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U.S. Facilitates Department Of 4 Americans From Afghanistan Overland; GOP Rep. McCaul Claims Taliban Not Allowing U.S. Citizens To Department Afghanistan Airport; Major Companies Push Back On Texas Abortion Law; Ex-Marine Sharpshooter Charged With Fatally Shooting 4 People. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired September 06, 2021 - 14:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: And for the people who are immunocompromised or older people, do you think that September 20th that they will be able to see a Pfizer booster shot?

DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, THE EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATE DEAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, GRADY HEALTH SYSTEM: Well, I don't want to put a date because, again, I want the FDA and I want the CDC to make a recommendation-based object the science and based on reviewing the recommendations.

Immunosuppressed people today can start getting a booster shot because the reality that's already been approved by both the FDA and the ACIP.

CAMEROTA: Great point.

Dr. Carlos Del Rio, thank you very much for all the facts. We really appreciate it.

DEL RIO: Good to be with you.

CAMEROTA: We have some breaking news out of the State Department. How the U.S. helped four citizens get out of Afghanistan. We have those dramatic details next.



CAMEROTA: Now to Afghanistan. CNN has learned that the U.S. has facilitated the departure of several American citizens from Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal, and they left via land into a third country.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Qatar where he's addressing next steps in Afghanistan. He'll meet with U.S. allies in the region to talk about getting the remaining evacuees, U.S. citizens and Afghan allies out of that country.

So let's bring in CNN's senior national security correspondent, Alex Marquardt, to tell us about the evacuations.

What do we know?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Just because the U.S. and diplomatic presence in Afghanistan are over that the evacuation operations would not end, and here they are keen to show that they are still getting Americans out.

Four Americans have gotten out of Afghanistan, according to the State Department. They took an overland route, which means they did not fly out. They went to a country, a neighboring country, which the State Department did not reveal.

We are told they are in good condition. And perhaps most interestingly, Alisyn, we're told the Taliban did not impede the process. They were aware of the evacuation but did not stop it in any way.

That is incredibly important because there are many Americans left, many Afghans left who want to get out, and the Taliban has provided assurances to the U.S. and other countries that these Afghans and foreign nationals with the proper documentation can get out so it's a good sign them are allowing these Americans who get out.

Of course, it is just four Americans. We understand from the Biden administration that there are around 100 who are still in the country who would like to get out. They say they are in constant contact with these Americans who would still like to get out.

All told, Alisyn, around 6,000 Americans were able to get out. So far among the evacuees out of a total of 124,000.

But the Biden administration has not put a very fine point on how they plan to get people out who they would like to. They're saying they want the airport to get back up and running.

But for now, we do understand that there are over land route possibilities as demonstrated by these four Americans -- Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Really interesting. Alex Marquardt, thank you very much.

Despite the evacuation of that handful of Americans from Afghanistan, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee says he has received classified briefings the Taliban forces are preventing many Americans from leaving the airport in Afghanistan.


REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): They are not clearing the airplanes to depart. They sat at the airport for the last couple days. These planes, and they're not allowed to leave.

We know the reason why is because the Taliban wants something in exchange.

This is really turning into a hostage situation where they're not going to allow American citizens to leave until they get full recognition from the United States of America.


CAMEROTA: A source tells CNN the U.S. government is not aware of any hostage situation in Afghanistan.

But let's bring in Marina LeGree. She's with Ascend, a nonprofit organization helping to evacuate people from Afghanistan.

Marina, thank you very much for being here.

I know you've been working for days to get Afghan girls and young women out of the country. So what's been your experience? Are they -- is the Taliban blocking them?

MARINA LEGREE, FOUNDING DIRECTOR, ASCEND: Yes, absolutely. We're a small part of a large group of people trying to get out now and we've been there for just over a week, and my group is mostly young women and girls.

And we can't understand what the problem is, why we're not allowed to leave.

So the conditions in which people are being held while they wait to be called to the airport are also deteriorating rapidly and the crowds are, of course, coming as people hear there are planes even though the planes are fully manifested.

So the situation is getting more and more pressurized by the day. And we don't understand why we're not allowed to leave.

CAMEROTA: Well, tell us about that. What's the Taliban doing? How exactly are they blocking the planes from leaving?

LEGREE: We're not actually sure. We don't have a global view on the situation.

I have my team inside one of the places where people are being held and everybody is talking and there's not much else to do while they wait for a week.


Yes, but we don't have any direct line to the Taliban or the U.S. government or anybody else.

What I can tell you is just what we can glean from talking with people there, and we think that the negotiations were between the Taliban and the charter company.

We assume there's some sort of money being discussed, but we really don't know.

So in the meantime, people are being fed and they're being kept there. But they're not being allowed to go. And we're not sure what the outcome will be. And for our girls there's no going back. They're at great risk in

Afghanistan and they need to leave.

We're really pleading with the Taliban and the U.S. government if they have any leverage left to find a solution to this and let those planes get off the ground.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, the Taliban themselves have said they don't want Afghans leaving the country. They don't want to have the brain trust. They don't want to have young women leaving there.

And so are these -- these are Afghans. Did they try to get out before American forces left on august 31st?

LEGREE: So this particular group was launched before august 31st and that was part of the problem. They had already been called to come for this opportunity before the 31st.

And then when U.S. policy changed on the 31st it was our own government that caused the delay because the State Department disallowed CENTCOM from receiving flights out of Afghanistan because there weren't suitable vetting methods for the manifest so that lost a couple days.

Now it's the Taliban blocking the takeoff.

Whoever was responsible, the end result is the same. We have people who are mostly women at risk, journalists, NGO employees that are stuck and at growing risk.

CAMEROTA: By the way, the worst fears have already come to pass.

Very quickly, in terms of what the Taliban has in mind for the future. Here's a photo from this weekend. This is the first day of a university in Kabul under the Taliban. You can see already it's being segregated.

I don't know if you can see on the right hand of your screen. There are the women on the right-hand side obviously in much more traditional Taliban-issued dress, and there are the men across a curtain on the left-hand side.

And then this woman who is a former government employee in Kabul. She and other women had tried to organize a peaceful protest this weekend to continue on with their jobs.

And here is what happened.


SAROYA, FORMER AFGHAN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE (through translation): Together with a group of our colleagues we wanted to go near the former government offices for a protest.

But before we got there, the Taliban hit women with electric tasers and used tear gas against women. They also hit women on the head with a gun magazine, and the women became bloody. There was no one to ask why.


CAMEROTA: So it's just as bad as people had predicted.

And what happens to these young women that you're working with if they can't get out?

LEGREE: They don't see any future for themselves in the Taliban- controlled Afghanistan. These are women who climb mountains, they're professionals, they're articulate, they have dreams. They are being told now that they can't -- all of that is being taken away from them.

I'm worried for the mental health of so many girls and women across Afghanistan. It's one thing to think about their physical safety, but everything they've ever thought that they could do with their lives is being crushed.

So, for them, there's no going back. And I'm worried about them making foolish decisions because they're being put in this position where something was offered and they're just waiting, waiting, waiting.

So far, they're OK. Everybody is holding steady. We need a solution.

CAMEROTA: Yes, we hear you.

Marina, we'll keep in touch with you. Thank you very much.

LEGREE: Thank you.


CAMEROTA: Well, the new abortion law in Texas is getting quite a bit of pushback, including from some major companies. So what big business is doing to protect their employees next.


CAMEROTA: Attorney General Merrick Garland pledges to protect abortion clinics in Texas, after that state passed it's the most-strictive anti-abortion law in the country.

Garland vows to enforce a federal law that prohibits making threats against patients seeking reproductive health services and obstructing clinic interests.

The Texas laws bans abortions starting at six weeks into pregnancy. That's before many women know they're pregnant.

It also allows private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who assists a person seeking an abortion.

For more, let's bring in Alison Kosik.

Alison, what are these companies doing? ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Companies are often reticent

to get involved in political issues. And if they are involved, mostly statements, not taking action.

Very different this time. Dating apps, Bumble and Match, both based in Texas, both have women CEOs are creating relief funds for people affected by the Texas law that bans abortions for women from early as six weeks into pregnancy.

The law also penalized anyone who aids or abets a restricted abortion, so on Friday, Logan Green, Lyft's CEO, said they would create a legal defense fund to protect any drivers sued under the law for driving a person who receives an abortion.

The way the law is worded, it leaves open to the possibility that a driver could be held liable for driving someone to receive an abortion, even if they didn't know it was happening.

Lyft's general counsel spoke with Poppy Harlow this morning about the important of getting involved, even if it means losing customers.



KRISTIN SWELCHEK, GENERAL COUNSEL FOR LYFT: We knew we would not see 100 percent support, but this is a moment of doing what is right, what we as executives at Lyft felt right. I'm very proud of having done this.

We will lose some customers because of it, but that was not -- that was not something that was going to stop us from acting here.


KOSIK: Uber is also taking action, saying on Twitter it will cover any legal fees incurred by drivers under the law.

GoDaddy is no longer hosting a Web site that took tips from people who were believed to be vetting the law.

We are not hearing from big Texas companies, like Dell Computer, who spoke out against the restrictive voting laws. We heard from American Airlines who declined comment on this matter.

CAMEROTA: It'll be interesting to see what happens with this law and if they can, somehow, enforce it or if there's so much pushback they really can't.

KOSIK: Right.

CAMEROTA: Alison, thank you --


CAMEROTA: -- for all of that. A former Marine sharpshooter is accused of killing four people, including a baby who was being held in her mother's arms. What we know about the crime and the suspect, next.


CAMEROTA: A horrible shooting in Florida this weekend. An ex-Marine sharpshooter is in jail, charged with fatally shooting four people, including an infant.

And 33 years old Bryan Riley made his first court appearance this morning. He was denied bail.

The shooting happened Sunday morning. Police say the 3-month-old victim was found in her mother's arms.

CNN's Nick Valencia joins us now.

Nick, this is so horrible. Do we know the connections between the suspect and the victims?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At this point, as disturbing as it seems, there's no connection, according to police.

He made his first court appearance earlier today, denied bond, with four counts of murder.

And when police arrived at the scene Sunday morning, they said that Bryan Riley was wearing body armor. He also had on camouflage.


They noticed a pickup truck was on fire. There were also road flares aligned in a path leading up to the house. He eventually barricaded himself, got into a shootout with police.

At this point, they don't know why he selected this. They did interview his fiancee and she said she was concerned about his well- being. The veteran, a former Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was suffering from PTSD.


GRADY JUDD, SHERIFF, POLK COUNTY, FL, SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: She said he had PTSD. I've seen him depressed. And he came home and said, God spoke to him, and now he can talk directly to God. She said I had never seen that kind of behavior.


VALENCIA: Police don't know why the family was targeted. But he showed up Saturday evening, police were called. He fled the scene before they got there.

Nine hours later, police say he came to carry out the killing spree. He even killed the family dog. An 11-year-old survived that shooting, shot seven times, according to


They're going to try to figure out if there's a connection, or if it's just unfortunately a random, very violent act by this former Marine -- Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Horrible on every single level.


CAMEROTA: Nick Valencia, thank you for the reporting.

VALENCIA: You bet.

CAMEROTA: New details about the COVID vaccine boosters. What we know about the timing. And the latest on COVID and children.