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tv   Yasmin Vossoughian Reports  MSNBC  August 15, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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thank you so much for joining us on this very busy news day. we want to get right to the breaking news out of afghanistan, where the fall of kabul is imminent. there are reports of shots being fired at the hanna karzai airport in kabul right now, americans are being told to shelter in place. nbc news has confirmed that afghan president asmraf ghani has fled the country. president biden and the vice president have been briefed, and do not anticipate changing their plans to get troops out of the country. take a listen. >> we went into afghanistan 20 years ago for one mission, and that was to deal with the folks who attacked us on 9/11, to
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bring them to justice and make they were that you could not do that again. we succeeded in achieves those fundamental objectives. the idea we would remain there in the midst of a civil war was simply not in the national interests. that's the hard decision the president made. >> this as taliban officials say they will soon enter the palace to declare the country the islamic emirate of taliban. >> there is no -- they also bear significant responsibility to this. president trump told us that the president was going to fight terror none of that has happened. none of it has happened. >> ali, the u.s. embassy issued a statement a short time ago,
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saying the security situation in kabul is changing very quickly. that includes at the airport. >> the americans there had hoped to get about 72 hours to ferry all of the americans and their personnel out of afghanistan. if those reports are verified that now gunfire is being opened up on the airport. that means the situation is rapidly deteriorated. >> and it's a bad sign when the state of the country leaves, the
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armed forces loyal to that person usually fall apart pretty quickly. they started falling apart before he left. now that he's gone, they'll probably be absolutely no resistance to the taliban taking over kabul and having full control of afghanistan and probably less than 72 hours. as we know, the afghan forces there just don't have the will to fight the taliban. the taliban are much more disciplined, they're willing to fight to the death. that's not something we have seen from the afghan troops there. so it's a very, very chaotic situation on the ground as the u.s. in a very frenzied last-minute effort try to get their personnel out, and then see what they can do about the afghans that have been working there and helping them through this two-decade-long process. their situation on the ground is also very, very dangerous. you know, if the taliban weed out people that have had any
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sort of connection with the united states, their lives are going to be in danger, as will their families. that's why you're also see such a huge influx of refugee from aflg trying to pour into iran, where i am right now, just to get away from this oppressive rule of the taliban. >> ali, i want to say we have breaking news now that president ghani has issued a statement on twitter about where he has fled to. can you tell us more about the president, where he is and exactly when he left? >> reporter: well, he left in the last few hours he wanted to go to tajikistan, but they wouldn't allow it, and so he
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went to -- he's been forced to flee. he et cetera essentially a refugee now while the taliban take over the entire country. a very, very bad sign for what's to come. >> ali, i just want to read a facebook post from ashraf ghani. it says, dear countrymen, today i came across a hard choice. i should stand to face the armed taliban, or leave the dear country that i dedicated my life to protecting and protecting the past 20 years. if there were still countless countrymen martyred and they would face the destruction of kabul city, the result would have been a big human disaster in this 6 million city. that is from president ghani, who has fled now afghanistan. ali arouzi, thank you so much for being with us. meantime, we are also following this breaking news
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that continues in afghanistan. we're watching the events unfold as the situation in afghanistan continues to change by the minute. let's bring in courtney kube, as well as shannon pettypiece, who is at the white house for us. courtney, let's start with u.s. officials are pushing back on the narrative there was in fact an intelligence failure over the afghanistan withdrawal. what can you tell you about that? and why are they pushing back on that narrative? >> there's devil levels of exactly what went wrong here, and the main -- there's two main ones we need to focus on. yes, the u.s. knew that once the u.s. military left that there was a good chance the taliban would takeover. how much did they know about how fast it would happen? u.s. intelligence and u.s. officials who our colleague and i have spoken to are saying, look, they knew the taliban
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would take over, knew it was happen quickly, but even the worst-case scenario options here, even those -- the taliban surpassed those. now we know we're in august, we're nearly a month before that anniversary, and it looks as if the taliban are completing their takeover as early as today. what is important to point out, this didn't happen in a vacuum. what has changed, as they intelligence assessments have evolved, is the afternoon gan military. there was an assessmentery on, in some places they would put up a fight add slow the movement of the taliban as they were working to isolate kabul, and take over the country. that has not borne out, though.
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some of the more experienced and trained afghan, more conventional forces, they put up somewhat of a fight, they just weren't able to stop the taliban. in some places the taliban was able to move into the areas, completely uncontested and take over provincial capitals and entire provinces. that's been the real determining factor here. what we know that is good on right now, morgan, the u.s. military is moving troops into kabul as we speak. they are still plans to build up to at least 5,000 troops in that city with the mission of evacuating as many americans as they possibly can. these are americans who have worked at the u.s. embassy there in kabul, and to help with assen afghans as they possibly can who are eligible for the special immigrant visa process. the mission will continue, as
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long as it is permissible enough for them to do so. there are reports about what's going on at the airport. the u.s. embassy put out an advisory that there were reports of shots fired, advising americans to shelter in place. what remains unclear is what are those shots fired? was there or was it something nearby what we also now know is the military side of the airport is also operational.
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hamid karzai airplane has a distinct military and civil ian side, but again, this is an evolving situation. >> i think it's important to underscore the point that the military side is operational, but shannon, the last we heard is there was no plans for president biden to make everything is up to change. the president is at camp david. he was briefed. he is not there with the security team. this was a briefing over telle conference. typically this time of year, presidents are on vacation, and we were anticipating that president biden would be away on vacation.
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to be the public face of this response, as they get increasingly on the defense pushing back against criticism about how the visa applicants have been handled try to go quell some criticism coming in white house says the focus really so the americans in the country. the focus on the people who helped, and trying to move them out as quickly as possible. this is the issue of speed that has upended this situation
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people acknowledged that the outcome was likely not going to be what this administration had hoped. and things were not looking as throng for the afghan forces, as the administration had hoped it is the people witch things have unfolded this evacuation of embassy personnel moved out even as early as thursday. the administration was insissen the embassy would stay open. >> you mentioned speed, but now we're finding that balance between speed and safety is even more delicate than previously
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thought. of course, we plan to come back later in the hour as events continue to unfold. just for more, especially just how quickly this all happened, i'm joined by gentleman mitt jafir, retired four-star admiral. and general mccaffery. that redeployed, the dod announced another thousand troops in, but we're doing this noncombatant evacuation getting
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them out will be a real challenge. we're on the verge of watching not just a stationest for american civilians, but a larger failure, because the president, when he decided to pull out of afghanistan on a date certain, september 11th, 2021, said we needed to assure the allies, trance lators for who fought alongside or soldiers were being taken care of. now we're talking about 20,000 folks still in country supported us. those folks will be very vulnerable. it's a moral failure, one that the president bears for, but also president trump and president obama, all who said we should leave as soon as possible without making sure, unfortunately, that our allies are safe. now it's a troubling situation. >> i want to go back to something you just said when you described it as a moral failure.
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general mccaffery. just this morning, take a lynn to this first. president biden said in the not be a saigon, but when i team to ambassador crocker, we think it will be worse. sage saigon all over again? it's not clear to me -- they do
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not have the ability the taliban can bring new le released prisoners to bear on the airport. they can interdict the airspace at any time probably in the next 48 hours. >> that will mean no of the afghan civilians will be allowed to get into kabul, unless the taliban would allow that. they may start selling them back as hosages. we have to focus on how to get the americans out of there. we are in a potential totally vulnerable military situation on
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the ground at kabul airport. the turkish battalion there is with us, who knows whether they'll defend their 3ri789. there are afghan soldiers at the airport who mobile need to be disarmed if they haven't already run for it. it's frightfully vulnerable for the u.s. military and americans still in country. jamil, the taliban is currently emptiy the prisons. what happens next? and what can we and what should we expect from that? >> well, morgan, it's a huge issue. we just saw, as the taliban took bagram airport, and the retention facility, that we maintained, with other terrorist fighters. they have all been released, now joining forces with the taliban.
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general mccaffery is exactly right. this idea that we are not in a saigon moment, what secretary blinken repeated, just this morning on tv, is laughable. the reality is we are very much, unfortunately, in a saigon 340789. the general is exactly right. this doesn't matter who is to blame. this is about protecting our civilians ethere, and frankly our ally that is have followed up for two decades alongside us. it's outrageous we're about to leave that country without taking care of those people in a deeply troubling situation. with these folks being freed from prison, it's anybody's guess as to how bad the situation gets, but also a threat to our homeland, allies in europe, as taliban re-forms. >> the taliban has not been
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in this tower since 2001, and 20 years later -- >> this is painful we've had 60,000 u.s. military killed and wounded. it's been a horrendous real war going on there. the pols data tells us the active forces in general don't want to stay in afghanistan any longer. they saw in as a losing game. i think they're right. i don't think biden had much political of an option to remain there for another 30 days, 90 days. it was a losing proposition. no support of the american people. no support in the democratic party. a farcical treaty by the trump
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administration, which basically said if you promise not to shoot at us and let us leave, you can settle your affairs with the ghani government. the only purpose is to get the americans out. no mass evacuation of the afghans who have worked with us us. they're going to have to flee into adjoining countries. unlike vietnam, they can't just take to the seas and get rescued by the u.s. navy. afghanistan is at the end of nowhere. >> wow. all right. to do that, the goal is to do it, as we just heard shannon say, with both speed and safety. thank you both for your time and your candor and expertise. to our viewers, our breaking news coverage continues right now. we're following the very latest development from the taliban's takeover. just after the break, members of
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there is live video purportedly of the taliban inside the palace, but nbc news has not independently verified its authenticity. for that reason, we're not showing it yet, but when we do, we will bring it straight to you. lawmakers were breached by the white house on the escalating situation just a short time ago. ali vitali is on capitol hill for us. how are they reacting to the briefing? >> that's how lawmakers started the day here, first the house, then the senate, with a briefing from top lieutenants, and
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painting a grim picture where they underscored the mission here is to make sure american citizens, american personnel and other u.s. allies on the ground are evacuated safely, noting that it's a risky mission, and that they hope to continue to go in as quick a fashion as they possibly can. during that call, kevin mckarat wassing to ask a question. how lawmakers are going to scattered across the country, because they are all on recess. if you look at what mccarthy said on this call and read the tea leaves, it gives a sense, using it as an opportunity to
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bash the biden administration for pulling out of afghanistan, and the fashion with which they did it, in some cases likening this moment to leaving saigon during the vietnam war. alsoed biden administration plays defense, some obama officials even second-guessing the way this has gone down. oregon congress members acknowledging the realities on the ground, even as she backs up the biden administration to pull out and end america's longest war. listen. >> this is a crisis of untold proportions. i would agree with richard, this is an intelligence failure. we underestimated the taliban, and overestimated the resolve of the afghan army. whether or not we should have a second briefing today, i would certainly welcome one, this is a fast-changing set of circumstances, but we've got to focus now on saving lives.
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>> so a lot of questions here already on capitol hill, as we head into the week. no doubt we're going to hear more from lawmakers, asking just how this situation could have devolved so quickly and the foreign policy apparatus. i would also add, morgan, usually we have issues where they can fall in to meet lines. what is clear leer you can talking to sources, this is not one of those moments where the parties will fall into neat boxes of defense and attack. instead, there is an acknowledgement that this is a moment of 20 years of foreign policy that spans four administrations, two republican administrations, two democratic white houses as well. so lawmakers definitely prioritizing right now the same thing that the administration is saying, which is to get all americans out, but as we
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continue to follow this from the hill and watch the way this breaks down politically, it will not be in the neat partisan boxes that we speak in, morgan. >> ali vitali with the latest. as always, thank you. at 4:00 p.m. we'll by joined by one of the members of congress that got that afghanistan briefing. we'll get these thoughts on the handling of this exit from his perspective as a member of the armed service commission. as the taliban takeover of afghanistan is nearly complete, those who have already left the country watch in horror. i'll talk about an afghan american doctor just after the break, and as we monitoring the events, we will continue to bring them to you. events, we will continue to bring them to you.
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we continue to follow the dire situation happening right now in afghanistan. let's go now to freelance
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journalist who is on the ground there. fatima, can you tell us a bit about what you've been seeing on the ground right now? frankly, did you anticipate the speed of this taliban takeover, and as americans, should we have anticipated it? >> talking about the current situation, afghans don't really know. the speed has been quite fast. none of us, especially residents in kabul, had anticipated such quick taking over of kabul by the taliban. >> i wanted to ask you, also, to follow up on that point. what is the mood like right now in the city? especially among the most vulnerable populations, women,
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children, those who have worked with the american government there. how are they feeling about all of this right now? >> people are so scared. >> they are all wearing their dresses, including myself, that they used to wear. before noon, when we heard that the taliban has taken dover kabul, i did not know how to leave, because i did not have an hijab that the taliban would allow us -- so i came home. the streets are empty, no children, no women, everything was scared. no one was out. >> fatema, i just want to
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reiterate something you said, i want to make sure i heard you correctly. as a woman living in afghanistan, you were wearing jeans. when you found out what was happening, you wore a dress and liking for hijab just to keep yourself safe, because you knew the taliban was coming. did i understand that correctly? >> yes. >> that is a difficult position to be in, to have to protect yourself that way. i hope we can keep you on the line and come back later in the program. your perspective there as someone on the ground is important, valid, and we thank you for the time and courage you have taken to talk with us today. thank you. >> thank you. i want to go now to dr. nadia hashimi, a pedestrian -- a
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pediatrician. every one of your books has backdrop of afghanistan, special on which told through the lens of women and children. i want to dig into the human emotion here. as an afghan-american, how is this taliban takeover now affecting the community? how are you concerned for the people you have back home? >> thank you, morgan, for at least including this part of the discussion as well, because it's really taking a heavy toll on the community. first and foremost, we're concerned about what is happening in afghanistan because of the people who are there. because of our friends, our family members, our relatives. for some people for their colleagues. the reports that we're getting have been bleak. everyone i know has been glued to their phones for the past essentially one week. however by however, the situation seems to change and
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get worse and unravel, and becomes even more devastating. the imaging are devastating, heartbreaking. people are messaging me, looking for ways to help, any kind of movement we can make. we're feeling grief, despace, resentment, fear, absolutely everything, sometimes at a loss on how to channel that into action that can help someone. >> when you talk about the people back home who are reaching out minute by minute, hour by hour, what are they telling you, doctor? >> the people in afghanistan or the people here in the u.s.? >> the people in afghanistan. >> the people in afghanistan, you know, the communication can be sometimes limiting, but what they are seeing unfolding, is an unbelievably rapid pace, so actually people even on the ground were not anticipating that they would come to this and so quickly.
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i think that they're very, very concerned about specifically the rights -- the lives of human rights defenders, of women's rights activists, and of course of the future for women and girls. so much has been built in the past 20 years. the one thing we do know is the taliban are not a regime of construction, but one of destruction. >> for our viewers, doctor hashimi, please fill that out. in a tactical sense, what does this mean for women and girls every day? >> if we're going to look at what the taliban historically has represented for women and girls, it's going to mean a change in their clothing. what liberties women have with their clothing, that's one. it may be a superficial one, but it is one. each seen reports that women who showed up to go to university classes or school have been turned away, that women going
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back to the officeses to work were turned away and told to leave. some organ sykess that work on education of girls have had their equipment stolen by the taliban, so those organizations will not really be able to process anything. they won't be able to operate and provide an education for those girls. we're going to see, again, limitations of access to health care, maybe if -- if they're still permitted to access health care, there's probably a lot of fear. if i were a woman living in afghanistan right now, i would be very fearful and wondering if i should go out, keep my appointments in order to maintain my own well-being. there would be a lot of questions, a lot yet to be seen, and whether or not we'll get the information we need to judge what life looks like under 9 taliban is questionable, because
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they're looking to control all the officials. >> we know historically girls have not been allowed to go to school, but finally, give us a big picture here looking prospectively and retrospecttively, what would have been done differently here? what do you think the solution entails? >> i think it's hard to boil it down. obviously a lot of mistakes have been made. what should have happened is we needed to make sure that all of the investment of blood, treasure from the international community, from the united states and from the afghan people needed to have been made with more responsibility, with nor placement on integrity, with more on what really will be the infrastructure of the country, the education of women, of girls, and of a government that actually reflected the will of the people, and had some accountability built in. going forward, i hope -- you
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know, specifically i look at what we can do on the u.s. side. specifically at this moment, i'm looking for it not to turn into a partisan talking point, where republicansened democrats are wasting times and lives attacking each other. there's a dire need for humanitarian support. we need to look at what we're doing for refugees. we'll have another flowed of refugees hitting other shores and countries, and we need to take responsibility here as well. we need to evacuate very urge listenly the women's rights activists, the human rights defenders, who will be prime targets, so there's a lot to do in the immediate future, and long term, a lot of accountability on this regime that's taken over. >> also, i have to say, doctor, thank you. even through art, like your books, so many americans have come to understand the beauty and appreciate what afghan culture, even understand some of
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is history because of the lens and the window into life you have given them there. thank you for making time to be with us today. we appreciate it. currently the white house is battling criticism of how the withdrawal was conducted, and really the surprise of the speed of this takeover. i'll talk to a former advisory to supreme allied commander. stay with us. e allied commander stay with us and remove the waste that weighs you down. it also helps lower cholesterol and slows sugar absorption to promote healthy blood sugar levels. so you can feel lighter and more energetic metamucil. support your daily digestive health. and try metamucil fiber thins. a great tasting and easy way to start your day. i brought in ensure max protein, with thirty grams of protein. those who tried me felt more energy in just two weeks! [sighs wearily]
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the afghan government. i want to bring in evelynfarkas. thank you for your time today. both president biden and former at the present time trump are fighting over who's to blame. take a listen to what mike pompeo said earlier today. >> it looks like the biden administration has just failed in its execution of its own plan. this reminds me of when we've seen previous administrations to allow embasies to be overrun. it feels like there's a bit of panic to reinsert soldiers. the plan must league we had, would have been to orderly to think about how to draw down our forces there. >> to think about how to draw down the forces. evelyn, where do you stand on this? was this the right way to lead the exit in afghanistan? >> well, morgan, first i want to
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say this is really rich. you know, secretary pompeo criticizinged biden administration, when, frankly speaking, dealing with afghanistan always was going to be difficult for president biden once he assumed office, but the trump administration made it even more difficult by unilaterally negotiating with the taliban and excluding of afghan government, which of course already had its problems in terms of credibility with the afghan population, but in afternoon, might makes right, and the united states brings a lot of might to the table, so excludes the afghan government, weakened the negotiating position. so the trump administration officials criticizing this, i think they should be quiet, because they did not do a great job. now, having said that, you know, this was really, unfortunately,
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massively bunkled in terms of how we got out of afghanistan. there was and there is wide agreement in the united states that we should leave afghanistan militarily, but we never were intending to leave diplomatically, we certainly did not intend to leave the way we are now, hastily, having to burn documents, fighting for the lives of americans and the afghans who helped them, not to mention all the internationals and other afghans that helped basically civil society, media outlets like yours. we're in a situation we didn't need to be in. the biden administration had already decided, may 1st, the deadline the trump administration agreed with afghanistan, wasn't going to cut it. they picked august 31st. they should have gone into the time of year when the taliban isn't fighting, during the winter. they also would have had more
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time to make sure -- yes, they had plans on the books, but they didn't have them to conduct an urgent withdrawal. again, things were changing already on the ground as richard engel has mentioned. >> i want to ask you about what you said a moment ago, this was in fact massively bungled. "new york times" writes if there's a consistent theme, it is the over-estimation of the results of the $83 billion the united states has spent since 2001, and underestimation of the beautiful, wily strategy of the taliban. how do you see that? i mean, do you agree? >> yes, absolutely, we overestimated what we could achieve with military force and with training. clearly political will was a huge factor here. we don't know who was advising and helping the taliban. when i was in the pentagon in 2015, the russians were providing small arms to the taliban, so i can only imagine over timed they were providing
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more assistance to include possibly some strategic advice. i'm not pinning it on outside powers. fundamentally it was the afghan military and really the afghan political leadership that failed, but we contributed to this as well. we did not provide them with the support and they might have held on, at least, to get some kind of agreement with the taliban, which may or may not have held, to be honest, but could have gotten more space and time for women and others in afghanistan to get out even after we left with our military footprint. >> evelyn farkas, thank you for your expertise and time. we appreciate it. our breaking coverage continues just after the break. don't go anywhere. after the brk don't go anywhere. deals on refrigerators, microwaves, gas ranges and grills. and if you're looking for... ok everyone, our mission is to provide complete,
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still fresh unstopables in-wash scent booster downy unstopables welcome back to msnbc. i'm morgan radford. we're closely following the situation in haiti where the death toll has climbed to more than 700 people. many more are still missing and injured. the video highlights just some of the devastation on the islands, where search operations remained underway for survivors. the u.s. coast guard announced a short time ago it's now deploying helicopters as well as a ship to go in and help. coming up, our live breaking coverage of the taliban's near total takeover of afghanistan. this continues with live report
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and -- stay with us right here on msnbc.
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it's the top of the hour. for those just now joining us, welcome. i'm in for yasmin vossoughian. let's get to the major developments in afghanistan. i want to show you new individual jo just earlier they
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said to rename the country as -- has ned the country of the just a short time ago, he released a pretty elementy statement on facebook, saying he came across a hard choice, and went on to say the taliban, quote, is here to attack all of kabul, and to avoid the bleeding flood, i thought it best to get out. not the u.s. embassy is telling american to say shelter in place after records of gunfire it is airplane. >> look. what we're focused on. we're trying to make sure we can get our people to a safe and secure place, that we can do right by the people who stood with us in afghanistan all these years, including afghans who worked for the embassy, worked for our military. >> i want to go ahead


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