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Taliban Seizing Cities In Afghanistan; New Health Pass Rules Take Effect In France; California's Dixie Fire Now Second Largest In State History. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired August 09, 2021 - 10:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: A code red for humanity. That is what the United Nations Secretary General calls at alarming new climate
change report that blames people, that's you and me for increasing global temperatures.
Meanwhile raging wildfires spread in farflung regions of the globe.
Afghan government forces are being overwhelmed as the Taliban that claim more territory and thousands of people are displaced.
Plus, from today, if you want to eat at a restaurant or take a train in France, you will need a health pass. We have a live report from Paris for
I'm Becky Anderson. It is 10:00 a.m. in New York, it is 3:00 p.m. here in London. Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. The alarm bells are
deafening. United Nations today issuing an urgent call for action in its most comprehensive look yet, at our global climate crisis. Its massive
years in the making report concludes human created greenhouse gases are undeniably responsible for global warming.
It's no longer a question of natural versus human caused. The report warns, the only way to stop and reverse warming is to cut greenhouse gas emissions
to zero. And climate change impacts already severe in every region of the planet and will get worse with every fraction of a degree of warming. The
U.N. Secretary General calling the reporter code red for humanity. CNN climate chief -- climate chief Bill Weir connecting us today from New York.
It wasn't like we hadn't been warned. So Bill, what is new and different about this report?
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Really, Becky. It's the certainty it's these huge data sets and bigger supercomputers and better
satellites that just prove not only predictions of 30 years ago, when this warning, this code red for humanity began. But just reaffirms that those
predictions were conservative. These are 234 scientists, 66 countries, they spent eight years looking at 14,000 peer reviewed papers on all aspects of
And yes, it's happening faster and more dramatically than anybody ever predicted. They moved up about a decade to when we might pass the 1.5-
degree Celsius sort of red line in the sand of the Paris Accords that will happen early 2030s now they believe. And chances are we'll land anywhere
between three and five degrees of warming Celsius past pre industrial levels which was a completely different planet on so many levels.
But also saying how bad it gets is directly determined to what is done right now. And it started building political will into the models saying a
status as usual. This is what will happen. A green path where countries work together, this is where we're headed. Because that ultimately is the
biggest X Factor, human nature.
ANDERSON: Yes, we're looking at images of you recently in Greenland. Tell us about what you witnessed there.
WEIR: It's interesting because they're sort of on the defrost setting of planet Earth while others are based or broil in the south. Life is easier.
It's wilder, it's easy to fish for a living in those places. More tourists are coming now. But just the staggering amount of melt that's going on
there is frightening. It's not only risking the lives of ice scientists, I spent time with, one Conrad Stephen lost his life out there.
Those are the first responders studying this. But it's shedding so much freshwater it could stop the ocean currents of the Gulf Stream, which is
really the thermostat for Asia and -- or for Europe rather and North America. In one day, last week, enough of Greenland melted to cover the
State of Florida and two inches of water. And that's what's happening when we're not paying attention.
What we're focused on wildfires or larger storms. Sea level rise is a big part of this new report saying that it could be two meters or 22 meters,
Becky. It's just a matter of how soon humanity changes its fuels.
ANDERSON: So, if we humanity have caused it, how about some solutions at least in the short term, Bill?
WEIR: Well, the thing to focus on immediately that has the most impact is methane. And this report really sort of lays bare the theory that this is a
cleaner bridge fuel, cleaner than coal. A lot of things are cleaner than coal. We don't burn wells anymore. But turns out that that natural gas is
80 times more potent than CO2. So if you imagine, you know, a baby in a car and a hot day, suns pouring through the windshield -- the windshield and
the and the steel, that sort of carbon dioxide trapping the heat, but methane is like turning on the heater inside the car.
It acts much faster and it's easier to control. So by capping dairy farms and figuring out how to capture as you can see in this infrared imagery,
all of that planet cooking pollution that's just leaking unchecked, from oil fields all across both the developing and developing world. That would
be the first place to start. We have to do that to succeed. So let's start there. That means jobs capping these wells and technology booms for people
who can come up with better ways to fix that problem.
And so there's the conversation now not only the trillions that could be made addressing this, but how much it'll cost if we do nothing.
ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. You and I will talk regularly. And I know because this is not going away. We need to know what we can all do to get
on with this. We get it and we know you get it, folks. Thank you, Bill. Just look at Greece being ravaged by wildfires. Houses in flames, forests
being scorched. Some of the people they're calling it apocalyptic. Patients across the world have stepped up sending in firefighters and helicopters to
help flames, smoke turning (INAUDIBLE) Evia.
Greece's second largest island. Ferries are standing by to evacuate. More people in the path of flames. Making it worse, dangerous climate
conditions. Greece is suffering through its worst heatwave in 30 years. Let's get right to CNN's Eleni Giokos who is on the island of Elvia. And
fires there as I understand burning out of control. What are you witnessing?
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Becky, I mean, look there for France right now, that's in the northern part of the island. And we're basically
very close to where the fires are currently blazing. We've been sent away, because it is just that dangerous. But looking behind me here, this is sort
of the apocalyptic scenario, the aftermath of the blaze that has ripped through so many parts of this island. 450,000 hectares, Becky, of forest,
of precious forest has been completely destroyed.
In Greece as a whole, from the beginning of the heatwave, a couple of weeks ago, around 650,000 hectares have been destroyed. So it gives you a sense
of the scale. The firefighters, the people, the residents that we've been speaking to say they have never seen anything at the scale in the past. One
firefighter said he has, you know, experienced many fighters -- fires in his career but never this intense and this aggressive.
Now, what's compounding the issue, and you've alluded to this is the heatwave that is ripped through the country over the past few days. And
that, of course, intensifies the impact of the fire. You can see here, you've got, you know, electricity poles that have been destroyed. Most of
the island lost access to electricity as well as water because infrastructure has been destroyed.
So, if you look at what it means in terms of rebuilding, you're looking at a very stark scenario. You're talking about people being evacuated, some
have opted to leave. We found villages that were about one kilometer away from the blazing fire that decided to stay in their homes to protect their
livelihoods. And it was so fascinating to see men and women trying to get water to firefighters.
Twenty-two countries have sent assistance, boots on the ground, helicopters, aircraft as well, to try and get this fire under control. This
is the seventh day, Becky. This is unprecedented for Evia Island, and people are shocked and distraught at the destruction.
ANDERSON: Eleni, thank you very much indeed. That's the story in Greece at present. It's not the only country being scorched. California also living
the impact of the climate crisis right now. The massive Dixie fire. Now the second largest wildfire in state history and it is still growing. Thousands
of people are under evacuation orders. And this fire isn't just affecting those who live in its path.
Smoke from the blaze is blanketing communities across the region's. CNN's Camila Bernal is in Paradise, California with more.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The small is thick and it's unhealthy. If you look here behind me you're normally supposed to see a
canyon instead, you're seeing it filled with smoke.
BERNAL: That's smoke coming south from the Dixie fire. And it's not only flooding this canyon but also the communities nearby. The Dixie fire has
been burning for almost a month, and we're seeing it growing but we're not seeing much progress on containment. We are also seeing the number of
structures destroyed by this fire increasing. It's now at about 400 structures destroyed by this fire.
Governor Gavin Newsome using this weekend to visit the town and using the visit to talk about climate change.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): The extreme weather conditions, extreme droughts, leading to extreme conditions and wildfire challenges likes of which we've
never seen in our history. And as a consequence, we need to acknowledge to straight up these are climate induced wildfires. And we have to
acknowledge, we have the capacity in this country, not just the state to solve this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERNAL: And Governor Gavin Newsom did point to prevention talked about things like managing the forest, but made it very clear that more needs to
be done. He also thanked the 8500 men and women who are working to stop this fire. Camila Bernal, CNN Paradise California,
ANDERSON: We'll get to Peru now. And more than 500 people there battling a wildfire. Official say the fires consume more than 8000 hectares since it
started last Thursday. Firefighters, soldiers, even local officials and residents are pitching in to battle these flames. A regional government
requesting air support, there have been no reports of injuries or deaths thankfully there. But extreme weather making headlines around the world.
Not just today, but for months, years. For more let's go to our meteorologist Chad Myers at CNN Center in Atlanta. Chad?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Becky, people ask me, are we just paying attention to it more or is there really more extreme weather? And I will
show you a graphic here that proves that it's really happening. And it's real. These numbers on the ground are certain hundreds of temperatures
broken across the west over the past couple of weeks, thousands really. And still another warm day across the west for this afternoon, we're going to
see this dry condition.
Now, forest fires aren't caused by climate change. The climate change makes the drought and then you have like a -- the drought is your engine, right?
You start your engine, but all of a sudden your car's not moving, you have to put it in gear and take out the clutch to get the car. That clutch is
the spark. So when you get these dry conditions here, that spark is your clutch that gets everything moving.
And here's where we can tell you that no, we're not just paying attention to it more. Look at the dates on these fires. 2020, 2021, 2000 -- you don't
see anything from 1960, you are seeing everything happening here. These biggest fires, and these are acres. But if you want to change the hectares,
divide by 2-1/2. You get the idea. About 200,000 hectares there for the Dixie fire. In one night it burned 50,000 hectares, in one night because it
And the winds die down and things got a little bit better. But overall, most of the western part of the United States is dry. Most of the parts of
eastern Europe is dry too. Very big areas of dry weather here. 70 percent chance more of more frequent droughts and fires like this, because of
climate change. Doesn't make the fire, it makes them more intense, it makes them larger, and it makes them more often.
Five times more often in some spots here because of those droughts that were once in a decade, now they're once every two years. And it kind of put
this in perspective, it may start raining in California next year, and then it may not stop. But that's also climate change because that's going to
cause flash flooding, that's going to cause avalanches, and it's going to cause landslides. So you get -- it's the extreme that is what climate
change is making.
Very hot or very wet, or sometimes one right after the other. Because some of these numbers here, we're in the 30s, almost 40s for places here around
parts of Turkey. And what I'm concerned about here is how many fires we have on the ground right now. And how much wind we're going to have. Every
single day, we have winds over Greece and Turkey between 20 and 30 KPH. Some spots even 40 kilometers per hour.
And those winds are which push those fires in places that haven't had fires. There are places on the island that a reporter was (INAUDIBLE)
people who were evacuated to this area and then they were evacuated from the area because the fire was going to where they were evacuated to, Becky.
It's just crazy out there.
ANDERSON: It really is. Chad, always a pleasure. Thank you very much indeed for breaking that down for us. And folks, you can follow all over stories
tied to the Earth's climate crisis and the new urgent warning from the United Nations on our email@example.com for the latest news and analysis.
ANDERSON: The climate emergency laid out in pictures, in videos and in graphics for you. One experts saying and I quote, "This is not just another
scientific report. This is hell and high water writ large." In response to the climate crisis, China promising a green Winter Olympics. Ahead on the
show the pressures it's facing from controlling COVID-19 to addressing human rights issues. The games just six months away.
Plus, we'll be live in Paris for a late lunch but not as you know it. We'll see how it's going on day one for France is expanded COVID health pass.
That coming up after this.
ANDERSON: America is returning to the days of a relentless surge in COVID numbers. With the spread of the Delta variant, the average number of daily
cases is up nine fold from early July. You can see that very clearly on the right side of this graph. Hospitalizations importantly are the highest
they've been since February and they are at an all-time high for parts of the South. Right now about 66,000 Americans are hospitalized with COVID-19.
Child and teen cases recently jumped 84 percent in just a week. And with only half of the nation fully vaccinated, top experts warn of a dangerous
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR NATIONAL, INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGIES AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: But if you give the virus a chance to continue to
change, you're leading to a vulnerability that we might get a worse variant and then that will impact not only the unvaccinated, that will impact the
vaccinated because that variant could evade the protection of the vaccines.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Israel which of course had a very successful vaccine rollout has announced its plan to try and keep students safe. When the new school year
starts next month, they are providing parents with rapid COVID tests to be given to the students two days before school starts. If a student tests
positive, then they'll enter isolation and their classmates will be retested. Israel has seen a rise in COVID cases hitting its highest level
in four months.
Although the number of new infections are much lower than in other areas, the Asia- Pacific region is scrambling to stamp out several outbreaks.
Vietnamese state media reports a record number of new cases over 9600 on Sunday, about 40 percent were in Ho Chi Minh City, in the south.
The State of New South Wales in Australia has extended its locked down to another town, Tamworth.
ANDERSON: Meanwhile the State of Victoria lifting the lockdown for most areas. It's keeping Melbourne under stay-at-home orders though until
Thursday. Here you see high schoolers lining up for COVID vaccines.
Australia has just given provisional approval for the Moderna vaccine that's already been using the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines to date.
Tokyo where Olympic organizers are packing up reported the most new cases it's ever seen. On a Monday at least almost 2900. Usually Monday and
Tuesday numbers are low because fewer tests are conducted over the weekend.
China reporting dozens of new cases. 125 on Monday alone. Officials trying to protect Beijing, which is about to host that Winter Olympics in less
than six months. New travel rules to and from Beijing are being enforced. Let's get you to Beijing where David Culver standing by. It is clearly
absolutely critical to China's plans for the Winter Olympics to Keep COVID out of the capital. Just explain what they are doing to protect Beijing
from new infections, David.
DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're right, Becky. The officials here see this in many ways as a fortress that they have to
protect. And they have put in these measures including the travel restrictions that you mentioned, so as to preserve that and prevent any
spread of the virus into the Capitol. But it's already here, there are certain compounds and communities that are in lockdown because of one or a
couple of people who tested positive.
So, the entire community which in some cases is thousands or tens of thousands of people is shut down. And it will stay that way for a couple of
weeks or at least until they're able to be assured that no one else has tested positive. Now some of the other aspects that have really stood out
to us is when you look at the punishment that's going down against some of the local leaders who oversees some of the jurisdictions that have seen
recent cluster outbreaks.
People are being punished, and they're being fired. That shows you just how serious the central government is in keeping the zero tolerance policy when
it comes to any new cases. Folks will look at this zero tolerance policy and they say that's not really sustainable going forward. Well, Chinese
officials think it is. And certainly leading up to the Olympics, Becky, is something they are determined to maintain at all costs, despite the extreme
ANDERSON: There are massive innovative projects underway for Beijing 2022. Just get our viewers a sense of exactly what is going on.
CULVER: Yes. We got a taste of that by being invited out to Zhangjiakou which is about a three- hour drive from Beijing to the mountainous area.
And you get an idea as to what they're building there. And one thing you can be assured of is that China will put on a phenomenal show. And they
have the infrastructure already in place. And even getting a sneak peek of that, without a blanket of snow is incredible to look at.
But they're still dealing with some heavy critical issues and sensitive topics that will overshadow this Olympics.
CULVER (voice-over): A surge of Chinese pride in Tokyo, China's athletes bringing home the second highest number of gold medals, just narrowly
losing to the United States. But setting the world stage for a fierce competition in February's Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. China, hoping
for a show-stopping repeat of 2008. That was China's ceremonial stepping out onto the world stage, hosting this Summer Olympics in Beijing.
And a moment many expected would lead to a further opening up of the country. The games were a mesmerizing production, revealing China's
potential to rival the West in both athletic competition and beyond.
BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: This competition is going to be one of the central challenges of this century.
CULVER: But since 2008, under the ruling Communist Party and its increasingly powerful leader Xi Jinping. The People's Republic has not only
seen its economy soar, but also a rapid buildup and flexing of its military and cyber might, making countries like the U.S. increasingly uneasy. In
less than six months, the Olympics are set to return to Beijing. And you can expect China to impress once again starting with its hardware.
CNN was recently invited to visit some of the Olympic venues. China building big and fast well ahead of schedule.
(on camera): A ground, you get the buildings up, the brand ends up inside, they're pretty much done. The only thing they're waiting on are the
(voice-over): Dramatic backdrops for the events with sweeping mountain views.
(on camera): Of course as you look out, the venue is going to look a bit different come winter. This will all ideally be covered in white.
(voice-over): Italian engineers working years in advance to bring the snowy Alps to Asia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we can control the quality of the snow.
CULVER: And China. Making a big environmental promise. These will be the first games in which all of the competition venues will be fueled 100
percent by green energy.
CULVER (on camera): We're on top of one of the slopes. As you look out, you can pan across you see dozens of windmills. Beyond that solar panels.
(voice-over): But there are chilling realities that threatened to overshadow these games. Chinese cities are quickly reimposing targeted
lockdowns as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads. Extreme containment measures, while seemingly effective aren't exactly welcoming to the rest of
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will continue to press China --
CULVER: China is also facing mounting pressure over the investigation into the origins of the virus, which has claimed more than four million lives
worldwide. And then there are the growing calls for countries to boycott Beijing for alleged human rights abuses. Specifically, its treatment of
Uyghurs Muslims in Xinjiang. The worsening tensions between China and the West coinciding with an intensified nationalism at home.
Which begs the question, even with all the expected pageantry and performance of the upcoming Beijing Winter Games, can China change how the
world views the emerging superpower?
CULVER: That Is the big question. And Becky, I'm just looking at our over the air signal here. Let me show you what it looks like as I recorded it
from an earlier report. It goes to no signal, please standby. And that's what's playing right now. It might come back on as you and I are talking
today, kind of pick and choose what part of the narrative here. They want to come across the part that is very positive and quite true.
The ability to build infrastructure, build it quickly and the green aspects but then obviously, a lot of looming controversies.
ANDERSON: Absolutely. David, thank you. David Culver is in Beijing for you. In France, well, we are seeing authorities getting tough on those who
haven't been fully vaccinated from today. Won't be allowed to set foot inside a cafe restaurant or a long distance train, for example, without the
controversial COVID health pass. People in France must be vaccinated, have had a recent negative test or show that they have recovered from the virus
in order to get one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): Well, there's been plenty of protests against his so-called pass. French official say some 200,000 demonstrators took to the
streets this past weekend denouncing these new expanded rules. Let's get you to Jim Bittermann who is joining us from L'Avenue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That's a restaurant in Paris. I'm sure there's more than one but one of the restaurants called L'Avenue. This past, Jim, championed French
President Macron of course. The idea is that it will keep help to avoid these future curfews and lockdowns. It is controversial. Will it work? Is
it being adopted? Are Parisians prepared to sign up at this point?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think you can tell by the people behind me here, Becky, that's working pretty well at
least at the L'Avenue. It -- basically I think it's going to be something that everybody has to carry here. And I think that's one of the things that
probably is making it work as well as it does have started out working today. At L'Avenue, they've got something that's pretty interesting, that's
a little different.
You show your card or your pass, your cell phone, or whatever with the -- with the authorization on to this scanner. And it's the scanner that
actually says, you know, accepted or rejected. And as a consequence, the onus is off the personnel. It's on this machine. And so there's a lot less
give and take between the customers who might be offended if someone told them they couldn't go in.
Now, earlier today, we were at a bus station. And like I said that, like you said that this applies to not only cafes, restaurants and bars, but
also to long distance trains, planes, and buses. So at the bus station, we were watching people getting a check by the chauffeurs of the driver. The
drivers of these buses, who had the add the chore of inspecting each person's health pass. And we came across one fellow who was trying to get
the knot and he was rejected. I asked him why he just didn't get a vaccination.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM CAMDEN, VACCINE SKEPTIC (through translator): I am not a fan of the vaccine. I am not OK with the vaccine. But the test? Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BITTERMANN: Well, the problem with his test and the thing is you can use a test that it's not more than 72 hours old. You can show a test the test
negative. But his test was from back in March. So, it was slightly off and the driver had to reject him and I asked him what he was going to do. He
said basically he didn't have any idea where he was going to go today. Becky?
ANDERSON: All right. Well, no doubt, we're going to see that repeated many times. We'll see whether this is one adopted or not just in Paris but
across the country. Thank you. Provisional capitals in Afghanistan falling like dominoes as the Taliban take advantage of the U.S. withdrawal from the
ANDERSON: Coming up. This hour here on CONNECT THE WORLD, what the future might hold for Afghanistan?
ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in London for you. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD where it is just after half past 3:00 in the
afternoon here. The Taliban's power grab in Afghanistan shows no signs of stopping. The group has seized a fifth provincial capital. Among them is
the city of Kunduz. It's the most significant city to fall since U.S. forces began withdrawing leaving security tasks to the Afghan military.
A Taliban spokesman warning the U.S., now that you're out, stay out. And the defense ministry says it's airstrikes took out 63 Taliban fighters on
Sunday. Look, Nick Paton Walsh is joining me from London with more detail. And Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr with U.S. reaction. And thanks for
joining us, Barbara. Let me start with Nick. What make Kunduz a significant win for the Taliban, Nick?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the largest city that they've taken so far over the last four to five-day run. One of
five, but it also now sounds almost like old news because the concerns now over six potential provincial capital and Sama Goan falling and also
potentially another key city of Ghazni which is under pressure at the moment from a Taliban offensive there.
I should point out that it's possible to see the Taliban capturing these cities reversed. And we've seen that twice in the last six years in Kunduz.
But that has always been essentially because of U.S. airstrikes. U.S. Air Power often pinpointed able to kick the insurgency out of urban areas that
doesn't seem to be happening at the moment. And so this last few days is rupturing the kind of conceit some had that the Taliban will always stay in
rural areas and be kept out of cities, Becky.
ANDERSON: Barbara, I just want to bring up a map for our viewers so that they can see the sort of gains over what has just been a matter of weeks by
the Taliban and the Taliban's control here in dark red. I just wonder, you know, we are seeing rapid gains and Nick pointing out that these can be
reversed, of course. But should we continue to see this sort of activity? Is there any sense that this would prompt the U.S. to change its current
policy of just support courting the Afghan military from the air?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: No, at the moment here in Washington, there is absolutely no indication that President Biden is going
to change his mind about any of this. He is -- has ordered all the troop withdrawal to be complete by the end of August. And that will happen,
according to the Pentagon. No indication of a change of plan. Now, these airstrikes, that's Afghan government has expressed concern that they will
end airstrikes at the end of August, when U.S. troops are gone.
There are some indications that the strikes will continue when they can, however, in a very limited fashion, because of course, the aircraft are at
long distances, they're no longer inside Afghanistan, very difficult to target in these urban areas where the Taliban may be mixed in with civilian
populations. So, will the airstrikes continue? Probably. Will they effectively change what is happening on the ground? Will they push the
Taliban back? Will they be effective?
I think that's a much more problematic question for the Pentagon right now, no indication that the Taliban are effectively being stopped, even as
Afghan forces really do try to continue to fight in the field.
ANDERSON: And Barbara, any sense that there are voices within the Pentagon pushing for a different or at least a more aggressive stance against the
Taliban at this point?
STARR: Well, it's hard to see what that would be, right? I mean, you do have the airstrikes. Is the U.S. going to put troops back into the country
in combat formations? That seems extremely unlikely. That requires, again, going back to thousands of troops on the ground, not something the White
House wants. And, you know, as difficult as it is to watch what is happening in Afghanistan, I think at this point, the Pentagon has signed up
and is executing the President's plan. And it's hard to see how that could be reversed.
ANDERSON: So Nick, what are your thoughts is telling you on the ground about what we might expect, going forward?
WALSH: I think the concern for many months has been that we would see the Taliban advance in areas where they've been known to be positioned for
something like this. The question is how fast that would go, and whether Afghan security forces will be able to maintain a plan and sort of keep
their bottom line, so to speak, hold on the territory that's vital to them. It's not looking good over these past five days.
That doesn't mean it has to continue with this sort of sense of momentum for the insurgency at all. And there is a key fight happening for
(INAUDIBLE) in the south in the province of Helmand, where so many U.S. and NATO troops died fighting over the past 20 years. But we haven't really
seen a moment quite so perilous in the last 20 years for the Afghan government as we have over the last weekend.
Will U.S. airstrikes continue? It increasingly becomes hard to see how definitive they will be if they haven't changed the course of the last five
days. Is Kabul, as many are beginning to debate under threat. I personally doubt that the Taliban could walk in in the same way that they're enemies
in 2001, the Northern Alliance did enter the capital and sort of sweeping because there are six million people there now.
And that sort of geographical bowl in the hills who have a lot of money and weapons, and they had a lot of influence and money put their way during the
U.S. presence there. But that doesn't stop life from getting exceptionally nasty inside the Capitol. And doesn't stop the other cities around it from
falling under Taliban influence. We're going to essentially see what the inevitable looks like after President Joe Biden's decision. And sadly, the
Afghan people were the ones experiencing its unpleasantness.
ANDERSON: Yes. Nick Paton Walsh is in London today for you. Has spent many, many trips into Afghanistan. Of course and Barbara is at the Pentagon. To
both of you, thank you.
Well, still ahead, tears and chairs, Lionel Messi says an emotional farewell to Barcelona after two decades as those present cheer to football
ANDERSON: Let's get you up to speed on the other stories that are on our radar right now. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says the Olympic
sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya was manipulated into defecting during the games. (INAUDIBLE) said the Olympian would not have defected to Poland on
her own. Well, his comments come during a news conference marking the years since his sixth win as president.
U.S. and British citizen being released from solitary confinement in Russia. Paul Whelan has been detained since 2018 on espionage charges which
he denies. The U.S. State Department says it's focused on the release of Whelan and another American being held.
In New Orleans, Jazz Fest was canceled for a second straight year because of the pandemic. The annual event which normally takes place over two
weekends in the spring have been moved to October. But organizers say it won't now take place at all. Because of the exponential growth of COVID-19
cases in the New Orleans area.
Football superstar Lionel Messi wants his Barcelona fans to know just how hard it is for him to leave the club.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That is him crying is always present clap for the man who was at the heart of the Spanish club for two decades. Messi had not planned on
leaving he made that clear. But he's not saying what comes next. World Sport's Amanda Davies joining me now. Many people will remember that last
season, Messi was quite anxious to leave Barcelona. Certainly these images suggest that he is heartfelt about having one day to stay.
Just explain what's going on here and what we know about where he might go next.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, just 12 months ago, he demanded to leave Barcelona with immediate effect. Some people suggesting
that was a bit of a play to try and get things moving and changing behind the scenes at the club that really has formed the backbone of his entire
career. He joined them as an 11-year-old. And it was really tough to watch those pictures yesterday because you got that sense that that really was
the moment he was coming to terms for the first time that his days with Barcelona are over.
He had said he had decided he wanted to stay with the club. He thought it was going to happen. It's now not. PSG is the widely expected destination
for him but nothing official coming out of France as yet.
ANDERSON: Yes. And more than that of course in World Sport. That's after this short break. I'll be back after this -- after that, stay with us.
END PSG is the widely expected destination for him but nothing official coming
out of France as yet.
ANDERSON: Yes. And more than that of course in World Sport. That's after this short break. I'll be back after this -- after that, stay with us.