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Afghanistan Provincial Capitals Taken Over By the Taliban; Rare Mass Shooting in England; Forest Fires and Flash Floods Ravaging Countries; A Win For Britney Spears. Aired 10-11a ET.

Aired August 13, 2021 - 10:00:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CONNECT THE WORLD HOST: Provincial capital while the U.S. prepares to send in troops to bring Americans home. A rare mass

shooting in England. Five people dead in what people are calling - police are calling a truly shocking event. And a win for Britney Spears. Her

father says he will step down as her conservator.

Well it's 3 p.m. in London. It is 6:30 p.m. in Kabul. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. It is happening with astounding

speed. One-by-one most of Afghanistan's biggest cities have fallen to the Taliban. One of the latest is Kandahar, the country's second-largest city.

This video purportedly showing Taliban fighters celebrating their victory there. An Afghan M.P. telling CNN many Afghan soldiers guarding the city

surrendered. The rest fled. The Taliban also taking over the capitals of Helmand and Heart provinces among the cities falling just within the past

few days. Just look at this map. They now control half of the capitals in Afghanistan's 34 provinces.

Well the capital, Kabul, has not fallen to the Taliban, but the looming danger prompted the United States to deploy 3,000 troops to assist in what

is the drawdown of personnel at U.S. embassy in Kabul. There is no firm timeline on the evacuation of American personnel, though the hope is to

finish by the end of the month.

U.S. officials have warned the Taliban that if Americans are put at risk they will be defended, and it's not just sending the U.S. - not just the

U.S. - sorry - sending troops back in. About 600 British troops will deploy to Afghanistan to support British nationals and Afghan staff and help in


Well across the globe growing concern about the future of Afghanistan under Taliban control. The United Nations Security Council says it is considering

a statement refusing to recognize the Taliban if they take power. The European Union condemning what it calls increasing human rights violations

in Taliban-controlled areas, and calling for the resumption of structured talks. U.K. Defense Secretary, Ben Wallace, saying he is absolutely worried

Al-Qaeda will probably come back to Afghanistan. That is just some of the international reaction. We are connecting you to all aspects of this story

as you would expect here at CNN.

And our International Security Editor, Nick Payton Walsh, with us here in London today, and U.S. Security Correspondent, Kylie Atwood at the State

Department with the American angle, and we will get to you, Kylie, in a moment.

Nick, we are hearing the U.K. government talking about this today as things on the ground continue to escalate. Where do you want to start?

NICK PAYTON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I think it's important to mark that the march of the Taliban over provincial capitals

continues, and now at the halfway mark with 17. Certainly evidence of possibly more in the mix.

And so, it is fairly obvious that the Afghan Security Forces will now not be able to reverse any of that, and the attention is now focused on Kabul

where essentially the remnants of Afghan Security Forces and government are. It is not at this stage under threat. It's going to have 3,000 U.S.

Marines there today or tomorrow turning up at the airport with all their enablers, all their air cover. That will probably make some difference in

slowing matters.

And there's a lot of rumbling in the background, Becky, today about the possibility that we might see some sort of diplomacy in action. Now, I

think this U.N. statement that they won't recognize a Taliban government coming to power, the E.U. it seems suggesting there could be isolation if

talks are not resumed. I think this may be aimed at trying to pressure certain diplomatic levers at this stage.

Just to remind you the U.S. has long pushed out as part of its peace plan the idea of a cease fire in which current President Ashraf Ghani would step

just to one side slightly, allow a transitional government, which would then enable the Taliban to share power, possibly dominate it down the line,

but that would remove what the U.S. has always said the Taliban, in their view, believe is their mistake of having power in the 90s that they became

an international pariah.

I think, though, the Taliban possibly have calculated that diplomacy often works in their favor the longer it goes on, and if they did take yet more

territory inside Afghanistan is the international community really let a humanitarian crisis evolve because they refuse to send aid in to Afghans

who desperately need it? I somewhat doubt it.

So we're in a very complex time here, but it's very clear the Taliban ascendency capitalizing on this week. Even warlords who were once

supposedly people they feared in Herat, for example, now on camera with their sort of media operatives talking about how they want peace.


Quite startling scenes that were unimaginable. As unimaginable, too, I think is the gap between what the U.S. government has said for 10 years the

Afghan Security Forces are capable of and what we've actually seen on the ground, which in a week not a route but of extraordinary collapse.

ANDERSON: Nick, you have reported for years from Afghanistan. You have many sources on the ground. What are people telling you on the ground about

the atmosphere at their point?

WALSH: There's - I think ordinary Afghans I think are panicked to some degree. Many perhaps have thought this was coming, but I don't think there

was a broad feeling in Kabul that they might see the Taliban walk in one day. That's no imminent, but it's now something that seems to be vaguely

being discussed.

Yesterday it was about really much of the sort of back and forth I was having was around whether Kabul might get pressured. Now some of the

conversation has shifted to, well, is it possible to negotiate a second (ph) where the Taliban don't have to fight for Kabul and sort of slide

their way in?

I think there's a lot of consternation after the U.S. announcement yesterday amongst some senior Afghan officials. They viewed that theatrical

3,000 coming in to pull out an unspecified number of diplomats in two weeks as a grand gesture I think of abandonment. We'll have to see if that's what

it turns out to be. It's, by U.S. accounts, a very safety conscious plan, but the things are changing so deeply fast, and it does appear that the

U.S. focus now is on trying to negotiate a way out of violence rather maintain their ally, the Afghan government.

ANDERSON: Let me bring in Kylie Atwood then at this point. To Nick's point, is that the sense in Washington at this point? Look, we've got U.S.

troops going back into Afghanistan this weekend for what is effectively an evacuation whether the U.S. want to call it that or not. What's the sense

of why that's happening and what happens next?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well I think the irony is lost on no one that the number of troops going in to help these U.S.

diplomats get out is larger than the number of U.S. troops that is actually withdrawing from the country when President Biden started that process

earlier this summer.

But the Pentagon continues to say that these 3,000 troops are going in to make sure that U.S. diplomats, U.S. contractors get out safely, are

carrying out a limited mission. This is not something that is an expansive combat mission, but at the same time they have the right of self defense.

And so, that is, of course, an area to watch. You know, if there should be any situation in which the Taliban proceed and try and militarily take

Kabul while these U.S. troops are on the ground, that could be a really dicey, bloody situation.

Now the Pentagon is saying that isn't the case right now. The State Department is saying that they are maintaining some sort of U.S. diplomatic

presence on the ground, and they're going to try and continue to do that as long as they can.

ANDERSON: Nick, at this point is it clear what the Taliban's intensions are next? You and I have been talking for days now about just who the

Taliban is in 2021, about who supports them, how they are funded. I just want a sense from you of what you believe their intensions are?

WALSH: I think it's very clear they want to win. I think they would accept some sort of negotiated element in that victory if it meant they didn't

have to fight street-by-street for Kabul. It would be very lengthy, messy. Nobody would win from all that, and they would galvanize many against them

during a fight for a city of six million.

So I think we'll see them continue to use diplomacy as something that enables them just to pursue better objectives on the ground. I think what

kind of Afghanistan do they want? They may not get to have their say over all of it in the future variations here, but certainly they want to go into

a sharia-type society. That will mean significant losses of women's rights. Important to point out women's rights aren't brilliant for Afghanistan

right now, but they will doubtless get worse. We will see brutality I think against those who are loyalists to the Afghan government, possibly

executions like of which there have been reports in the past.

Will there potentially be a haven for Al-Qaeda there? Well there already is one to some degree. The Taliban keep insisting that they don't want

foreigners there. They don't want extremists. Their deal with the U.S. said they won't let Afghanistan be used as a base from which to launch attacks

on other countries, but my gosh. The evidence of Al-Qaeda still being there and doing pretty well is fairly convincing.

So we will see, but I think we will see talking somewhere in the background here and this continued momentum of the insurgency.


ANDERSON: Yes. Folks, this isn't going to stop anytime soon. To both of you, thank you very much, indeed. And new developments, of course, are

happening at a head-spinning pace in Afghanistan. We will have full developments for you over the next 90 minutes. And you can keep up with all

of this when you're away from your TV. Just use the website, and use the CNN app, of course. You'll find analysis like this piece by Stephen

Collinson. He looks at the long U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and the question which I know many people are asking, which is simply was it worth

it? That is

Well there's a question many people across Britain and elsewhere are asking today. Why? Investigators are searching for a motive in a rare mass

shooting in England. They are quick to say it is not terrorism related. Five people, including a child, were shot and killed on Thursday in the

southwestern city of Plymouth. That's about 350 kilometers from London. Police say the gunman then took his own life.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is live from Plymouth for us. Authorities held a news conference a short time ago. What's the latest from that, Salma?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Becky, this community is absolutely reeling. It's important to emphasize here that no shooting incident of this

kind, no gun violence on this level has occurred in the U.K. in 11 years, so you can imagine how residents are simply rattled. It all (inaudible)

behind me here starting about 6 p.m. local time police received multiple calls that woman was being shot in her apartment. Police now say they

believe that woman was known to the gunman, to the - to the suspect. That suspect then continued his rampage, shooting other passerbys, including a

3-year-old girl and her male relative. He also shot multiple other people. In total five now dead, at least two in hospital and recovering, and

police, of course, searching for answers.

They have said this is not terror-related, Becky, but you can imagine the implications. Take a look - take a look at what the police presser (ph)

said earlier today.


SHAUN SAWYER, DEVON AND CORNWALL POLICE CHIEF CONSTABLE: An event like this touches all communities, all people no matter where you are in the

world, and the events that I will tell you are particularly traumatic. This was a truly shocking event and was witnessed by members of the public.


ABDELAZIZ: Now the suspect has been named as a 22-year-old native here in Plymouth, Jake Davidson. The authorities have told us that they are still

investigating the motives behind this, but local media have linked this 22- year-old man to several social media accounts where he appears to be ranting quite angrily against women, where he makes references to several

misogynistic online groups.

So yes, this is still the early stages of the investigation here, Becky, but for this community that shellshock, that scar, it's going to take years

to recover from it.

ANDERSON: Salma Abdelaziz reporting for you. Salma, thank you. Well aired on this show (ph), you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, of course. A

temporary halt at the world's third busiest port in China threatening delays and price increases around the world. We'll tell you what is behind

that coming up. And it's just want Greece needed, a good dousing of rain to help put out those fires that have been raging for weeks. We, though, will

have a look at the human toll those fires took. And also ahead, we speak with American actress, activist, and author, Alyssa Milano. How she is

tackling vaccine inequality at home and around the world.



ANDERSON: China's massive, super rapid COVID vaccination program has now fully vaccinated 55 percent of the population. That is 770 million people

give or take according to the country's National Health Commission. Now at the same time China taking new drastic measures to control the spread of

that virus. On Wednesday it partially suspended operations at the world's third busiest container port after a worker there tested positive. The port

does remain open, but disruptions like these threaten supply chains around the world.

Well in the capital, vaccination rate is even more impressive. 93 percent of adults aged 18 and up are fully protected. That's where I find our David

Culver. This - David, this high vaccination rate, lower infection rates effectively are very impressive given what else is going on around the

world, but still these drastic measures and these are not without cost. Just explain what is going on and why, and what sort of impact you expect

these measures to have.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Economically certainly, Becky, there's going to be an impact. When you're talking about shutting down a portion of

what is, as you point out, the third busiest port in the world, the exports are going to take a hit on that. It's the first busiest when it comes to

the size of cargo, so it's number one in the cargo tonnage that they process through that port, but yes. They've got to reduce significantly the

amount that they're putting out because of one person, one worker there.

That tells you how drastic things are and how extreme these measures are in place right now, and they're really having an impact on some of the local

leaders, too. I mean, you're talking about officials of some of these smaller communities who may have single-digit cases, but just because they

are the leader of that community they're facing punishment. And state media is reporting some 70 officials are going through that right now after being

punished or fired in their jobs.

But the impact is being felt already domestically, and it's something that has been really what officials have been trying to avoid, and that is

keeping this bubble that is the people's republic sealed off from the rest of the world, keeping the case count down to zero if possible, but there's

been criticism that this zero-tolerance approach because isn't sustainable, especially when you're talking about a variant that's obviously causing a

lot of issues around the world and now has penetrated within China and likewise spreading.

And you mentioned the vaccination rate, Becky. It is impressive. You're talking about 55 percent of a 1.4 billion people population, so that's

roughly 770 million, and the number is growing. Here in Beijing, the 93 percent mark of 18 and older, so that's roughly 37 million doses that have

gone out.

That being said, there are still a few cases here even in the capital, the fortress that they like to keep the virus away from at all costs, but

especially given the upcoming Olympics. And those communities are in sealed off modes. The lockdowns that are very targeted but still impacting tens of

thousands of people even here within the capital. So despite the vaccination rate being so high, the Delta variant is having an impact, and

that in turn is starting to affect a lot of the economic situations as well.

I also should point out, Becky, there - the zero-tolerance approach has gotten a lot of questions and skepticism, and even some leading health

experts here have posted some concerns, but it's been met with strong resistance in changing that from the central government. And even at the

local level there was a teacher in Yangzhou in one small town that's dealing with an outbreak, and that teacher was detained for 15 days because

he posted online a suggestion that that city not go forward with the zero tolerance and perhaps try to coexist with COVID-19, Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. David Culver's in Beijing for you where it is 20 past 10 in the evening. David, thank you. 27 people have now died in flash

flooding across and along Turkey's Black Sea coast. Right now a huge search and rescue operation underway, but as you can see there is a lot of debris

hindering that process. Authorities have been airlifting stranded survivors to safety.

And take a look at this drone video. This really shows the scale of the devastation. Bridges and buildings collapsed in the flash flooding began on

Wednesday. Nearly 2,000 people fled their homes and are in temporary shelters.

Well to Algeria where the president is blaming arsonists for the worst wildfires that country has seen in decades. 22 people accused of starting

many of the fires have been arrested. The Algerian President said criminals were behind most of these fires but also said some were caused by high

temperatures. Around half a million people in several villages are being affected as this video shows. Some locals taking matters into their own

hands to try and fight these flames.

Well Jomana Karadsheh following the disasters in those two countries as she has, indeed, been looking at what is going on across this sort of

Mediterranean region. And we've been talking about that. Jomana, you're joining me from Istanbul, Turkey. We've been talking about this now for


Let's start with these fires tearing through northern Nigeria right now. What do you understand to be the very latest?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky, we heard from the President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in that address to the nation televised

late last night, saying that at least 22 people have been detained. He says suspects involved in lighting up these fires across 17 provinces in the

country. He's saying that they are going to continue investigating, and whoever is involved in these fires going to be detained.

While they're not denying that the weather contributed to these fires, he still repeats it. What we've heard from officials over the past few days

they are blaming this, the majority of these fires on criminals, as they call them arsonists. Whatever sparked these fires, Becky, it has been


This is day five of this battle against the wildfires. By all accounts this is something the country has not seen in generations, the president saying

in decades. And what has made this really difficult, Becky, is that they were not prepared for something like this, something on this scale. The

president saying early on the government tried reaching out to the E.U., to European countries to try and get more capabilities because they don't have

the means to fight these sort of fires, but the E.U. was busy with what was going on in Turkey and Greece.

But finally he says now help has started to arrive. Two planes from France on Thursday. Two more from Spain today. They're expecting another one from

Switzerland this weekend, and perhaps an indication here, Becky, of you know, these - the Algerian government expecting the worst yet to come,

listening to what the scientists have been warning, that the Mediterranean region is now a hotspot for wildfires, that this could be the normal.

He says that he's instructed the military to start looking at buying firefighting planes so that Algeria is ready for this in the future.

ANDERSON: And viewers if you heard me say Nigeria rather than Algeria, forgive me. Clearly we are talking about Algeria. Jomana, thank you. You

are in Turkey, which has been so hard hit by back to back disasters recently. Let's just focus for the moment on these flash floods along the

Black Sea coastal areas.

We've seen this drone footage, which is - which really gives us a sense of the destruction, and clearly people's homes, livelihoods, and lives are -

and have been at risk. How are rescue operations going?

KARADSHEH: Becky, you and I spoke about 24 hours ago about that situation where you saw these number - three provinces at least in the Black Sea

region that were hit with these flash floods, that heavy rainfall on Wednesday. The search and rescue operations are still ongoing. We have seen

the death toll continue to rise over the past 24 hours. At least 27 people confirmed killed, and there still are a number of people missing.

These rescue operations with more than 4,000 personnel from different emergency services, the military involved in the rescue operations, in the

evacuations. More than 1,700 people evacuated to shelters right now, so it is ongoing.


We heard from President Erdogan today promising that they are going to rebuild areas that have been devastated as you see from that footage as a

result of these flash floods. Of course the big concern right now from one natural disaster to the next. Right now there's another warning for heavy

rainfall that is expected also in the Black Sea region. Different provinces further east. They're expecting heavy rainfall as of tonight and warning

possible flash floods and landslides, so everyone is bracing for that right now, Becky.

ANDERSON: Jomana Karadsheh is in Turkey for you. Jomana, thank you. Well firefighters in Greece say the forest fires there are under control. That's

thanks to rain, cooler temperatures. Just this month fires have scorched 65,000 hectares of land destroying homes and businesses there. Drone

footage, again, showing this charred earth left behind by the fires.

Eleni Giokos spoke to the people left to rebuild on the island of Evia.


ZOI HALASTI, BAKERY OWNER: (Foreign Language).

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Baked for a celebration, now turned to ash. Here in the village of Rovies in Evia unimaginable damage. Last week

escaping by sea. Today counting losses.

HALASTI (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): We fought all our life, 38 years to build this businesses. Huge loss. I don't know how it can be rebuilt. Lots of

money needed. Pain, sadness, rage, despair, a mix of emotions.

GIOKOS: I asked her if the prime minister apologizing for any weaknesses in the response meant any thing to her? (foreign language).

HALASTI (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): He needs to apologies to everyone for what they went through. It's not only us who lost a business. Many people left

unemployed. The ecological disaster is huge. One apology is not enough.

GIOKOS: The fire then moving to a neighboring village, Limni. Flames engulfed forests and homes. 40 years of work wiped out.

PAVLOS GARIFALLOU, MECHANIC: A big part of the family is gone. This was my father's business. This is where I grew up. This is where I spend my

summers, my winters. And so, it is gone.

GIOKOS: The damage is extraordinary. I mean -

GARIFALLOU: Everything's gone.

GIOKOS: Everything's gone. There's nothing left to save. These are the bikes you were working on?

GARIFALLOU: Yes. These used to be working motorcycles most of them. Some of them melting beyond repair.

GIOKOS: Spending time with the locals here and hearing their stories, they say that destruction like this could largely have been avoided if help

arrived in time. They say they were left to fend for themselves.

Local mayor, Giorgos Tsapourniotis, says volunteers took on the heavy load.

GIORGOS TSAPOURNIOTIS, MAYOR, MANTOUDI-LIMNI-AGIA ANNA, GREECE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): The firefighters were ordering us to evacuate, but I don't

think this is a strategy, people leaving their houses and letting them burn. Thankfully many volunteers stayed behind and helped, saving 80 to 90

percent of the houses while endangering their lives. We didn't have much help on the ground or from the air. We were left to fight this monster fire

with water pistols.

GIOKOS: According to the Athens National Observatory about 465 square kilometers have been burned on the island of Evia. It'll have a lasting

impact on the community here. Evia produces 80 percent of the countries resin cultivated from pine trees that need to reach 30 years before they

can be harvested. Now gone.

TSAPOURNIOTIS (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): More then 3,000 people were dependent on the resin, honey making, livestock, and tourism that is now destroyed.

GIOKOS: Despite the pain and despair locals cling to any glimmer of hope. She says it still smells sweet a week later. Eleni Giokos, CNN, Evia,



ANDERSON: Well still ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, unprotected and in limbo. We'll bring you the story of an Afghan man who helped American forces and

now fears for his life.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Artificial intelligence, block chain, cryptocurrencies can be difficult terms to understand, but these buzzwords

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revolutionize the financial services sector.

MARCELLO MARI, CEO, SINGULARITYDAO: With over 10,000 cryptocurrencies out there in the market, it's very difficult for anybody to make educated



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marcello's (ph) company combined the dynamic duo of blockchain and A.I. to predict cryptocurrency performance. If prices are

set to go down it will advise customers to sell or buy if they're predicted to rise.

MARI: The average user can just purchase the DynaSet token and that's it. There's not much more that they need to do, and the A.I. will do everything

else automatically.




ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson in London. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Welcome back. More on what is our top story. Taliban militants expanding

their control in Afghanistan, seemingly taking more major cities by the hour. This is propaganda video from the group. They are celebrating their

victory in Kandahar, the country's second largest city. The group now controls half of the provincial capitals and a big portion of the country.

This map clearly shows where the Taliban are now in control.

Besides Kabul the Afghan government is hanging onto just pockets of territory here and there. The U.N. Refugee Agency is now pleading with

Afghanistan's neighbors to keep their borders open. Hundreds of thousands of Afghans have left their homes to get away from the fighting.

Well that fighting comes as U.S. forces wind down their 20-year presence in Afghanistan. The U.S. says it's brought over more than 1,200 Afghans who

helped the Americans, but many others are in limbo.

CNN's Cyril Vanier spent time reporting from Afghanistan. He caught up with an interpreter who now fears for his life.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORREPONDENT: My first item in Afghanistan 10 years ago with U.S. Marines deep in Taliban country.

MAJ. JOSEPH HANSON (RET.), U.S. MARINE CORPS: Every time that I've been north of this position we've gotten engaged with small arms fire and

meeting (ph) machine guns.

VANIER: Helmand province, one of the most dangerous places on Earth.

HANSON: Hey, take cover. Take cover.

VANIER: Lieutenant Hanson (ph) wants to question two suspects. His Afghan interpreter does the talking.

HANSON: I just want to know where they keep them (ph).

HAJI: (Foreign Language).

VANIER: Were they villagers or fighters?

HANSON: Oh, yes. At least one of those kids is a fighter. Would you agree?

HAJI: Yes. Definitely they are. They bring weapons, here, definitely they bring IED here.

VANIER: 10 years later I'm embarrassed at how rarely our camera turned to perhaps the key person in this exchange, the translator, Haji, nicknamed

Tiger, assigned to the battalions most difficult missions. His life on the line just like the marines.

With the Taliban now extending their rule over large parts of the country I got back in touch with him. We arrange a remote interview in an undisclosed

location in Afghanistan. His identity protected for fear of retribution.

HAJI: If they found me, they'd kill me and they'd kill my family. Because I was an interpreter with the U.S. Marines.

VANIER: The Taliban are known to murder Afghans who helped American forces. Haji says he's been on the run for six years, changing houses every

few weeks, his children out of school.

What do your children think is the risk to them?

HAJI: I told them I worked for Americans, please don't go out from home and don't tell any other children that Haji is living here, and that we are

living there.

VANIER: Haji has been denied a U.S. special immigrant visa twice despite glowing recommendations from the Marine Corps and the Army vouching for his

intricate role in disrupting enemy operations, and denial letter citing derogatory information associated with his case.


We asked the U.S. embassy in Kabul about Haji's application, but a spokesperson said they don't comment on individual cases. One possible

explanation, his employment letter states job abandonment. It doesn't sound like the Haji I met, so I found those who fought beside him a decade ago,

more than half a dozen former and active duty marines, including his platoon leader, then Lieutenant Hanson.

Did Haji quit on the Marines?

HANSON: Haji would never quit on us or my men.

1ST SGT. KYLE LEWIS, U.S. MARINE CORPS: Negative. No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was there from the beginning, from day one, and he was there all the way until the end.

VANIER: This is what I filmed back then. Haji in the closing days of the battalion's mission still very much on the front line. He says his

employment was unfairly terminated by a private sector contractor after third battalion fourth marines left the country for good. Haji's fate and

that of so many others now in the hands of the Biden administration.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Our message to those women and men is clear. There is a home for you in the United States.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. State Department did create a new path for Afghan interpreters to reach the U.S., one that's advertised

as more generous, but it's going to be extremely difficult for many to apply. Haji and his family would have to leave Afghanistan and wait for at

least a year in another country while their application is being considered with no protection, no help, and no guarantee of success.

I ask Haji if he ever regretted his decision to side with the U.S. His answer surprised me.

HAJI: Anytime if they want me, I'm ready to do work for the Marines. Always. And I still tell today my Marines if you guys come again in

Afghanistan I'll be the first interpreter.

VANIER: The price he's paying for that brotherhood a life in the crosshairs of unforgiving killers.

HANSON: Half of the platoon that Haji was with received Purple Hearts or was severely wounded in action or killed, and he was, you know, taking part

in all of those risks.

MAJ. ROBERT WALLACE, U.S. MARINE CORPS: It is painful to me that it has come to this, that we are 20 years down this road and we still do not have

a clear, simple, straight forward, and easy path to protect the people that risked their lives for us and in many cases saved our lives.

VANIER: Cyril Vanier, CNN, Paris.


ANDERSON: Next hour we'll speak with Sonia Nassery Cole who fled Afghanistan as a teenager and took her story all the way to the White House

and then President Reagan. She has dedicated her life to fighting for refugees, and you will hear that story in about an hour's time. Do stay

with us here on CNN.

I want to get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now. In Thailand reporting another record day of new COVID

cases with over 23,000. Meanwhile, opposition groups say they are filing a criminal complaint against the prime minister over his handling of the

pandemic. They accuse him of ignoring the situation until there were four waves of infections.

South Korea inking a new deal with Pfizer for 30 million doses of its COVID vaccine. Officials say the new batch would start to arrive early next year.

South Korea like many other places around the world is trying to get a grip on fresh coronavirus cases fueled by this Delta variant.

And in Israel, the country wanting everyone over the age of 50 to get a third COVID vaccine dose. A statement from the prime minister says 750,000

people over 60 have gotten their third shot already. Israel had initial success with the vaccine, but recently saw a steep climb in COVID


You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Still ahead after more than a decade of alleged abuse, it looks like Britney Spears will

finally be free of her father's conservatorship. That is coming up.



ANDERSON: Well the attorney for Britney Spears says the pop star has been vindicated. According to her court filings, Spears' father intends to step

down as a conservator of her estate. Now Jamie Spears came under pressure after his daughter accused him of years of abusive treatment. This report

from CNN's Stephanie (inaudible).


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDNET: Well Jamie spears says he doesn't think that there's any grounds for his removal as conservator of his daughter's

estate he's indicated that he will step aside and help her currently lawyer find a new conservator. That said, he said he doesn't necessarily believe

it's going to be in the best interest of Britney for him to step aside at this point, but he also believes that a very public battle with his

daughter would definitely not be in the best interest.

For their part, Matthew Rosengart, who is Britney Spears' new current lawyer, says that this is vindication for his client and that they plan on

continuing their investigation into Jamie Spears' behavior while he has been the conservator of her estate. They even claimed that he has profited

millions of dollars while in this position and that they continue to investigate that.

If you remember back in July when Britney Spears was part of a hearing in court about this very issue, she said that she wanted to press charges

against her father, and she says that he is guilty of conservatorship abuse.


ANDERSON: Well it's been a football week for the ages, hasn't it, with Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona and signing with Paris Saint-Germain, so why

not end the week on another big transfer in what is believed to be the second largest deal ever in English football. Teasing you here, Amanda

Davies is in the house. What a week for European football, and the latest big news just as the English premiere league kicks off a new season. Tell

us about it.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes. Absolutely. Ramelu Lukaku in any other week this absolutely would have been the transfer leading the way in

terms of the news. They say don't go back in life, but Lukaku has other ideas back at Chelsea, a club which really wasn't a happy hunting grounds

for him when he was there from 2011. Just 15 appearances, one goal over a three-year period, but since then there's been Manchester United. He's been

to Inter Milan. Won a Serie A title to become Belgium's best ever goal scorer, and now headed back to Stanford Bridge looking to add a premiere

league title to his (inaudible).

ANDERSON: A very different Chelsea team as well, of course. Thank you. You have WORLD SPORT after this short break. I'm back after that.





JASON BOSWELL, UNDERWATER CINEMATOGRAPHER: My name is Jason Boswell, and I'm an underwater camera operator and technical diver based in Cape Town,

South Africa. I normally get to spend my days out in False Bay getting to film all the amazing wildlife that lives in this incredible part of the


Thankfully False Bay is one of the most incredibly biodiverse places on the planet, so I've been lucky enough to see massive pods of dolphins, maybe

500 or 600 strong, the seals playing in the kelp forest. There's loads of bird life.

The best part of my job is that I get to five for a living, which is incredible because when you're underwater it's not quiet. There's a nice,

calm sereneous (ph) to being underwater, and getting to have that as an office is a pretty amazing job.



ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: This eye - this hour all eyes are on Afghanistan as panic fills the air in Kabul and beyond. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome back to

CONNECT THE WORLD. Taliban militants on a remarkable advance across Afghanistan as we speak. Now controlling half of the provincial capitals.