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Connect the World

Fate of Afghan Interpreters in Limbo; Half of Provincial Capitals now under Taliban Control; National Security Adviser Denies Taliban Presence in Pakistan; Taliban Take Kandahar, Control Half of 34 Provincial Capitals; Cole: Get Ready for Millions of Afghan Refugees; Photojournalist Reflects on "Unbelievable" Taliban Takeover. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired August 13, 2021 - 11:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNNI HOST: Remarkable advance across Afghanistan as we speak, now controlling half of the provincial capitals. They've captured

several just in the past 24 hours. And as this map reflects control much of the country although so far they have not captured the capital city of


Their gains do include Kandahar, Afghanistan's second largest city though. Propaganda video here showing militants celebrating in the streets and we

are getting more images of areas in the Taliban's hands.

You can see there, white flag is an ominous warning that even worse, could follow. The British defense secretary fairing that once the U.S. and UK

finish that troop drawdown al Qaeda terrorists will likely come back to Afghanistan if they are not already there.

The fighting has forced hundreds of thousands from their homes. The UN refugee agency urging neighboring countries to keep their borders open for

Afghans who are trying to leave. Well now of course, one of the big questions is what happens to Kabul the nation's capital.

CNN's Clarissa Ward is on the ground there and spoke earlier to my colleagues Brianna Keeler and John Berman describing the scene. Have a


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Everything is being reassessed. All the estimates that were made are being thrown out the

window. And you mentioned that military hardware left and donated by the U.S. we were just with the Taliban in Ghazni Province, which is now

completely under their control.

We saw them driving around in Ford pickup trucks that have been donated to the Afghan army that the Afghan army was using in their positions and

bases. We saw entire streets in the district of - fluttering with white Taliban flags.

I can't tell you Briana what a surreal sight that is to see this is a group that up until just a few months ago was an underground insurgency. And now

it holds a vast amount of territory on the ground.

And because that's happened so quickly, you do have to ask the question about how quickly could Kabul fall? I think the estimates are according to

U.S. intelligence officials that it could be isolated within 30 days.

It's not clear that the Taliban actually wants to take the chance of coming into Kabul, because that would likely be a very bloody scene. But frankly,

at this stage, all they need to do is surrounded and cut it off, and they will still be able to achieve their strategic objective.

They believe that they can win this militarily. And that means that there isn't a lot of leverage for other parties at the negotiating table.

ANDERSON: Well, Clarissa Ward there, alluding to that U.S. troop drawdown, which is now in its final week. CNN's John Harwood is at the White House.

And CNN is reporting a sense of alarm inside the State Department and other departments in Washington about the situation on the ground, particularly

because of the remaining U.S. citizens still inside Kabul.

Is it clear whether or not the President is going to be determined to stand firm on his drawdown plans at this point?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's hard to predict because the administration, of course, was so wrong in their assessment of

how quickly Afghanistan might fall apart. However, for the moment, the administration is saying that President Biden and President Biden himself

said this week he does not regret his decision that 20 years was long enough.

And the administration makes the argument that the cost of sustaining this commitment was simply not justified. And that the reason we went in the

first place, Becky, was because the Taliban had provided safe haven for al Qaeda to attack the United States.

The administration has assessed that that threat of terrorist attacks from within Afghanistan does not exist at the moment. But of course, this is a

dynamic situation and things have deteriorated much more quickly than anyone expected.

ANDERSON: Yes. And the irony of a Biden Administration bent on ensuring that its foreign policy puts human rights at its very heart will not be

lost on our viewers around the world. This is clearly a very difficult situation for the Biden Administration. John, another problem the U.S. is

dealing with, of course, is the displaced Afghans those fleeing and seeking asylum elsewhere.

I just want you and our viewers to have a listen to an Afghan interpreter turned U.S. army veteran speaking to CNN earlier. He now lives in the U.S.

but his family is still stuck in the country.


SAID NOOR, U.S. ARMY VETERAN, AFGHAN INTERPRETER: My parents and my siblings were coming from - South East making their way all the way to

Kabul. They had to use a lot of different excuses. My mother had to buy a lot of medications.

She had a lot of prescriptions, and she was stopped by the Taliban. The checkpoints - coming to Kabul and she had to explain him that she's seeking

a medical treatment in Kabul and that I have my family were allowed to go.


NOOR: So far I have not heard any positive feedback from the U.S. government as far as pulling my family's out Afghanistan and bring them

into a safe haven to the United States.


ANDERSON: I want to bring in CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, who is standing by. But just before we talk to Nick, John, the issue that we've just heard

discussed there. What is the U.S. administration doing at present?

HARWOOD: While the administration says it's committed to taking somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 Afghans who assisted the U.S. effort out of

the country, that is a huge logistical challenge and it becomes much more difficult, the more of the country that the Taliban controls.

And so we now see that the United States is sending 3000 troops to the airport in Kabul to try to make it safe for civilian personnel to leave the


It begs the question as to whether more troops are going to be required in other places to try to evacuate some of those interpreters and others who

insisted the U.S. effort, it is a mess. And it's a huge logistical problem that gets more difficult by the day.

ANDERSON: Nick, the U.S. perspective is clearly extremely important here. And it's the reason why it's so important that we have this discussion with

John is getting a perspective from the White House and sort of, you know, the inner workings of Washington.

But let's, let's focus now on the ground, because that's where we are seeing this. I mean, I hate to use the word remarkable or stunning, but

that's quite frankly, what it is this stunning move on these provincial capitals by the Taliban in just a matter of days. Just get as bang up to

date in what you understand to be happening on the ground.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERTNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yes, I mean, just bear in mind, we've never seen territory change, hands this fast since

2001, when the United States moved in, and frankly, they didn't necessarily take as much that fast then either.

In a week, we've seen half now of the provincial capitals for the major second and third cities. Symbolic cities like Lashkargah in Helmand where

so many died and fought during the NATO campaign there. It is just utterly stunning and it seems not likely to be reversed at any point at all.

So just bear in mind that the U.S. applied its entire military mind over a protracted period of time. And still, it found itself unable to repress

certain areas that the Taliban have moved in and appear in quite a few circumstances in urban areas to have got to surrender of those that they're

facing down.

So the switch now is towards Kabul. You can see that map but a lot of that yellow is unpopulated areas. The towns to look at now are Mazar-i-Sharif,

that's not on the map, but it's in the north and the economic hub is definitely under pressure.

Jalalabad out in the east too is not on that map. But near the word Puli- Alam, you'll see as well. These may also come under pressure at some point. But the big talk is about Kabul, whether anything can be done to prevent a

siege of that capital city.

Now, I think most people assess the Taliban are not eager to engage in street fighting with 6 million angry inhabitants of a capital that's long

been kind of the bedrock of the government and has a lot of weapons in kind of every house, but is certainly next in their sights.

There is a lot of talk I'm hearing today unsubstantiated that diplomacy might be trying to find a way that the long held American belief that maybe

there's a negotiable settlement here, that there's a reasonable bone, the Taliban's body that wants to be recognized internationally.

We've heard the UN the EU make indications that the Taliban take power by force, they will essentially be isolated, like they were in the 90s. That

if this reasonable part of the Taliban can be found, then maybe a deal can be hatched, where there's a change in power in Kabul, and possibly some

sort of power sharing transitional agreement that seems to be lurking in the wings here today.

But I have to tell you, after the week, the Taliban have had, they're going to be driving a very hard bargain. And this U.S. presence of 3000 troops is

stunning, frankly, simply because of the metrics of sending more Marines in to get your people out, then you had troops initially before you began your


It will be a very fraught two to three weeks as they do this complex, fast operation. And then we'll have to see whether they simply up sticks and

leave and what kind of Afghanistan they leave behind them at that moment.

ANDERSON: Just before we move on and talk about this potential for a negotiated peace, I do just want to concentrate on the past 24 hours and

get you to explain to our viewers just how significant the city of Kandahar is to the Taliban at this point.

WALSH: Yes, I mean, think about it from the American perspective. When Stanley McChrystal, I mean, I'm going back into ancient history here. But

when he was put in charge of the surge of the Obama Administration, his focus was we simply haven't got a chance in this country unless we win over

and stabilize Kandahar and Lashkargah.


WALSH: Lashkargah in Helmand was always going to be a bit tougher because it's basically when the drug trade runs through. But Kandahar, the second

biggest city, the ideological birthplace of the Taliban, pretty big, frankly, not an easy place to overrun.

But the Taliban appear to have put a circle around it for so long, that they slowly wore away. All those forces, their forces built up over years

of U.S. training, some of whom are very effective.

But they do appear to have been routed possibly even in some instances even surrendered to. So the fact that that second largest city down there in the

sort of Pashtun Heartland, the country divided between up in the north a lot of ethnic Tajiks diary speaking and then pasture speaking in the south

of the country in Kandahar and Helmand predominantly, the fact that the Kandahar has fallen to them quite so fast.

I mean, there's been pressure for weeks, but it hasn't. It seemed to flip exceptionally quickly. The fact they've achieved that it is utterly

stunning, I would say and we'll leave so many wondering quite well, that American money went into the Afghan security forces.

ANDERSON: Nick, I want to discuss Pakistan's significance in all of it, all of this. It has the longest border and deepest links with Afghanistan. It

also has close links to the Taliban militant group; experts suggest it has long played what many describe as a double game. What's your perspective at

this point of Pakistan's significance and role in all of this?

WALSH: Well, I think Pakistan in some areas, some elements of its society or political elite might think that they're winning here. I think it's kind

of impossible for them to win fully be a no doubt over the last 10 to 12 years.

The Americans always struggled with how to deal with Pakistan. If they confronted them, if they threatened them with sort of military force for

overtly assisting and providing shelter to the Taliban insurgency, then they get their backup and essentially lose the possibility that Pakistanis

could be persuaded to act against the Taliban.

Because even though they are certainly the Taliban's ally, and are looking to be sure that they have a friendly group in Afghanistan to counter the

influence of India, their major geopolitical rival there, Pakistan itself has its own Taliban, that has been a severe problem for a while was even

pressing down the neck of some of its major cities.

And has had a very unruly path and the tribal areas, Pakistan has had to launch a massive offensive, often with American persuasion behind them to

tackle parts of this extremism.

And so while I think there may be some possibly in Pakistanis Military who who've always felt, well, we can probably do business with the Taliban is

better than this American backed government to our west.

They do run the risk of this getting out of their control, fomenting terrorism, militant extremism inside their own country, and then having a

problem that they themselves have to tackle down the line.

It's a - probably imagine if the Pakistani strategy that are exceptionally hard bind to be in because you can't tackle these people. There's simply

too many Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan to be able to take on defeat. They've tried that.

But at the same time, too, you certainly can't befriend them too much and allow them to grow too far out of control. Otherwise, they're pretty

secular, at times pretty pro American, certainly very well American funded, Pakistani Military establishment that comes under threat to.

ANDERSON: Yes, to both of you thank you very much indeed for your perspectives. And viewer, we will ask a top adviser to Pakistan's Prime

Minister to answer some of the questions that Nick just raised coming up in this show after the break, so do stay with us for that.

Away from the smoke and the suffering, the Afghan people are known for their great loves family modesty, resilience and don't forget --. Of

course, resilience is very big, especially now culture thousands of years old is now injuring more than its fair share of war and the conflict and

ultimately, trauma.

As a regular viewer of this program, you'll know, there's more than amidst the eye in Afghanistan. But to some in the West, it can appear as an arid

tract of land, often dubbed in the past is, "The graveyard of empires".

Yet in reality, this landlocked country sandwiched between the Middle East and Central Asia enjoys a rich culture and history is luscious vegetation,

known for pomegranate production and its vast mountains are a stunning sight to take in.

Wordsmiths are well aware of the ancient town of - thought to be the birthplace of one of the Muslim world's most famous poet - Rumi and you

should look to the north and the city of Herat recently taken by the Taliban's home to the Great Mosque of Herat, which laid its foundation in

the year 1200 many centuries before the White House was built.


ANDERSON: And it has seen the people of many civilizations pass through it from the Mongolians to the south - rulers, Afghanistan a rich and diverse

culture thousands of years old. We're going to take a very short break back after this.


ANDERSON: Always we've been talking about the Taliban's stunning takeover of major Afghan cities. But as always, the crisis in Afghanistan isn't

contained within its borders. Neighboring countries like Iran and Pakistan have for years been home to Afghan refugees fleeing decades of war and


The Pakistani government says it's seeing a new influx of Afghans trying to get away from the Taliban takeover. Well, now Pakistan is calling for an

international conversation about how to manage the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

Pakistan is helping offering help to foreign journalists, for example, it's offering a lifeline to journalists stranded in Afghanistan by relaxing its

visa rules to those who want to leave.

For my next guest is Moeed Yusuf, The National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He joins us now from Islamabad, Pakistan via

Skype and sir, a very simple question to you at this point. Do you expect a Taliban takeover of the entire country?

MOEED YUSUF, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: Thanks, Becky, I don't know. All I can tell you is Pakistan is very, very worried

because we are the only country apart from Afghanistan that cannot afford a protracted conflict.

We have been the victim of this war next door for over four decades. Over 4 million refugees in Pakistan, still in Pakistan, societal distortions that

came here, millions of displaced people in Pakistan, which we have suffered again and again, even though the world does not want to acknowledge that.

For us a protracted conflict is simply not an option. That's why unlike many other countries, we're talking about all this will go through conflict

and then maybe we get to peace. We are saying reinvigorate the political settlement effort, the U.S. must take the lead; Pakistan will do whatever

it can.

But the world needs to come together to find a way to stop the violence and the only way to do that is an inclusive political settlement in

Afghanistan. Afghans are dying every day, and I'm sorry to say but a lot of times, the western conversation treats them as commodities.

These are people who deserve peace. Pakistan is a people who deserve peace. We've lost over 80,000 people, Becky. We've $150 billion lost in the

economy. Our people can't take it anymore.

We feel very worried with what is happening but even more worried when we hear that maybe the mistakes of the 1990s are being repeated. Maybe the

U.S. and the West are checking out and maybe the world doesn't care anymore what happens to Pakistan and this region.


ANDERSON: Let me put this to you. Afghan leaders, including President Ghani have accused Pakistan of actively supporting the Taliban. And we hear this

across international circles as well, #sanctionpakistan is even trending in Afghanistan, suggesting those sentiments are shared by a significant

portion of the Afghan people. Just how would you describe Pakistan support of the Taliban?

YUSUF: First, let me talk about the sanctions Pakistan, because just two days ago, I did a press conference in Pakistan, showing data that 65

percent of what was said, to make that hash-tag was - bot activity. The rest was African and Indian accounts, propagating that. It was all made up


So that's it. Let me get to the question of the Taliban. You see, we have heard for a long time of Pakistan is the problem. Today, don't listen to


Just look at the ground reality in Afghanistan, the running government, what have they been trying to absolve themselves of an army that is in

fight for them? A country where they don't seem to have any legitimacy?

People who are standing behind an opposition, a fighting force and celebrating they're coming in, if there were any centuries in Pakistan,

that's the question that is always asked.

Tell me it defies logic, that the entire region of Afghanistan that is fallen to the Taliban initially is the North bordering the Central Asian

republics and the West bordering Afghanistan, hundreds of miles away from Pakistan.

ANDERSON: Let me ask you this; let me put this to you. Let me put this to you. Is it true that Pakistan permits the Taliban leadership on its


Its wounded warriors, this has been written about in an article today and people have talked about it for a long time receives treatment in Pakistani

hospitals. Are you sitting here today and telling me that that is simply not true?

YUSUF: I am telling you that if there were any Taliban of note in Pakistan, this was the moment they would have crossed over into Afghanistan and taken

the south and east of Afghanistan, that's been their stronghold in the past. None of that has happened. Why, because these people are not here.

Becky, 70 percent of Afghanistan is in their control. Afghanistan is the safe haven; they've got the entire territory. So let's end this blame game.

Pakistan is hosted. As I've told you, millions of refugees, we have lost thousands of people, Pakistanis feel insulted when we have do more.

After everything we've done for Afghanistan, we are still willing to do for Afghanistan. The worry is that the world may have just washed its hands

clean off the mess that's been created.

I am seeing Western media and press rightly and courageously talk about what happened to the trillions of dollars. That's where the failure is.

But let's forget that. Where do we go from here? Pakistan is played a constructive role throughout. And today I'm saying again, history will

judge us very, very poorly if we don't make every effort to get all Afghans to the table and see if we can find a political end to this wall.

My Prime Minister Imran Khan is the only Prime Minister who said for 15 years regularly that there is no Military solution. There is only a

political solution everybody - is today. But even now, I'm sorry to say the Afghan government is not cooperating it seems. It was even - in that

sitting Doha is not empowered to negotiate.

ANDERSON: Let me put this argument to you then. Let me put this argument to you then. The security establishment in Pakistan plays a double game. I

hear this from sources again and again and again, outwardly looking to and it has to be said and we'll talk about this.

The leverage of Pakistan feels it has because it does have context with the Taliban. Its leverage in the potential for a negotiated settlement and we

will talk about that, because that's incredibly important.

We started this conversation with that. And yet the secret harboring of Osama bin Laden in the past and the relations of that same security

establishment has with Taliban when it - with the Taliban when it suits that security establishment to play a game on Pakistan's behalf in

Afghanistan. I just want to put that to you this sense of a double game. How do you respond to that?

YUSUF: Yes, because you know, I lived in the U.S. for years and heard this all the time. First of all, let me just say, once again, Pakistan, lost

thousands, 80,000 on the hands of who, the Pakistani Taliban. Where do they sit, they sit in Afghanistan? Use Afghan territory in collusion with the

Indians to attack Pakistanis.


YUSUF: We would have to be mad, nothing short of that. If we think that we can play any double game where Pakistanis are dying, that would mean we

don't care about Pakistani lives. I am telling you, we care about not only Pakistani, but Afghan lives as much.

That's why I'm questioning this idea that oh, let there be conflict, and then we'll figure it out. All we are done Pakistan can deal with the mess.

Let's deal with this problem as it is. There is no double game.

I've told you if there was any, wouldn't the south and east for if there were people in Pakistan? Wouldn't there be celebrations we are saying we're

extremely worried.


YUSUF: We've gone public; we've said we are not for a forceful takeover. What else we have fenced the border completely. Becky, this is an important

point, if you allow me. If Pakistan was the country where people were going from, why would we fence our border completely asked for biometrics on the

border, the Afghans refused.

They opposed fencing the border, whose sincerity should be questioned? If they were worried about people crossing over, they should be the ones

excited about the fencing. It's the opposite--

ANDERSON: Let me talk about that border. Let's talk about that border. What is going on at present? And as far as you understand it, is the border

between Pakistan and Afghanistan still out of Taliban control at this point?

And you have said that you are offering safe haven to foreign journalists? What about Afghans? What about Afghan journalists, for example, whose lives

are at stake at this point? Let's just be clear about the offer that Pakistan is making at this point.

YUSUF: First of all the border, this border, about 2600 kilometers, 1600 miles has always been poorest 20 to 25,000 people crossover every day. So

when there is a question on who crossed over, is there an undesirable person?

Whenever there is any question, you find that in the Afghan refugee settlements of millions, you find some undesirable activity, and then we

are blamed for it.

We asked the world for years and years, please arrange a dignified repatriation of refugees. There is no response. But the blame comes on

Pakistan. What have we done to answer this, what we have done is we fenced the entire border.

We have then asked the Afghans to put biometrics so that both of us can see who is crossing, they refused. We then said let's do joint border

management. They refused. We have said let's go to a formal visa regime because traditionally, people just used to cross with a small ID card.

They are opposing that tooth and nail. Every single thing we've even gone to the extent of saying you have a problem, come to us, we'll sit, we'll go

to the place in Pakistan, show us what the problem is, no response. Becky, enough of scapegoating, please doesn't blame the victim.

The reality today is naked. The problems were always in Afghanistan, we are seeing those problems play out. I don't remember any time in history. And

such a fight would happen where everybody would surrender after trillion dollars gone into this.

Let's focus on how to fix the problem. We still think it can be done through a political process, but only if the U.S. takes the lead. Right now

we are seeing people just finding scapegoats. Pakistan is not going to be one. I want to be clear about that.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about this and go on. Please. Just very, very briefly, what are you going to do about Afghan journalists, for example, not just

western journalists who may be looking for a way out?

YUSUF: I'm not aware of any specifics from the Afghan journalists or any offer. What I will tell you is nobody has been more generous in housing,

Afghans, there are brothers and sisters, we would still love to do that.

But unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to entertain more refugees; the international community needs to step up. So far, we haven't seen

anything. As far as specific journalists are concerned, I'm frankly not aware of any offer from any sort of concern from Afghanistan or any demand.

ANDERSON: I want to take a very, very short break at this point because I want to bring you back and talk about what we're going to do or what you

believe can be done and in any sort of potential for a negotiated settlement. But let's have that conversation after this short break, stay

with me.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson, you're watching "Connect the World" our top story this hour, the remarkable advances that the Taliban is

making across Afghanistan now controlling half of the provincial capitals and a real fear in Afghanistan of the takeover of Kabul at some point soon.

I'm speaking with the National Security Adviser to the Pakistan Prime Minister, Moeed Yusuf about these advances in neighboring Afghanistan. So

earlier today, you said, and I'm paraphrasing you here, there are chances the Taliban presents some settlement. That's not a Western settlement. I

just wonder what that settlement would look like at this point to your mind.

YUSUF: I don't know Becky, that's an answer the only Afghans, the Afghan government, the Taliban and all other Afghan political actors who matter

will decide once they sit in one room, they are empowered, and they come up with a decision on how to run their country going forward.

The only point Pakistan is making is we are not seeing a wholehearted sincere effort at this point, to try and get to that political settlement.

What would we have - what would we have the U.S. do in this case?

Number one; there is confusion on the ground? I'll be very frank with you. Is the world checking out and abandoning Afghanistan, just like the 1990s?

Or is it true withdrawal which will be matched by a reinvigorated political settlement effort and an economic plan for Afghanistan not just words that

will keep paying money, but a plan?

There is confusion. If it's the former I'm afraid not much can happen. You know, I can recall, the U.S. President George W. Bush saying never again

will be abandoned. I have in front of me Secretary Hillary Clinton's statement is one thing to pull out troops that have been supporting

security in Afghanistan, but leaving it pretty much to fend for themselves.

We can't afford to walk away from the consequences of that decision. People are asking, is it that decision? Or is the U.S. going to take the lead in

the world going to take the lead to get to a political settlement? We want to see that. We want to see an economic plan.

Pakistan will do whatever it can to facilitate both of these, but we need public assurances, Afghans need public assurances that the U.S. is going to

remain involved and see this through otherwise militias, - that's been the history. And that would be maybe bad for the world, but an absolute

disaster for Pakistan.

Last time this happened, as I told you will still reeling from those effects. And we are not going to be able to go there again.

ANDERSON: I have to ask you will Islamabad work with a Taliban government? Should they be able to capture Kabul and reestablish their control?

YUSUF: I don't have the luxury to think about that Becky. The only thing as a Pakistani policymaker is peace, peace, peace, and the only way to get

there is through an inclusive political settlement. Let's make all efforts even if it were not to work out let's make all efforts.

That is what we and the Afghan people deserve and that's what the international community owes to them. But Pakistan remains a partner in

peace not in conflict.


ANDERSON: Your government has repeatedly said that you support an Afghan- led and Afghan owned peace process. Is that your position today?

YUSUF: Absolutely. And that is the only way to do it. No better time to reinforce that, because after 20 years of outsiders trying to fix the

problem, we have got nothing to show for it. In fact, unfortunately, it seems to have been a net negative, so only Afghans can decide Afghan owned

Afghan net supported by everybody else, and assurance that nobody will interfere. And that's Pakistan's position.

And we also want to make sure Afghan soil is not used against any country, Pakistan has suffered, again, because of terrorism coming from a family

Stan supported directly by a hostile Eastern neighbor, India.

ANDERSON: Are you as surprised by the speeds of the Taliban advances in the country as surprised as so many others, including the U.S. administration,

it seems? And how has the Taliban achieved this to your mind?

YUSUF: Well, first of all, I think everybody is surprised, if not stunned at the pace. But here's the question, I have Becky. We were sitting next

door but the international forces were in Afghanistan for 20 years, they had all the intelligence, all the information, I cannot believe that there

wasn't clarity in that community of what would happen if an abrupt withdrawal happened.

It's a U.S. decision we respect it but we had always talked about is responsible withdrawal, where the political settlement came before this

kind of exodus. Today, again, we have proven right, the Pakistani Prime Minister kept saying go for a political solution when you are present

there, and then withdraw responsibly.

Opposite has happened. I don't frankly, believe that this is a surprise that the Taliban are doing this is all the intelligence in the world that

was available to the forces who were there. So then the question comes, why has this been done?

And people are asking, is stability really the ultimate goal because if we knew instability would come unfortunately, I have to tell you from

Pakistan's perspective, this is deja vu. Deja Vu is that you leaving - the world is leaving Pakistan to deal with an impossible situation next door,

is very unfair. We've, you know, been scapegoated enough.

Now is the time for everybody to step up, make sure Afghans are treated like humans, people are talking about refugees, as if these are just

commodities that will flow over? No, we must ensure that the situation doesn't get to the point where Afghans have to leave their country for

decades and decades again.

We must, must make sure there is peace. And the only way I keep repeating is to get everybody in one room. And if there's anybody who's an obstacle,

anybody they need to be told that this has to happen. The U.S. still has tremendous leverage over Kabul.

I think there needs to be more effort made there. Because unfortunately, again, what Kabul is spending time on is creating Twitter trends,

fictitious trends, telling the world they're still in control doesn't seem to be the case.

ANDERSON: With that we're going to leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for your perspective today the National Security Adviser for

Pakistan's Prime Minister.

YUSUF: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Well, the United Nations Refugee Agency has a message for countries neighboring Afghanistan keep your borders open. It says

innumerable as civilian lives are at risk if people are unable to flee to safety.

Well, as the Taliban make gains in the provincial capitals thousands of civilians have made their way to the national capital Kabul in search of

refuge. Well, Afghans of a certain age is wave of displacement probably feels like a cruel deja vu when the Soviets invaded millions of Afghans

fled their homes the U.S. swooped in to help them were gone.

When the Taliban took over sending people fleeing again the U.S. swooped in to help. Now they are just about gone. My next guest knows all about that

she fled Afghanistan as a teenager when the Soviets moved in and dedicated her lives to helping refugees around the world.

After writing a letter to then U.S. President Ronald Reagan yes, Ronald Reagan. He invited her to the White House to hear her pleas for help in

person. Sonia Nassery Cole is now a Filmmaker and Human Rights Activists. She joins us now live.

And I want you to take us back to that moment when you met Ronald Reagan. But before I do that, I just want to get your perspective and your thoughts

on what you are seeing on the ground at present in Afghanistan?


SONIA NASSERY COLE, FILMMAKER & HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Thank you for having me. Words cannot describe how I feel. I feel like it's the worst nightmare

of my life. A, not just to me, but to all Afghan people this is unbelievable. That a free country like Afghanistan that never been

conquered, is falling in the hands of the most horrific killers of the world.

ANDERSON: For someone who had to flee your country such a long time ago because of conflict, and now to see this going on thousands of Afghans

fleeing and seeking asylum because of conflict? How does - how does that make you feel? I'm just trying to get a sense of what this deja vu must be

like. And I know you must be in touch with lots of people on the ground. What are they - what are they telling you?

COLE: Everybody is calling desperately, please help us, especially people who worked for the NATO base for - 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and Bagram

base, that their families are in danger, their children are in danger, they can leave their country, they have lost their family members already.

And nobody is there to help them. It's devastating to know that Afghanistan is the friend was a friend to NATO, French United States to be not taken

care of your friends. This is absolutely unconscionable. These are human beings. They sacrifice - they're sacrificed for political gains. It is

unacceptable. It's really heartbreaking.

The voices, the cries I hear on the phone in thousands of email, WhatsApp messages, what can you do to help us? Help us get out of here? I honestly,

Becky I see it. As I see it this is my point of view. Let's call it an invasion of Pakistan. It is definitely that Taliban have no power without


Pakistan is a country with very heavy weaponry, and forever they've been trying to do this dirty deed and Afghan said every Talib came from

Pakistan, from the Madrassas that they educated them because they're heartless and feeling less. I have come across them many times

I've been attacked by them many times during the movies that I have shot in Afghanistan. I know they have no soul. And these people are trained to have

no souls and they're five years old, they're going this Madrassas reading the Quran for twelve hours, you know.

ANDERSON: We've been talking about those who are in fear of their lives and the tens of thousands, who are likely to seek refuge. We've seen several EU

countries reject Afghan asylum seekers; some have of late reversed their policies, such as Germany and the Netherlands.

And the U.S., of course, has promised that we'll take many of those in who are fleeing, especially interpreters and those who work with the army. But

ultimately, this isn't going to be easy. What's your message to the outside world at this point?

COLE: Get ready for at least 520 million Afghans refugee? Are we ready for that? We already have 75 million refugees around the world that we cannot

take care of. Are we ready for this world? Who is going to open their doors for them?

Who - where are they going to go? Refugees are not migration. These people are running from bombs dropping at them and men walking in their homes and

raping their daughters and their sons? Where should they go? What where does the world responsibility in this?

The NATO and United States have to go and attack them by air? That's the only way. It was a very shameful pullout from Afghanistan extremely

shameful, in the middle of the night, fleeing the country and giving a big warning and saying this is the day we're going to leave. So please take

over the country. It's very unfair.

And I tell you Becky, this is going to - mark my word. This is going to backfire. attacks are going to come in Europe in another 9/11 is going to

come to United States because they have not learned their lesson about what it's like to leave a country, free for Al Qaeda and Taliban and alike to

take over and do their dirty deeds freely from that land?



COLE: Yes.

ANDERSON: Sorry. I mean, I hear what you're saying and your messages will be well heard around the world. I am going to have to take a short break at

this point. You directed a number of films about Afghanistan, one specifically called "Black Tulip" which was selected as Afghanistan's

official entry to the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards in 2010.

And we very much appreciate your perspective today. And we wish you well and those that you know on the ground while in safety.

COLE: Thank you. Thank you so much.

ANDERSON: We'll be right back after this.


ANDERSON: Well, the World Health Organization calling on world leaders and drug companies to end what it calls disgraceful vaccine inequality end

soon. Only about 1 percent, 1 percent of people in low income countries have gotten even one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Senior Adviser to the W.H.O.'s Director General wants wealthier nations to help poor nations vaccinate 10 percent of their populations by September

to help avert more deaths around the world.

My next guest Co-Signed a UNICEF letter pressuring the G7 to donate 150 million COVID vaccine doses. It says in part the hopes of the world rests

on your shoulders together you must raise to the challenge. Let's build a healthier, brighter and fairer future for every child and for everyone.

Well, Actress, Activist and Author Alyssa Milano joining me now. Thank you. And we're very short of time in this show because the Afghanistan story is

really am rightly sucked up a lot of the - our time. But you - I do just want to spend a couple of minutes talking to you.

You Co-Wrote this letter with a lot of other sort of aliases and celebs including Orlando Bloom Whoopi Goldberg and various others. What compelled

you to take part in this and what's been the response?

ALYSSA MILANO, ACTRESS, ACTIVIST & AUTHOR: Well, I think you know there's obviously a moral responsibility that these richer nations have. And as a

UNICEF Ambassador, I've been able to see the real vaccine inequality, the healthcare inequality that happens around the world.

And I believe that healthcare - it's a human is a human right. And it doesn't just belong to a handful of rich countries, which is, you know,

they hoarded 90 percent of the world's vaccine supply for themselves and left basically the rest of the world to suffer. And I really believe until

we are safe until we are all safe that none of us are safe.


ANDERSON: Well, you will hear that message on this show. Time and time again we have been providing platform for this story for months and months

and months. And you are absolutely to point out that this 1 percent of people in low income countries with only a single dose is absolutely

unacceptable. Have you had a response?

MILANO: Not exactly, I am very hopeful because we were able to raise awareness about this moral responsibility that - you know, the G7, they

can't claim to be leaders of the free world, if we don't accept the responsibilities which come with that leadership.

You know, we use the developing world as a source of cheap labor and materials, and, you know, on its own, that's problematic. But it's

especially a problematic when we don't provide for those nations when they are in desperate need.

And I also believe that this is not only about global health, but this is also - this is a national security risk. You know, COVID has the potential

to destabilize governments to create mass migration, international conflicts, and really cause governments to collapse around the world.

And some of this was recently detailed in a Brookings Institute Report on global governance during the pandemic. And all of this chaos, risks the

interest and the security of the G7 nations and the citizens globally. And it's just smart security policy to help eradicate the pandemic around the


And we're really grateful to UNICEF; they have the infrastructure in place to distribute a billion vaccines globally. But we need to speed up this

process these - this - it can't continue to be a left the table scraps, you know, fall, where they - were they may, you know, and in this country

alone, Alabama throw away 65,000 doses of the vaccine, which expired because people were not taking them. You know, these are vaccine that could

have made such a huge difference somewhere else.

ANDERSON: Your message is a really important one. And I really appreciate you spending some time with us on this show today. We'll continue to

monitor the work that UNICEF is doing and provide as much support for their efforts because you are absolutely right.

I mean, the infrastructure to a certain extent is set up. The question is where's the supply of these vaccines? And, you know, by no means, is it

enough to where they need to go--

MILANO: --from the - into people's arms.

ANDERSON: You are absolutely right. Thank you very much indeed for joining us and come back. Still ahead, as the Taliban stage what could be the end

game to a 20 year war in Afghanistan. I want to get some perspective for you from a photojournalist who has been there for all of it. That is after




ANDERSON: Welcome back. In our parting shots tonight there are conflict zones all over the world the people who live in them often facing

overwhelming struggles. But we never know their stories we will see their images without the work of journalists dispatched to those places.

Paula Bronstein has been covering Afghanistan for the entirety of the two decades long war, and she says her latest assignment is unlike any other.


PAULA BRONSTEIN, PHOTOJOURNALIST: I've worked in a lot of conflict zones, but I've never in the 20 years, I've been covering Afghanistan been in the

situation before. It's unthinkable. It's unbelievable. The speed of the Taliban takeover of this country is just unbelievable.

All of these people are just rushing into the capital of flooding into Kabul desperate to escape the Taliban. Absolutely desperate and they're so

fearful. And this is happening. It's happening all over the country.

There's a couple of different camps that have sprouted up, you know, and they're obviously makeshift camps. What I was hearing and what I was seeing

was just, you know people that grabbed whatever they could because they left so fast.

You're very much in need of everything from mats to sleep on to food. I've been coming in this country since 2001. I never imagined I would be trying

to get out in the first possible flight, which is tomorrow. I never imagined that.

I mean, my intention was to stay and continue copying the story. But you know, my life yes, I know I can't. Now I can't.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. Thank you for joining us. Goodnight.