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Connect the World
Denmark Aims to cut Emissions by 70 Percent by 2030; CNN Talks with Denmark's Climate Minister; Messi Arrives in Paris Ahead of Reported PSG Signing; Afghan Military are Overwhelmed as Taliban Claim More Cities; Any Moment: Governor Cuomo to Address People of New York; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Addresses People of New York. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired August 10, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London. This is "Connect the World" from Becky Anderson.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNNI HOST: Welcome back. You're watching the second hour of "Connect the World". Wildfires burning across Greece show that climate
change are knocking on the door of the planet, those comments from the Prime Minister of Greece who also apologize for any weaknesses.
He described it in his governments respond to the crisis - response to the crisis. More than 500 blazes have broken out in Greece in recent days,
devastating property and crops. And that is just one country. We've seen wildfires elsewhere in Europe in the Western U.S., North Africa blazes have
reportedly killed four people in Algeria.
The fires come amid drought and extreme heat, as the U.N. warns climate change is posing an even more urgent threat. Meantime, protesters turned
out in Athens, demanding that the Greek government do more. CNN's Eleni Giokos is on the Greek Island of Evia, where Eleni it has been a very
volatile situation. Just describe what's going on there now.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So we're in the town of Asmini and we've seen now this town being officially evacuated, fires started
descending down from the top of the hill, you can actually see the smoke. Becky, it's been very hard to breathe in this area.
No matter where you go in Evia, there is just incredible amount of smoke and it rains ash, further pose a sort of towards the mountain. We were
there earlier. And you'll see some of those images where firefighters were trying to put out the blaze.
And the problem is that despite the fact that many of the fires were under control this morning, a lot of them rekindled and we also saw a lot of
assistance from Slovakia they arrived this morning.
Other countries have also been involved in putting off some of the fires that have rekindled just today. It is extremely hot in Evia right now.
We've also seen rekindling of fires in the --. So you've actually got an issue that is still very much in crisis mode in many parts of the country.
You mentioned over 580 fires have been reported in Greece in the last just the last few days. You have extreme weather conditions. We've spoken about
the heat wave that has compounded the issue of the wildfires.
Now importantly here, you mentioned the prime minister has apologized for the weakness in the reaction and response to the fires. And of course,
climate change is still very much a reality for Greece and one that could become more of a problem in the coming years.
Now almost half of Evia has been burnt. We're talking about virgin pristine forest. The locals tell us that they are upset and disappointed that they
didn't receive assistance. Initially when the fire started, there was too much of a focus in other parts of Greece.
But we've also heard from emergency services that they could not get to the fires because there was just there was too much smoke and they couldn't
send through helicopters and air assistance. And you'll hear now a lot of helicopters are currently trying to put off the flames.
What is also important here, Becky is the international assistance of 22 countries has come to Greece to help. And I have to say seeing the Greek
firefighters together with the firefighters from Slovakia today. It was incredible to see the camaraderie and just the commitment to make sure that
more of Evia is not burned to the ground.
ANDERSON: Yes, Eleni Giokos on the ground covering the story there for you, Eleni, thank you. Just the latest extreme weather event then in a summer of
concern across Europe and beyond extreme weather events prompted by our climate crisis, let's takes a deeper dive into that.
One country in Europe says it wants to lead by example; Denmark has one of the world's most ambitious climate goals. It aims to cut 70 percent of
emissions by the end of this decade. European Union's goal is 55 percent by 2030.
Well, Denmark hopes to rely on cleaner energies such as wind power, country also intends to halt all oil and gas exploration in the North Sea by 2050.
So how's their mill doing with those plans? Well, I want to bring in the Danish Climate Minister Dan Jorgensen now. Thanks for joining us, Sir.
An ambitious target that your government's efforts towards meeting that target have been judged insufficient by the very body tasked with
overseeing progress. Was this headline grabbing target of reducing emissions by 70 percent by 2030? Whilst it will be applauded by so many,
was it too ambitious?
DAN JORGENSEN, DANISH CLIMATE, ENERGY AND PUBLIC UTILITIES MINISTER: Well, you could argue that it's too ambitious, if you want a full deployment plan
from day one. On the other hand, if we had a plan like that, then I would argue it wouldn't be ambitious enough.
We need to set targets for ourselves that are so ambitious, that we push ourselves to sort of - we will develop new solutions, create new technology
and also push the boundaries for what we've done in the past.
Now, having said all that, we are on track. And in two years, we've actually managed to make decisions that will take us halfway where we need
to be. So in two years, we've actually gone halfway of where we have 10 years to get to.
ANDERSON: Look, I want to drill down here, because I think it's great to have you on as we say these are really ambitious targets. And I've just
heard what you've said, this report, out describes, progresses, low hanging fruit things specifically, and I quote, "This is an important first step,
but from this, it cannot be deduced that we have now met a third of the challenge."
And so with respect, the next phase of reductions will be a lot tougher. You famously said, back when you made this pledge, excuse me, that you are
putting an end the fossil fuel era, how's that going?
JORGENSEN: Well, we have decided to cancel all future licensing grounds for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea is, of course, a difficult
decision for a country that's made a lot of money on oil and gas, we have thousands of people working in that industry.
So we need to create new jobs for these people, obviously and we need to find alternatives. And that is going pretty well, we are expanding our
offshore wind sector tremendously these years. This means that we can, in a good day, get 100 percent of our electricity from wind energy already now.
And that, of course, will be expanded so that we can also export green energy to the rest of Europe. And we're creating thousands of jobs. And I
think that's an important point. Because if we want other countries to follow our example, we need to do it in a way that is also attractive, it's
not attractive to lose jobs; it's not attracted to lose competitiveness.
But if you could do it in a way that we are planning to do and are also doing right now, then I think that that others will see this as an example
that they can copy.
ANDERSON: Sure. And your oil and gas industry, of course, you know, much smaller than, than other countries. But still, I absolutely get your point.
JORGENSEN: I think it's - Europe, the biggest - is in Europe. So it's not a small matter for us.
ANDERSON: Yes, no, very good point. I spoke to Chuka Umunna, who is a Former British MP, but now heads what's known as ESG, or Sustainable
Investing Department at JP Morgan, often called one of the dirty fossil funders, as a bank. Have a listen to what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUKA UMUNNA, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ESG, J.P. MORGAN: There won't be no fossil fuels. I don't believe that's a world that we're going to end up in
and the Paris Agreement, which is what we've aligned you know, efforts to envisage. What is - which is envisaged is bringing down overall greenhouse
gas emissions, not just carbon emissions, the greenhouse gas emissions.
And so that we can keep temperature reductions to a minute or two, you know, temperature reduction, to get it to the 1.5 degree maximum rise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Effectively paraphrasing here or not even paraphrasing, he said it, you know, he does not think it's realistic to signal the end of the
fossil fuel industry, as we know, what do you make of that? Is he right?
JORGENSEN: Well, let's hope he's not right, because yesterday we got the report from the IPCC. What the sciences tells us that if we don't
fundamentally change the way we consume, or produce energy away from fossils, the consequences will be catastrophic.
And look at all the extreme weather phenomenon we've seen this summer all over the world that those will be more frequent and they will be worse. So
this might be the perspective from an investor from a bank.
But looking at this as a citizen of this planet, I agree with the Secretary General of the U.N. who said this is called - for humanity. So it's not a
question of we can afford to do this. I would say it's a question of whether we can afford not to and I don't think we can.
ANDERSON: Yes, most climate experts agree that in order to truly effect change, it's not just big government. It is the big banks; the big
corporations that are heavily invested in industries that are polluting the environment that really need to get in board.
And I can see you can you're nodding there and clearly in Denmark, you have - you've decided that's absolutely the road to go down. For the likes of
Chuka, their approach is more to work within the system, rather than to change the system. How do you envisage that going forward?
JORGENSEN: Well, you need to do both. I mean, first and foremost, there are a lot of decisions that can be made, now solutions that can be used. Now,
one of them is be more energy efficient. That is not something that less competitiveness, that's not something that's bad for business or
On the contrary, it's actually good for most businesses, also switching to renewable energy; it's a much often much better business plan. If we look
at offshore wind, for instance, that competes with coal and nuclear in price most places on the planet.
So I would say already now we have many of the solutions, then, of course, obviously to for instance, reach a very ambitious target like our own in
Denmark. We need to also develop new technologies to get that.
ANDERSON: Just today, the UK Government has been warned to stop a massive North Sea oil project that expects to produce 164 million barrels of crude
during the first phase of development.
All the while, of course, the UK will be the host of COP26, the climate conference in Glasgow later this year. I just wonder what you want to see
achieved there. We are seeing a lot of ambitious plans; we are yet to see a lot of clear and detailed roadmaps.
But you've certainly, you know, set a standard for what can be achieved, at least in the first couple of years of a very ambitious target. I wonder
what that tells you this dearth of clear, detailed plan at this point. And let's be clear, what do you want to see, said and achieved at COP 26, in
Glasgow in November?
JORGENSEN: Well, I think the two first steps that we need to take, and one is that we need to get more ambitious pledges and goals for reduction from
especially the big emitters. If they are not in place, then really it's difficult to keep trusting the system and is difficult to see how the
United Nations system the COP process will deliver what we need.
The second financing already back in Copenhagen in 2009 to COP15 meeting, the rich countries of the world promised the developing world $100 billion
a year from 2020 to 2025 for climate adaptation and green transformation.
And that money just hasn't been given to these countries that need them right now. So those two things are the most important ones. After that,
then of course, we need much more detailed roadmaps of them how to actually achieve the targets.
ANDERSON: And the President of COP 26, Alok Sharma was on CNN last night, talking about the provision of resources to developing companies,
developing countries. And I think this speaks to your point, let's just have a listen to what Alok Sharma had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALOK SHARMA, PRESIDENT, COP26: The reality is that private sector investors are increasingly wary about investing in coal assets in coal power plants,
because they can see that on a 10, 15 year view, they're going to end up with stranded assets. So the market is moving.
But of course, what we need to do is to help countries particularly developing nations to accelerate a lot faster in terms of their clean
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Briefly, your thoughts?
JORGENSEN: Well, I totally agree, I think it is fair to say that the market place is changing. One thing is that fortunately, many countries are going
away from subsidies to force us. And that alone will make a big difference.
The technology development, the huge investments in green infrastructure in countries like India, China and now also with the new president in the U.S.
This makes it a possibility for a completely different decarbonized economy in the future.
ANDERSON: Dan Jorgensen, the Danish Climate Energy and Utilities Minister, we'll have you back, sir. This is all very important stuff. And let's not
forget that everything is connected. Not only this climate crisis impacting humans, also is it affecting animals when our ecosystem is disrupted.
So our homes for animals species and plants all over the planet that blistering report from the U.N. that the Climate Minister there and I've
just been discussing that was released yesterday showing us how fast sea levels and temperatures are rising, putting certain species at risk.
My colleague Scott McLean takes us now to Northern England to show us how hard it is for some animals to keep up with such rapid climate change.
Here's his report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A few miles off England Sandy Northeastern coastline, there's a rocky archipelago, isolated, barren and
nearly unscarred by humans, saved for a few lighthouses and a 650 year old former monastery.
For centuries, the Farne Islands have been left almost unchanged, attracting only a few solitary hermits sunbathing seals and hundreds of
thousands of breeding birds like the Atlantic puffins.
But even on this remote outcrop, we're only nature appears to govern who survives and who doesn't. There's now another force to contend with climate
change. Every morning Gwen Potter and her team of park rangers arrived before the crush of tourists.
GWEN POTTER, NATIONAL TRUST COUNTRYSIDE MANAGER, FARNE ISLANDS: They are very delicate; they can sometimes collapse so we've got to be very careful.
MCLEAN (voice over): They go borough to borough, shoulder deep to count how many puffins are underground with their eggs.
MCLEAN (voice over): No, no.
POTTER: I really want a nipple.
MCLEAN (voice over): The global population of Atlantic puffins is in steep decline, so the count is done every summer. A growing frequency of extreme
weather threatens to flood their burrows and the eggs inside them. Rising temperatures are disrupting their food chain. But on this sunny day, it's
hard to imagine the Farne Islands Puffin has anything to worry about.
MCLEAN (on camera): I'm just looking at it all the birds behind you; it's difficult to envision that these birds could in any way be threatened.
POTTER: What we're seeing here is a snapshot in time, but over the long term, all of these birds are declining.
MCLEAN (on camera): You'll often see puffins holding fish in their mouths. That's their primary food source called sand eels. When eel eggs hatch,
they're supposed to feed on plankton which blooms at around the same time of year.
But with rising sea temperatures, those two events are now out of sync by almost three weeks. Less food for sand eels ultimately means fewer sand
eels for puffins.
POTTER: And these puffins also are they pair for life Puffin divorce rate we believe is quite low.
MCLEAN (on camera): They're better at commitment in relationships than we are.
POTTER: Hey have much better bird marriage than human marriage, yes.
MCLEAN (voice over): A human commitment is exactly what these birds need. The 2015 Paris Climate accord committed world leaders to keep global
temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius. But a newly published report from the WWF warns of an uncertain future for the Atlantic
Puffin if temperatures rise more than 1.5 degrees.
Leaders will have another kick at the climate crisis can at the COP 26 summit this fall in Scotland.
MARK WRIGHT, WWF-UK DIRECTOR OF SCIENCE: If we do not step up at the end of this year, at the climate meeting, it will have been a complete abdication
of responsibility, a real missed opportunity. And we'll be letting down future generations if we don't act now.
MCLEAN (voice over): Path and populations in Norway have dropped sharply. And in Iceland colonies are at risk of dying out completely, according to
the WWF. But on the Farne, the Puffin population appears stable after declining over the past two decades.
POTTER: What really causes issues is rapid change. And while our lifetime may not feel like a rapid change, that is a rapid change.
MCLEAN (on camera): They can adapt to a slowly changing climate but not at the rate that we're at right now.
POTTER: That's exactly, yes.
MCLEAN (voice over): Meaning the rest of the world will have to change. So these islands don't. Scott McLean, CNN on the Farne Islands in Northern
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, you are watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson live from London today.
Up next, Lionel Messi's big move, the football superstar is now in Paris, where a new contract with a new team is looming. We are live in the French
capital for you. Then Taliban militants continuing their march across Afghanistan leaving death and destruction in their wake we'll take a look
at what is their latest deadly cold quest.
ANDERSON: Lionel Messi is in Paris where - set to sign a two year contract with the French club Paris Saint-Germain and that is at least according to
French media, but a throng of fans cheering him on at the airport.
This impending move let's call it that will end is more than 20 year association with the Spanish powerhouse Barcelona. A tearful Messi told
reporters on Sunday that he had hoped to leave Barcelona in a different way. CNN's Senior Producer, Saskya Vandoorne is at the airport for us where
there were a lot of smiles to go with those cheers, a little earlier where Messi, Saskya and his family touchdown, explain.
SASKYA VANDOORNE, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Yes, exactly. Becky it's a very different scene behind me than the one we saw over an hour ago. And you've
got to understand that the anticipation here has been building for several days, ever since we saw those reports that PSG was going to offer a two
year contract to Messi and then Messi was kind of tracked today.
We saw him leave his Barcelona home. We then saw him get to the airport, his wife Instagrammed a picture of them together, saying that she was
looking forward to this new adventure with all five of them together.
And then finally he landed here in Paris at La Bourget Airport, just North of Paris. And the crowd just went wild. The atmosphere here was electric.
There were fireworks, there were smoke machines. And then Messi went to the window, open the window wave.
And he had a big white t-shirt that said "Ici c'est Paris", this is Paris, which of course the fans absolutely loved. So there was a real sense of
jubilation, and we managed to speak to some of the fans earlier today. Take a listen, Becky.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are asking me if I'm excited that the goat that the best player ever is coming to Paris, of course. It's awesome. It's
wonderful. It's great. And it's another message that we are sending to the Europe and to do all over the world that - is growing up growing up growing
up, it's amazing, we're like living in the dream.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANDOORNE: So fans might have left here, but we hear that a lot of them have amassed in front of the American Hospital in Neuilly. Our affiliate is
saying that that's where Messi is now getting his medical his PSG medical. And then we know that tomorrow there's going to be a PSG press conference
at 11 am local, Becky.
ANDERSON: Right OK, they're not actually saying what that press conference is all about. But I think by this stage, we can guess. Saskya, thank you
Saskya Vandoorne is in Paris. I want to talk more about Messi's looming move with Marcus Speller. He is the Host of the Football Ramble Podcast
here in London.
Hello, mate. Listen, for those viewers out there, I mean, I cannot imagine that there are many viewers out they don't know who Lionel Messi is. But
let's assume that there's one viewer out there somewhere in the world who's never heard of Lionel Messi. Let's just explain why this story is so big.
MARCUS SPELLER, HOST, "THE FOOTBALL RAMBLE" PODCAST: Well, it's enormous, Becky. I mean, it's you're talking about possibly the greatest footballer
of all time, and it's not an exaggeration to say they're certainly in the conversation.
Cristiano Ronaldo and thank me for saying that another one but let's not talk about him. But Lionel Messi, I mean, he is an absolute phenomena. And
he's one of the most talked about footballers in recent years. He's been just relentlessly incredible at the sport that we love and playing for
Barcelona for so long all his professional life.
He has won everything there is to win with Barcelona a number of times over. He's been, as I say, phenomenal, you run out of superlatives to
describe someone like Lionel Messi. I'm trying to think of an equivalent and other sport, but I'm coming up shortly. Is that good?
You know, I mean, he is recognizable everywhere. And he's also very likable and the way he plays football, he is you know, the little guy from
Argentina, who came over to Europe, found fame and fortune had incredible success at this club, Barcelona, masculine club, they call Barcelona more
than a club.
And he fits their profile in that likeable. He plays the game in a beautiful or inspiring way. But it's time at Barcelona is come to an end.
It's something that we never thought would happen. We thought it would be a one club man. We thought that was the romance with Lionel Messi and it's
not to be. He's going to Paris, as you're reporter said.
ANDERSON: So as we understand it, it was you know, it was a LaLiga contractual issue, which meant that he simply couldn't say whether he
wanted to or not, and some people are calling those crocodile tears that we saw him the other day, and others are saying he really is very, very
emotional about it.
So here's the deal. He has been not just massive for Barcelona Football Club. But he has been massive for LaLiga which is the Spanish League. He
moves to Paris, where we assume that tomorrow we will hear that he has joined PSG, which is a club full of talent.
And some massive stars in their own right, bought by the Qataris some years ago, which is just sort of not really performed to the extent that we
thought it might and it is clearly the biggest team in the French League. So what does it mean this move for French football, not just PSG, but
French football as a whole?
SPELLER: Yes, that way they are the biggest club in France. Now there's no doubt about that. They're not the champions. Of course, Lionel - the
champions for any Lionel fans out there. What it means is, well, Paris Saint-Germain they want to conquer Europe, and that is winning the
And it's not just winning the Champions League it's winning the Champions League and then winning it again and winning it again. We've seen with
sides like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, these huge sides they've won the Champions League, that's the big prize in Europe. That's the one
and Paris Saint-Germain has yet to do it.
Traditionally, not the most successful club in France in years gone by. But of course with that money that you spoke about the takeover, here they are,
and they win the league title nine times out of 10 now in France. They clean up domestic league, but it is that European top and the squad they
have assembled is packed full of talent, as you say.
And he gets to team up with his old mate Neymar they won the Champions League, Barcelona they want to treble Neymar killing in - and Lionel Messi
in the attack for Paris Saint-Germain is frightening for any defense anywhere that's ever lived.
They - it's absolutely incredible what they've done there. He also teams up with Sergio Ramos who played for Real Madrid for so many years. And they
were they arch rivals almost would often have an individual rivalry on the pitch and their teams will of course had a huge rivalry.
So it'll be interesting to see those two play on the same team for a change, but the wider context for Europe, I don't think it changes a huge
amount in terms of dynamics. Because what we see in Europe at the moment, we see certain clubs dominating.
When the Champions League used to come around 20 or 30 years ago, you think who could win it and you might say seven, eight, nine teams nowadays you're
really only saying perhaps three or four.
I appreciate Chelsea won it last season, then perhaps maybe people wouldn't have fancied them to do it. But Paris Saint-Germain will still be one of
those clubs. And with Messi there, they will possibly be favorites this coming season for the Champions League.
ANDERSON: I wonder if - and if he ever really believed that they could have had him before they got - anyway, look, I mean, that's for another
discussion. It's been great having you on come back please. The "Football Ramble Podcast" is a great lesson. Thank you, sir. We'll have more of you,
SPELLER: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Well, as the Taliban takes over yet another provincial capital in Afghanistan. The questions remain how an even if they can be stopped? We'll
get answers from an expert on that subject coming up for you.
ANDERSON: Taliban militants are moving quickly across Afghanistan. The group has just taken over its seventh provincial capital. And we are
talking in a matter of days here. The City of Farah in Southwestern Afghanistan, the latest to fall to Taliban fighters let me be quite clear
that's just in the last five days.
Options dwindling for the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani with U.S. airstrikes about to end his latest tact, calling on citizens to take part
in public uprisings and enlisting the help of warlords while many civilians and warlords are already fighting back. This is the first time the
president has formally sent out a call for help and all this as diplomatic talks continue in Qatar this week.
U.S. pressing Taliban senior leaders there to hold their military offensive across Afghanistan Nick Paton Walsh takes a look at what is increasingly a
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: A startlingly bad five days for the Afghan security forces and government after 20 years of war in
Afghanistan, beginning on Friday, when the first provincial capital fails arranged near the border with Iran. Things then spiraled over the weekend,
three more provincial capitals falling bringing now to a total by Mondays and of five with two other cities, intensely pressured.
Now over the weekend, a key city fell Kunduz that has twice in the past six years being taken by the Taliban briefly only to have Afghan security
forces combined with U.S. airstrikes, kick them out, seems unclear at this stage, if that's something the Afghan government can repeat again, because
the insurgency momentum seems to have moved on already threatening another provincial capital, Samangan and another key city too Ghazni.
There is a real, I think, sense of fear that Afghan security forces are simply not quite sure which fire to put out next? Where to deploy the
finite resources they have of effective Afghan commandos so much of the Afghan police or army at times ramshackle when it comes to taking on a
dedicated and focused insurgency.
And there's also a key battle raging in the south of the country in Lashkargah in Helmand Province, which many U.S. troops and NATO soldiers
have lost their lives in over the past years, obviously a decisive symbolic fight for the Afghan government there.
And also two Afghan officials expressing concern because while U.S. airpower, reduced in how much it's used at the moment, compared to previous
years, has been very helpful for Afghan forces it hasn't really changed the dimension much in the last five days and the concern is in three weeks it
is due to stop entirely.
The U.S. has been very explicit that at the end of their presence on the grounds by the end of the month, they will also stop airstrikes against the
insurgency that is there still policy. And so the concern amongst Afghan forces is that even though the last five days haven't been altered, much by
the use of U.S. airpower things could get significantly worse come the beginnings of September.
I think many were expecting that this sort of insurgency advanced was inevitable once the U.S. withdrew from the ground to the extent that it has
already I think many are concerned to see it happening quite so quickly around Kabul, it seems quite so forcefully.
And with fears to about how the capital may become increasingly vulnerable, in the months ahead the Taliban clearly feeling a degree of momentum here
able to apply pressure on many different urban centers at the same time, and an Afghan government surely wondering quite where its next crisis to
tackle will come from, Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.
ANDERSON: Well, just to be absolutely clear, Nick filed that report late yesterday. And since then, the group has taken over its seventh provincial
capital as City of Farah in Southwestern Afghanistan as the latest default to Taliban fighters in the last five days.
Well, I want to connect you now with Ashley Jackson; she is Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Armed Groups at the Overseas Development
Institute. And she has written extensively about Afghanistan and life under the Taliban.
You have and thank you for joining us spend a lot of time on the ground in Afghanistan. Just how do you see the next few weeks before that full
withdrawal and indeed the months to follow panning out? And what do you make of the Afghanistan leaders, government leaders tack, calling on
citizens to take part in public uprisings and enlisting the help of warlords?
ASHLEY JACKSON, CO-DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF ARMED GROUPS: You know, I think no one expected this to happen so quickly. We've seen the
Taliban found multiple offensives on these cities and really stretched the Afghan security forces. And it's happening before U.S. forces even leave.
And quite frankly, the Afghan government appears to have been surprised or caught off guard unable to withstand this assault. And while I think there
were suspicions that the Afghan government, the army, even after billions in investment would be stretched by the Taliban, I don't think they thought
it would crumble this quickly.
You have really exhausted troops who are trying to hold the line, don't have resupplies don't have fuel, even things like that surrendering. And
you can't really blame them for that, because there's a real lack of leadership. We don't see a strategy here other than, as you say, calling on
these, these old warlords to rearm, which will only pour gasoline on fire.
ANDERSON: You've done extensive research on the Taliban. I want our viewers just to get a sense from you of who this group is? Now 25 years after many
of our viewers would have first heard his talk about them on CNN and have been transformed over the years?
JACKSON: Yes. I mean, I think that a lot of things remain the same. But we're 20 years on, right? It's a completely different movement in a lot of
important respects. A lot of the guys on the ground, weren't even born are very young children when 9/11 happened, they don't remember the Taliban
government over the 1990s are fighting a different war.
They're fighting a war against a foreign occupation, and to restore what they believe is this almost sort of utopian, pure, nationalist, Islamist
government that the Taliban leadership has promised them.
Now the Taliban in Doha the one that we see it at press conferences and meeting with diplomats, you know, a lot of them, when in the government in
the 1990s, a lot of their views have moved on in some respects, but they remain an extraordinarily conservative movement.
A lot of the attitudes towards women, which they became infamous for remained very, very similar. I think they've gotten savvier about saying
they've changed. But we don't really know to what degree that's true to what degree they can be pushed.
You know, they want international recognition this time around, they want aid money. They want to be accepted. So I think it's really up to the
international community to push them on some of these issues. You know, they're on the verge of taking, you know, more than half of the country.
What are they going to do? How are they going to govern? Are they going to respect human rights? Are they going to change their stance on women? Now
is the time to exert that pressure.
ANDERSON: Yes. How likely is any of what you've just suggested? That is outstanding questions at present.
I mean, you point out that they are trying to revamp many of them revamp was a very traditional image of an extremist terrorist group to a more
moderate governing entity. And look, let's be quite frank, and let's be really realistic here.
They are finding support in parts of the country; you would simply not have expected to see them. I'm not going to say welcomed, because we know that
much of this is just territorial gain at the expense of thousands of Afghans, at the hands of what is a, you know, can be a very brutal regime?
But they are also finding support why?
JACKSON: Well, you know, points out and the Taliban knows as well, from the 1990s, it is much easier to take territory than it is to govern it. On the
eve of 9/11, the Taliban regime was incredibly unpopular, there were rumors of coup attempts, there was a famine, they really struggled to uphold their
promises that rebuilding the country, you know, they left it in ruins. And I think what you're seeing now is OK, the Taliban is maybe in seminaries
They're taking a lot of ground. But they know, or at least their leadership knows that that's not the hard part, the hard part will come later, in the
Afghan government, the budget is 80 percent, international aid, how is the Taliban going to provide services? How are they going to sustain the
enormous gains since 2001?
And that's where the pressure point is, that's where you push on the Taliban. Are they going to be willing to make concessions? They haven't
made many so far, I'm not optimistic. But this is the last chance this is a time to rally diplomatically, and really pressure them for the sake of
Afghans and for the sake of the country.
ANDERSON: We know that they are financed through the opium trade, but also through taxing absolutely everything in the country, in the parts of the
country that they hold. And I'm talking about, you know, electricity, I'm talking about developments that often are, are funded by aid.
They, you know, they find taxes anywhere. And this is a country that's been marred and bruised by foreign meddling and interference for decades. Now,
especially with the security situation in factual Indian Pakistan, competing for influence China, Iran, Russia, all have got their own
And where do you see their support, if at all internationally? And what is the potential of both interests? Increase even more problems on the ground
do you think going forward?
JACKSON: Yes, those are two complex questions. But I'll do my best here. What we've seen the Taliban do, especially since 2018, when they entered
into talks with the U.S. government is they really tried to come out and cultivate alliances.
In the 90s they were accepted by three countries that's the max who recognize their authority. They don't want to repeat of that. We just saw
them in China. We've seen them on trips to Indonesia, cultivating even efforts, you know, to have relations with Iran, really trying to gain
recognition, not only with regional players, but outside of Europe, with China, with other actors, Russia.
Who are more likely to give them support to give them aid to act as a counterweight admits this very bad neighborhood geopolitically that they're
situated in, you know, Afghanistan has Iran, Pakistan, India, all of these - all of these regional factions, who are, of course, trying to wage proxy
battles on their territory.
And because the country has been so weak for the past few decades, it has been unable to sort of police that. That has been the fatal flaw of
successive government after successive government. And what I think the Taliban is very aware of is that they need to keep all of these actors at
They need their support internationally and in terms of aid, but they also need to keep them in check and keep them from meddling, which is no small--
ANDERSON: I'm going to - absolutely. And you've done a very good job at explaining what two very complex questions were? Thank you for that. I'm
going to have to leave it there. But we will have you back. Thank you. Right now, folks I want to get you to New York where Governor Andrew Cuomo
is about to speak live as he faces growing calls to resign over allegations of sexual harassment. His attorney is speaking now let's just listen in.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alright, everybody, we've been listening to Andrew Cuomo's Attorney Rita Glavin going into a long list, responding
to the accusations the allegations in the Attorney General's report. Let me bring in Polo Sandoval right now.
He's in Albany, who has been covering this step by step. Polo I want to first get your reaction to what we heard from Rita Glavin as we are now
waiting to hear from Andrew Cuomo for the first time live since the Attorney General's report came out?
It sounded like she went into a lot of similar territory that she's tried in the past.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kate, if you play back some of her remarks and some of her comments for going back as late as late last
week, you'll see that they closely resemble what we just heard right now.
The difference here is that she certainly took the extra step and going specifically after many of those points that the attorney general was
trying to make when that report was released a week ago today. But at the same time, to your earlier point, it did keep with many of that same - much
of that same theme that we've heard from Rita Glavin.
And just the last few days calling that reports, something that was consistent, that it contained errors, that it omitted evidence, calling it
imbalance, calling it unfair, and really getting to that point that she made late last week.
In fact, some of the words that she ended her - one of her previous press conference with saying that this is not - this kind of behavior that she
has seen that she has read about that it do not rise to the level of sexual harassment that would actually lead to the impeachment of the government.
And finally, just a quick note, I think what we also saw was perhaps it could be a preview of some of what the governor's defense could be, when
and if he may potentially have to face some charges regarding those allegations that have been brought forward by Brittany Commisso that fought
that criminal complaint that she filed here in Albany County.
What we heard today from the governor's attorney is that she was essentially calling her version of events, or at least that account that it
was inconsistent. And so again, I think we did hear much of what we heard before. But now the big question, what will we hear from Governor Cuomo as
we expect to hear from them potentially any moment now, as he announced that he would be making an announcement.
As pressure continues to grow for him to step down, not just here at the State Capitol among lawmakers that have suggested and hinted that they
would vote to impeach when that time comes, but also according to multiple sources, from our colleagues, some of that pressure even calling coming
from some of those closest to him to step down?
BOLDUAN: Let's jump into that a little bit more. Shimon Prokupecz is outside the Governor's Office here in New York City. Shimon, any word, the
announcements that the governor is going to address the people of New York, any word on what we're about to hear?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we have no idea what he's going to say. You know, I've been talking to people who say that
the governor wants to defend himself, right? Like he wants self - like he wants to launch some kind of defense before he reaches any kind of
conclusion about whether he should resign.
Certainly today, what we're seeing from his attorney is this really forceful defense of the governor. It almost reminds me like I was sitting
in a courtroom listening to a closing argument from a defense attorney, where she went line by line and some cases through this report, giving
information showing how some of it is inconsistent with some of what they've heard?
Claiming how unfair the process has been for the governor kind of reminds you of what you would see in a courtroom, right? So we'll see the governor
is expected to speak soon. We have no idea what he's going to say.
He left Albany this morning, flew on the New York State Police Helicopter arrived at the New York office here behind me around 10 am. There had been
rumors all morning that he was going to speak. First, we were told that it was just going to be his attorney and then obviously the Governor's Office
making this announcement that he's going to address the New Yorkers at around 11:45. So we're waiting for that.
But I think what we're seeing here, certainly from the governor's attorney, is this kind of assault on the attorney general's case, the fact that they
argue she did not present all of the information to the public. One of the things that I found very interesting was that, you know, well, the governor
never really had a chance to defend themselves.
He never really had an opportunity to say anything. But you know, we should remind viewers that the attorney general in her announcement, she took
questions, the media was allowed in. I was there we were allowed to ask questions. Shortly after that the governor releases a recorded statement.
We have not been able to question him about any of the findings in the report. Certainly we've been able to question his lawyer. She's been on the
air she spent an hour with CNN over the weekend. She did her interview last night. She's done other media interviews.
They have not allowed reporters into the building. We are not allowed upstairs to the Governor's Office. We have previously been allowed to the
Governor's Office and to question previously we have - I was here several times during the pandemic where we were able to question him. That's not
happening here today. So of course, the big mystery is what will the governor say?
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. All right, we're standing by for that. Shimon is outside. We will get to that as soon as the governor does begin speaking
any moment now. Let me bring in Nancy Erika Smith, she's a private attorney who has represented high profile clients like Gretchen Carlson against Fox
News in high profile sexual harassment cases.
I'm curious your reaction to what we heard from Rita Glavin attacking the attorney general, but also attacking the accusers.
NANCY ERIKA SMITH, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY, SMITH MULLIN: I'm infuriated. It's really hard to sit here, five years after Roger Ailes, many years
after Cosby, after O'Reilly, to hear this kind of gas-lighting and re victimization not only of the governor's victims, but this is a tutorial to
harassers everywhere how to attack the victims of harassment?
For one she said that no, the governor hasn't had a chance to respond completely false. The governor testified for 11 hours. What he said is
detailed in the report, and some of it is blatantly not true. Maybe if Ms. Glavin and the governor had taken the mandated sexual harassment training
that his staff falsely certified he did take.
They would know that a 63 year old Governor of the State of New York should not be hugging and kissing his young assistance. He shouldn't be touching
their butts. He shouldn't be asking them about their sex lives. His lawyer just cherry picked a few of the allegations rather than putting them in the
context of all of the allegations, it is not appropriate to ask your staff.
Why don't you show more leg? Why don't you wear dresses? It's not appropriate to comment on a doctor's body on TV, when she's putting a swab
up your nose to test you for COVID. It's not appropriate to constantly be making sexual innuendos, and they're cherry picking.
For instance, Ms. Commisso said in the report, she didn't know what day he did this something else. When - harassers don't grow women's breasts and
butts, where there are witnesses to see it, maybe in a picture and this has actually happened in many sexual harassment cases were during pictures of
man gropes a woman's butt.
But Ms. Commisso specifically said it was his private office away from common areas when he slammed the door shot and groped her breast. So the
fact that there's not a witness to that is not surprising. That kind of harassment rarely takes place.
BOLDUAN: Hold on one second, if you can.
BOLDUAN: Thank you. So Nancy Erika Smith is going to stick with me and we have more breaking news coming into CNN as we speak. We're standing by to
hear from Governor Cuomo. But we also just learned that the Senate has just passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Let's get over to CNN's Manu
Raju who has been watching all of this for us on Capitol Hill, Manu fill us in.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: 69 to 30 that is the vote count in the Senate right now a bipartisan majority giving approval to this
$1.2 trillion infrastructure package coming after months of arduous negotiations between the White House Senate Democrats and Senate
This just was approved even with the support of some top Senate Republicans, including Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who voted for
this package. Some of the other members of his leadership team voted against this including Senator John Thune, the number two Republican
Senator John Cornyn and Senator John Barrasso all members of his leadership team.
But 19 Republicans overall join with 50 Democrats to move this measure through this chamber after this has been on the floor for several days, the
number of amendments have gone through--
BOLDUAN: We're going to hear from Andrew Cuomo, here we go.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I'd like to address several issues today. First, I've always started by telling New Yorkers the facts before my opinion. So
let's start New York tough with the truth. The attorney general did a report on complaints made against me by certain women for my conduct.
The report said I sexually harassed 11 women that were the headline people heard and saw and reacted to. The reaction was outrage. It should have
been. However, it was also false. My lawyers as you just heard from Rita Glavin have reviewed the report over the past several days and have already
raised serious issues and flaws.
That should concern all New Yorkers. Because when there is a bias or a lack of fairness in the justice system, it is a concern for everyone, not just
those immediately affected. The most serious allegations made against me, had no credible factual basis in the report.
And there is a difference between alleged improper conduct and concluding sexual harassment. Now, don't get me wrong. This is not to say that there
are not 11 women who I truly offended.
There are and for that I deeply, deeply apologize. I thought a hug and putting my arm around the staff person while taking a picture was friendly.
But she found it to be too forward. I kissed a woman on the cheek at a wedding, and I thought I was being nice, but she felt that it was too
I have slipped and called people honey, sweetheart and darling. I meant it to be endearing. But women founded, dated and offensive. I said on national
TV to a doctor wearing PPE and giving me a COVID nose or nasal swab. You make that gown look good. I was joking.
Obviously, otherwise, I wouldn't have said it on national TV. But she found it disrespectful. I take full responsibility for my actions. I have been
too familiar with people. My sense of humor can be insensitive and off putting, I do hug and kiss people casually women and men.
I have done it all my life. It's who I've been, since I can remember. In my mind, I'd never crossed the line with anyone. But I didn't realize the
extent to which the line has been redrawn. There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn't fully appreciate. And I should have no
The report did bring to light a matter that I was not aware of. And that I would like to address a female trooper related concern that she found this
therapy and so do I. Please let me provide some context. The governor's trooper detail had about 65 troopers on it but out of the 65 only six women
and nine black troopers.
I'm very proud of the diversity of my administration. It's more diverse than any administration in history. And I'm very proud of the fact that I
have more women in senior positions than any governor before me. The lack of diversity on the State Police detail was an ongoing disappointment for
In many ways, the governor's detail is the face of state government that people see when I attend an event. People see the detail that's with me. I
was continuously trying to recruit more to diversify. On one occasion, I met two female troopers who were on duty at an event. Both seem competent
And I asked the State Police to see if they were interested in joining. I often meet people, men and women. And if they show promise, I refer them to
be interviewed. The State Police handled the interviewing and the hiring. And one of the two troopers eventually joined the detail.
I got to know her over time, and she's a great professional. And I would sometimes banter with her when we were in the car. We spent a lot of time
driving around the state. This female trooper was getting married. And I made some jokes about the negative consequences of married life.
I meant it to be humorous. She was offended. And she was right. The trooper also said that in an elevator I touched her back. And when I was walking
past her in a doorway, I touched her stomach. Now, I don't recall doing it. But if she said I did it, I believe her.
At public events, troopers will often hold doors open or guard the doorways. When I walk past them, I often will give them a grip of the arm a
pat on the face a touch on the stomach a slap on the back. It's my way of saying I see you. I appreciate you and I thank you.
I'm not comfortable just walking past and ignoring them. Of course, usually they are male troopers.