>>> TALIBAN MILITANTS ARE CELEBRATING THE WITHDRAWAL OF U.S. TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN. THE GROUP IS SETTING IT WRITES ON CREATING A NEW GOVERNMENT BUT THERE ARE FOR HURDLES AS THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL WARNS OF A DEEPENING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN THE COUNTRY, WITH MILLIONS IN NEED OF EIGHT. CHARLIE D’AGATA REPORTS ON THE FUTURE OF AFGHANISTAN.
>> Reporter: TAKING OVER THE COUNTRY WITH THE EASY PART. NOW COMES THE JOB OF RUNNING IT. LIKE THE AIRPORT, WHERE TALIBAN MEMBER HOLDS AMERICAN WEAPONS, BADMOUTH OUTGOING U.S. FORCES.
>> AS YOU CAN SEE, THESE INFIDELS HAVE DESTROYED THE ENTIRE AIRPORT, HE SAYS WE HAD A TEAM READY TO FIX THE MESS NOW THAT THE AMERICANS HAVE GONE, WE ARE READY TO CLEAN IT UP. IT IS A GRAVEYARD OF U.S.
MILITARY HARDWARE, AND BEREFT OF THE TECHNICAL KNOW-HOW TO GET RELIABLE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM IN PLACE, THE TALIBAN ARE TURNING TO TRENCH 19 AND TURKEY TO GET IT BACK UP RUNNING. EVEN WITH FLIGHTS STOP, SOME AFGHANS TRY TO GET IN, TALIBAN GUARDS TURNED THEM AWAY.
THEN THERE IS THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM, THERE’S BEEN A RUN ON THE BANKS WITH PEOPLE TRYING TO WITHDRAW CASH IN THE CHAOS. SOME HAVE WAITED IN LINE FOR DAYS. >> I SHOULD BUILD A FUTURE. I SHOULD STUDY. DEFINITELY SITUATIONS ARE LIKE THAT, YOU SHOULD STAY FOR ONE WEEK TO TAKE — FROM BANK.
IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO LIVE HERE. >> Reporter: WITH MANY EMPLOYEES NOW TOO TERRIFIED TO RETURN TO WORK, EVEN BASIC NECESSITIES LIKE ELECTRICITY AND WATER ARE UNDER THREAT. THE UN IS WARNING THAT ABSOLUTE CATASTROPHE OF ECONOMIC RUIN, AND EVEN FAMINE. YESTERDAY CROWDS ATTENDED A MOCK FUNERAL HELD BY THE TALIBAN ,’ AND STRAIGHT IN FLAGS OF AMERICA, AND COALITION ALLIES. BUT THE CELEBRATION SUBSIDES, THE COUNTRY MAY SOON FACE MORE FUNERALS OF ITS OWN.
>> LET’S BRING IN CHARLIE WHOSE JOINING US LIVE FROM DOHA QATAR. YOU MENTIONED THE END IS WARNING ABOUT THE MILITARY AND SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN AND THEY ARE CALLING ON COUNTRIES TO OFFER AID. WHAT IS THE STATUS OF OPERATIONS IN AFGHANISTAN RIGHT NOW? IT IS SOMETHING YOU AND >> Reporter: EVERYTHING ESSENTIALLY HAS SCREECHED TO A HALT. NOW THAT YOU TAKE THE MILITARY CONFLICT OUT OF THE EQUATION, THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAM HAS SAID THAT THEY ARE MARCHING TOWARD STARVATION, IN THEIR WORDS.
THIS WAS DURING THE CONFLICT ITSELF. THERE IS A FAMINE IN AFGHANISTAN. THEY ARE DEALING WITH COVID. NOBODY HAS REPORTED THAT BECAUSE THAT HAS FALLEN TO THE WAYSIDE. THERE ARE OTHER PRESSING ISSUES THAT ARE IMMEDIATE.
LET’S TALK ABOUT U.S. AID, WHAT THE U.S. GOVERNMENT AND INTERNATIONAL GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE GIVING.
BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, ALL OF THE ASSETS ARE NOT FROZEN. THINK OF THE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS THAT WERE GOING INTO PROPPING UP THE AFGHAN SECURITY FORCES. ALL OF THAT HAS BEEN FROZEN. THEN, YOU HAVE TO DECIDE AND TRUST THAT THE TALIBAN IS WORTHY TO GET THE AID, THAT THEY WILL DISTRIBUTE IT, THAT YOU TRUST THEY WILL DISTRIBUTE IT AND THAT THEY HAVE THE MEANS TO DISTRIBUTE IT.
I THINK WHAT THE CONCERN IS HERE FOR THAT U.
N., THE UNITED STATES AND GOVERNMENT WILL HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS. I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT WEEKS, I AM TALKING ABOUT DAVE’S BECAUSE IT IS SO PRESSING, HOW THEY GET THIS AID TO AFGHANISTAN AND HOW THEY DISTRIBUTE THE AID TO THE PLACES THAT WILL NEED IT MOST. THERE IS RAMPANT CORRUPTION, AS ANYWAY, IN THE A GOVERNMENT. WE ARE NOW DEALING WITH A GOVERNMENT THAT HAS NOT EVEN BEEN FORMED YET.
THEY DON’T HAVE THE KIND OF MANPOWER TO BE ABLE TO DISTRIBUTE AID. NOT JUST CASH BUT LITERALLY FOOD, WATER, GETTING INTO THE PLACES THAT NEED IT MOST. >> SPEAKING OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT HAS NOT BEEN FORMED YET, THE TALIBAN SAYS IT IS DAYS AWAY FROM ANNOUNCING A NEW GOVERNMENT. DO WE HAVE ANY IDEA HOW THAT GOVERNMENT WILL BE ORGANIZED OR WHO WILL BE HOLDING TOP POSITIONS? >> Reporter: THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THE GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE.
IS IT GOING TO BE BASED ON SOMETHING LIKE A PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT? THAT IS LIKELY BASED ON THE GOVERNMENT THAT WAS OUTGOING. THE TALIBAN WILL WANT TO BE IN CHARGE BUT THEY ALSO UNDERSTAND THEY WILL APPOINT MINISTERS. THEY HAVE SAID THEY WILL NOT ALLOW HIGH RANKING FEMALE MINISTERS TO HOLD THE HIGHEST POSITIONS. AS FAR AS WHO WILL HOLD THEM, THEY WILL NOT NAME NAMES YET BUT WE KNOW THEY HAVE THE FORMER PRESIDENT WHO WAS IN THE MIX.
HE IS CURRENTLY NEGOTIATING WITH THE TALIBAN. THEY WILL NEED THAT FOR REASON I WILL GET INTO IN A MINUTE.
PART OF THE RECONCILIATION COMMITTEE HAS BEEN DEALING WITH THE TALIBAN FOR YEARS THROUGH ALL OF THIS. HE STAYED ON. HE DID NOT FLEE THE COUNTRY.
THE REASON THE TALIBAN NEED BOTH OF THESE GENTLEMEN AND MORE IS THEY HAVE ALREADY SAID THEY WILL NEED AN INCLUSIVE GOVERNMENT. THE FIRST PRIORITY THEY HAVE RIGHT NOW IS TO MAKE SURE THEY CAN RUN THE COUNTRY. BY THEIR OWN ADMISSION, THEY SAID THAT THEY HAD NOT REALIZED THAT IT WOULD COME THIS QUICKLY. THEY REALLY HAVE NOT HAD TIME TO FORM A GOVERNMENT OR WHAT IT WILL LOOK LIKE OR WHETHER THERE WILL BE SOME SORT OF INTERIM GOVERNMENT, WHETHER IT WILL BE SOME SEMBLANCE OF DEMOCRACY WITHIN THAT GOVERNMENT. THEY ARE DEALING WITH A WIDE VARIETY OF ETHNIC GROUPS THAT THEY WILL HAVE TO MAKE SURE AT LEAST GIVES THE APPEARANCE OF REPRESENTATION ACROSS THE POPULATION NOT JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE TO PLACATE THE POPULATION ITSELF BUT THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GIVE THE APPEARANCE TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY THAT THERE IS AN INCLUSIVITY THERE.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, THEY NEED TO GET THINGS DONE. WE TALK ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT AS AN ABSTRACT NOTION BUT YOU WILL NEED A FOREIGN MINISTER.
YOU WILL NEED A HEALTH MINISTER. FOR JOURNALISTS, YOU WILL NEED A MINISTER OF INFORMATION. HOW DO YOU START IMPOSING THE LAWS WERE SUGGESTING WITH THE LAWS WILL BE?
THEN YOU INTRODUCE SHARIA LAW AND THERE WILL BE ELEMENTS OF THE TALIBAN, INCLUDING THE HAQQANI NETWORK WHO WILL HAVE TO HAVE NOT JUST A PIECE OF THE PIE BUT ONE OF THE BIGGEST PIECES OF THE PIE.
THERE ARE ELEMENTS WITHIN THE THAT HAQQANI NETWORK THAT WERE LABELED TERRORISTS. NOW YOU WILL FORM A GOVERNMENT THAT INCLUDES POSSIBLE WANTED TERRORISTS FROM THE UNITED STATES. THE BROTHER OF ONE OF THE WANTED TERRORISTS IS CURRENTLY RUNNING SECURITY FOR KABUL. YOU CAN SEE HOW COMPLICATED THIS IS GETTING.
THEY NEED TO GET THIS IN PLACE WITHIN A MATTER OF DAYS. >> CHARLIE, WE WILL HAVE TO WRAP UP OUR CONVERSATION BECAUSE OF THE PRESSING NEWS CONFERENCE ON THE CALDOR FIRE IN CALIFORNIA BUT WE WILL CERTAINLY BE TALKING TO YOU THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THE DAY IN THE WEEKS AHEAD AS WE LOOK TO SEE HOW THE TALIBAN ACTUALLY PUTS THINGS INTO PLAY .
Afghanistan Evacuation Speeds Up As Taliban Claim To Have Changed
DEADLINE LOOMS? RICHARD ENGEL SPOKE TODAY WITH A TALIBAN OFFICIAL. >> Reporter: THE TALIBAN IS STRESSING IT’S TIME FOR THE U.S. AND ITS ALLIES TO PACK UP AND GET OUT.
TRANSPORT PLANES AND CIVILIAN AIRCRAFT FROM AROUND THE WORLD ARE EVACUATING VULNERABLE AFGHANS. BUT THERE’S A HUGE BOTTLENECK AT TRANSIT HUBS. AT THE U.S. BASE IN DOHA, QATAR, THOUSANDS CROWDED AND TEMPERATURES WELL OVER 100 DEGREES.
>> IT WAS SO HOT THERE. I THINK EVERYONE THOUGHT THEY WERE GOING TO DIE. >> Reporter: IN KABUL THEY’RE HELPING TO SPEED UP THE EVACUATIONS KEEPING CROWDS AWAY FROM THE AIRPORT. HANDING OUT FOOD AND WATER. BUT MANY AFGHANS FEEL THEY’RE BEING ABANDONED.
ESPECIALLY WOMEN AND GIRLS WHO WERE OPPRESSED WHEN THE TALIBAN RULED 0 YEARS AGO. NOW THE TALIBAN PROMISED TO BE DIFFERENT BUT HAVE THEY CHANGED? OR ARE THEY JUST PLAYING NICE UNTIL THE AMERICANS LEAVE? TONIGHT, I MET ZABI, THE TALIBAN SPOKESMAN. THE UNITED STATES IS EVACUATING AND IT IS TAKING OUT AMERICANS WHO WORKED WITH U.
S. FORCES. BUT NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO MAKE IT OUT. WILL YOU LET THOSE PEOPLE LEAVE IN THE FUTURE? CAN YOU GUARANTEE THEIR SAFETY?
“WE DON’T WANT OUR COUNTRYMEN TO GO TO AMERICA. WHATEVER THEY HAVE DONE IN THE PAST WE HAVE GIVEN THEM AMNESTY, WE NEED YOUNG EDUCATED PROFESSIONALS FOR OUR STATION. IF THEY WANT TO LEAVE IT’S THEIR CHOICE. >> Reporter: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO WOMEN, AFGHAN WOMEN WHO ARE TERRIFIED. >> Translator: THEY ARE OUR SISTERS.
WE MUST SHOW THEM RESPECT. THEY SHOULD NOT BE FRIGHTENED. THEY ARE FROM THIS COUNTRY AND FOUGHT FOR THEIR COUNTRY. WOMEN SHOULD BE PROUD OF US, NOT SCARED.
>> Reporter: THERE ARE ALREADY REPORTS OF TALIBAN FIGHTERS TAKING YOUNG WOMEN, UNMARRIED WOMEN AS BRIDES, FORCED BRIDES.
THERE HAVE BEEN REPORTS OF PEOPLE GOING INTO HOMES. >> Translator: THIS IS PROPAGANDA FROM THE OLE REGIME. WE HAVE NO EVIDENCE OF A SINGLE CASE. >> THIS WAR STARTED WHEN OSAMA BIN LADEN, THE GUEST OF THE TALIBAN, ORGANIZED 9/11 ATTACKS. CAN YOU GUARANTEE THAT THIS COUNTRY WILL NEVER AGAIN BE A BASE FOR TERRORISM?
>> Translator: WHEN OSAMA BIN LADEN BECAME AN ISSUE FOR THE AMERICANS HE WAS IN AFGHANISTAN. ALTHOUGH THERE WAS NO PROOF HE WAS INVOLVED, NOW WE HAVE GIVEN PROMISES THAT AFGHAN SOIL WON’T BE USED AGAINST ANYONE. >> YOU STILL DON’T THINK THAT OSAMA BIN LADEN CARRIED OUT 9/11? >> THERE IS NO EVIDENCE EVEN AFTER 20 YEARS OF WAR, WE HAVE NO PROOF HE WAS INVOLVED.
>> SO IT SOUNDS LIKE EVEN NOW AFTER ALL OF THIS, YOU’RE ACCEPTING NO RESPONSIBILITY?
>> Translator: THERE WAS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR THIS WAR. IT WAS EXCUSE FOR WAR. >> HOW ARE YOU FEELING RIGHT NOW AFTER 20 YEARS AND THE AMERICANS ARE LEAVING. >> Translator: THE WITHDRAWAL IS ALMOST FINISHED. THESE ARE OUR HAPPIEST MOMENTS.
>> RICHARD, DID THIS SPOKESMAN TALK ABOUT WHAT THE FUTURE RELATIONSHIP COULD LOOK LIKE BETWEEN THE U.S. AND THE TALIBAN? >> Reporter: HE DID. HE SAID HE WANTS TO OPEN A NEW CHAPTER OF RELATIONS WITH THE.
Backlash over report that U.S. officials provided Taliban with names of American citizens, allies
>> IT IS ALL REALLY FASCINATING AND CONCERNING. THANK YOU SO MUCH. >>> ONTO THE WITHDRAWAL OF U.S. TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN.
U.S. OFFICIALS REPORTEDLY GAVE THE TALIBAN A LIST OF PEOPLE THAT THE U.S. WANTED TO EVACUATE.
ACCORDING TO A REPORT FROM POLITICO, THE LIST INCLUDED AFGHANS WHO SERVED ALONGSIDE THE U.S. DURING THE WAR, U.S. CITIZENS AND MORE.
AS THE MILITARY PREPARES TO LEAVE AFGHANISTAN NOW, THE WINDOW FOR EVACUATIONS IS CLOSING AND CRITICS SAY THIS MOVE COULD HAVE LASTING EFFECTS FOR THOSE UNABLE TO MAKE IT TO THE AIRPORT IN TIME.
LET’S BRING IN POLITICO DEFENSE REPORTER LAURA TO TALK MORE ABOUT THIS. LAURA ON THE ONE HAND, YOU CAN KIND OF UNDERSTAND WHY THE U.S. FELT THE NEED, FELT IT WOULD BE BENEFICIAL TO GIVE THE TALIBAN A LIST OF PEOPLE.
BUT YOU CAN ALSO SEE WHERE THE PROBLEM IS. CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE MORE ABOUT WHY THE U.S. TELL THE THEY NEEDED TO? OR WHY IT WAS THE RIGHT DECISION TO HANOVER THIS INFORMATION?
>> Reporter: SURE. OF COURSE THE PROBLEM IS THE TALIBAN HAS A HISTORY OF HUNDRED DOLLARING DOWN AND BRUTALLY MURDERING THESE PEOPLE. WE HAVE HEARD ANECDOTES FROM INTERPRETERS WHO HAVE HAD FAMILY MEMBERS AND I WOULD THEIR HOUSES BURNED DOWN AS RETRIBUTION FOR THIS HELP.
THE ADMINISTRATION HAS MADE CLEAR OVER THE PAST SEVERAL DAYS THIS WAS NOT ONE GIANT LIST, BUT RATHER THAT INSTANCES WHEN THEY WERE TRYING TO GET A BUS OR A GROUP OF PEOPLE THROUGH TO THE AIRPORT, THEY GAVE TALIBAN GUARDS A KIND OF MANIFEST, WHICH INCLUDED ALL THE NAMES OF THE PEOPLE ON THE BUS. SO IT IS MULTIPLE LISTS AS OPPOSED TO ONE LIST.
BUT STILL, LAWMAKERS AND MILITARYOFFICIALS ARE FURIOUS THIS IS HAPPENING. I HAD ONE OFFICIAL DESCRIBE IT TO ME AS BASICALLY A KILL LIST. SO THIS CAME UP, LIKE I SAID, DURING A CLASSIFIED BRIEFING ON CAPITOL HILL LAST WEEK THAT TURNED EXTREMELY CONTENTIOUS AND LAWMAKERS WERE SO ANGRY AT THE ADMINISTRATION THAT THIS WAS HAPPENING.
IN FACT, SEVERAL OF THEM HAVE COME OUT IN STATEMENTS IN THE LAST WEEK AFTER OUR STORY WAS PUBLISHED, CALLING FOR INVESTIGATIONS. SO A CONTROVERSIAL MOVE BY THE ADMINISTRATION.
>> YEAH. IT IS SORT OF, YOU CAN SEE WHY THIS IS COMPLICATED. U.S. LEADERS HAVE CALLED THE TALIBAN PARTNERS DURING THIS EVACUATION.
CERTAINLY THE TALIBAN WERE SUPPOSED TO PROVIDE SOME SEMBLANCE OF SECURITY AROUND THE AIRPORT. WE SEE HOW WELL THAT WENT. BUT YOU KNOW, COULD THE U.S. HAVE FACILITATED THIS TYPE OF EVACUATION WITHOUT SHARING WITH THE TALIBAN?
>> CERTAINLY, I THINK PROVIDING A MANIFEST OF A LIST OF NAMES MAKES SENSE TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE WERE GETTING IN THAT WERE SUPPOSED TO AND PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT SUPPOSED TO WERE NOT GETTING IN.
BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, THIS IS A HIGHLY AT RISK GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT WE KNOW THE TALIBAN HAS BEEN TRYING TO HUNDRED DOWN. SO IT SEEMS LIKE A LIST OF NAMED ON A MANIFEST WASN’T COMPLETELY NECESSARY FOR THE TALIBAN. ESPECIALLY IF IT ENDED UP CONTAINING ANY INFORMATION ABOUT WHERE THEY WORK, WHO THEIR FAMILY WAS, WHO THEY WORKED WITH. SO I DEFINITELY THINK THIS WAS NOT SOMETHING THEY HAD TO DO, RATHER IT WAS JUST SOMETHING THEY DID TO TRY TO SPEED THE EVACUATION ALONG.
BECAUSE, AS WE KNOW, THERE HAVE BEEN MANY CROWDS OUTSIDE OF THE KABUL AIRPORT, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE TRYING TO GET INTO THE AIRPORT, AND MANY OF THEM WE JUST DON’T HAVE THE SPACE FOR AT THE ACTUAL AIRPORT OR AT THE SECONDARY LOCATIONS THESE PEOPLE ARE BEING FLOWN TO.
SO I THINK IT IS PART OF THE STRATEGY TO GET RID OF THIS CHOKE POINT AT THE AIRPORT. >> SO NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER JAKE SULLIVAN SAID YESTERDAY, DESPITE ALL THE HAZARDS, ANY U.S. CITIZEN LEFT IN KABUL CAN BE EVACUATED IF THEY WISHED.
HOWEVER, PEOPLE ARE STILL FACI OBSTACLES GETTING TO THE AIRPORT. IS THIS STILL REALISTIC AT THIS POINT? >> WELL, I THINK THAT THE ISSUE IS THE AMERICANS ARE ABOUT TO PULL OUT. WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE OUT BY THE END OF TOMORROW. THAT MEANS THE MILITARY HAS TO START DRAWING DOWN.
IN FACT THEY HAVE ALREADY STARTED DRAWING DOWN A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO. WHAT THAT MEANS IS THERE ARE FEWER U.S. TROOPS TO BRING PEOPLE THROUGH, THERE ARE FEWER U.S.
AIRCRAFT POTENTIALLY, TROOPS TO PROCESS THESE PEOPLE AND GET THEM OUT. SO EACH DAY, HONESTLY EACH HOUR, IT IS BECOMING MORE APPROXIMATE MORE DIFFICULT TO GET THROUGH THE GATES.
AND YES, WE ARE HEARING REPORTS OF EITHER THE TALIBAN TURNING AWAY PEOPLE AT THE AIRPORTS, OR PEOPLE TRYING TO GET IN BUT GATES BEING CLOSED. PEOPLE TOLD TO LEAVE THE AIRPORT BECAUSE THERE IS NOT ANYMORE ROOM FOR THEM. SO REALLY THIS EVACUATION EFFORT IS TAPERING OFF.
AS WE SAW THE NUMBERS, THE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE GETTING OUT IS GOING SLOWLY DOWN. SO I DON’T ANTICIPATE THERE WILL BE TENS OF THOUSANDS MORE GETTING OUT. MAYBE A COUP.
Taliban declares victory in Afghanistan after last U.S. troops withdraw
ACRES OF LAND AND HUNDREDS OF HOMES AND BUSINESSES.>>> THE TALIBAN HAS OFFICIALLY DECLARED VICTORY IN AFGHANISTAN AFTER ALL U.S. TROOPS LEFT THE COUNTRY AND ENDED AMERICA’S LONG AS WERE. TALIBAN FIGHTERS CELEBRATED IN KABUL LAST NIGHT.
THIS MARKS AN END TO 20 YEARS OF WAR AND BLOODSHED BUT THERE ARE GROWING FEARS AMONG MANY AFGHANS STILL LIVING THERE AS THE TALIBAN TAKES CHARGE. WE ARE IN KABUL WITH THE BBC. FIRST OFF, WE SAW MEMBERS OF THE TALIBAN CELEBRATING AT THE AIRPORT. I AM CURIOUS, WHAT IS THE MOOD IN KABUL NOW? >> Reporter: WE SAW THAT CELEBRATE THREE GUNFIRE FROM THE TALIBAN LASTING LATE INTO THE NIGHT.
TODAY, THE TALIBAN TAKING OVER VISITING KABUL AIRPORT, INSPECTING SOME OF THE MILITARY HARDWARE LEFT OVER BY U.S. FORCES. ALTHOUGH THAT HARDWARE LARGELY, DECOMMISSIONED, WE UNDERSTAND. THE TALIBAN, UNSURPRISINGLY HAVE BEEN DECLARING TODAY A GREAT VICTORY, FOLLOWING THE DEPARTURE OF U.
S. SOLDIERS. THIS IS, OF COURSE SOMETHING THEY FOUGHT FOR FOR TWO DAYS. ELSEWHERE, I THINK WE ARE STILL SEEING A CONTINUATION OF THIS AIR OF UNEASY CALM WE HAVE SEEN IN THE CITY FOR THE PAST FEW WEEKS.
MANY PEOPLE WAITING AND WATCHING TO SEE WHAT THE TALIBAN DO NEXT.
MANY PEOPLE I HAVE TALKED TO SAY THEY HAVE ADOPTED A MORE CONCILIATORY TONE IN PUBLIC THAN THEY ANTICIPATED BUT, THEY ARE WORRIED IT MAY NOT LAST THAT LONG. WE’RE WAITING TO SEE WHAT EMERGES FROM THIS. >> THAT WAS GOING TO BE MY FOLLOW-UP QUESTION. THE END TO THE LONGEST U.S.
WAR DOES NOT MEAN PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN. WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS ABOUT THE TALIBAN ACTUALLY FORMING A FUNCTIONAL GOVERNMENT THAT WILL ALLOW FOR FREEDOMS AND, WILL BE ABLE TO GIVE THE PEOPLE OF AFGHANISTAN THE BASIC THINGS THEY NEED? >> Reporter: ABSOLUTELY.
ON THE ONE HAND, YOU ARE ALLUDING TO ISSUES OR CONCERNS ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS, WOMEN’S RIGHTS. WHEN THE TALIBAN WERE IN POWER IN THE 1990S, WOMEN WERE NOT ALLOWED TO GET AN EDUCATION, WERE NOT ALLOWED TO WORK.
THEY SAID, THIS TIME IT WILL BE DIFFERENT. THERE IS STILL A DEGREE OF SKEPTICISM AMONGST MANY PEOPLE. THAT IS PARTLY BECAUSE WE HAVE SEEN DIFFERENCES IN TALIBAN -CONTROLLED TERRITORIES IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES. I HAVE SPENT TIME IN THE PAST IN TALIBAN -CONTROLLED AREAS IN THE NORTH WHERE THEY SEEM MORE, LET’S A PROGRESSIVE.
IN THEY ALLOW AND ARE IN FAVOR OF FEMALE EDUCATION.
IN THE SOUTH, WHERE THINGS ARE MORE CONSERVATIVE, IN MANY PLACES, GIRLS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GO TO SCHOOL BEYOND THE AGE OF 12. THERE IS A DEGREE OF UNCERTAINTY AND ANXIETY I THINK, BENEATH THE SENSE OF EVERYDAY CALM THATYOU CAN SOMETIMES SEE IN PLACES LIKE KABUL WHERE SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS ARE STILL OPEN. AND EVERYBODY IS WAITING TO SEE WHAT IS NEXT. MANY PEOPLE NOT WAITING, THEY ARE LEAVING THE COUNTRY.
I WAS AT A BUS STAND IN KABUL, THEIR EMPLOYEES TELLING ME THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE HEADING TO THE BORDERS WITH IRAN AND PAKISTAN HAVE QUADRUPLED IN RECENT WEEKS.
>> LET’S TALK ABOUT THE PEOPLE LEAVING THE COUNTRY. WE HAVE BEEN TOLD THERE ARE ABOUT 200 OR SO AMERICANS STILL LEFT. I AM NOT SURE ABOUT THE DOZENS OF OTHER COUNTRIES WHO MAY OR MAY NOT WANT TO GET OUT. THERE IS A CASH SHORTAGE, PEOPLE ARE LINING UP AT ATMS HOPING TO GET MONEY OUT. RIGHT NOW, I PRESUME THE AIRPORT IS NOT UP AND RUNNING.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THE TALIBAN WILL BE ABLE TO GET THE AIRPORT UP AND RUNNING. NOT EVERYBODY WILL BE ABLE TO DRIVE TO THE BORDER.
CAN YOU GIVE US ANY INSIGHT AS TO HOW THINGS MIGHT UNFOLD FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE STILL THERE AND WANT TO GET OUT? >> A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO STILL WANT TO LEAVE, INCLUDING, I HAVE BEEN SPEAKING TO FORMER U.S.
ARMY INTERPRETERS, FORMER BRITISH ARMY INTERPRETERS WHO HAD NOT NECESSARILY GOTTEN PERMISSION BECAUSE THEY HAD NOT PROGRESSED FAR ENOUGH IN THEIR APPLICATIONS FOR VISAS. OTHERS WHO HAD BEEN TOLD TO GO TO THE AIRPORT THAT SIMPLY WERE NOT ABLE TO GET THROUGH THE FRENZIED CROWDS THAT WE SAW IN THE PAST WEEK OR SO. THESE PEOPLE HAVE REAL CONCERNS AND NO REAL IDEA ABOUT WHAT TO DO NEXT. WHEN IT COMES TO THE AIRPORT, WE UNDERSTAND THE TALIBAN ARE IN TALKS WITH OFFICIALS FROM QATAR AND TURKEY ABOUT TRYING TO GET IT UP AND RUNNING AGAIN. A NUMBER OF WESTERN COUNTRIES HAVE TOLD THEM IF THEY WANT INTERNATIONAL LEGITIMACY ONE OF THE KEY ISSUES THEY WILL HAVE TO AGREE TO IS ALLOWING THE SAFE PASSAGE OF THOSE AFGHANS WHO WANT TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY.
THE TALIBAN WILL WANT TO GET THE AIRPORT UP AND RUNNING NOT ONLY TO ALLOW PEOPLE TO LEAVE THAT TO ALLOW MUCH NEEDED AID AND MEDICINE TO COME IN. >> GREAT POINT. THAN.
The Reality On The Ground In Afghanistan
THE LAST AMERICAN TROOPS LEFT, CELEBRATING AS THEY TOOK OVER THE KABUL AIRPORT. HERE’S RICHARD ENGEL. >> Reporter: TODAY WAS VICTORY DAY FOR THE TALIBAN ENTERING THE AIRPORT. THEIR FIGHTERS INSPECTING THE SPOILS THE U.S.
LEFT BEHIND AS WHAT WAS THE LAST AMERICAN TOE HOLD IN AFGHANISTAN. THE TALIBAN SPOKESMAN SAYING TODAY THE GROUP WANTS NEW RELATIONS WITH THE WEST AND ARE EVEN OPEN TO FOREIGN INVESTMENT. THEY LOOKED OVER THE AIRCRAFT AND WEAPONS U.S. TROOPS ABANDONED AND DECOMMISSIONED SO THEY CAN’T BE USED.
BUT AMERICAN FORCES DID NOT DAMAGE THE AIRPORT ITSELF. THE UNITED STATES IS RELYING ON THE AIRPORT TO REOPEN QUICKLY TO EVACUATE AMERICAN CITIZENS AND TRANSLATORS WHO NEVER MADE IT OUT IN THE AIR LIFT. SOME OF THEM NOW IN HIDING FROM THE TALIBAN AND WHO ONE DAY ONCE THEY HAVE DOCUMENTS WILL HAVE TO PASS THROUGH HERE TO LEAVE. THE TALIBAN INSISTING THEY’LL LET THEM GO. THE TALIBAN ALSO PROMISING TO FIGHT ISIS AND NEVER ALLOW AFGHANISTAN TO BE A SANCTUARY FOR TERRORISM.
BUT WILL THEY? IN THE REMOTE PROVINCE THE TALIBAN HELD ANOTHER VICTORY RALLY, PARADING MOCK NATO COFFIN. A SPEAKER PRAISED THE ISIS SUICIDE BOMBER WHO KILLED 13 U.S.
SERVICE MEMBERS AND 200 AFGHANS, SAYING THE TALIBAN HAVE NOW ESTABLISHED THE ISLAMIC STATE THE SUICIDE BOMBER YEARNED FOR.
The Fall Of Afghanistan: How America’s $2 trillion, Two-Decade War Ended In Chaos
The fall of Afghanistan happened quicker than almost anyone expected passport offices overwhelmed. Visa agencies are overwhelmed. And so are embassies ultimately they lost confidence political military confidence, Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. An estimated 47,000 Afghan civilians died during the last 20 years of conflict. The US lost 2325 servicemembers in Afghanistan and more than 20,000 were wounded.
Afghanistan’s former government lost over 66,000 members of the army and police during the course of the war. In total, the United States has spent about $2.26 trillion dollars on the war in Afghanistan.
But before the final withdrawal could occur, the Taliban made rapid gains across the country considering we went to Afghanistan to oust the Taliban in 2001. To give it to them back on a silver platter basically, with no resistance, or no fighting is where that a sense of abandonment and betrayal actually comes from.
And then you start watching them systematically suck up all the small provinces, so they’re gaining traction. Some people have called it a blitzkrieg, and that’s what it looked like at first. But it seems clear that actually, Taliban commanders were calling up people all around the country, local mayor’s police officials, as the country crumbled in the lead up to the withdrawal 10s of 1000s of Afghans who helped coalition forces desperately sought refuge from the retribution of the Taliban. I would not take seriously as some commentators unfortunately, have Taliban’s offers of amnesty and promises they’ll work with people and that people will be safe in their homes we’ve already seen this isn’t true.
And on August 26, a deadly attack on US forces an Afghan seeking to flee left 13 service members and dozens of Afghans dead, they were heroes, heroes, who have been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others.
With the world’s attention on the massive international evacuation on going out of Kabul’s International Airport, it’s apparent that no one could have predicted what was in store for Afghanistan in August of 2021. On paper, the Afghan national defense and security forces had around 300,000 troops, but because of widespread corruption, this number was likely much lower. For years, I’ve been writing about the fact that the government was a corrupt government that aid and money went in and these officials pocketed it and the fact that Ghani and his cohort ended up taking from what we understand bags of money with them on their way out again shows that money was more important than people’s lives. During former President Donald Trump’s final year in office, a peace deal was reached with the Taliban that would have all US forces out of the country by May 1 2021.
In his last few months in office, he accelerated the pull out of US troops leaving only 2500 on the ground in January of 2021.
The US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization committed to paying $4 billion per year for the Afghan national defense and security forces until 2024. But that wasn’t enough to stop the Taliban. The reality is there was no stalemate with the Taliban. The government has been losing its war against the Taliban steadily week by week, month by month since at least 2012. If not earlier, they’ve been losing districts across the entire country.
And let’s not forget most of Afghanistan’s population is rural in nature.
And this is where the Taliban is at its strongest or was at its strongest. So in order to recreate a stalemate, which we have previously failed to do, we would have actually had to add more forces into the country. The US withdrawal took a dramatic turn on July 5 2021, when the US left Bagram Airfield in the middle of the night without notifying Afghan officials. The Afghan national security and defense forces were largely dependent on the US for air support, medical support, and most importantly, logistics like wages and food.
Canada’s Herat and Kandahar fell to the Taliban advance. Afghan government forces low on supplies and demoralized by the US withdraw, negotiate and surrender to the Taliban that besieged them. By August 14. Jalalabad and Kabul were the only two major cities left surrounded and cut off Jalalabad surrendered on the 15th. And they just marched across the country.
There was a lot of shooting, but not nearly as much as one would have expected from a Taliban takeover.
Shortly after Kabul stood alone as the only major city under government control. President Ghani fled the country signaling the end of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Taliban walked into Kabul virtually unopposed as residents began to look to the airport for a way out of the country. By August 1, the US had withdrawn a significant amount of troops in material and without the US providing security.
The bulk of contractors who provided critical technical support to the Afghan military had also left as well. As the situation deteriorated. 1000s of Afghan men, women and children ran onto the runways at Karzai International Airport. One Air Force C-17 flew a reported 823 people out of the war zone. have many flights by the US and allies to get 1000s of non combatants out of the country.
Some Afghans and US citizens flew out of Kabul on commercial flights before the security situation deteriorated in some seats on private flights after the Taliban took the city sold for around $100,000.
According to The New York Times, as Afghan security forces fled their posts as the Taliban gained control over the capital, the US military stepped in to provide air traffic control and assist local and NATO forces with crowd control. refugees were flown out to third countries such as Qatar, Kuwait, and Germany, among others for processing and eventual travel to the US. This is also going to bubble into a crisis because even once we get these people out of the country, we do not have the capacity to process this many refugees at once. Neither does the United Kingdom.
Turkey is dealing with its own massive refugee crisis, obviously at the moment with Syria, as is the rest of Europe. So this is going to be the next big problem. Afghans and US citizens in Kabul found it difficult to get to the airport and pass Taliban checkpoints.
And although over 100,000 people were evacuated from Kabul, many Afghans seeking to flee the Taliban were left behind the suicide bombing that targeted a US man checkpoint pointed to a deteriorating security situation for US forces as the deadline for the final withdrawal approached the deaths of the service members as well as the tragic loss of life on the part of so many Afghans seeking nothing more than security and opportunity is something on the hearts and minds of everyone here. The shocking image of Afghans grabbing onto a C 17 Globemaster cargo aircraft in a desperate attempt to flee made it clear just how high the stakes were in Kabul on August 16.
Watching Afghan men so desperate to leave this country so scared to their life, they’d rather fall out of the sky, holding on to a C-17 then try something else.
The UK has promised to take in 20,000 refugees Canada, another 20,000. And the number the US will take in will also likely be in the 10s of 1000s. It’s a welcome move, of course, I don’t think it’s enough. I think what’s going on and the fact that this is, you know, this isn’t just an Afghan crisis.
This is a regional crisis. I think there’s a huge responsibility that we have towards the people, and the burden now falls on that to protect them. On August 24. The Taliban cut off access to the airport for Afghan citizens back on the abbey gate was followed by a number of ISIS gunman who opened fire on civilians and military forces, this complex attack on the 26th made clear the risk of staying beyond the August 31 withdrawal date. In the US, there’s a debate brewing over how many African refugees to let in or whether to let them in at all.
Now 1000s of Afghan refugees are awaiting visa processing to eventually settle in the United States.
During the Trump administration. We know that Steve Miller was successful in actively undermining attempts to get the State Department in gear and get moving on this. But there’s a bigger bureaucratic problem that is like moves across administration’s is Consular Affairs at the State Department is chronically underfunded, and under resourced. And so we shouldn’t be surprised that when we under resourced, this important part of the State Department that they’re not able to deliver.
There’s also a cultural problem at the State Department. So it’s sort of the perfect storm. The Taliban have captured a significant amount of military equipment and the US had spent $83 billion, equipping the Afghan security forces over the last 20 years, which means that millions of dollars worth of items including armored vehicles, small arms, and even aircraft are now in the Taliban’s hands.
We’ve been leaving behind equipment and the Taliban have been taking equipment for many years in Afghanistan. This isn’t a new problem, but the scale of it in the in recent months is pretty staggering.
Women in Afghanistan are in a precarious position of hoping that the Taliban’s implementation of Sharia law is less cruel than when the group was in power in the 90s. Maybe they’ve changed strategically in terms of their use of the social media and trying to seem a lot more diplomatic and the moat with the sole motive of seeing seeming legitimate and wanting the international community to accept them as the government of Afghanistan. But in reality, you know, there’s a lot of skepticism in terms of what what those words mean, it’s really unclear if the gains that have been made for women and girls in the country under a supported democracy, backed by the United States, as well as coalition forces, if that’s going to continue, or if those gains have been erased. Much of the Taliban’s funding came through illicit markets tax collection and trade when Kabul fell only a small fraction of Afghanistan’s reserves were available inside the country.
The Taliban could be facing a cash crunch as they shift from an Insurgent Army to a governing body.
Not like the US where, you know, you check your bank account at 1201 on payday that morning, you don’t see it you’re upset, right? You’re like what the hell do Chase Bank or you know, for you CNBC, like where’s my money over there? It’s like, we’ll get it to you in a week and two weeks later, maybe you get half of it. You’re like, well, thank god my family can eat again, and the final piece When it comes to the money is, you know Is it is it enough to get through the next 90 days.