the lockdown was ordered, at least four new cases were confirmed in new zealand.
in japan, authorities extended a state of emergency in tokyo and other areas in an effort to contain the ongoing surge in infections. meanwhile, protests continue in thailand calling for the prime minister to step down over the government's handling of the pandemic. >> we demand the prime minister's resignation. the past two years, the government has proved they could not solve the covid-19 situation. amy: police have deployed tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons during recent demonstrations, which are building on the anti-government and anti-monarchy protests which ignited in 2020. india is banning a range of single use plastics starting july 2022. the ban will cover items including plastic bags, cutlery, and cups. but environmental groups called out the new policy for leaving out may other common items such as plastic water bottles and many types of packaging. india generates some 26,000 tons of plastic waste each day, much
of it ends up in landfills. in northern california, thousands of people have been evacuated after a new blaze ignited over the weekend and quickly tripled in size. the caldor fire has burned over 30,000 acres and is 0% contain as of tuesday night. meanwhile, in south france, hundreds of firefighters continue to fight a massive wildfire in the region of var. some 6000 people, including tourists were evacuad. the blaze started monday evening and had burned some 12,000 acres of forest by tuesday morning. back in the united states, house democrats tuesday introduced new legislation aimed at restoring the voting rights act of 1965 before it was gutted by the 2013 supreme court ruling. the john lewis voting rights
advancement act is likely -- the new bill was announced by democratic alabama congressmember terri sewell standing in front of edmund pettus bridge in selma, where the late congressmember john lewis and other civil rights icons marched for voting rights in 1965 and were brutalized by police. reproductive rights advocates in arizona and montana have filed lawsuits seeking to block new laws banning abortions in the two states. one of the laws in arizona makes it a felony for doctors to terminate pregnancies because of a fetal genetic defect such as down syndrome. the other would classify fetuses, embryos, and fertilized eggs as people starting at the point of conception. both go into effect in late september. meanwhile, in montana, four new laws are set to take place in october, including a ban on
abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and restrictions to access abortion pills. workers at the nabisco factory in richmond, virginia, have joined a strike effort by hundreds of nabisco workers in oregon and colorado who are demanding humane working hours, fair pay, and an end to the outsourcing of jobs to mexico, where wages are considerably lower. >> no contracts, no snacks! amy: "no contracts, no snacks!" they chanted on the picket line. nabisco produces oreos, chips ahoy, ritz crackers, and other popular snacks. nabisco workers say they have been forced to work 12- to 16-hour shifts during the pandemic, often including on weekends. three former philadelphia homicide detectives have been charged in the wrongful 1993 conviction of anthony wright, an african-american father who
spent a quarter of a century in prison on rape and murder charges. the three former police officers are accused of making false statements in the case. wright was exonerated by dna evidence after a retrial in 2016. and the billionaire sackler family, owners of oxycontin maker purdue pharma, set it would abandon a pledge to pay $4.5 billion to help communities that have been devastated by the opioid epidemic unless they're granted immunity for all current and future lawsuits against the company. david sackler, a former purdue board member and the grandson of one of the founders, made the remarks as he testified at a hearing in federal bankruptcy court tuesday. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. several of the taliban's top political leaders have returned to afghanistan after years of living in exile.
the taliban co-founder mullah abdul ghani baradar, who is expected to become afghanistan's next president, arrived in kandahar today. baradar was released from a pakistani prison at the request of the trump administration three years ago. he was deeply involved in the u.s.-taliban talks in doha. meanwhile, former afghan president hamid karzai held talks today with the head of the haqqani network, a powerful faction of the taliban. this all comes as the taliban moves to secure its control of afghanistan. on tuesday, the taliban held a news conference where they promised amnesty for former government officials and pledged to eradicate opium production. the taliban also made promises to protect some rights of journalists and women. >> government offices will be activated soon and all employees, including women, returned to work and work in areas permitted by sharia law.
we and you see that in the field of medicine, education, police, and other sectors of society. we need women because it is a necessity of society. amy: despite the taliban's pledges, many women across afghanistan have not left their homes since the taliban seized control. earlier today, the taliban opened fire on hundreds of protesters in northeastern jalalabad who marched through the streets holding the black, red, and great afghan flight. 12 were shot dead -- to work shot dead and 12 were wounded. the taliban has also used live ammunition at checkpoints outside the international airport where the u.s. and other foign governnts are evacuating its citizens and allies. the u. has so far evacuated
1100 people but as many 15,000 u.s.itizens remain in afghanistan. on tuesday, the was air force revealed it had found human remains inside the wheel of one of the planes that flew out of kabul omonday. at least two people died monday after falling to their death after trying to clean on to a departing u.s. airplane. meanwhile, the biden administration has announced it would freeze nearly $9.5 million held by the afghan government in u.s. banks, blocking the taliban from accessing the money. we begin today's show in kabul, where we are joined by bilal sarwary. he is an afghan journalist based in kabul who's been reporting on afghanistan for 20 years. since we are first speaking to you since the taliban seized control of afghanistan, your
response, were you surprised, the significance of the president ghani fleeing the country, and what is happening now in the streets around you? >> actually, i was trying to get a certificate for me and my wife and we were trying to get a passport for a newly born daughter, so i had spoken to government officials the day before -- some are my friends. the next morning i was heading toward the offices when i heard the presidential palace and employees were told to leave. the protection service, which is the equivalent of secret service , at the time were taking up position so there was a lot of -- in a matter of basically 30 minutes or so, we found out then president ashraf ghani was supposed to go to the ministry of defense to have a meeting at the national command center, which is walking distance or a short drive.
but instead, mr. ghani told his detail he wanted to fly. so the ministry of defense was waiting, the army chief of staff was waiting, the helicopters changed directions and they were heading toward the i'm in karzai international airport. i think once the effect was revealed, the entire government in kabul kabul in no time, just like it crumbled across many of afghanistan's provinces. i think it is a taliban strategy as well as fighting on the battlefield for the last many months that they offered the surrender deal. i think this was the workup months, if not years. so it was surreal in many ways because i had started my career in 2001 when the americans were bombing the taliban.
i saw the fall of the taliban. it was unbelievable to see how the tables turned, how there was panic and fear. my family this me was here. i am a father to a new baby girl. i was not exempted from the panic and fear of what the taliban would do. a vacuum created, some looting and somearassment the citizens of afghanistan. i would say for me it was almost like in no time this happened. i just could not believe it. like many other afghans. amy: i want to go back to the taliban news conference in kabul , all the trappings of a government pss conference. this is taliban spokesperson
zabihullah mujahid. >> the enmity with parties to the conflict are over. we do not want to live in unity. without a doubt, we are historical juncture with the political system fits in and -- let's form inclusive government. at that moment there are discsions that are inclusive government should be formed and all parties d all parties in afghans should dissipate. -- should participate. amy: if you could respond to what the taliban said yesterday. clearly, there is enormous international pressure but the u.s. has been negotiating with the taliban for months, excluding the afghan government in doha, talking about women's rights, talking about protecting journalists -- people like you, i presume -- talking about respecting the opposition and
granting immunity. >> well, it was interesting to see this elusive spokesperson, perhaps it was just the name committee people operating under the name for many years. there were some very difficult questions. for example, a reporter asked what he claimed responsibility for the assassination -- sitting in the same chair less than 10 days ago for which zabihullah mujahid claimed responsibility. there was the question of what happens to the victims of truck runs and suicide attacks and roadside bombs caused by the taliban. there were some questions to which the spokesperson did respond but what was interesting, he insisted publicly on the idea people do
not have to fear the taliban, that they will honor that. but there was also relation of the future government would be islamic, although we were not told what that could mean because afghanistan already has an islamic system. there was talk of media freedoms. the spokesperson said, yes, we would let participation from the media so we can do better. but media should operate in a sense where it is in accordance with the afghan culture and values. we will have to see what exactly means. these statements are open to many interpretations. what many people would like to know, where this leads. because people are thirsty for a political settlement, people are thirsty for peace. and since the taliban have taken over, at least in kabul where we
are, we are beginning to see life picking up. slowly and surely people are coming out, including some women. but it is not the same city used to be. the hustle and bustle, traffic jams, the business, the shops. for example, this morning i went to withdraw cash in the atm machines have been empty. this is not the same kabul the taliban 20 years ago. this is the kabul where there are shopping malls, atm machines, an entire generation of citizens -- people have access to facebook, twitter. i think the taliban political leadership knows that reality and there also wondering how that transition from fighting into government might take place. we also know in places like doha , the taliban political leadership got exposed to the highest echelons of over -- other governments, including the
u.s. government. so they understand how legitimacy works on the national stage and how there will be funding now -- security forces are dismantled. hundreds of thousands of people perhaps come in if you count families. so they will know if international funding does not come soon, if they don't have legitimacy, how ey run the country? how they keep afghanistan functional? we have to remember the taliban government are not the shadow government anymore. that the total control of the country, border crossings, airports, military her copters -- helicopters. this is something the taliban would not have believed when i covered them with a had some rocket propelled grenades in the back of a pickup truck. today they have not vision goggles, sophisticated listing devices. and many other equipment that
any government in this part of the world might have. amy: they have millions and millions, billions of dollars worth of equipment from the united states now, right, that gave it to the afghan government and they are now the afghan government. >> yes. especially when you talk about blackhawk helicopters, armored humvees and mraps and american rifles. the taliban managed to break the backboard of the national security forces with the help of m-16s, basically this night vision goggles on top of it in the dark of the night they literally murdered afghan soldiers as they moved checkpoints -- they were using, for example the bathroom. so we know that. we also know the raid units,
their version of the speal forces, which was the single lethal force they had that started to break the strength of the afghan security forces now deployed inside the city of kabul. this is the taliban bringing the cream of the crop before the senior leaders might be coming slowly and surely to the city -- we have to remember, like the rest of the world, the afghan people i've not seen or heard from these elusive figures. they have only heard the names. he will be interesti to see how they appear in public. what is their vision. so far the taliban will not discuss such things. the time for talking, the time for government starts. they have been clashing with presidents are not protesting, simply brought back the national flag a said "this is the
flag." they brought down the taliban whitefly. there are issues they would not have been dealing with. people would not have been able to protest when they were in power. that reality has changed today. amy: how do you compare what the taliban said at their news conference yesterday with what is happening, for example, in jalalabad? >> it is i think a surprise. this is the first demonstration of a time taking place under the taliban government. so they probably are surprised by this. but there are some talks with the members -- we should let the issue set aside for now. i saw a member of the taliban who is very influential right on his twitter page saying this is
not the time to discuss these things. let's discuss these later on. let's not create more had expressed guinness to. but i also know some women yesterday, for example, came out and said, we want our own rights . these women were literally confronting taliban fighters on the streets. so you have smart phones, internet, social media -- things that were not there 20 years ago. again, it will be interesting to see how the taliban make the transition. i always tell people, let's see. i think the let see category in afghanistan these days is a must because every other hour, every evening, every other morning, things change at such a rapid pace that it just leaves you even more confused and lost. amy: for the first time since the taliban takeover, one of afghanistan's major media outlets, tolonews, who we have
turned to a number of times, featured female anchors onscreen tuesday. one of its anchors, beheshta arghand, interviewed a spokesman of the taliban. meanwhile, cnn reporter clarissa ward spoke to taliban fighters in kabul monday and asked them about afghan women's rights. th is wh they said. >> how you protect women? because many women are afrd they will not be allowed to go to school, they will not yell out to work. >> the female, the women continue their lives. they can go to school. they can continue their education. just a hijab. >> like i am wearing? >> not like you, cering their face. >> why do they have to cer their face? >> it is in islam. >> is it, though?
>> that is clarissa ward of cnn. bilal sarwary, your response and also the significance of the female anchor, her face also was not covered come her hair was, when she was talking to the taliban leader? >> it is extraordinary to seat afghanistan's biggest tv station tolonews as a fema presenter interviewing a senior member of the taliban. publicly asking questions. this would not have been possible during the taliban because the taliban did not allow the women to operate in the media or public life or civil service and other stuff. but afghanistan back in did not have this media. did not have tolo tv, which is a matter of national pride for afghans. it has de so much for the country. it is trained generation of
younger afghans. but this is the same television station that was targeted in an attack by the taliban. a va transrting their employees was hit. so i say it must have been emional momt for the prenter and for -- these emotions a veryaw. the heartbak is the. the pain inflied on afgns o all side and alsolook intthafghan lture. ese thgs are never pressed. people d't lk aboutt. asafghan, look at it in that conxt. s, will have su fedoms the mons and yes ahead? don'know. willhe talib recogne this s a chang afghastan in e long run? i don't know t it will depenhow th want conduct tmsels withhe afghaneople, wh the neighborod, and th the world. cause thtaliban uld know
in 2021, afgnian is coected tohe rest ofhe world d region it cannost opera on thei own. d now the are bically the governme, so thessues of trad human rigs, educatn foexample r gir is somethg thaa t oeupean countrs, inclung the united states, wi be lookg at ver hard. ifhe talib says torrow, rls cnot stu, female educatiois banneere ll thatead themn terms of nding? weill haveo how ty de with ththousands of fighrs, soldrs who he been fighti in the untains d rul aas. w can ey, le, you kno bring em under contr in this new chter now? amy: as we begin to wrap up, wrote a piece for the telegraph. he said "it has broken me from within."
heavy toll of covering his countries collapse. he writes "i became a father recently because my own family and relatives saw so much heartbreak these last few years. i pray if god gave you baby girl i would name her sola, which means peace. i do that thinking at least my daughter might grow up in a normal country." so you are trying to leave right now. how do you go about that? have you thought about staying? do you think you could possibly be safe in kabul, in afghanistan? >> you know, my honest opinion is i would love to tell the story of the people of afghanistan. i think everything that is happen, including the loss of friends both within the government come outside the government -- i have friendships and the taliban. i've a classmate from my days as
a refugee in we went different ways. it has left me thinking, what can i do that would make me think i'm doing something better? over the years, i've been having this conversation with myself and i committed myself to telling the story to the world. not just the news side of it. i created a hashtype and years ago where i showed the world the other type, the beautiful valleys, the national beauty, the lakes, what afghanistan could potentially offer in the future if tourism was to come back here. to be honest with you, i would love to be your like the rest of my colleagues and be able to tell the world our stories. because 20 years ago, this country did not have a generation of reporters. and we owe this large part to our colleagues, started as
translators 20 years ago come and help us get where we are. i think it is important for the world to have a credible and vibrant afghan media. where different voices can be heard. because we lived in a world where we are interconnected. humanity is something that gives me hope. people care about any country. when you look at the activists on social media and such platforms. i hope my daughter is able to one day go to school here. but there are things beyond my control. people like myself and my colleagues and other afghans are simply powerless. we cannot do that. i hope this generation of leaders, both the taliban and former officials and politicians, can leave a legacy where we walk away from a
painful historical political past where governments came with coups and tanks and bullets. and i think for this the people of afghanistan over the last 20 years have paid a massive price. a lot of sacrifices. i will not go into the mistakes and failures and corruption. i will let history judge that. but the people in this country, the lives look back, a river of blood literally flowing. people give their lives for education, health. ordinary people a tribal older dedicated his own life making sure his daughter could go to school at the rest of the district. i hope those are the things one day will give us peace. it has remained extremely elusive in our lives and the lives of generations in this country. amy: bilal sarwary, thank you
for being with us, afghan journalist based in kabul who's been reporting on afghanistan for 20 years. all the best to you. next up, we will speak to the former marine and state department official matthew hoh who became the first u.s. official to publicly resign in protest over the afghan war. that was 2009. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we continue to look at afghanistan, we are joined by matthew hoh, for memory and statdepartment official. in 2009, the first u.s. official known to resign in protest over the afghan war. at the time of his resignation, he was serving athe senior u.s. civilian in the double province. he wrote --
he is now a fellow at the center for international policy. welcome back to democracy now! can you just respond to not only what has happened in afghanistan, but the u.s. media coverage of this and who is framing the narrative? >> thank you for having me back on, amy. i think the only thing more tragic than what has happened to the afghan people is that in a few days, and america will have forgotten afghanistan again. right now we're seeing a tremendous amount of coverage. a lot of it is really poor coverage, very simplistic, sticking with the narratives of the war, failing to look at the evidence. right now the prevailing narrative is that afghanistan collapsed because joe biden
pulled 2500 troops from a country the size of texas. that is like the depth and thought going into this conversation and most major american media. this ending -- i should not say ending because afghanistan is at a very precarious point right now. this could be the beginning of what would be a cruel and unjust peace, but perhaps an opportunity for afghans to rebuild and reconcile if the violence is kept to a minimum or it could be just the next phase in the civil war that goes back to the 1970's. you have warlords who many of the warlords sided with the taliban over the lt few weeks or months, however, there are many warlords who did not as well as men in the government like ashraf ghani's vice
president who is now declaring himself the legitimate president of afghanistan along with warlords. these are men who did not give up easily. these are men who want back what they believe is theirs. these are men who have long histories with the american cia. that is where the cia's allegiance may lie. we are at a path here where there may be a path because of the cruel and unjust peace toward rebuilding reconciliation or maybe the first phase in t new part of this ongoing civil war because the americans can look at this and say, "look, this is how afghanistan looked september 10, 2001. there are warlords in provinces and the taliban control most of the country." i can guarantee their people in washington, d.c., saying "we did it in 2001 and we can do it
again and this time we can do it better." it is this great position for the afghans for a number of reasons. with regard to the media coverage, you see, to put it simply, the same people who have been wrong about this war trotted out over and over again. the commentary is simplistic. it relies on the narratives. you have commentators who say things about the war, about how afghanistan prior to joe biden's withdrawal was in a period of relative stability, how there has been progress. just complete lies and fabrications that are very easy to fact check but don't. i think this is why joe biden could speak to the american public on monday about a war that has devastated millions of lives, so much for, and joe biden can open his remarks by lying about his opposition to the surge in 2009 -- which he did not oppose.
basically, he wanted to send less trips than president obama did most of 10,000 less out of 100,000. that was joe biden's opposition to the war in 2009, 90,000 rather than 100,000. as well as how the u.s. was not doing nationbuilding. joe biden's people knew he could open up remarks with those lies and it would just be accepted. amy: let's go back to president biden's address on monday when he came in from camp david as he was being fiercely criticized for the chaos in kabul and what has happened in afghanistan. this is his address about the u.s. mission in afghanistan. pres. biden: i have argued many years that our mission should be narrowly focused on counterterrorism, not counterinsurgency or nationbuilding. that is why i opposed the search when it was proposed in 2009 when i was vice president.
amy: matthew hoh? >> i think there so many things to unpack. getting back to the media, there is a narrative the u.s. did not try hard enough. so when barack obama comes into office in 2009, there are 30,000 u.s. tros in afghanistan, equivalent number of nato troops and contractors. within a year and a half, there are 100,000 american troops, 40,000 nato troops, over 100,000 contractors. the u.s. had a million men army in afghanistan. joe biden's opposition was to send 10,000 less trips. his opposition would have looked like 240 thousand troops and contractors in afghanistan as opposed to 250,000. the statement about not being a nationbuilding effort, i was on a it called therovincial reconstruction team. the lie saying to means of minute women who served in
afghanistan, who went over there and took part in this nationbuilding effort -- and they knew they did -- and have the president of the united states so easily lie about how it wasn't about nationbuilding, i think that is one of the best explanation for this war, for all of these wars in the muslim world, the ease of lying that occurs. the united states, the third point, the u.s. did try counterterrori. the counterterrorism strategy joe biden is speaking of is the strategy that general petraeus utilized after general mcchrystal left. switching from counterinsurgency to counterterrorism. that means bombing villages and doing night raids, sending commandos 20 times a night into afghan villages to keep indoors and kill people. we saw the results of that. the results was every year the taliban got stronger. this comes to the whole folly of what united states did.
for decades, the u.s. gave the afghan people to choices. you can support the taliban or you can support this government composed of warlords and drug lords that is corrupt, undemocratic -- all of the elections have been incredibly illegitimate andraudulent -- and predatory. the u.s. ud the divide and conquer strategy to try and achieve itsbjectives and afghantan just as it did in iraq with the shias versus the sunnis. you have this choice, put the taliban for this government. what has occurred in this last year is afghans, including non-pashtuns,the ones who made up primarily the taliban, who have been on the wrong side of the american divide and conquer strategy. not only taliban-supported --
not only the pashtuns, but afghans of all ethnicities have supported the taliban because that is how bad of an option the afghan government has been to the afghan people for the last two decades. another aspect of the media coverage is the inability or the unwillingness of the american media to speak about with the afghan government was truly like. we hear a lot about women's rights right now -- and we should. it is incrediblimportant. but how many americans know under the afghan government, four out of five, as many as four out of ve afghan women were forcibly married? many were child brides. how many america know in afghanistan under afghan lot it is legal for a man to rape his wife or that in afghan government prisons, the majority of women are not there because of their support of taliban but moral crimes?
maybe the afghan government, warlord government was not as theatrical in its misogyny as the taliban was in terms of executing and stoning women in stadiums -- yes, there were women who demonstrated over the la 20 years but the vast jority of women in afghanistan, life has not been better, especially since their primary concern for two decades now has been being killed by a taliban bomb in the road for an american bomb being dropped from the sky. there's been a lot less left out of the american media -- amy: we just have a minute. central intelligence agency, the cia forces in afghanistan. what should we understand and what has the pegasus spyware revealed? >> it is my understanding come for people familiar with pegasus spyware, an israeli produced spyware that basically hacks phones, communications.
if you look at what occurred in mexico, many of the politicia assassinated mexico over the last year had this pegasus spyware on their phone. my understanding is there is pegasus spyware transcripts available that show collusion over this last year between the cia, the afghan government, between the taliban. what occurred in afghanistan did not occur just in a matter of weeks. this offensive was planned by the taliban full well more than a year. the results have been incredibly successful for the taliban. the question needs to be asked, why is the erican public so i know where of what was actually occurring in afghanist, to get back your point about the media. as we go forward, i think the important thing to do is for the americans to choose the path of
supporting the afghans by helping them to root -- rebuild and reconcile. to do that, the market embassy must be open. funding must continue. if you want organizations like tolonews to stay on the air -- tolonews was funded by the americans. in order for the meter to stay alive and afghanistan, the government must continue to support it. at this point, the american government must remain engaged in afghanistan for the sake of the afghan people. amy: matthew hoh, we will leave it there because in the next segment we will talk about afghan refugees. someone involved in the resettlement of afghan refugees in the u.s. we will get back to you in the coming days. all of this is such critical information that we are not getting from the corporate media. matthew hoh, senior fellow with the center for international policy, former marine in koran and state department official in
afghanistan who resigned in 2009, the first u.s. official to publicly resign in protest over the afghan war. coming up, we speak with a texas migrant rights group raices about resettling afghan refugees and response to republican texas governor greg abbott testing positive for coronavirus as he vilifies migrates for spreading covid 19. ♪♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in response to the taliban's takeover of afghanistan, president biden has allocated half $1 billion in new funds for relocating afghan refugees, including those who applied for special immigrant visas or siv's. the u.s. had already vowed to help evacuate over 80,000 afghan civilians who qualify for these visas and risk retribution from the taliban, such as translators and interpreters for the u.s. military or nato. there is already a backlog of more than 17,000 afghan nationals and 53,000 of their family members awaiting visa approval. for more, we go to manoj
govindaia, the director of policy and government affairs at the refugee and immigrant center for educational and legal services, known as raices, which has resettled more than 600 afghan refugees since 2017, including 106 them -- 116 this year. among them 79 children and a , family of 10 just last night. welcome to democracy now! you are talking about hundreds -- the number of people who are trying to get out of afghanistan right now are in the thousands, perhaps the tens of thousands. >> thank you for having me, amy. yeah, i mean, we're talking about thousands of people who are trying to flee afgnistan. about 18,000 to 20,000 have applied for something called special immigrant visas, siv's, which are available to afghan citizens who provided valuable and faithful service to the united states government or contractors to support their efforts during the u.s.-led war.
the average processing time for this visa is over 800 days. so it takes several years and involves all sorts of security checks, background checks, letters of support from u.s. military commanders that confirm an individual's assistance. all sorts of documents that need to be provided in order for someone to apply for this visa and make their way to the united states with permanent residency. and eventually be able to bring their family over. now,f course, if there are 18,000 people who are in the pipeline, we have known for many years -- at least 800 days -- that there is this number of people who are trying to make their way here who appear eligible for permanent residency in the u.s. yes, our government, the
administration, has taken very few efforts to date to actually support this population, knowing we are withdrawing from afghanistan and that this particular group of people who have provided support to the united states are at serious risk of harm once a different government -- now the taliban -- takeover in the country. the biden administration has evacuated i think around a couple thousand folks, nearly 2000, 2 force -- have announced it will be working on evacuating additional siv applicants to other military bases, which is a start for sure. i think the entire process could have been -- this entire backlog and this delay in evacuating people could have been handled
very differently because we have known -- i think trump announced federal 2020 he was going to be withdrawing all troops from afghanistan. at that moment, we have known this day was coming and these people are vulnerable. amy: are they preparing for bliss, place you know very well because of all of the migrants who have been put there -- fort bliss in texas and fort mccoy as well, are they preparing these two places for tens of thousands of afghans? >> yes, it is our understanding that fort bliss and fort mccoy are likely to be useto house siv applicants while they continue the immigration process in the u.s. after they have been evacuated. we only know that from the media reports.
we don't have any other information or knowledge to suggest it is accurate. amy: i want to turn to another issue. let's turn to texas where raices is based, where republican governor greg abbott has tested positive for coronavirus, just a day after he attended a packed, indoor, mostly unmasked republican fundraiser in dallas of hundreds. abbott's office as he is fully vaccinated. he has imposed a statewide mask mandate and blamed migrants for the spread of governor 19. raices tweeted -- "turns out it wasn't an immigrant or asylum seeker who was spreading covid-19 all over texas after all. " talk about the significance of governor abbott, it is terrible he has come down with covid, he is getting a very expensive
treatment at trump did, the monoclonal antibodies, but what he has said about migrants and covid. >> i mean, it is wearable that he has tested positive and i genuinely wish him a full recovery. but his rhetoric is simply shifti blame for the increase in covid infections from the inefficiency and wrong headedness of his own policies and putting it on the backs of migrants. public health officials roundly agree that migraines are not necessarily bringing in covid in any higher numbers than anyone else. we have continued to allow commercial flights internationally. will continue traveling -- people continue traveling abroad
and come back. the only difference is they are doing it on an airplane versus coming across a land border. abbott has taken all types of measures to try to justify is very harsh, unfair, unjust measures against migrants, claiming they are necessary to protect us from covid-19. while he simultaneously is getting masks in schools, preventing -- banning mask mandates, should say, preventing local officials from taking actions that could protect her populations. and now we are seeing the results. he attended a large republican fundraiser -- i'm not sure if that is where he contracted it but at some point, he contracted it. i highly doubt he has come in contact with any of the migrants . amy: i want to thank you very much. >> very concerning hearing this rhetoric from him. amy: manoj govindaia, the director of policy and
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