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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

One Year Since Fall Of Kabul; Kenya's Next President; U.S. Citizens Moving To Mexico. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired August 15, 2022 - 17:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Lynda Kinkade, in for Bianca Nobilo. And welcome to THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Just ahead: economic collapse, hunger, and reversal of women's rights, are some of the key aspects of Afghanistan one year after the Taliban's


And scuffles are broken out in Kenya, after election officials declared William Ruto, the country's next president.

Then, hundreds of U.S. citizens are leaving their expensive hometowns to relocate to Mexico. Every day life is less expensive, but locales are not

too happy about the influx of people.

Well, for the Taliban, it is cause for celebration. But for so many other Afghans, Monday marked the return of repressive roll, that's only deepened

a humanitarian crisis. The Taliban and their supporters waved flags and honked horns one -- the one year anniversary since the Taliban takeover of


But as they celebrate, women and girls are being pushed out of public life, as their rights are stripped away. The situation for Afghan civilians in

general has gotten worse since the Taliban takeover, especially when it comes to access to food. The Red Cross is urging immediate action.


ROBERT MARDINI, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS: I mean the status quo is not the -- if we wait to see more people going

hungry, if we wait to see more livelihood disrupted, if we wait to bear witness to more suffering, this is a recipe for failure. This is a recipe

for more attention among communities. And it's also from our experience at ICRC, a recipe for more conflict.


KINKADE: The Red Cross there.

Well, our Clarissa Ward was reporting in Kabul, where the Taliban swept into power. She's there again now and joins us live.

Good to have you there, Clarissa.

So, a year since the Taliban took over. The United Nations saying that 95 percent of Afghans are going hungry. They don't have enough to eat.

You have a unique perspective. You were there a year ago. You're back now. Clarissa, explain for us the changes that you've witnessed and what areas

the Taliban have wound back the clock?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Linda, the challenges facing Afghanistan right now are enormous. Today, for many, is a

really painful reminder of all that's been lost. Others have been celebrating. Some, because they love the Taliban, others simply because

they were delighted to see an end to many years of war that led to so much suffering.

But now, everyone in this country is really focused on the grave humanitarian crisis, and trying to put food on the table for their



WARD (voice-over): It's a three-hour journey from Shakila's (ph) home to the center of Kabul. But each morning, she and other women make this walk,

driven by hunger and the need to feed their children.

Their destination is this bakery, one of many across the capital where crowds of women now sit patiently every day, quietly hoping for handouts.

So, all the women have been pressing pieces of paper with their phone numbers into our hands. They're desperately hoping that maybe we can help


Shakila tells us on a good day, they might get two or three pieces of bread. And every morsel counts.

Were you doing this a year ago or has the situation become worse in the last year?

There's no work this year, she says. My husband has a cart, but now he only earns 30 to 40 cents a day.

One year after the Taliban took power, Afghanistan is isolated and increasingly impoverished. Largely cut off from the global banking system,

and the foreign aid that once funded almost 80 percent of this country's budget.

It is also unmistakably safer. One thing the Taliban has been able to improve is security. Outside Kabul's airport, shops are open, and the

streets are calm.


Cover my face? Okay.

A far cry from the chaotic scenes we witnessed last summer.

He told me to cover my face. But he doesn't want to comment on that truncheon he's carrying.

Tens of thousands risked life and limb to try to flee the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay behind him. Stay behind him.

WARD: Many feared for their lives. Others that the Taliban would take the country back to the middle ages.

For these girls, that fear has come true. They were just a year out from graduating. And the Taliban announced a de facto ban on girls' secondary

education after sixth grade. Now, they have improvised ways to defy the ban, setting up unofficial schools where they continue their studies.

Naheed Sadat's (ph) dreams of a diploma may have vanished but her drive has not.

NAHEED SADAT (ph), AFGHAN STUDENT: I say to myself I'm so powerful, I'm strong, and they can't break my angst (ph) and my dreams and what I want to


WARD: Do you ever feel scared?

SADAT: Yes. It's a risk for us that we don't cover our face and we study our lessons.

WARD: You're very brave.

SADAT: Yeah, I know.

WARD: Girls' education is one of the main reasons no country in the world has yet recognized the Taliban government. A point we put to foreign

ministry spokesman, Abdul Qahar Balkhi.

When will the Taliban allow teenage girls to go back to school?

ABDUL QAHAR BALKHI, MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SPOKESMAN: From the perspective of the government, there's a range of mix of issues that has

led to the temporary suspension of secondary schools. The most important and significant part of this is that the policy of the government of

Afghanistan is education for all citizens of Afghanistan.

WARD: And yet all citizens of Afghanistan are not currently able to get an education. What is the hold-up?

BALKHI: It seems that international actors are unfortunately weaponizing the issue of education. Instead of coming forward and interacting

positively, they are trying to find moral justifications for some of the inhumane policies of sanctions, which is leading to the collective

punishment of the entire people of Afghanistan.

WARD: Do you want to see girls going to school again?

BALKHI: The policy of the government of Afghanistan is very clear. And that is education for all citizens of Afghanistan.

WARD: The Taliban says it wants to see peaceful and positive relations with all countries, including the U.S. but those prospects were

dramatically diminished when the head of al Qaeda, Ayman Zawahiri, was killed by a U.S. drone strike in a villa in downtown Kabul just over two

weeks ago.

BALKHI: We have made it very clear that the government of Afghanistan was unaware of the arrival or presence of Mr. Zawahiri in Kabul. So far, we

have been unable to establish as a fact, as a matter of fact, that Mr. Zawahiri was indeed present in Kabul.

WARD: Isn't that almost more frightening, though? The idea that you're claiming potentially the leader of al Qaeda was here in the center of the

city and you didn't even know about it?

BALKHI: Again, we contend that notion that he was even present here. But even if he was, these types of incidents happen everywhere in the world.

WARD: But they really don't. I mean, how can the U.S. possibly trust the Taliban leadership, though, to stay true to its promise that it will not

allow sanctuary to be granted to terrorist groups?

BALKHI: If we look at the Doha agreement, the articles that define the commitments of the government of Afghanistan, all of them have been

fulfilled. And if we look at the commitments the United States of America has made, sadly, they have not fulfilled a single article. But we're

hopeful and we continue to urge the United States to adhere to that agreement.

WARD: It's a brazen position that complicates efforts to unfreeze funding to help the Afghan people, millions of whom remain hungry and reliant on

the kindness of strangers.


WARD (on camera): CNN has spoken, Lynda, to the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, Tom West, who basically confirmed that there are now no short term

prospects for the U.S. starting to re-capitalize Afghanistan central bank.


And there have been a number of reasons for this in the past, I think the one that has really clinch this, or cemented this position, is concerned

about the sheltering of Ayman al-Zawahiri and with that pretends for future potential sanctuary of being given here to other terrorist groups. As long

as you don't see any improvement, or any type of normalization in the relationship between the U.S. and the Taliban, and you don't see those

funds starting to flow freely again, you can be sure that the humanitarian crisis here is only going to get worse, Lynda.

KINKADE: Clarissa, an interesting interview you did with the Taliban spokesperson. Still no clear answer on why teenage girls aren't allowed to

go to school. Great to have you and the team for us in Kabul. Clarissa Ward reporting there.

Well, on the battlefield in Ukraine, a notorious private militia suspected of links to the Kremlin has just felt the bite of Ukrainian forces.

Telegram video appears to show a Wagner group headquarters demolished in Ukraine's Russian occupied east, apparently by artillery or rocket fire.

Wagner linked site say there were casualties. Ukrainian military calls it a well-aimed hit.

And on the northern front, Ukrainian technicians examined shrapnel from a Russian rocket near the city of Kharkiv. Officials report one person was

killed, six others wounded. They say Russian forces are relentlessly shelling numerous cities and towns in the region to stop Ukraine's attacks

on their supply lines.

Well, not far from the front line, CNN has visited a hospital where gravely injured Ukrainian soldiers get medical care. For the doctors, nurses, and

assistance there it's their own battle zone, working rapidly to stabilize their patients before even more comment.

CNN's Nic Robertson takes us there.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: At a frontline field hospital, a soldier gets stitched up. Russian forces getting closer, more

casualties, military and civilian coming in.

The hospital has been hit more than once. Its location, secret.

NIELS ERIXSON, VOLUNTEER MEDIC: This place that I'm working in, it's a stabilization point. So, all casualties from the red zone are taken here.

ROBERTSON: Volunteer medic Niels himself injured during recent shelling. Surgeon Dima's priority, get patients stable and to safety and get ready

for more.

DIMA, VASCULAR SURGEON: We hardly have time to clean the rooms. You come into the room, and there's a lot of blood on the floor.

ERIXSON: And then, transport units like mine, we then transport them to the next level of care in safer areas.

ROBERTSON: Arriving for better care at a rear base hospital, this soldier, the high spec volunteer ambulance keeping him alive on the journey, taking

him directly for a CAT scan.

ERIXSON: We had our surgeon and our anesthesiologist in the back together with the patient, doing all the necessary interventions to keep him alive.

ROBERTSON: In other rooms, civilians are getting treated. Vasily hit by a cluster bomb. His leg, badly broken, his arm requiring surgery, too.

I've had X-rays and painkillers, he says. Now, I'm waiting to go to the next hospital.

No one kept at this rear base hospital for long either, transferred even further from the front lines. Shelling here on the rise too. They need the

beds freed fast.

Everyone in this hospital knows the frontline is getting close, and that can only mean one thing: more casualties.

According to officials, 50 or 60 patients a day passing through. The ward won't be empty long.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Eastern Ukraine.


KINKADE: Well, China says it's carrying out military drills at one of the second U.S. delegation visits the island. Five U.S. lawmakers led by

Senator Ed Markey arrived in Taipei late Sunday. The two-day visit was on an ounce beforehand and follows House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit earlier

this month. Her arrival set of several days of war games.

Our reporter Blake Essig filed this from Taipei.


BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It didn't take long for China to respond to the most recent unannounced visit by U.S. lawmakers to Taiwan, the self-

governing island that Beijing claims and sees as a breakaway province.


On Monday afternoon, China's defense ministry released a statement calling the latest delegation's trip an ambush visit, and a flagrant violation of

the One China policy, which acknowledges that People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government in China of course the White House

maintains there's been no change to that policy.

Now, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her delegation left Taiwan about two weeks ago, China kicked off at least six days of live fire military

exercises surrounding the democratic island. That military aggression and fiery rhetoric continued on Monday. On China's social media, the eastern

theater command announced it had conducted a new round off of joint drills and combat patrols in the air and at sea around Taiwan, saying, quote, the

exercises are a solemn response to the political plays by the U.S. and Taiwan that are undermining the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.

A spokesperson for China's embassy in the United States also address the visit on Twitter, saying: China firmly opposes official ties between the

U.S. and Taiwan and that the U.S. should bear all the consequences.

But despite worsening tensions between Beijing and Taipei as a result of high-level visits from lawmakers abroad, Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph

Wu thanked Senator Ed Markey and his delegation for their visit once again, reiterating that China does not get to dictate how Taiwan makes friends.

Blake Essig, CNN, Taipei.


KINKADE: Well, still to come tonight, William Ruto was elected Kenya's next president after a close race. Many are not accepting it. We will bring

you the latest details.

Plus, how American citizens search for cheaper housing in Mexico and its pressing residents out of their homes and businesses.


KINKADE: Welcome back.


I'm Lynda Kinkade. You're watching THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

I want to go to Kenya now where William Ruto has won the country's hotly contested presidential race. He was elected with just over 50 percent of

the votes, narrowly defeating opposition leader Raila Odinga. Odinga rejected the results before they even been announced, briefly plunging the

national tally center into chaos.

Our Larry Madowo has more.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Angry scenes inside Kenya's votes tallying center. Soldiers forced to use batons to bring fighting

under control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hereby declares that Ruto William Samoei has been duly elected as the president.


MADOWO: Moments later, Deputy President William Ruto was declared the country's next leader, succeeding term limited Uhuru Kenyatta, a nervous

six-day wait for Kenya's election winner, finally over, but a narrow lead, contested by candidate Raila Odinga's coalition before it was even


SAITABAO OLE KANCHORY, RAILA ODINGA'S CHIEF AGENT: Once we see them, we will want to verify them. Once we verify them, we will be able to know and

to tell the Kenyan people, because a result that is not very verifiable is not a result.

MADOWO: Four election commissioners also disowned the anticipated results moments before the chaos descended at the national tallying center. Kenyans

went to the polls at a critical time for East Africa's largest economy. Soaring food and fuel prices, high unemployment and post-pandemic

stagnation, it was a bitter battle between the friends and foes, and friends and foes again, ending in this --. Odinga supporters violently

rejecting Ruto's win.

Both campaigns accused the other of corruption, but Ruto now promising to work with his rival.

WILLIAM RUTO, KENYAN PRESIDENT-ELECT: I will run a transparent, open, democratic government. And I will work with opposition to the extent that

they provide oversight over my administration.

MADOWO: Cheers and jubilation in his hometown, but a fierce contest of the results could come next.

Larry Madowo, CNN, Kisumu, Kenya.


KINKADE: In the United States, conservative politicians rail against economic migrants they say are crossing the southern border from central

and South America en masse. But a growing number of U.S. citizens becoming economic migrants themselves. They're going to Mexico to chase the lower

cost of living. In many cases, they're bringing their U.S. salaries with them.

Now, locals say they're being displaced and they're seeing inflation that the U.S. expats were hoping to escape.

Our David Culver reports.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Look past the charming cafes, scenic parks, flashy apartments and you will see this capital city

for what it is becoming, a refuge for migrants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I grew up in New York.



CULVER: Perhaps not the border crossing you expected. Americans leaving pricey U.S. cities heading south to work from home in Mexico City.

ERIK RODRIGUEZ, U.S. EXPATRIATE LIVING IN MEXICO CITY: It's starting to feel like home. I've been here for several months already.

CULVER: Born and raised in the U.S., Eric Rodriguez hardly speaks Spanish and admits he is not here to rediscover his Mexican roots, so much has to

save money.

RODRIGUEZ: In San Diego, my apartment was probably about $2,500.

CULVER: For one bedroom?

RODRIGUEZ: For a studio.

CULVER: For a studio.

RODRIGUEZ: Here, I have a one bedroom and I pay $800 a month.

CULVER: The State Department says 1.6 million U.S. citizens live in Mexico. They don't say how many are living and working there on tourist

visas. The Mexican government does not track that data either, but they recorded more than 5.3 million American tourists flying in during just the

first five months of this year, nearly 1 million more than that same period in 2019, pre-pandemic.

Rodriguez is among the unreported but undeniably present so-called digital nomads. Here officially as tourists, most working remotely for U.S.

companies, still getting paid in U.S. dollars, allowing for a far more affordable life in Mexico.

RODRIGUEZ: I think there was a sense of, we want people to come here to stimulate the economy. Thank you for being here. But I know that recently,

there's been complaints from locals about the effect that expats living here has had on their own lifestyles.

CULVER: Sandra Ortiz is one of them.

The prices are going up high. She said it's difficult, because a lot of these owners come in they have a bunch of money to be able to spend on some

of these apartments and rents.

For more than 50 years, Ortiz and her four siblings run a restaurant popular with locals, on a prime corner in the increasingly desirable

neighborhood. But as prices climbed, Ortiz said it became unaffordable for the family.


And in February, she says they were evicted. All their belongings piled onto the sidewalk.

You had five minutes to get everything out and move it out?


CULVER: So where did locales go?

That's what we need to be asking ourselves, Fernando Bustos Gorrospe (ph) tells me.

The pandemic coupled with global inflation have made matters worse, leading locals in fear of a culture clash. This is part of the problem, he says.

The expats move here because it's cheap, not because they want to truly immerse in the local culture.

Families like the Ortizes feel like they're getting pushed up. Sandra and two of her siblings now working at another restaurant, no longer the


The thought of visiting their old restaurant -- too painful. We went by, renovations already underway, high end apartments coming soon.

David Culver, CNN, Mexico City.


KINKADE: Well, let's take a look at the other key stories making international headlines this hour. Mexico trying to save ten workers

trapped in a flooded coal line, and officials say they have another setback. Underground water levels have risen again and the miners became

trapped almost two weeks ago when a tunnel wall collapsed.

Myanmar's ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to six more years in prison after a court found her guilty in four corruption cases.

The Nobel laureate who was overthrown and detained in a military coup last year was already facing 11 years in prison for other charges. She has

denied all accusations.

The United Kingdom has become the first country to approve an updated COVID-19 booster shot, which targets two variants. The vaccine manufactured

by Moderna works by targeting the original virus strain from 2020, as well as the omicron strength. It's been approved for use in adults by the

country's medicines regulator.

That was your GLOBAL BRIEF. Thanks so much for joining me. I'm Lynda Kinkade. I'll be back tomorrow night.

"WORLD SPORT" is up next.