tv Democracy Now LINKTV August 26, 2021 8:00am-9:01am PDT
08/26/21 08/26/21 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> our highest priority right now is evacuating american citizens, evacuating afghans who worked with us, and afghans who are at risk with the priority around women and children. amy: as the u.s. begins to wrap up evacuations from the kabul airport, we will speak to an afghan college lecturer about why he has decided to stay in afghanistan.
he just a wrote a piece titled "my family fought alongside the taliban -- but i'm afraid for my friends." plus, we speak to former british labour leader jeremy corbyn, one of the leading critics of the afghan war in britain. >> do we want to learn or are we going to make the same tragic mistakes again in the future? today let's speak up for the refugees and at the same time learn a lesson of what these foreign policy mistakes actually lead to. amy: and we speak to author sarah chayes who cover the follow the taliban 20 years ago. she later became a special adviser to the joint chiefs of staff chair general mike mullen. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and
peace report. i'm amy goodman. the united states has reportedly begun the final phase of evacuations of u.s. citizens and afghan allies from the kabul airport. cnn is reporting the evacuations will end on friday to give the military time to depart ahead of the august 31 withdrawal deadline. the u.s. has helped more than 95,000 people leave afghanistan over the last 12 days, but as many as 1500 u.s. citizens remain in afghanistan. "the new york times" is reporting some 250,000 afghans who worked with the u.s. haven't been evacuated yet. on thursday, secretary of state tony blinken vowed the united states would keep helping americans leave afghanistan even after troops withdraw on august 31. >> there is no deadline on our work helping remaining american citizens who decide they want to
look to do so, along with the many afghans who have stood by us over these many years and what to leave and have been unable to do so. that effort will continue every day past august 31. amy: the u.s. embassy in kabul has warned americans to stay away from the kabul airport due to fears the militant group isis-k might bomb the area. this comes as "the wall street journal" reports the cia and u.s. forces are conducting risky missions outside of the airport to extract u.s. citizens and afghan allies. it is unclear if the cia is coordinating its efforts with the taliban. meanwhile, the pentagon and congressional leaders have reprimanded congressmembers seth moulton, a democrat from massachusetts, and peter meijer, a republican from michigan, for secretly flying into the kabul airport, draing resources away from the evacuation effort. this is house speaker nancy pelosi. >> this is deadly serious. we do not want members to go.
amy: we'll have more on afghanistan after headlines. the united states recorded more than 1100 covid-19 deaths wednesday, with over 170,000 new infections. for the first time since january, more than 100,000 u.s. residents are hospitalized with the disease. florida is having its worst week of the pandemic, with daily cases averaging 30% higher than january's peak. in florida's orange county, children aged five to 14 make up the largest group of new coronavirus cases, with a test positivity rate of around 20%. on tuesday, the orange county school board approved a 60 day mask mandate in defiance of republican governor ron desantis' ban on public health requirements in schools. more than half of florida public school students are now under mask mandates. meanwhile, delta airlines on wednesday said employees who
refuse to get vaccinated will have to undergo weekly coronavirus tests and will have to pay a $200 monthly surcharge on their health insurance plans. here in new york, newly sworn in governor kathy hochul on wednesday reported nearly 12,000 covid-19 deaths not counted by former governor andrew cuomo. in 2020, cuomo reportedly instructed his aides to compile data that underrepresented nursing home deaths by counting only those who died inside nursing facilities, while excluding those who got sick there and later died in hospitals. governor hochul on wednesday told npr her administration would report covid-19 deaths according to cdc guidelines. -- cdc standards. >> there is no opportunity for us to mask those numbers nor do i want to mask those numbers. the public deserves a clear, honest picture whether good or bad. that is how we restore confidence. amy: in iran, officials have banned all nonessential travel
between cities as iran's health ministry reported a record daily covid-19 toll, with over 700 deaths on tuesday. in australia, hospitals in sydney have set up emergency tents outdoors in anticipation of a surge of patients as australia reported more than 1000 coronavirus cases for the first time since the start of the pandemic. meanwhile, the pan american health organization warned wednesday vaccine inequity is unnecessarily prolonging the pandemic. the organization's director, dr. carissa etienne, said donations from wealthy countries were far too little to protect the hundreds of millions of people who remain vulnerable. >> a handful of companies produce allhe world supply of covid-19 vaccine. many of them are letting price and country of origin, not need, to determine how doses are rolled up. much of today's vaccine supply
remains in the hands of wealthy nations around the world. we st expand regional pharmaceutic production so we can be in the driver seat of our own pandemic rponse. amy: back in the united states, the house committee investigating the january 6 capitol insurrection has requested a massive trove of documents related to the attack, including internal trump administration communications. the request to eight federal agencies covers records involving melania trump, donald jr., eric and ivanka trump, jared kushner, mark meadows, hope hicks, stephen miller, and kayleigh mcenany, among others. investigators are focused on whether trump wanted to use the military to remain in power and whether administration officials considered invoking the 25th amendment to remove trump during his final weeks in office. in michigan, a federal judge has disciplined nine pro-trump attorneys, including sidney powell and lin wood, over their
unsubstantiated claims in a lawsuit falsely claiming that the 2020 election was stolen. the lawyers will have to pay the legal fees for the city of detroit and other defendants, and they face sanctions that could lead to their disbarment. also in michigan, 25-year-old ty garbin was sentenced wednesday to six years in prison for his role in plotting to kidnap michigan democratic governor gretchen whitmer last year. garbin was the first of 14 men arrested over the plot to be sentenced and received a reduced penalty after he agreed to cooperate with federal investigators. a u.s. appeals court has upheld the conviction and death sentence of white supremacist dylann roof, who murdered nine black worshipers at the historic emanuel ame church in charleston, south carolina, in june 2015. in 2017, roof became the first federal prisoner sentenced to death for a hate crime. a warning to our audience, this story contains graphic footage of police violence.
in louisiana, lawyer for a black motorist who was brutally beaten by a white state police trooper more than two years ago has obtained body camera video of the incident. the video from may 2019 was also obtained by the associated press. it shows officer jacob brown striking aaron larry bowman with a flashlight 18 times. the assault left in with a broken jaw, wrist, three broken ribs, six stitches on his head. louisiana state police waited 536 days to open an investigation and only did so after bowman brought a civil lawsuit. last december, state prosecutors charged officer brown with aggravated battery and malfeasance in office. those charges remain on hold pending a federal investigation. ground is from the state police unit known as troupe f, whose officers killed ronald greene, a 49-year-old black man, by taser in, punching, and dragging him
during an arrest in 2019. troupe f is under an internal investigation looking into whether white officers are systematically targeting black motorist for abuse. amy: in climate news, the national oceanic and atmospheric administration reports atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide reached their highest levels in human history in 2020, averaging more than 412 parts per million. that's despite a modest slowdown in emissions due to the coronavirus pandemic. noaa also reports global average sea leverose to a new record high, about 3.6 inches above 1993 levels, when satellite measurements began. the united nations is warning madagascar is on the precipice of the world's first climate change famine, with about 30,000 people experiencing the highest level of food insecurity recognized by the u.n. severe hunger and famine are being driven by drought,
deforestation, and desertification that's left over 1.1 million of madagcar's residents in need of humanitarian assistance. a world food programme official called the situation unprecedented, adding -- "these people have done nothing to contribute to climate change. they don't burn fossil fuels and yet they are bearing the brunt of climate change." in northern california, the massive caldor fire has spread to less than 20 miles from population centers in lake tahoe after it destroyed hundreds of homes. in southern california, a rapidly expanding brush fire in san bernardino county forced over 1000 people to evacuate their homes north of los angeles. california remains on pace to record its worst-ever fire season, topping the previous record set in 2020. and greece's prime minister is calling for radical tion to address the climate crisis after a record-shattering heat wave fueled devasting wildfires that sparked panicked evacuations and sent vast plumes of smoke across southern europe. the prime minister addressed the greek parliament wednesday.
>> we recognize that dealing with climate crisis is forcing us to change everything, the way we produce agricultural products, how we move around, how we generate energy, the way we build our homes. everything must change this immense effort to make an impact of the climate crisis to whatever extent possible. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman in new york, joined remotely by my co-host nermn shaikh. hi, nermeen. nermeen: hi, amy. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. amy: as the united states begins the final phase of evacuations of u.s. citizens and afghan allies from the kabul airport, we begin today's show with an afghan college lecturer who has decided to stay in kabul. he is helping others leave. his name is obaidullah baheer. he just wrote a piece for the
australian family review titled "my family fought alongside the taliban -- but i'm afraid for my friends." he begins the piece by writing -- "when kabul fell on sunday my father went on live tv to congratulate the taliban on their glorious victory. as i watched him praise the jihadists, my phone buzzed with panicked messages from friends who were terrified that taliban fighters would kill them in their homes." obaidullah's grandfather is gulbuddin hekmatyar, one of afghanistan's most notorious warlords. he was once nicknamed the butcher of kabul. his father was jailed at a cia torture site as well as the bagram air base. obaidullah baheer is a lecturer at american university of afghanistan. he teaches a course on transitional justice. he is joining us now from kabul. we welcome you to democracy now! there is so much to talk about,
but if you could start by saying why you have made the decision to stay in kabul as you help so many of your friends try to race to kabul airport to leave. and then talk about how that fits into your family's history. >> thankou for having me. lucky enough to talk to nermeen after the initial fall of kabul. with everything going on, it was difficult to stay in touch. also the piece i wrote was on the economist, so don't undersell me, amy. thank you for having me here. just like you said, i do enjoy a certain safety net. that means i have the privilege to be able to do things other people might not be, and that incurs responsibility. that means i have a lot more
people who look up to me. i had to go on bbc two hours after kabul fell because my students were freaking out and they needed someone to speak since to them. i know it is bleak, but i'm helping my friends who are under physical threat. i have students who are reaching out to me who i have conversations with. and what i understand, they are not under any major threat, i do encourage them to stay in the country. this country needs more educated people. the ministries are a ghost town. they're not going to have enough technocrats for a functioning governnt to be in place. that is why some of us have to stay behind. it is my way of laying claim to my land as well. nermeen: obaidull, could you explain, as you have talked about,our unique position
given your family's history and also your experience teaching and living in a post-taliban afghanistan, what position does that put you in regarding possible -- a possible role in the transition from a pre-to post -- sorry, a taliban government? >> i grew up in a very conservative household. that meant my education -- i could really relate to those who were fighting the use existence in afghanistan. the present sort of meant a lot to us, more than just the politics of it. it was a matter of identity. it was a matter of moral obligation to thwart them to get them to leave our land and stop occupying.
but that as i grew up and my exposure increased, i learned to see this conflict differently. if people like to reconcile ose two rlds witn me commitment afghanistan can be different versions of afghanistan that are face-to-face with each other right now. as a post-2001 generation of taliban rolling the streets of kabul now in a post-2001 generation of afghans who grew up under the republic who have interacted with the west and they have very conflicting images of each other. it appears like they cannot coexist. in order to achieve peace or sustainable afghanistan, we'll have to find a place to start and work up from there.
nermeen: obaidullah, you said in a recent interview, you described the scene -- which has been covered extensively here at the kabul airport, you describe it as armageddon. could you talk about what you know of what is happening there and the august 31 deadline approaching? >> i have had friends who slept on the floors of an airplane for a week eating packaged meals, sharing a bathroom amongst 50 other people. i have had other friends who went to the airport quite a few times and were not allowed in. i had a student reach out to me yesterday. she is pregnant with the baby. when she reached the gate she was supposed into the airport through, she realized the risk of being trampled was very high and she chose the life of her unborn baby over her own safe exit from the country.
the stories go on. those who are inside and what they have gone through, imagine yourself if you had to leave everything you have worked for your whole lif. some people get attached to teachers and clothing. i measured everything in your household annually all of that behind. sometimes you're not even allowed a suitcase. you just have a backpack. that means people going to camps in countries they have never seen before with just the shirts on their back. after going through hell, especially on the first day when people want to the airport, there was a high-ranking government official who had to see people shattering glasses, going into the pilot's cabin, pulling him out. people pulling out guns,
shooting in the air. so she had to suffer through trauma to get out of this country alive. those are not things you want to have in your head or your life. nermeen: obaidullah, what about recent reports of rivate chartered planes that are flying out of the airport, including reportedly one run by the defense contractor erik prince who is charging -- the company is charging as much as $6,500 per person to ensure safe passage? "the wall street journal" reports among the people who have flown on one such aircraft, not the one run by the defense contractor erik prince, but another private chartered jet, includes the president of your university, the american universi of afghanistan. >> i am no official spokesperson for the university. i am not sure how he flew out of
the country. it was a very difficult and complicated task getting the faculty out of the country as well. i think if they are charging $6,500, that is amazing because i have actually had afghans who have reached out to me asking for $25,000 to move an old senile woman who had to travel. yeah, this is what you call shadow economy. the saddest part is, even in such economies were people are making money, the minorities, the weaker people of the population, this is supreme try -- disenfranchised are seeing none of it. the closer the deadline approach, the more people are getting desperate, the more willing they are to throw everything they have at the chance of leaving the country. honestly, there is something to be taken by the taliban as well. when they came into the city, a country that did not know them,
and if they were truly concerned, they had to form a government, to rule out policies that really insured whatever they were seeing on paper -- because people really need something to look at. ifhey are leaving for the west, it is because of the fear a new regime will take place, the social order will be one the taliban had 25 years ago. so the taliban needed to show they were willing to do better. and for now, people don't see it and have apprehensions about what a post-u.s. or international troop withdrawal of afghanistan will look like. no site is really putting effort into elevating those frs. amy: obaidullah baheer, if you can talk about what it is like to be in the streets. how many women do you see? what is it like for you to communicate with the taliban? for example, at the checkpoints,
what is their response to you? >> first off, i am out there to look at the women. amy: no, no, i mean, are there women in the streets a also this warning the taliban has just given that the women should stay home because their men are not trained to respect them yet, the taliban, they were saying. >> basically what happens, i was joking, obviously. when you go out into the streets, you see women dressed very conservatively now out of the fear the taliban might interact with them. again, iyou are flying under the radar as a, afghan with traditional clothing, the taliban don't mess with you much. i have heard from friends there were stopped by taliban fighters telling them not to wear jeans or pants. i have been stopped in a three-piece suit and they didn't
really comment on what i was wearing. they do ask to check for papers, the cars that are bigger, more expensive, because they have to make sure those are not stolen cars. there was a lot of looting in the first days. that is how much they interact with you. if you go to the restaurants, the restaurants are open again, the banks are slowly opening up. there were a few sites open yesterday. we are hoping to see more of that because people really are out of cash. if you go to the restaurants, you don't see many/any women sitting and thus they are with families. it is quite different. it is somber. we are waiting to see what the actual policies look like. the taliban have asked women not to participate in their forces, but that, too, has -- there has been a disparity in implementation.
i think they actually put up separation cloth between the office to make sure the men and women don't interact. in the university, there was conversation with the administration regarding segregating and having faculties. those are conversations taking place. that is why this transition is so important. we need to at least negotiate breathable space, even if it is a compromise, even if it is not ideal -- at least there is enough space for civil society to exist for some sort of access for work and education for women. and then we take it from there. we have case studies of iran and saudi arabia, very conservative societies, that -- diversification and pressure had to modify themselves a bit.
the struggle goes on. the hope is even if we start marginally at a disadvantage or majorly at a disadvantage, the hope is with the advent of social media and mass communication and globalization that the afghan people can quickly find their voice and the taliban would have to adhere to reconcile these missions and create a third world that is sustainable for both sides. amy: let me read from your article. "in the six years my father was incarcerated, my anger brewed. i watched jihadi videos of western forces treating and we combatants and imagined what my father was going through. he was released in 2008 just after i turned 18. soon afterwards, a letter under his bedroom door asking permission to join the insurgency in afghanistan. my father would not let me go. if i went, he said, he would be sent straight back to prison." if you can say what your
conversation is with your father now and what message do you have a president biden? >> i conversation with my father now are very difficult because it appears we come from two very different worlds. i by virtue of being hissène don't really argue with him too much with regard to his beliefs because the idea is he spent 50 years of his life standing by that. no i cannot argue him out of it or convince him that what he stood for was problematic. but that doesn't mean i compromise on what i believe in. it is difficult, but we try to make it work. the from what you read was come if that hadn't happened, i would haveeen the one marching on kabul on the day kabul felt. i am glad i didn't. the question here is with
regards to president biden, look, i still have friends -- a person's been 15 years in cap gitmo. he does not have a case against him. he is been the for 15 years. he is a daughter he left while she was a few months old and now she is 15 and preparing for high school student. these people will be forgotten. once the u.s. withdrawal is done and the airport situation is handled, don't let these people be lost in the pages of history. these are real human beings. if the united states could release prisoners for the taliban, then why not release these innocents as well? beyond that, biden should have done more. his excuse that even if you had more time, the evacuation would have been like this, i don't think fines putting in reality
because if they knew they had the assessment knowing kabul would fall in 90 days, why didn't the extraction start then? even now there is room to negotiate and engage with the taliban -- remember that vision of afghanistan i told you where we started with whatever we can get an go beyond it? that is highly contingent on support from the international community , from the u.s. and its allies, to leverage in the recognition or the legitimacy granted to the taliban. that is sort of consistent, but not overly dumb pressure so the ties between them do not cut off. that engaging with the taliban, supporting civil societies, letting afghanistan become a more sustainable society even if it takes years, but we start now. this is where we take our stand. and people like you and voices
like yours matter. really push your governments to take a stand, even if you don't go to afghan ash wood to afghanistan, you owe it to humanity. nermeen: under what conditions do you think the u.s. and other countries around the world should recognize the taliban government? in 1996, there were only three countries that did so, that record as the taliban government. >> i think the international community, the u.s., and its allies with gards to the conditions -- there is one thing i want to highlight. legitimacy is not a one time thing. it is a continuous process. that needs to be communicated to the taliban as well. they, too, had this reputational cost to their own fighters to create a world they have promised them, right? so there has to be some sort of compromise with regard to the
world it created. yeah, the international community just keeps pressuring that. eight is use th incentive, the leverage you have. but also create unormtance like it doesn't really matter if the united stes chooses to not recognize thtaliban regime russia and china do. so unless all of them are on the same page, it is going to be very irrelevant as to whether a lot of countries recognize them or a few really important countries do. there has to be some sort of consensus in order for the leverages to work. amy: obaidullah baheer, thank you for being with us lecturer , of transitiol justice at american university of afghanistan. he just wrote a piece headlined "my family fought alongside the taliban -- but i'm afraid for my friends." he writes "i was brought up to hate the west and everything it stood for.
amy: music by ahmad zahir. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. as we continue our coverage of the u.s. withdrawal from afghanistan, the desperate by many to flee taliban rule. we are joined by author and for npr reporter sarah chayes. she ran a soap factory. she also worked for commanders two of the international forces
in kabul. she served as special advisor for chair of the joint chiefs of staff mike mullen from 2009 through 2011 under the obama administration. her most recent book, "on corruption in america -- and what is at stake." thank you for joining us. can you respond to what is unfolding in afghanistan right now, what you think is most important for people to understand? >> well, the shock and shame of it i don't think i need to really elaborate on. when i hear people saying, oh, it was going to be messy -- i think, wow, messy. hmm. then as they add matters not just what you decide, but how you do what you decided to do. and that goes both berhow united states shows to engage in
afghanistan going all the way back to let say 2002, and to how the biden administration has handled its decision for a pretty arbitrary total withdrawal at the current moment. nermeen: you mentioned the way the u.s. initially, following right after the invasion october 2001, the way the u.s. conducted itself, and also if you could elaborate on the fact he was reportedly turned down possible negotiations with the taliban, who at the time were fuy defeated and were seeking amnesty. why did the u.s. decline and what do you think the effects of that word? >> i have no personal corroboration of that information, so i really can't discuss it because i honestly do not know that was in fact true. so i would really rather not
speculate. what i would say is, number one, the united states never -- sorry, the united states government at the time was not at all interested in afghanistan. it was an afterthought. the bush administration helping to invade iraq. it was really only because there was absolutely no intelligence connecting the 9/11 terrorist attack to iraqi that sort of forced the administration almost reluctantly conduct the operation that it did in afghanistan. i was on the ground -- i was in kandahar maybe a day or two after the city fell, meaning the taliban regime at the time felt. well into 2002, there was basically no one home at the u.s. embassy. there just was nobody there. people would rotate in on two-week deployments. no one spoke the local language.
you could not figure out what was going on. it was not until later i realized by early 2002, personnel roll pivoting already to erect. i think that is the first thing you have to understand. secondly, therefore, the u.s. personnel -- afghanistan matters were largely left were members of the cia. they had a history in the region which really involved very close partnership with the pakistani military and intelligence agency the isi. what i came to understand is the taliban did not emerge spontaneously in kandahar as we often hear. and this is work i did over the course of years interviewing both dairy people who lived in kandahar and lived across the border as well as some of the main actors in that trauma who became friends of mine.
the taliban were concocted across the border by the pakistani military intelligence agency and sent across the border. there was a negotiation process -- we are talking 1994, 1993 -- with the loc which had been commanders. that was led by none other than hamid karzai. i was pretty gob smacked because i realized sort of the individual that the united states government had chosen to lead a post, afghanistan was the very person who had brought the taliban into afghanistan in the first place and who had served as garrett investor designate the united nations as late as 1996. so i would -- i would just raise some questions with what was
telling you because his family retained close wings with the pakistani intelligence agency throughout. i found myself almost smiling when he said how do i reconcile the two me and maybe that is the way afghanistan can recognize -- reconcile its own internal divisions. i want to say, for that is called being a double agent and i think that family in particular now, i can't speak to him because i don't know him personally, but the family right now is playing precisely the role he was playing on air, which is to present a kind of moderate and acceptable for side in order to get the international community to reengage an open the money spigots once again. nermeen: if you could clarify, what you think the alternative is? what do you think the international community should be doing?
>> reserving judgment. i certainly do agree that the money spigots is the only leverage that the international community has left. but i also think the role of the pakistani military government in all of this really needs to be taken into account. i have and have had a number of very consistent criticisms of the way the united states has handled this from the start. the first being this absolutely and explicable i want to say persistent relationship with pakistan when the pakistani government, as i say, organized the taliban in the first place, organized the taliban resurgence, harvard osama bin laden -- harbored osama bin laden in this technology to north korea and it is --
and the behavior of those afghan leaders that we, the united states, kind of put forward toward their own citizens. and the role of u.s. officials and u.s. development organizations in reinforcing and protecting and enabling, i mean, just an unbelievablyorrupt governmental system. so my afghan friends who are not in university, they were ordinary villagers in and around kandahar, they did not know what to make of it. it was like look, the taliban shakes us down at night by the government shakes us down in the daytime. so i would say that in my experience, even among very conservative kandaharis, it was not so much in ideological
issue. not so much the u.s. was an invading country, certainly, not in the first years, my neighbors were saying, they were sick of being abused by their own government and there were sick of the international western role in propping up that government and they wanted a government that was acting in their interests. and that is where the frustration with the western engagement came from. amy: sarah, you worked for admiral mullen under obama. i watched you debate a member of the obama administration. you are very critical of obama and what should have happened at that time. can you elaborate on this and what you think needs to happen now as well? of course, biden was vice president, part of the obama administration. >> that's right. i have -- i am just a little bit
distressed when the biden team makes out that their involvement with this began sort of now. these are the same people who really were involved in the decisions not to address, as i said either of the questions that matter, which were afghan governnt corruption and our role enabling it and the behavior of the government of pakistan, and i was in those interagency debates. i was doing whatever i could to try to change the vector, to try to change the orientation. admiral mullen quickly came around on the issue of corruption. and he was making that argument in the cabinet, but he is the guy with the uniform on. the problem is, does not only agencies that could have addressed the problem.
-- the problem is, he does not only agencies that could have addressed the problem. hillary clinton, mr. sullivan who is now a national security advisor, to be fair, vice president biden of the whole senior leadership of the obama administration was the one who really rai the issue of corruption very early. i guess i would just say once again that it doesn't just matter what you do come in matters how you do it. i fear president biden has constantly had a sort of on/off switch approach to afghanistan. it is all or nothing. i just think situations like this require much more tailored engagement. again, let's remember, there were two wars going on and there was an economic meltdowthat was about to sort of crater the world economy.
one country and one presidential administration cannot handle that many complex problems and the results make that clear. amy: thank you for being on and we will ask you to come back soon. sarah chayes, covered the fall of the tell been 20 years ago and when not to run a soap factory for years. later became special advisor to the joint chiefs of staff mike mullen. her latest book, "on corruption in america -- and what is at stake." next up, we go to greece to speak with the former british labor leader jeremy corbyn, one of the leading critics of the afghan war from the beginning in britain. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
-- former labour party leader jeremy corbyn. in 2001, he helped form the stop the war coalition to campaign against the u.s. invasion. this is corbyn in october 2001 questioning then prime minister tony blair in the british parliament two weeks after the u.s. invaded afghanistan. >> does the prime minister not recognize the continuing bombing campaign including the use of cluster bombs and afghanistan is forcing large numbers of people to seek refuge in pakistan, bringing devastation and poverty to people of afghanistan, and seems to be directed in part against conscripted soldiers and against civilian targets? does he not accept the call of the eight agencies last week for holding bombing told out the humanitarian aid to get in rather than more death and destruction? >> mr. speaker, i spoke about the humanitarian program. i drew attention to comments of
the world food program. it is not the bombing preventing the food getting through. in respect of the campaign itself, there are no civilian targets at all. we do everything we can, unlike bin laden and the al qaeda network who killed many civilians as they possibly could. we do everything we can to minimize civilian casualties. as i was saying, there's a simple choice in this respect. we either decide after an atrocity like the 11th of september we are going to act against those responsible or we don't. i cannot see in the light of that atrocity the fact we know that network of terror intense committing further atrocity how we could possibly stand back and do nothing in the circumstances. i respect entirely his right to disagree with the court -- course we are taking, but i believe the course to be right. amy: that was tony blair responding to jeremy corbyn just
after the u.s. invaded afghanistan. corbynould go on to serve as labor leader party from 2015 to 2020. he is joining us from greece. to continue the debate, jeremy corbyn, if you could respond to blair, the former british prime minister, blasting biden recently saying the u.s. withdrawal of troops from afghanistan is imbecilic, saying the move as every jihadist group around the world celebrating. your response to what is happening now and what has happened over this 20ears? >> simply saying to tony blair and george bush, you toothe people to war that made no sense whatsoever in 2001. you exacerbated the problems. you created the poverty. you created --
the ly people who benefited have been the world's arms dealers and realtors in dubai. we are nw -- we have to look at this and is likely longer historical -- slightly longer historil context. [indiscernible] encourage the u.s. to fd the mujahideen which offially rmed into the taliban with pakistan because they felt they had to oppose what they believed to be e soviet continued occupation of afghanistan. soviet union was driven out by thosforces. and then 9/11 happened. they decidethe whole purpose of 9/11 come from afghanistan rather than bin laden had gone vector in fact, he was found in
pakistan anyway eventually. we have been involved nown a 20 yrs of war. two years after the invasion of afghanistan in 2001, we had the absurdity of the iraq war in which bush claimed iraq was both haoring isis and was also developing weapons of mass destruction. neither of which were true. there were very few of us in the british parliament consistently spoke up against the human rights abuses in iraq before 2003. ias one of those. we went into that were in 2003 and we warned this would create that terrorism after mark, the poverty of tomorrow, and the refugees of tomorrow. it is horrible to look back at 2001, 2003, andhink all the worst productions any ofs ever made have l come to pa. i was on a call last that with
you could. -- i was on the call last night. [indiscernib] trying to get out to safety. we just created this terrible situation and it is now a question of making sure those people that our most at risk are brought out safely. secondly, that the food problem is that with rapidly. and what kind of engagement will be with governmes formed in kabul in the future. if the isn't some form of engagement and recognition and pressure on human rights and all the other issues, that i fear yet another conflict will breakout and afghanistan.
it is a terrible situation. nermeen: jeremy corbyn, of called on prime minister johnson to start an inquy into the afghan war. you explain what you wt that iniry to include? >> after the iraq war started, ny of us contially ask for -- after three or four times, there were various cash produced a huge and lengthy report indicating the inefficiency of decision-making, the way in which the intelligence reports must about with, the inaccuracy of the decisions made. leader of the party, i formally apologized for labour's
role in the iraqar. i think we did the same with afghanistan. decisions were made in the beginning, why 70 british troops went in, why britain accepted the role of being the custodian of health and province with the loss of hundreds of british soldiers in that particular conflict, and why -- what has happened to the vast amount of aid countries have sent to afghanistan. i met soldiers that came back and quite a number -- a small number are now members of the british parliament and they describe the situations. clive lewis, in particular, is very concerned we will make the same mistakes in the future. i think an inquiry needs to ta place. those who have lost loved ones in afghanistan, soldiers -- french, american, german,
afghan, many, ny others -- lives have been lost. their loved ones, their families need to know, do the person die in vain? was this necessary? could is have been avoided? otherwise, we're going to march into one or after another is the only beneficiaries -- or it will be the arms dealers. nermeen: jery corbyn, y talked about your own constituents whose family members are afghan brits -- whose families are still in kabul. what do you think the u.k. government can do to all refugees safe access to the k., given the scenes at the kal airport, and also the fact when prime minister johnson was the mayor of london, he actually
advocated for giving undocumented people residence in the city? >> yes, foe johnson's politics -- force johnson's politics are a wonder to serve. i remember him contactinme and asking me toupport his campaign that undocumented refugees should be given right of permanent residence and eventually citizenship. supported that and now. he went on to become prime minister and let a horrible campaign against refugees and his government is trying to push through per legistion that will me it a criminal offense to assist a refugee at sea and getting to safety to shore, contrary to the international law. as to the british people in afghanistan are the afghan
families that have family in great britain or some that have british passports and are in afghanistan, they obviously -- the raf has been doing his best to get people out and quite a lot have gotten out but not everyone has gotten out. there is chaos around the airport, as everyone can observe at the present time. it is a desperate argument going on, who is the greater priority. fortunately, the government has relaxed quite a l of the rules on entry to britain. tests are no longer required and it appears to be one family member has a right to enter britain holding a u.k. passport and the rest of the family can come as well. they're not all going to get out of kabul airport. i understand there's no other international airport in afghanistan that works. or they have to try to get them across the border into iran and
pakistan or wherever else. it is a humanitarian crisis. interestingly, the u.s. [indiscernible] reported to discuss matters with the taliban. it seems we are now having through the u.s. and presumably through other countries, direct netiations with the taliban in afghanistan. there habeen a contact point for a long time in qatar. surely, all of this could ensure -- should have been done years ago and all e labs could have been saved. surely, there's a huge lesson to be salt. wi a priority at this moment is to bring safety to those most vulnerable people in afghanistan from what the taliban have done