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Mayor Antar Lumumba Discusses About Situation in Jackson, Mississippi After Hurricane Ida; Biden, Mayors, Governors Attend FEMA Briefing on Ida Damage. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired August 30, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: Hello everyone and welcome to Amanpour. Here's what's coming up.
Tropical Storm Ida tears across America's southern states. We're on the ground in hard-hit Louisiana and I speak to the Mayor of Jackson,
Then, the chaotic evacuation of Afghanistan nears its end, but what now for the refugees who have fled their homeland? I'm joined by the head of one
immigrant resettlement agency who is helping Afghans.
Plus, striking a defiant note, my conversation with the Founder and a student of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York sitting in for Christiane Amanpour who will be back tomorrow.
The lights are out in New Orleans. Power is down across the entire city and swamps of Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Ida, which left a trail of
devastation. Ida hit Louisiana at a time when COVID cases are surging, adding extra pressure to hospitals. In a cruel coincidence, the state was
struck on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Ida has now been downgraded to a tropical storm as it continues its charge across the United States. Nadia Romero is on the ground in New Orleans and
she gives us a look at some of the damage there.
NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You can see the destruction behind me.
Let's take a walk as we go down this street, which is normally a very nice neighborhood, but it's just been trashed by all of these trees. And this
here, you can see this lamp here that's slanted over on top of this car. You can also see these power lines. This is the reason why we have more
than a million people without power all across Louisiana. And it's also why many of them will remain without power for at least a couple of days, if
not weeks, because there is an order of how they have to do things.
So, first, you have to wait for the storm to pass. We've made it to that mark. Now, day two, is going out and assessing the damage and then you have
to clear the debris.
So, what will it take? What kind of equipment will you need to move these power lines, move this car out of the way, move these big trees, these palm
trees, that are on the ground?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Just devastating images. Thanks to Nadia Romero on the ground there.
And as it move inland today, Ida brought down trees and power lines across Mississippi. Joining me now is the mayor of the state capital Jackson,
Mayor Antar Lumumba. Welcome to the program. Thank you so much for taking time out of this very busy day for you. I know that you've declared a state
of emergency there. What is the situation on the ground in Jackson?
MAYOR CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA (D) JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI: Well, first and foremost, thank you for having me, Bianna. And thank you for inquiring
about the status of my city.
Presently, we have been experiencing consistent rain. The wind has increased over the last few hours and we have residents who have
experienced power outrages sporadically across the city.
There are some areas where there are downed tree limbs and downed power lines. But as it stands at this present moment, we have seen any
GOLODRYGA: The storm has been downgraded, but no one should be fooled by its wrath and some of the damage that it could ensue. We're talking about
wind gusts 70 to 90 miles an hour. What are you most concerned about, especially when you see the images out of New Orleans, which is a city that
is dark right now?
LUMUMBA: Well, I want our residents to be aware that a tropical storm can still administer pretty severe damage to a city. We're still concerned
about flooding potentially taking place within our city, particularly around the flood prone areas and we're concerned about potential debris
that may be associated with those high winds.
We're advising our residents that they should not go into standing water. Don't walk, swim or drive in that standing water and we're asking that any
resident that lives in a flood prone area, that they seek higher ground. And that has been our advice over the last couple of days.
We've been issuing sandbags since yesterday morning and we continue to have our public works, our police department and our fire departments out not
only assessing danger but trying to mitigate the threats.
GOLODRYGA: As of now, though, no signs of major power outrages, correct?
LUMUMBA: Well, We have sparse power outrages across the city, but as it stands presently, the majority of our residents still have power. We know
that we're not out of the woods yet, and, so, we're maintaining the discipline that we have asked our residents to maintain throughout this
GOLODRYGA: And we are expecting to hear from President Biden on Storm Ida and in talking about some of the aftermath there, the images we have seen
are horrific in parts of Louisiana. I know you have been in touch with the White House as well. What has that conversation been like? What resources
are you asking for, if any?
LUMUMBA: Well, I'm fortunate to have been invited to a call that will take place shortly. So I'm grateful that the White House is concerned about the
impacts across the Coastal States.
To date, I don't know what that conversation will entail, but I want to be supportive and continue to ask for resources that help support not only our
residents in the midst of this storm but make certain that we build ourselves to be more resilient going forward. As it has been well-
documented, the City of Jackson has a very fragile infrastructure, particular as it pertains to our water infrastructure.
And so, fortunately, we have not experienced any devastating impact to that infrastructure thus far. But it is always a critical - we're always in a
critical state as it pertains to our water distribution system.
GOLODRYGA: I was going to you about infrastructure because I know that pipes throughout the city froze during a winter storm recently and you are
concerned about the water supply now. What is your message to residents? Should they be conserving that water now?
LUMUMBA: Well, we have not received any information of water pressure being decreased at this time. We have asked our residents to store up not
only potable, but nonpotable water in anticipation for this storm.
Thus far, our infrastructure is holding up. However, that can change and it can change in a moment's notice. If that takes place, then as our public
works crews are out, not only will they be making necessary repairs, but we will look at necessary distribution efforts in terms of water if that
GOLODRYGA: And this crisis, obviously, happening as the country continues to battle with COVID and your State is included in that battle. What is the
hospital situation like there right now given this storm? Are you prepared for patients that may come and citizens that may come in the aftermath of
this storm as well as those that are now dealing with COVID?
LUMUMBA: Well, no pun intended, what this creates is a perfect storm of events taking place. Having our hospitalization rate already at its
critical levels, we're concerned about that.
We're continuing to maintain communication with not only our county, but state administrators and hoping that they provide information and relief to
our residents. We could ill afford to have a catastrophic event that leads to more calls or more individuals being taken to the hospital, but this is
an area of concern, great concern for us in the city.
Jackson not only services the residents of our own city, we are the capital of health care for the Central Mississippi district. And so we're praying
for the safety and praying that residents in surrounding areas adhere, I'm sorry, to the advice that has been provided to them so that we don't see
GOLODRYGA: We are praying for you as well, Mayor Lumumba. I heard the sirens behind you, reminding us once again that you are in a state of
emergency. Best of luck to you and your residents there. We will continue to be following this story and check in with you later. Thank you so much
for joining us.
LUMUMBA: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: Well, while the U.S. mounts an effort to control the damage at home, in Afghanistan the chaos continues. As many as five rockets were
fired at Kabul airport just this morning, what you are seeing now is the car reportedly used as a platform for those rockets. They were intercepted
by a U.S. defense system.
Meantime, CNN has been told that 10 members of one family, mostly children, were killed in a U.S. drone strike that targeted a suspected ISIS-K suicide
bomber. While all this sets the scene with just a day left until President Biden's evacuation deadline.
Joining me now for the latest is Mike Rogers, a former U.S. Congressman and Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence. Thank you so much, Mike,
for joining us. We appreciate it.
Let me get your thoughts on what's concerning you most in these final hours as the U.S. evacuates and meets that August 31st deadline.
MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Well, it really, today, it's two things.
One is the terrorist attacks target not just Americans but our Western allies and other Afghans who were cooperative with the West. And then the
second part of that is there is this unbelievable outside of government effort to try to get these people rescued and out.
These are people on Taliban kill lists who have their families threatened to have their daughters in forced marriages and other things and there is
this mad scramble. And I have to tell you, I have pretty good acuity into many of these organizations.
Most former government folks, special forces, intelligence, other who had just answer the call and on their own with their own finances. My wife is
heavily involved in as well, trying to get these people to safety as best they can and out of the country.
So all of those, both of those things are the things I worry about today. And I just want to tip my hat to the Brits and the French who have been
exceptionally good about trying to go and get people that worked with them out and people that they believe are high value individuals who need to be
candidly rescued from the Taliban wrath that we know is coming.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. And I'll be speaking with the head of an organization that is helping to resettle those refugees right after our conversation. But
from a military and a terrorism standpoint, we mentioned those five rockets that were thwarted fired at the Kabul airport today.
I'm wondering, does it diminish U.S. footprint on the ground there, impact the caliber of intelligence that we're able to gather in these remaining
ROGERS: Absolutely. So here's what happened over time that shrunk our ability to collect intelligence. The U.S. and the NATO efforts kind of
abandoned the eastern provinces, places like Asadabad and Jalalabad and other for that big, robust intelligence collection platforms that we had
going to make sure that those places didn't get infiltrated by al-Qaeda or Taliban or others.
Well, when that pull-down began to happen, they lost some bits of intelligence, key pieces of intelligence along the way. So the closer it
kind of contracted to the cities in the bigger provinces and Kabul, the worse the intelligence got.
So once you pulled this plug, the notion that we have this robust intelligence network that is going to give us real-time actionable
intelligence has just candidly doesn't jive with reality and so that worries me a lot. So you're already seeing this Petri dish of terrorism
kind of growing from al-Qaeda to other terrorist groups, ISIS. And not just ISIS-K, but that ISIS extremist mentality.
And remember, a lot of people abandoned al-Qaeda when they saw ISIS doing well in Syria. You'll see that crossing back and forth. The Taliban, ISIS
and al-Qaeda despite what you hear, they have more in common with their extremist ways than they do the west, so there's going to be changes in
People say, oh, they won't work with X or they won't do - I would not take any of that to the bank.
GOLODRYGA: And unfortunately, collateral seems to be just a reality of war. And even though the U.S. tries to avoid injuring, harming, killing
innocent civilians, I do want to get your response to the reports that CNN is hearing about 10 civilians who were killed in this drone strike.
Obviously, the target being a car that had been packed with bombs and explosives headed for the Kabul airport that had been sent by and
orchestrated by ISIS-K. CNN's reporting that there are upwards of 10 civilians, seven of them maybe children. They are claiming they are not
affiliated with ISIS-K. Is that just a mistake in terms of intelligence or communications or unfortunate chain of events in combat?
ROGERS: So let me do a couple of things and I'll tell you why. So I did every single after action report as chairman of the intelligence committee
on air strikes that targeted terrorist targets across that region. And what sometimes was reported I know for a fact was completely inaccurate about
So my first answer to that is I'm going to be skeptical of that level of civilian death. That serves the purpose of the people who may not have put
children in there or if there are any children in there at all, number one. So I think, a little more needs to be flushed out on that.
Number two, we are seeing the Taliban use women and children as shields as they're working up to the Panjshir region of the country where that old
northern alliance is kind of forming. So we're seeing them use that very tactic in other places. That's the Taliban, by the way, and this may be
They all understand that civilians will make the United States wave off in most cases and that could have happened here as well. But the fact that
there were explosives headed to kill Americans may have outweighed any risk.
But, again, the first question I have is I'm not sure I believe the numbers until they're confirmed by the U.S. government or one of our western
allies, if that many civilians - if any at all candidly were killed in that blast.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. And the Pentagon Spokesperson today just noted there were reports of civilian casualties, but wouldn't go into any greater detail.
Can I just get your thoughts on the current situation of, for lack of a better phrase, strange bedfellows now the U.S. having to work with the
One reporter last week, I thought, pegged it well, comparing it to the TSA, the Taliban being America's TSA at Kabul airport. Can we trust them? And if
we can't, is this sort of an act of desperation on our parts? I mean, it does seem to be quite a strange predicament for the U.S. to be in.
ROGERS: Unfortunately, we put ourselves in this predicament. We had opportunities not to have this happen.
You have to remember something, we were still treating the Taliban as a terrorist organization weeks before this and months in certain air strikes
that the Afghan army that we would support, the United States and NATO would support against Taliban targets because they were still listed as
So any notion somehow overnight we've decided that they're a legitimate government that has 75,000 person army that's well-trained and disciplined.
None of those things are true, none of them.
And remember, the reason the Taliban came out, I think it was last week, and said, well, women, you need to stay home not because we won't let you
go back to work at some point, but our soldiers need to understand how to treat women first.
Meaning, they can't control all of the elements and it's pretty diverse. And your levels of extremism are all over the map. Most of them certainly
extreme over to the point where we would all call them terrorism.
So these are the people that we've said, oh, OK, the people who are stoning women, who are telling women they can't go past the sixth grade in an
education, that they have to stay home, they can't work and are committing atrocities, and by the way, they're raiding houses in Kabul now for people
and doing summary executions.
All of that we know is happening and somehow we've decided, well, there are legitimate government and they want international recognition so we trust
them. I ask you, would you put your son and daughter on that fence line trusting a Taliban terrorist soldier for their life and limb? I think no
rational person would yes.
And so, this is a disaster of epic proportion. And again, there's going to be real lives that are lost in this, certainly our U.S. Marines. Thank you
for their service and god bless their families.
But think of all of the people who are now terrified that once the West has left, that all of these people that we promised that we would be there for
are standing there face-to-face with Taliban hatred and terrorism. I mean, this is as bad as an event as we could possibly, I think, we could possibly
see right now.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. You asked me that hypothetical question, the first thing that comes to mind are the families, the parents of those 13 brave American
servicemen and women whose lives were lost trying to rescue and save others and wondering if they are asking the same question as well.
You mentioned our allies and giving praise to them for doing all that they could to rescue Afghans and other civilians who had helped them during
these 20 years. I want to get your take on the UN security council that is scheduled to meet and vote today on a resolution that would establish
somewhat of a safe passage zone to allow more of these Afghans to travel freely if they, in fact, their lives are at risk or if they were part of
the SIVs and the groups of those who had helped and assisted NATO members. Do you think this is a good solution to a bad situation?
ROGERS: It could be a good solution to a bad situation, but you have to be able to enforce it. Remember, the Taliban is already causing problems
through these check points. We've heard stories and, again, there are groups working to move people inside the country, really sensitive stuff
trying to get around Taliban check points and whatnot. And we know for a fact their documents have been confiscated, that there have been beatings
and other things trying to discourage people from moving.
So, again, now we've made it so the Taliban gets a vote on this, the UN security council, that's great.
But if they don't enforce it, if we don't have some way to enforce that route and an ability for these people and families that have risked their
lives in support of a free Afghanistan that is more stable and more secure and thus is not a safe haven for al-Qaeda, well, then nothing is going to
happen other than the Taliban is going to intimidate them from getting to these routes.
And if you look at what just happened, boy, you got to be a little bit skeptic that they're going to be able to do that. I hope they do. It would
be great. I know the people on the ground who literally haven't slept for five days trying to make all of these things happen, I think they'd be
appreciative of some route, of some way to get these people out.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. And if history is any indication in the past UN safe zones and Sarajevo, I think, some of the past battles, they ended up being moot
and so many lost their lives because they didn't have the enforcement of other nations and NATO allies.
It's hard not to politicize in this environment here in the U.S. and I want to just get your honest assessment, not as a Republican, not as a Democrat
but as somebody that is an expert in this field. How this could have been done better? Because President Biden does have a point that this was a deal
that was arranged by his predecessor. And his argument and we will never know, we've already lost 13 U.S. service members, is that more could have
been lost if he tore this deal up. So how could this have been handled better?
ROGERS: Yes. First of all, my advice to President Biden in the beginning of this is the first thing you do is go back and say new president need
more time. And again, I'm one that believe we should have had a presence there for an enduring peace, by the way. But, OK, let's say that we lost
that fight and we needed to pull out.
You can't pull the plug like this without coordination of your allies. So we gave up the one place that he did not have to do that I would argue he
needed to do that which is Bagram Air Base.
That's where we run all our - well, vast majority of our counterterrorism operations came out of (inaudible). Meaning, that's what was keeping the
Taliban back. And there are reports now and I don't know the validity of these that the Taliban actually offered to stay out of Kabul until we could
everyone out. I don't know if that's true or not.
If that was and they didn't take it, that's malfeasance. We should have said, yes, that's right. And by the way, not give up Kabul until the very,
very end. We should have had two airports running and that way you could have secured both and got people out I think in a way that was rational.
The second part, remember when they Kabul, excuse me, the Bagram Air Base, they didn't tell anyone. Literally, the guards at the base turned around
and we were gone. I mean, you can't tell us that they're allies and then have them standing there not having a clue that we just left in the middle
of the night.
And by the way, that was that psychological blow that hit troops all over the country, because everybody knew that medevac came from there, logistics
was coordinated there and counterterrorism activities were coordinated from there. So once that thing went, people started thinking, uh-oh, this thing
is bad. And then it just deteriorated like very, very, very quickly.
So that's the way I would have done it, because again we don't really control the perimeter of the airport. We control inside the fence line of
the airport. That's not controlling the airport in Kabul, which is why we saw the unfortunate tragedy with our 13 marines and 170 innocent civilians
GOLODRYGA: Yes. Well, Mike Rogers, thank you so much for your time. Thank you for your work in helping those SIVs there in Afghanistan trying to get
out to freedom and safety as well. And let's hope these final hours are safe as the U.S. finally leaves their mission there after 20 years. Thank
you so much for joining us.
ROGERS: Yes. Listen, I'm just supporting my wife. She tells me, go do that while she's manning the phone. She's doing great.
GOLODRYGA: Smart man. Thank your wife for us then.
ROGERS: Yes. I will. (Inaudible), thank you.
GOLODRYGA: Take care. Well, now the French government announced the end of its Kabul evacuation mission Friday, having pulled out 3,000 people since
August 15th according to the French Foreign Ministry. Among those evacuated, interpreters and people that helped the French army with
Correspondent Melissa Bell follows one Afghan refugee in Paris who sent sleepless nights helping to evacuate his fellow Afghans from afar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT(voice-over): The very last French evacuation out of Kabul. It left without incident. But for those on board,
Afghans that NATO had promised to help, it had been a frantic fight to find someone who could get them into the airport, an angel who might well be on
the other side of the world.
Reza Jafari has barely slept since Kabul fell. It's 6 am in the little corner of Afghanistan that he's created in northern Paris.
From here, he normally helps Afghan asylum seekers arriving in France.
But he tells me that the chaos of Kabul led him to jump into a new role as an unofficial crisis coordinator. Through WhatsApp groups, a map of Kabul
airport and pin locations, Reza Jafari connected from Paris those eligible for evacuation, who sent him pictures of themselves and their locations to
help connect them with French officials on the other side of the fence.
French diplomatic sources have confirmed his crucial role in helping people like Zahra Husseini, who spent three days outside the airport. Reza
explains that she wasn't well. She'd sent this photos saying that she might die if she didn't get help.
Group WhatsApp messages upon which life and death hangs. CNN has changed the names for security reasons.
"My parents are out?" Asks one desperate woman. "Please help them."
In another, "Abdul has disappeared." Says one person stuck outside. "We are alone at the canal." "Abdul is inside," replies a French official.
The canal marks the spot where the meetings happen near Abbey Gate, the site of Thursday's suicide attack. Those who reach the other side says Reza
By Monday afternoon Zahra Husseini's group cross the canal met their contacts and reached safety. Reza's journey has brought him to this door.
He knows all too well, the heartache and hope of finding refuge.
It's his connection to those he's helped. "Thank God that you all escaped hell," he says. "But there are other friends who are still stuck." Zahra
Husseini says she can't believe that she knew war as a young girl and still now as an old woman.
She said she's happy to be released from the pressure of the Taliban, but so sad to have left her homeland, her children, her friends and her beloved
Afghanistan. Mixed emotions that are shared by the evacuees and the man who helped bring a group of strangers to safety. With the images on their
phones still etched indelibly on their minds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: There will be hundreds of thousands of stories similar to that one. Thank you, Melissa Bell, for reporting.
Well, many people trying to leave Afghanistan will be left behind come that August 31st deadline tomorrow. Today, the pentagon said the state
department will continue working to get them out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: For Americans and other individuals that want to be able to leave Afghanistan after our withdrawal is complete
that the state department is going to continue to work across many different levers to facilitate that transportation. And as I said earlier,
right now we do not anticipate a military role in that effort.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: For those lucky enough to be evacuated, a tough road lies ahead. Already, officials are saying at least 34 unaccompanied Afghan
children have arrived in the United States. Some have been reunited with family in the country.
Joining me now is Mark Hetfield, President of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, HIAS, a nonprofit that provides humanitarian assistance to
refugees worldwide. Mark, welcome to the program. Thank you so much for joining us.
I wanted to have this conversation with you because rightly so for the past few weeks we have been focusing on step one and that is getting Afghans,
obviously, the American citizens there, but Afghan SIVs and those who helped NATO allies out of the country as possible.
Now that so many are leaving, we are into step two. What happens when they are resettled? How are they resettled? And that's where you step in, what
is your organization currently doing?
MARK HETFIELD, PRESIDENT, HEBREW IMMIGRANT AID SOCIETY: Thanks, Bianna.
Well, the main thing we're doing right now is preparing for the arrival of those who are coming and the resettlement and the reintegration of those
who are already here and in the various military bases getting processed as parolees.
GOLODRYGA: And for those tens of thousands, I don't know what that number is, I mean, let's just say first off, kudos and hats off to the U.S.
mission for evacuating, I think the number is 122,000, that's Americans as well as Afghan allies there. But for those who remain, how arduous is their
process going to be if they can flee?
HETFIELD: Well, that's the problem is that there really is no process. I mean, they should have announced the pull-out with already having a plan in
place to have a process, but there is no process.
So now people just have to get somehow the attention of the various forces that are doing these evacuations.
It's really difficult. There is no process whatsoever.
GOLODRYGA: And how realistic is continuing this process from over the horizon? You just heard from the Pentagon Spokesperson, John Kirby, that
this will not involve U.S. Military. How on earth can this happen then?
HETFIELD: Yes. That's what we're asking ourselves, too, Bianna. We're asking ourselves a lot of questions. We have a lot more questions than we
have answers right now. I don't know how it's going to work. None of us know.
The Afghans who are stuck there, the Afghans who laid their lives down, risked their lives to support U.S. troops don't know either. The
evacuation, the completion of the troop withdrawal was supposed to be this week. It was heartening to hear the news in the last segment that the UN is
meeting today, the Security Council, to have a safe zone, but let's hope that safe zone works and let's hope it is enforced, because right now there
is really no process for evacuation.
GOLODRYGA: And that's where organizations like yours step in. I know that you've been in touch with the White House and the administration on
efforting for these Afghans and these refugees to resettle in the United States. Explain how that process works. You are an organization, by the
way, that's over 120 years old. You have aided refugees going back over a century now. What role do you play, and where does your money come from and
how much money are you able to give these Afghan families?
HETFIELD: Well, that's a lot of questions, Bianna, but I'll try to answer them.
Well, one, is that we - there are nine agencies like HIAS. We are the Jewish communities refugee agency, but there are eight other agencies. Six
of us are faith-based. Three of us are secular and so all of us are working to prepare.
We've been told by the Department of State to prepare for 50,000 parolees. These are people in the SIV process, special immigrant visa process. The
Afghans who risked their lives for the United States forces there, but who were not able to complete that 14 step process in Afghanistan.
So they are coming over here to complete that process. Most of them are being housed in military bases around the country. I have staff deployed at
a number of those bases, helping with their paperwork and their orientation. Once they've completed those stages, they will move to
communities across the country with the assistance of the nine resettlement agencies, including HIAS.
In many of these communities, they will have some ties because they served alongside of Americans and other Afghans have preceded them. So they will
be joining with those community members when they go to these new towns and cities.
But in terms of our funding, right now there is - normally we get federal funding for refugees. We are going to get some federal funding for this
population, but the U.S. doesn't have a mechanism to do that for people who are paroled into the United States. So we are getting a little bit over a
thousand dollars per special immigrant from the United States government.
And with that, we have to get their housing for the first few months, we have to furnish that house, we have to stock it with food, we have to give
them cash assistance. That's not going to be easy.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. And you're talking about a little over $1,000 in assistance per Afghan parolee. In this day and age, that doesn't get you
You wrote an op-ed and you weren't really holding back and you invoked some of the points you made with me here, how did we get here, so many questions
to be asked about why this process wasn't expedited sooner. And you talk about the 1968 refugee convention and laws in place that should have
avoided these situations.
Obviously, it's not trying to repeat history after we saw the St. Louis turned around. These were 900 German-Jews in 1939 who had fled Europe,
hoping to either come to the U.S. or Cuba. And yet, we're still seeing this bureaucracy and red tape and unanswered questions as to why more refugees
HETFIELD: Yes. Bianna, I'm glad you raise that because that is what concerns me the most. This is not the first time we've had a large number
of refugees leaving on an emergency basis that we have to help. And Congress in 1980 gave the president all the tools he needs to do such an
evacuation with the Refugee Act of 1980.
And the fact of the matter is over the last 40 years the executive branch has put more, and more and more red tape into that process, erected more
and more on tackles, weighed down the process to such a point that it can no longer move quickly. It used to be that refugees were brought into this
country through this parole process because there was no way for them to come in as refugees.
Congress changed that in 1980. Gave this mechanism for refugees to be rescued and resettled here as refugees. But it is too mired down in red
tape right now for them to use it that way. So once again we're relying on parole, which is ill suited for this, but it's better suited than the
refugee program right now.
We have to take a hard look at that program and try to make sure it is responsive to an emergency need like what we're facing today.
GOLODRYGA: And it is not just the United States that finds themselves in this situation. A lot of our allies, richer countries like the U.K. are not
taking in as many as critics say they should. The United Kingdom said - they said they would be taking in, I believe, 20,000 refugees over a span
of five years.
And I spoke with the Albanian Prime Minister, a small country of only 3 million, one of the poorest countries in Europe who's taking in upwards of
4,000 or 5,000 refugees. And he told me why they're doing that. And he slightly admonished other richer countries that aren't. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDI RAMA, PRIME MINISTER OF ALBANIA: It's in the honor of all the NATO members and of all this community of countries that have been promoting by
the force of example and protecting by the examples of force, ideas and values to stand up.
Otherwise, we risk to see NATO itself fading away in the eyes of so many people around the world craving for freedom, for democracy, for human
rights, for women equal treatment. And not only NATO but all our part of the world that is based on these values and principles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Mark, do you agree with him? Is this sort of the defining moment now for NATO to step up?
HETFIELD: Oh, absolutely, and this is nothing new. Like 80 percent of the world's refugees are hosted by developing countries. Albania, of course, is
a little further along than most refugee hosting companies, but this is a burden that is not evenly shared at all.
And I would also say, so there is two things here, there is the political will that we need to have here in this country and that other countries
need as well, particularly in the west. But also we need the political will and the authority in this country to make this work.
And right now in the refugee program, you have no accountability because there is no single agency, there is no single official responsible for the
program. Instead, you have Homeland Security, you have the State Department, you have Health and Human Services, you have various
intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies all of which have a hand in this program that has no leadership at the top.
And so what it really needs is leadership and there needs to be political will to exercise that leadership.
GOLODRYGA: And you have Turkey's president who took in a lot of refugees following the war in Syria already said that turkey will not be the refugee
warehouse this time to quote him.
We're seeing backlash in the United States, I don't have to tell you that, from certain members of the Republican Party who are accusing some of these
immigrants of being terrorists because of their religion, questioning them, not wanting them to come to their areas and their hometowns.
And I want to repeat a statistic that you provided us and that is that the refugee program, yours, has resettled more than 3.1 million people with no
lethal act of terror committed by a single one of them on U.S. soil. So where does this perception come from then, Mark?
HETFIELD: Well, I think it's just, frankly, political grand standing. It is a solution in search of a problem. And what really upset me was in
September of 2015, actually it was November 13th 2015, one of the terrorist attacks in Paris where there was this uproar in the United States of 31
governors and multiple presidential candidates who said that we needed to shut our doors to Syrian Muslim refugees and 31 states purported to do
Syrian Muslim refugees had nothing to do with that attack in Paris, absolutely nothing. It was radicalized Europeans. But scapegoating is easy.
And so, investing all this money in security vetting and extreme vetting, which takes not only months but years to get through the refugee process is
not a good investment, because it's addressing a risk we really haven't seen manifest itself in the 40-year history of the program and yet you want
a real security risk.
Look at all of the military hardware that we're leaving behind in Afghanistan. I'd be a lot more worried about that.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. And Mark, I would be remiss not to conclude by telling our viewers my own personal connection to your organization.
Had it not been for HIAS, my parents and myself would not be in the United States and U.S. citizens. You helped us. We were refugees, political
refugees from the former Soviet Union who came as Jewish refugees in 1980 with the assistance of HIAS. That is my first picture in the United States,
my dad and me.
And you helped resettle us in Houston, Texas where the community welcomed us. My parents still live there. And I remember to this day, all of the
bills that they would write, checks to repay HIAS for the plane ticket back. It took them awhile, but they managed to put together the money to
repay you and thank you and your organization and ours is just one of millions of stories and I was heartened to read about an Afghan family that
had resettled in Houston and had been taken to Wal-Mart over the weekend and it just made me think of how hospital some of our cities and
communities are. Thanks to the help of organizations like yours, Mark. Thank you so much.
HETFIELD: Thank you, Bianna. We're very proud of your accomplishments here.
GOLODRYGA: Good luck in your future endeavors and keep us posted, okay?
HETFIELD: Thanks. Thanks.
GOLODRYGA: Well, now the evacuation deadline may still be looming, but the Taliban are already imposing harsh restrictions. One Taliban spokesman
telling The New York Times that music is forbidden is Islam, we're hoping that we can persuade not to do such things, instead of pressuring them.
Well, any ban would be a tough blow to a country with such a rich cultural history. Afghanistan fell silent in 1996 when the Taliban first came to
power. But since they were ousted in 2001, music returned to the country in no small part thanks to my next guest, Dr. Ahmad Sarmast. The Founder of
the Afghanistan National Institute of Music.
I spoke to him just before comments made by the Taliban about music. We were also joined by his student, Zarifa Adiba, who was a conductor in the
school's trail blazing all female Zohra Orchestra. They both joined us from outside of Afghanistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Ahmad and Zarifa, thank you so much for joining us and welcome to the program.
Ahmad, let me tell our viewers a little bit about the school. You opened it in 2010, the Afghanistan National Institute of Music. At its peak, it had
300 students, 35 percent of that consisted of female students. What is the status of the school today?
AHMAD SARMAST, FOUNDER, AFGHANISTAN NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MUSIC: The status of the school as the status of the entire country is unpredictable.
The situation is developing very fast on the ground in Afghanistan and still we do not know what will be their attitude and the policies of the
Taliban towards music in the second time in power.
But the ...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Right now, we're going to take you straight to the White House now where President Biden is meeting virtually with FEMA and governors from
the states affected by Hurricane Ida. Let's listen in.
(SIMULCAST WITH CNNUS).