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Cuomo Prime Time

Update On "Sara," American Trying To Escape Afghanistan; U.S. Officials Worried Taliban Takeover Could Inspire Violent Extremists In U.S.; Roe V. Wade May Be In Play As Texas Effectively Bans Abortion; Texas 6-Week Abortion Ban Now In Effect After SCOTUS Inaction; Senior State Department Official: "Majority" Of Afghan SIV Applicants Were Left Behind; Afghan Interpreter On Escaping To The U.S. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 01, 2021 - 21:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Lord give me something easy that is the collective prayer these days one odd thing after another. Anderson Cooper thank you very much. I'm Chris Cuomo Welcome to PRIME TIME.

There are new concerns at home after the Taliban's takeover. At home Homeland Security is picking up chatter on online platforms. But it's not what you might expect the Taliban or other groups abroad issuing new threats. That's what you would expect, right?

This chatter is coming from here. And there's another twist. This is not about Islamist extremists, sleeper cells. It's about homegrown white supremacist and other violent extremist groups here, who are looking to be more like the Taliban.

The authorities say that what they're hearing, are these guys celebrating the Taliban success, and saying, it's a model for those who believe in the need for a civil war in the United States. And then there's this weird paradox.

So on the one hand, they're celebrating the Taliban and say we want to be like them. Then on the other hand, there's this chatter that echoes a lot of what we're hearing from some of the Freedom Caucus in Congress, that arriving Afghan refugees could be criminals.

And the racist groups here take it further saying they would degrade the control and authority of the white race. A homeland official says this is all "Troubling", because a "May incite violent activities directed at immigrant communities." One more reason that no comfort or qualification can be given to this kind of talk, or these groups. There are not good people on both sides.

Now, our focus is not what may happen in America in the future. It's on what is happening right now to those Americans left behind in Afghanistan. And remember, it's not just Americans, and we have a truly shocking development that we're learning tonight.

The majority of Afghans, who helped us over the last two decades, were likely left behind the majority. And that comes from a top State Department official asked about what the plan is? So what did we get today? What is the plan? How are you going to get the Americans out? Make sure no one gets left behind and what about the Allies? Here's what we got.


VICTORIA NULAND, UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: We've been in contact with them in the last 24 hours to tell them that we are looking at all possible options, air routes, land routes, to continue to find ways for them to help evacuate and to support them in that.

NED PRICE, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We will communicate directly to them personalized instructions on what they should do, when they should do it, and how the United States government feels we are best positioned to help them do that?

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The other pieces overland efforts were operationally working on both airplanes, so that can depart our air - getting the airport up and operational and overland departures.


CUOMO: Now they say 100 to 200 Americans may still be in need of rescue among them more than two dozen students from California of all ages, from 19 different families trapped after visiting relatives over summer break. Well, another concern is that the military is now supposedly out of the rescue gang leaving it to diplomats.

Now can we really rely on diplomacy with the Taliban? To get everyone out, especially now that there is no, you know, present threat from American force on the ground? So who's filling in the gap? Once again, it is the best of us, our veterans and our allies fighting the good fight?

Have you seen the #digitaldunkirk hash-tag that's online? It's an army of veterans, NGOs, former government officials and others their allies that have made it their collective mission to step in where the government hasn't, working their contacts, working with each other to save the stranded a world away in Afghanistan, one by one, family by family, and it's working.

We have a big update tonight on American - on an American that we've been keeping close tabs on we call her Sara here. It's not a real name obviously. Sara is now on the move. She's not out yet. But she's out of Kabul. Now if you've been watching this program, you've heard her story.

She's a Former Interpreter for U.S. Forces. She has been in Kabul and she didn't want to leave until she could get these other SIV applicants and their kids to safety because she knew what would happen. OK, now, she's got about 20 people. Actually she had like dozens who were living in and around her house, but she has 20 many of them children of interpreters who helped our military are now with her.

Now, we don't know her exact location and they are taking steps. These guys are smart. They know the Intel they know the tactics. So they're helping these people with that knowledge. And they're trying to keep her with a very small digital footprint. Why? Because people are looking for them every account that they've had is that the Taliban and other countries may be helping them to find these people.


CUOMO: That's the scary part. So we're unable to talk to her. You're not going to see her tonight and in person, but she did take a video to show their journey. We blurred out faces to protect them. One of them is a baby who just had a tumor removed from her head. She's OK too for now. Here's what we were saying.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kids. We have this one who recently had her surgery beautiful baby. We're still in Afghanistan trying to figure out how to leave this country. And it's late at night. And we tried to leave. But we're - helped us to leave the danger area, the windows up straight now. And I just hope things work out for us and we get out today or tomorrow. Thank you so much.


CUOMO: Now, why are we blurring the faces because God forbid they don't get out? The video exists, people can identify the faces. The bad guys can identify them as well as anybody who wants to help that's why. Now our first guest helped get us that video because he is helping Sara to be on the move.

He's one of the heroes and their countless others. I don't want him to yell at me. Former Army Intelligence Officer an Afghan war vet, Sam Rogers. He's here because he's who Sara put me in contact with. But he'd be the first one to tell you he's working with a lot of people many of whom he's not even met before.

He is the coalition's director with the concerned veterans for America Foundation. It's good to see you again, brother.

SAM ROGERS, COALITIONS DIRECTOR, CONCERNED VETERANS FOR AMERICA: Good to see you Chris, thanks so much for having me on again. And I appreciate you giving a shout out to really the network of hundreds if not thousands of veterans doing this. I'm just a tiny piece of it.

And honestly, I appreciate your generosity and the generosity of your viewers; we wouldn't have been able to get her to a new safe place without it. We're glad she's in a safer place. And, you know, the State Department's briefing just had me thinking that I'm glad that they are finally at the point where we were, you know, almost 10 days ago, which is analyzing routes out of country alternate routes outside of the airports.

But we just want to know what it is they're doing what they're planning to do. Our folks don't necessarily have time.

CUOMO: Yes, I mean, that's the problem. The commodity has time and has been cut short by our exit. And it does sound like they're behind. And look, we'll get to why you had to be involved in the first place. Let's deal with this specific. So Sara and a bunch of the kids who were with her are on the move, but not out. And what is the challenge?

ROGERS: Well, the challenge is the fact that there are no flights coming or leaving any airfields. Different countries continue to open and close their borders around Uzbekistan. So these overland routes that they're talking about are changing all the time. And so these, this planning that all these different veteran groups are putting in continues to fall apart as these things change.

CUOMO: So you have to find a border that they can get to overland, because you're not flying anywhere right now. And then that you have to take a bet that that will be open. And you have to make a bet that if it's not open, you can find a way to get to another safe place?

ROGERS: Right. Yes. So it continues to change, we've got a large group of people who are constantly monitoring this, you know, my pregnant wife has taken some night shifts, checking my phone and making sure that you know, no one's in crisis that nothing's changing are happening.

It's a full time operation that we would love the State Department to effectively engage and take on, but we're just not seeing the things that they're saying when it comes to our American citizens on the ground there.

CUOMO: How likely is it right now that Sara and these kids can get out?

ROGERS: I'm an optimist. And my profession is getting people around the country to through checkpoints, things like that. I'm confident that we will get her out. It's just going to be - it's going to be a rigorous activity. It's going to take a lot of planning. And you know there are no banks there. So getting cash and supplies to these folks is perilous in itself.

CUOMO: Last question, and obviously this is an ongoing dialogue. You can text me whenever you want the whole gang, you know that. You know, your work is worthy. The question is why is it so worthy? Have you reached out to the State Department to try to kind of loop them in and get them to oversee and use their obvious huge resource advantage to help?


ROGERS: Yes, I received a link that I was told to forward to Sara so that she could get into some sort of queue system for the State Department and the app crashed several times when she attempted to use it. And really, I just didn't understand why, you know, the State Department needed her to tell them what she had done with the State Department process already? And I just - I have to say, you know, we're doing we're starting a refugee care package drive in Wisconsin, tomorrow, it's going to go for six days, and veterans are putting so much into this, we're putting everything on the table. And, you know, Sara exemplifies the American idea.

She is leaving no one behind. She is bringing these children and these and these women and these kids with her, after spending 15 years with the American military, you know, I only spent like nine years cumulative in service. And so it's just its unacceptable. And we need to see accountability after this.

We need to see an investigation or an after action review, to hold people accountable for how this and the last 20 years have unfolded?

CUOMO: I mean, we've never seen anything like this where there is literally a shadow/parallel effort from veterans trying to save the people they believe America promised at the same time, the State Department's trying to do it. And I don't even hear the State Department recognizing you guys.

You know, there are thousands of you out there doing this and talking to people on the ground. We all heard the stories about how people at Kabul Airport, the airport there, were communicating with guys like you to get people in not the State Department?

So Sam, as ever, you got my number, you use it. When you have updates on Sara, you will have time on the show. I promise you that. And anything I can do offline, I will do. OK?

ROGERS: I really appreciate it. Chris. Thanks so much.

CUOMO: God bless him and your wife has an easy and good pregnancy. Take care. I'll talk to you soon. I'll talk to you tonight. OK.

ROGERS: Thanks.

CUOMO: All right. I mean, I've never seen anything like this in my life, by the way. OK. There are thousands of these guys go online and look at #digitaldunkirk. It's not just Yap, and people on Twitter saying they want to do things.

You saw the name I'll put out on social media, again, the organization he's working with, and a couple of the other organizations that he's working with to work for Sara. And if you want to donate, you donate, that's up to you.

We're going to turn to another Afghan war vet who's working to rescue those who helped us. Why he takes issue with President Biden's handling of the pullout? He says it's not about politics. But the idea that he and guys like Sam and everybody else is trying to clean up this mess is just wrong. How do we do better next?


[21:15:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: Let's get after it.


CUOMO: Let's talk more about these growing concerns among U.S. officials that what's happening in Afghanistan is energizing white supremacists and far right extremists here at home. Site S-I-T-E an organization that tracks their activity online says the growing chatter comes from what it calls, "Their desire to emulate the Taliban or increasingly violent rhetoric about invasions by displaced Afghans".

How concerned should we be? After all, we know how January 6th turned out right? Let's bring in an Afghan War Veteran Former Marine Captain CIA Case Officer Elliot Ackerman, thank you for your service; it's good to have you on the show.


CUOMO: What do you make of this weird paradox where on the one hand, you have homegrown bigots saying, hey, we should be like the Taliban and then at the same time saying fear the Afghan refugees?

ACKERMAN: I think what evidence is, is the fact that anytime we as a nation betray our values, we become less safe. So when we betray our values, it's obvious the ways we become less safe internationally with threats from groups like ISIS-K in this case, but I think what's maybe less intuitive to folks is the way that when we betray our values, we also become more vulnerable domestically.

I think that's what we're seeing manifest. And we should, you know, take a moment and pause, you know, when we are acting in a way on the international stage that causes white supremacist groups to cheer at home, maybe we should reflect on our policies and whether or not they're the right ones.

CUOMO: Now, I've been framing what we just lived through or living through, and the Afghanistan exit, as Biden was dealt a bad hand by Trump and his team on negotiating with the Taliban and he played his hand poorly. Do you agree with that assessment?

ACKERMAN: I do. I agree that he played his hand poorly, you know, but I would go on to add that, you know, he's the President of United States. He exercises extraordinary powers. He didn't need to play those cards.

I mean, we can look at a whole host of issues where he did a complete reset from President Trump, whether it's the myriad executive orders, he signed in the first 24 hours of administration, to putting us back into the Paris Climate accords.

You know he did not have to follow through on this bad deal. And I think he should stop using that as top cover for the debacle we've seen in the past several weeks.

CUOMO: Why do you think they stayed with let's call it a bad deal, how much of it is on them? How much of it is on me and the media who didn't really seem to care that we were negotiating with the Taliban in the first place, and not really covering the last six, seven months of what was happening in Afghanistan?

ACKERMAN: Well Chris, I think you just hinted at some of that. I think there was a calculation here that Americans don't care about Afghanistan. And I hate to say that it's a cynical thing to say but you know there was a poll way back in 2018, when no one was talking about Afghanistan, as a Rasmussen Poll and showed 42 percent of Americans couldn't say whether or not we were or were not even at war in Afghanistan.

So I think, looking at numbers like that and it is feeling like the United States doesn't care about this war anymore. Let the administration illegal. No one's going to care when we pull out. I think what they didn't anticipate was this is put Afghanistan back into the center of the conversation.


ACKERMAN: And, you know, Americans don't like to be embarrassed on the world stage. They don't like to see again, us betray our values in this way. And I hope now is a moment where we can do the right thing and hopefully, come out of the other end of this thing having, you know, salvaged our national reputation.

Now, you know, the Digital Dunkirk hash-tag and all of these efforts, they're just starting to get attention on shows like this. I mean, we've been doing it for a couple of weeks now. But big reason is that the government's not recognizing it, right?

They don't want to say that guys like Ackerman and Rogers, and all these men and women, veterans, and their allies are doing what we should be doing. But have you ever heard of anything like this? And what do you think is motivating the effort by people like you?

ACKERMAN: I've never heard of anything like this. I've never been part of anything like this. And I've never sort of seen a collapse of competence on the part of the U.S. government that equals what we've seen go on in this Afghanistan withdrawn.

I just want to be clear, that is in no way a criticism or indictment of the Marines and service members on the ground, many of whom I've been in contact with and who, you know, behave frankly, like, absolutely, perfectly at Kabul International Airport, what these folks did. But we never should have been in this in this position in the first place.

And I think the government needs to recognize what's going on with Digital Dunkirk, and I think they need to start assuming some of the responsibility for getting these Afghans out and these American citizens out. And I think what we also need to see is some accountability. This has been nothing short, one of the greatest debacles in American history. And if we don't see some type of investigation, if we don't see, I think some resignations from senior officials. I don't know what that says about if there's any accountability at the highest levels of it.

CUOMO: The problem is --

ACKERMAN: --if you can't get fired for this, then what can you get fired for?

CUOMO: The problem is the investigating gets done by politicians. And the chance of getting anything good at that does anything but split the baby's like impossible these days. But let me ask you something. The main defense of any type of criticism here is look Afghanistan, the status quo was horrible. It was always going to be terrible. It was always going to be chaotic when you left.

This place is a terrible place and we're not going to occupy it. That criticism is unfair, because a lot of this was unavoidable.

ACKERMAN: Yes, I would disagree with that. I mean, first of all, it's, you know, crack open a history book. If you look at the Soviet withdraw from Afghanistan, it was in no way a debacle was actually relatively orderly.

I think if you look back as far back, as you know, April, and May I make my way in this world as a writer, and I was writing pieces about efforts by people like Congressman Seth Moulton, Congressman Peter Mayer and Jason Crow, warning the administration as loud as they could sending letters begging for them to explain their plan of how to evacuate all these Afghans?

And when they asked for meetings with the White House, they were met with silence. So you know we could also look at the fact that we shut down every single major U.S. airbase in the country. And you only need to look at a map of Afghanistan to realize it's a landlocked country, as opposed to a place like Vietnam.

The last time we did this in Vietnam had hundreds of miles of coastline. So we basically put ourselves and we put our backs to a wall, but it was a wall that we built for ourselves. So I would take issue that I would say much of this was avoidable.

CUOMO: So Elliot do this for me, first of all, take my appreciation and thanks as an American for what you did as a veteran but also what you're doing right now. And be another set of hands for us and let's stay in contact every day.

And as you understand the developments of what's happening and what's not happening and why? Let me know so I can get the information out and hopefully have you back to explain. OK.

ACKERMAN: Sure, Chris. Thanks for calling attention in the story.

CUOMO: Elliot Ackerman, thank you for your service and thank you for making a difference. Major news here at home today, this is the Roe V. Wade situation brought into right now. There is nothing theoretical.

There is nothing future oriented about the situation. It is now the Supreme Court just allowed a Texas law that is the most restrictive abortion law that literally allows people to be bounty hunters looking for those who have abortions and those who help them anywhere in the country.

And they did not decide to take it the Supreme Court and that tells you a lot. President Biden calls it a blatant violation of Roe V. Wade. No abortions after six weeks of pregnancy in Texas before most women even know that pregnant.

How is this going to be enforced? But what does it say about what's going to happen next? Remember the Supreme Court is taking on Roe V. Wade in a Mississippi case that will argue to move back the viability almost in half right back with two people fighting next.




TEXT: Let's get after it.


CUOMO: The Conservative led Supreme Court sat silent that means the law across this country for almost 50 years is no longer in Texas. In Texas, it's now as if Roe V. Wade never happened. In legal terms its proof of why starry decisis sounds more decisive than it is. It is a loophole as much as a principle it means the thing has been decided.

But that's only because an idea of settled law is only settled until the court settles it differently. Plessy V. Ferguson, right separate but equal Brown versus the Board of Education integration. Plessy V. Ferguson was starry decisis but then it changed.


CUOMO: Roe V. Wade could as well, in practical terms between the Texas law and a case that the court is going to hear next term out of Mississippi, which wants to move the viability date, I believe to 15 weeks. Roe V. Wade could be changed in a material way that will mean something for women all across this country.

A nation split between places where abortion is legal, and where it isn't. The reality as we speak, women in the second most populous state, Texas can no longer get an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. I don't know if you've been in a baby game. But six weeks, a lot of people don't even know they're pregnant, and then rape, incest doesn't matter.

It also fundamentally shifts enforcement of the law from cops or the state on to private citizens effectively making them bounty hunters. The state will pay $10,000 to anyone who successfully sues clinics or even regular Texans who help a woman get access to what you know amounts to almost two generations of what's been basic healthcare in this country.

Let's bring in two women who are already seeing what this means. Nancy Northup, who's Group Center for Reproductive Rights is handling the legal fight, and Marva Sadler, whose clinics in Texas are living the new reality. Welcome to both. Marva let me start with you living the new reality. What does that look like?

MARVA SADLER, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF CLINIC SERVICES, WHOLE WOMAN'S HEALTH: It's extremely scary. At this time, we're so uncertain of what's next. And we're definitely turning women away.

CUOMO: Turning women away why?

SADLER: Because as of today, as of midnight last night, those women are no longer eligible for procedure in the State of Texas. And there are no other options for them here.

CUOMO: Now, Nancy Marva could say we're going to do it anyway. But that's putting a lot of burden on her. What could she expose herself to and what does this demand is a remedy?

NANCY NORTHUP, PRESIDENT & CEO, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: Well, let me just start by saying as the lawyers for whole woman's health and for Marva, we are extremely concerned, extremely concerned that the Supreme Court has yet to rule on our request to enjoin this Texas law, there's still the court will rule but they haven't yet.

And as you said at the top, that means that this law, this unconstitutional law is now in effect in Texas. And you know, you cannot violate the law, I will say, as the lawyers for whole women's health, and that's what's so pernicious about this Texas law.

It is unconstitutional, without question to ban abortion at six weeks of pregnancy before a person knows that they're pregnant. And in fact, 12 other states passed these laws. They do it for political reasons, right? All of them struck down, all of them strike down.

So Texas decided it was going to do this devious thing, which was say, we're not going to enforce the law is the State of Texas, we're going to empower anti-abortion rights activists to be vigilantes to go and sue Marva or sue the doctors, or as you pointed out, sue a friend who drives someone to the clinic, sue a sister who loans the money, any of those people could be subject to, to being sued and to being sued multiple times by multiple people in multiple jurisdictions in the State of Texas.

You know, this law is so pernicious that it said that even if a person was having the abortion in Dallas, the sister that drove them could be sued in Houston, right?

CUOMO: Anywhere in the state.

NORTHUP: Anywhere in the state.

CUOMO: Right.

NORTHUP: You can make it as hard as possible. Do it in the Rio Grande Valley, you know, in Texas is an enormous state --

CUOMO: Right.

NORTHUP: --large and population large and land mass. So you know, right now, the clinics are doing what they can complying with the law, seeing only those, you know, 10 percent of patients who do terminate that early, but meanwhile, this fight is not over. You know, we are waiting for the Supreme Court, you know, this --

CUOMO: That's the key Nancy, you're waiting. You don't have to be waiting, they could have ruled already. And the omission, you know, the inaction, I think speaks volumes here, especially with this Mississippi case coming up that wants to move into 15 weeks, you know, but both of them are simple principles about where they want to see viability.

You know, we know the lineage of the case law here, the question is, is going to change again. And Marva, on the human level, what is this like for you? You know, I mean, this is your life is helping women like this and what happens when they don't get help from you?

SADLER: I mean it's been extremely emotional. We've seen women over the last couple of days basically tell us that leaving out of the state is not an option to them. And at this point, they're trying to figure out how they're going to become parents.

My staff, my staff, and my doctors are going to work and came to work this morning with the fear of just entering the building could cause them to be sued by the people who harass them on the sidewalk every single day.


SADLER: It's really scary. It's extremely scary. And more than anything, it's sad. It's absolutely sad for the women who have looked for us for help all this time, who know that we're the best at what we do and can take care of them safely, without judgment now cannot help them at all.

CUOMO: How concerned are you that women will do things that are dangerous?

SADLER: I'm extremely concerned, history has absolutely shown us that because abortion becomes illegal or inaccessible it doesn't stop. A women who doesn't want to be pregnant, will go through desperate needs to figure out how not to be pregnant.

And it's super unfortunate that our state has caused the citizens of this state to have to make that decision and move forward with that sense of guilt and doubt. And that stigma, they continue to put on all of us.

CUOMO: Marva Sadler, Nancy Northup this is just the beginning of what is absolutely going to happen. We'll see what the court rules. But this is not a hypothetical anymore. This is not theoretical and it's not just political talk. This is going to be about what the consequences of the last election were, and what this court is going to decide? And you will have a forum here to plead your case. I'll see you both.

NORTHUP: Thank you.

SADLER: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, now I want to take a step back because you know, we make a huge mistake. I'm as guilty of it and more than most of you. I forget. We cover things that are really bad. Elijah McLean, remember his name? I had to look it up again. I did. I'm going to be honest with you. Not because I didn't care but because there's so many names.

There's so many different policing issues that we look at. This young black man dead, stopped by two police two years ago in Colorado. Remember, he was unarmed. He had committed no crime. They came up on him and he was like, what are you doing? What are you doing? And they wound up giving him they administered a drug at the scene, not the cops, but these EMTs who came and he died. We left that story.

Remember the local prosecutor I had him on the show. Do you remember how that went? Then the state took it over. Tonight there are major developments and you need to hear them next.




TEXT: Let's get after it.


CUOMO: All right, we got to take a step back so that we can actually move a story forward two years. That's how long it took for anyone to be charged in the death of Elijah McLean. In those two years one fact has never been in doubt.

If the police had not stopped the 23-year-old as he walked home from a store in Aurora, Colorado, do you remember this video? He would still be alive. They stopped him because he was being suspicious. What did that mean? They never could explain.

Now three cops and two paramedics are facing 32 criminal counts, no thanks to local law enforcement, not law enforcement, the prosecutors? You'll see in a second. It wouldn't have happened without 2 million people signing a petition, which forced action at the state level.

It was the state attorney general who took this case to the grand jury, because the local law enforcement but technically it is it's the DA but I don't mean to - I don't want to smear the police OK. The police who need to be held to account are but it's not about all police. The local DA tried to argue on this show that there simply wasn't enough evidence.


DAVE YOUNG, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, 17TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF COLORADO: Let me tell you my role in this whole investigation is determined whether or not a criminal charge should be filed?


YOUNG: How in the world they file homicide charges when I can't prove that critical element beyond a reasonable doubt the cause of death --

CUOMO: Who says you can't? A pathologist report is just one aspect of an investigation. And he didn't rule anything out either. He said it could have been homicide could have been accidental, could have been natural. He doesn't really know. He looked at the drugs in the system. He saw marijuana and cannabis.

YOUNG: --based on speculation.

CUOMO: What speculation you could have investigated more. So you're saying if a pathologist doesn't give you a home run you never go forward with a case.

YOUNG: And by the way, there was no injuries to him whatsoever.

CUOMO: He's dead.


CUOMO: It didn't sound like a zealous prosecutor, right? It shouldn't take 157 pages investigative report is assigned by the City Council to tell you there are, "Serious concerns about how the case was handled". Then again, it shouldn't take moving a case away from local prosecutors for there to be charges.

But once again, we see that's exactly what it took in this case, just like it did with George Floyd's murder, and the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a case by the way, that is just now going through pre-trial hearings, almost two years after his death. Just wanted to you know.

Now we're going to take a break, we're going to come back to our top story, the race to save those who helped protect us in Afghanistan. So many are still trapped we've never seen an effort like this "Digital Dunkirk", these veterans and their allies doing all they can. What's it like you're going to hear from someone who did get out, along with most of his family, Former Afghan Interpreter recorded his escape. He's here with his video and what he needs you to know next.




TEXT: Let's get after it. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Today a Senior State Department official admitted an ugly truth "The majority" of Afghans who worked for the United States during its two decade military campaign were likely left behind. We're fortunate enough to have with us a member of the minority, who with the help of CNN and others on the ground was able to escape.

34-year-old Abdul Rashid Shirzad is a Former Afghan Interpreter who spent five years working for U.S. Special Forces. He tried several times to get himself and his family through the airport gates but the crowds were too massive. Rashid says his eight year old son was nearly trampled in the chaos, his two year old got sick. In a call, you can hear the father of three pleading to be saved not to be left behind.


ABDUL RASHID SHIRZAD, FORMER AFGHAN INTERPRETER FOR U.S. SPECIAL FORCES: Why have the American soldiers for forgetting about us? After everything we did the sacrifices we made? Why are you leaving us behind? I don't want to be killed by the Taliban.


CUOMO: CNN team helped Rashid and his family get passed the Taliban. They got to the Kabul Airport gate. And he was turned away by U.S. forces because his SIV application is still pending Rashid called help from the Navy SEAL he had once worked with in Afghanistan and others. It took seven hours for him to finally get through.



SHIRZAD: We're at the airport terminal, we made it. We are really excited.


CUOMO: Now again, this is an instruction how it was not planned. This is not the normal operation. This was service members doing it for them. Once here in the U.S., he was you really reunited with the SEAL, who helped get him to safety. Beautiful, we need a lot more of that. Rashid joins us now from Fort Lee Virginia. How's the family?

SHIRZAD: And thank you, sir, for having me in your program. So the family, they're all good, you know, they're all excited. They're all happy. So it's so amazing to be here.

CUOMO: What is it like for you to hear the stories of all the people who are left behind, and how hard it's going to be with the Americans gone?

SHIRZAD: I'm in contact with most of the people that are left behind in Afghanistan, and they keep calling me and they keep asking me that I'm only in the U.S. And they want me to talk to the people who are in charge here, you know, to make aware to get them out of Afghanistan, you know, they're still in trouble, their lives are in danger. So they keep - they keep sending me messages. They keep calling me. You know, they keep asking for help.

CUOMO: How many people who helped the United States that you know, and who are still in Afghanistan? How many of them have heard from the State Department about being helped to get out?

SHIRZAD: We were around 700 people in one group. You know, we had a telegram group named "Alba Afghan Left behind Us Session". So just I got out, you know, just I met it. The other ones they're still left behind.

CUOMO: Have they heard from the United States government in the last few days?

SHIRZAD: No, they didn't you know, that's their concern, you know, that they're like, they're like, keep telling me like they haven't received anything from the U.S. Department of the States.

CUOMO: Do any of them have the SIV's? Rashid do any of them have the SIV visas or any - are they people who applied for them at least?

SHIRZAD: They all applied for SIVs but they didn't get an answer from the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Department of States.

CUOMO: What is your concern about what's going to happen to them before too long?

SHIRZAD: Yes, I want like I said, the Department of State I want all the American officials here to like do something for them, you know, get them out of Afghanistan. You know, they're in danger. They're all in danger. You know, so once the Taliban they're like took place like in Kabul, you know, they will go after them they will find them and they will kill them.

They all will be killed you know, so I want them to get to be out of Afghanistan as soon as possible.

CUOMO: So the hard part was getting out of Kabul for you. Now you're here with some of your family. Now there's the new hard part. What will life be for you here?

SHIRZAD: So I was so lucky to meet it you know what some awesome people with the help of CNN. But here I will try to do my best to take care of my kids, take care of my family. Yes, we - so I will make it somehow.

CUOMO: What are you going to do for a job? What are you thinking?

SHIRZAD: Today, we had some process going on where I am located right now. So they asked me like where I want to move? I told them like it's either California or Dallas, Texas. So yes, I will be going there getting some security job or like over stops a track driver. Yes.

CUOMO: Are you getting help? Are you getting support here that's helping you?

SHIRZAD: So most of like most of the people that I have here like most of my friends, they're willing to help me and most of the SEALs you know that I work with them back in Afghanistan that they're all willing to help me.

CUOMO: So it's not the government officials so much as it is the guys that you worked for, and no who are in the United States.

SHIRZAD: We are just getting like this room is given by the government. You're just like - they're giving us cool, drank some stuffs here. But nothing else, you know.

CUOMO: Well, listen - go ahead Rashid make your point please.

SHIRZAD: Yes, the other helps are coming from the non-government people you know, like the SEALs and other people.

CUOMO: Well, Rashid I know that you're still trying to get your brother out that you're worried about him that he'll be targeted by the Taliban. And I know you have a life to make for you and your family here and I'm really excited about hearing about your adventure.


CUOMO: And I hope a lot of beautiful things happen for you and your family. Rashid Shirzad, thank you very much for helping America and I'm glad they helped you back.

SHIRZAD: Thank you so much, sir. Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. God bless and be well! We'll be right back.





CUOMO: You know this really is unlike anything we've ever seen before. Not this exit from Afghanistan. It is unique and that evacuation was unlike anything we've ever seen. Why it had to happen. That's a debate to have but this crisis and all these veterans helping on their own amazing Don Lemon, tonight with the big star D. Lemon right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is awful. We've been through worse with vigor losses off late, but this is one that we're in now. So I think that we'll get through it. The sad part for me obviously the folks who are still there.