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Biden Defends U.S. Withdrawal and Mass Evacuation; Taliban Celebrate Military Victory with Parade; What Afghan Refugees and Allies are Leaving Behind; Food, Water and Gasoline in Short Supply along U.S. Gulf Coast; Thousands Waiting to Leave Ramstein Air Base; China Aims to Ease Inequality with Antitrust Probes and Fines. Aired 10-11a ET.

Aired September 01, 2021 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): The U.S. president defends the hard exit from Afghanistan.

New details on the final flights out of Kabul.

Hurricane Ida causing havoc days after slamming ashore.


ANDERSON (voice-over): It's 6:00 pm in Abu Dhabi. It is 9:00 am in New Orleans. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to the show.

"I was not going to extend this forever war."

Those words from America's president, at once defiant and defensive over his country's withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Joe Biden insisting there was no better time and no better way to leave Afghanistan, calling the withdrawal "an extraordinary success," again,

shifting blame for conditions that led to the Taliban's lightning-fast takeover of the country and the resulting chaos and mass evacuation that

airlifted more than 120,000 people to safety and, of course, including an ISIS-K terror attack, that killed 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops.

The president vowing to continue to go after terror, telling ISIS-K, "We are not done with you yet," and offering a message to the 100 or so

Americans left behind.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The bottom line, 90 percent of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave. And for

those remaining Americans, there is no deadline. We remain committed to get them out if they want to come out.


ANDERSON: Well, Jeremy Diamond connecting us today from the White House.

And what of those U.S. citizens left in the country?

What do we know at this point?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, State Department estimates that there are fewer than 200, as many as 100

Americans left in Afghanistan who want to get out.

And what you heard in the president's remarks -- and also in words from other officials across the Biden administration -- is that many of those

Americans wanted to get out but some of them were also trying to bring along extended family or other people, which kind of made the situation a

lot more complicated.

Nonetheless, you heard a pretty unequivocal promise from the president to get those Americans out. But that work, of course, is going to be much

harder going forward. There's no U.S. embassy anymore in Afghanistan.

Instead that embassy personnel is based out of Doha, Qatar. And then you have the airport in Kabul that's no longer operational. Of course, the

U.S., Qatar and Turkey are trying to get that airport back up and running in cooperation with the Taliban.

The question is, how quickly can that happen?

There's no doubt this mission, which is now a diplomatic mission rather than a military mission to evacuate the remaining Americans, is going to be

a lot more difficult. And bottom line here, what you have is the president, having broken a promise that he made about two weeks ago, when he said that

there would -- U.S. troops would not leave Afghanistan until every single American who wanted to get out of the country was able to do so, that is

certainly something that the Biden administration is going to have to grapple with going forward, especially as Congress begins to hold hearings

about what went wrong here.

And you're going to hear some pointed questions and criticisms, not only from Republicans but also some Democrats about why the president didn't

uphold that promise.

ANDERSON: This decision about Afghanistan, he said, is not just about Afghanistan; it's about ending an era of major military operations to

remake other countries.

Joe Biden's words. No acknowledgement, we must add, of failures or mistakes. Jeremy, this was a speech, as one commentator put it today, not

directed at allies or adversaries or even Afghans but at the American public, who, according to the latest polls, seems to be losing its trust in

the president.

What chance this speech can reverse that trend?

DIAMOND: Well, I think clearly what the president was trying to do with that kind of big-picture framing is take the attention away from what has

been, at times, a pretty chaotic process of American withdrawal from Afghanistan and, instead, put the focus back on the overall decision to

withdraw from Afghanistan, for which the public is overwhelmingly supportive.


DIAMOND: And so the president I think is trying to go back to that bigger picture of what the public supports here, with the end not only to this war

in Afghanistan but to this kind of military adventurism that we've seen define U.S. foreign policy for the better part of the last two decades.

We heard the president say that he took away two major lessons from the war in Afghanistan: one, setting missions with clear achievable goals and

staying clearly focused on the fundamental national security interests of the United States.

And so clearly that is how President Biden plans to continue to approach his foreign policy going forward. And, you know, it is interesting, when

you look at the criticism that the president has faced, not only from Democrats but also from Republicans, it has mainly been focused on the

execution of that withdrawal, not on the withdrawal itself.

Of course, there are some Republicans, who feel that this withdrawal in general was a mistake. But overwhelmingly that is not the case. And that

kind of tells you about where the U.S. political center is right now on questions of foreign policy and military interventions around the world.

ANDERSON: Well, it is certainly clear from the U.S. President that the days of nation building by the U.S. are over. He said that. Jeremy, thank


The Taliban celebrating the spoils of victory with a parade in Kandahar, the city where the group originated. Taliban fighters showing off dozens of

American-made armored vehicles and weapons that they seized after Afghan forces fled.


ANDERSON (voice-over): This video posted on social media -- and not independently confirmed by CNN I must add -- shows fighters triumphantly

rolling through the streets. And Taliban soldiers have been inspecting U.S. military helicopters and other equipment left damaged at Kabul airport.

Today, a team of Qatari experts arrived in Kabul at the Taliban's request to discuss ways to reopen that airport. International diplomatic editor Nic

Robertson joins me now from Islamabad.

The Taliban celebrating the U.S. withdrawal.

Is it clear yet what Afghanistan under their rule will look like?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: No, in short, it isn't. And the reason we can't answer that question is because they haven't

announced a government.

And if the government they announce isn't inclusive of, you know, non- Taliban members, something they promised, if it isn't inclusive of that -- and people given some serious influence from outside the Taliban ranks --

then I think it's going to be problematic for the Taliban going forward.

It will be hard to sort of win the confidence of the population over, which is something that they know that they need to do. Otherwise, they are just

going to face over time a continued insurgency.

And that's, of course, a worry for everyone in the region. I think what you've seen today is really that sort of the Taliban letting off steam.

It's their victory parade down in Kandahar.

They have -- you know, they were asked by the United States to negotiate in good faith with the Afghan government, to join the Afghan government. They

didn't. They took the country by military force and these are the spoils of war and they are showing them off.

That's what they are doing. And I think some of the rhetoric that we've heard from the Taliban today wouldn't really be sanctioned by the

leadership. But it does reflect a feeling among the rank and file of the Taliban that they don't want anything more to do with the United States.

They have absolutely had enough of it and they are going to make full use of all the sort of military hardware that they have now recovered. But that

isn't necessarily really going to solve the country's problems, which are not just security; they are going to be economic as well. Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes, and to your point one Taliban commander today vowing retribution, saying, we will kill Americans. Washington has been seeking

assurances from the Taliban, of course, that they will support the evacuation of Americans.

Washington, because they got out within the deadline, hoping there will be some leverage still with the Taliban.

Can Washington trust them?

ROBERTSON: You know, to a very limited degree. But you know, I think it's going to be very hard for the United States to have the influence in the

short term that they want to have. President Biden talked about having the influence, you know, from a regional way.

And regional here really means, know, in conjunction with countries like Pakistan, that, you know, right on the border with Afghanistan and really

risk, if Afghanistan goes off the rails, if the Taliban can't run it properly, then that's going to impact economically and impact in security

terms on Pakistan.

And I think that's kind of the framing that President Biden sees this happening. It's through countries like Pakistan that -- that they can have

these diplomatic relations. We've seen the British today, meeting with the Taliban representative in Doha; the Dutch foreign minister is here in town,

meeting with Pakistan's foreign minister.

The German foreign minister was here yesterday meeting with Pakistan's foreign minister.


ROBERTSON: This is the way you sort of do regional diplomacy.

But what actual leverage -- and this is your question, of course -- what actual leverage do you really get with the Taliban at this moment when

you've heard from, you know, that soldier, saying, you know, we don't want the Americans anymore?

It's not something that the Taliban, as a leadership, are going to want to engage in publicly, bending to that international pressure. So, you know,

we're still in an unclear phase until that government of the Taliban becomes -- becomes known and announced -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, yes, absolutely. Nic Robertson in Islamabad for you. Thank you, Nic.

The next hour, the E.U.'s foreign affairs committee expects to hear the latest about what is happening on the ground in Afghanistan. If that sounds

a little bit like long distance box ticking after the traumatic withdrawal, it's anything but.

European leaders have said they do not want to see a repeat of their region's 2015 immigration crisis. But there are tens of thousands of Afghan

evacuees, wondering where they will be able to make a new home.

The European Union is hoping that they will choose one of the countries bordering Afghanistan. The E.U. treading very carefully on this one and

offering loads of aid money to try to make that happen. The bloc is sharply divided over offering asylum to evacuees. Take a listen.


YLVA JOHANSSON, E.U. COMMISSIONER FOR HOME AFFAIRS: We are in a situation, of course, where we need a comprehensive approach toward Afghanistan. We

need to avoid a humanitarian crisis. We need to avoid a migratory crisis and we need to avoid security threats.

KARL NEHAMMER, AUSTRIAN INTERIOR MINISTER: What is the most important thing now?

The most important thing now is to send the right message into the region. Stay there and we will support the region to help the people there.


ANDERSON: Well, CNN is getting special access to one group of Afghan evacuees, from their chaotic departure from Kabul to their arrival in

Paris. More now from CNN's Melissa Bell -- Melissa.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, we were able to follow one Afghan's desperate effort to try and fill the gaps of that coordination to

try and get some of those who had the right to come to France and stay amongst the Afghans with the proper documents, amongst those who helped

France over the years to get out.

We were able to see just how chaotic those scenes were and also to meet with that group once they arrived here and to hear what you always meet

with people who have had to flee their home at once, the relief of having arrived to safety but the desperate sadness of having had to leave.

And the man that I'm talking to, who helped enable so many of these groups to get on these French flights, is a man who arrived as an Afghan asylum

seeker on his own. And I think that's one of the important points we need to make. Those who made it on the flights are the happy few, Becky.

What we've seen over the course of the last very many years are tens of thousands of Afghans trying to flee their homes for precisely the reasons

that the ones who are trying to leave now, that is violence inflicted by the Taliban, political insecurity and insecurity more generally.

And what we've seen is that, since 2015 that migrant crisis that had so hit European politics, that had boosted far right parties and had led even

centrist parties to move further to the right on questions of migration, meant that Europe has yet six years later to come up with a coordinated

migration policy that would fit with its obligations under things like the Geneva convention.

So what you have already, Becky, even before they started to leave Afghanistan, is the latest wave that the Europeans are so worried about, in

the hot spots on the islands of Lesbos, for instance, tens of thousands of mainly Afghan migrants, living in deplorable conditions even though they no

doubt and in not many cases have a right under the Geneva convention to seek asylum in Europe.

It's a broken European Union asylum policy that's yet to be fixed -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Which does beg the question briefly, short term, how would any resettlement in Europe work?

BELL: Well, for the time being, it's not even a question that Europe has managed to ask itself. We heard mentioned yesterday from the interior

ministers, very much the focus on getting people to stay in the region.

Look, there are 5 million Afghans who have left Afghanistan and 90 percent are already in Pakistan and Iran. It's difficult to see how Europe will

sell this regionally. The next step is what it does with those when they do get to Europe. The focus has been on avoiding any signal, suggesting that

Europe might be a good place for them to head -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating. Melissa Bell is in Paris. Always a pleasure. Thank you.


ANDERSON: Well, many Afghans who spent years working to improve their country are now refugees in a foreign land. And they have been telling CNN

that they feel like they have been abandoned, not only in their home -- sorry -- they have not only had to abandon their home but also their

dreams. Barbie Nadeau has their story.


BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It wasn't supposed to end like this. Despite years of warnings that the United States would some day

end their mission in Afghanistan, those who held the future of this country in their hands are devastated.

Dr. Arif (ph) is a two-time refugee. He first fled Afghanistan in 1993 when he was 32 years old, walking for weeks to reach safety in Pakistan and

eventually move to Italy. This time, he was forced to leave. He went back in 2006 with the Italian Development Agency to rebuild his country. They

worked on infrastructure and roads. They built hospitals and trained medical staff.

NADEAU: Are the last 20 years lost?

DR. ARIF, ITALIAN DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (through translator): It's not that we have lost everything but the way we have abandoned them. This is more

difficult and more painful. We have done many, many things but we should not have abandoned them in this way.

NADEAU (voice-over): Arianna Brigante is the vice chairperson with the Italian agency Nove Onlus, which worked in Afghanistan over the last decade

to empower women. The group set up a women's driving school in Kabul and provided a shuttle service so women could get from work and school and home


ARIANNA BRIGANTE, NOVE ONLUS: It was the hope for a generation and I think we lost that. I mean, people that I have been working with for such a long

time and even one that my organization managed to evacuate are hopeless. They don't think that there's a future in Afghanistan anymore.

NADEAU (voice-over): Amina (ph), not her real name, works for Nove Onlus. She tried three times to get to the Kabul airport before finally using a

red flag to signal Italian soldiers who brought her to safety. She fears for those she left behind but she knows her work was not in vain.

AMINA (ph), NOVE ONLUS: I am proud all of the time, of all of the work we have done by the makeup (ph) of our organization, Nove Onlus, that we have

done there. Since all our projects were related to women empowerment, women education and their development.

NADEAU (voice-over): Captain Luca (ph) of the Italian air force flew the first Italian evacuation mission out of Kabul on August 15th. Even though

so much has changed since then with security threats and a deadly suicide bombing, he will never forget the people he brought to safety or those he

left behind.

CAPTAIN LUCA (PH), ITALIAN AIR FORCE: It was a challenge for everybody. But when you finally land and you relax just one second, you look at these

people and, in their eyes, you feel like you did something very good.

And you really can see the hope in their eyes, you know. It has been a long trip for everybody. But now we're just getting home and they are going

towards something new, a very new kind of life.

NADEAU (voice-over): Many of those who left Afghanistan hope to go back one day. But like Dr. Arif they are worried that the world will forget

about his country.

DR. ARIF (through translator): Don't forget about Afghanistan. Afghanistan needs it. Not the government. Now it's about the Afghan population that

needs help. They don't have to die from disease, from hunger, from lack of medicines.

NADEAU (voice-over): Will the world listen?

Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN, Rome.


ANDERSON: Well, a lot more on what could be next for Afghanistan on the line. It may not be part of the Middle East but the country's geopolitical

fate has for decades been inextricably linked to that of this nearby region. You can check the big picture on how the Taliban's return has

plunged the Middle East into uncharted waters on your CNN app or if you are on your laptop, just head to

Well, escape from Kabul, you may not know who this singer is but in Afghanistan she was a star. Now Aryana Sayeed is a star in exile. She will

tell us how she evaded the Taliban and left her country. That is next hour.

Plus, widespread power outages and people waiting hours for food and gas. We are live in Louisiana, where people are trying to pick up the pieces

from one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the region. You're watching CNN. I'm Becky Anderson. Stay with us.





ANDERSON: Well, new weather warnings coming out this hour as the remnants of Hurricane Ida track across the United States. Officials say it will lead

to life-threatening flash floods in the next few hours for portions of what is the northern mid-Atlantic. That is as people along the U.S. Gulf Coast

are facing a long road to recovery.

It has been three days, of course, since the storm hit and still more than a million customers have no power in Louisiana. The entire city of New

Orleans was left in the dark. The utility company says a small portion of homes were just getting their power back this morning.

Some of the Louisiana parishes have warned power outages could last for 30 days and in the sweltering summer heat, lack of electricity could be life-

threatening. Well, on top of that, there are long lines for gas and food running low as supplies dwindle in the region.

Let's bring in Ryan Young, who is live in New Orleans.

Some Louisiana residents being told to stay away because the damage there is so bad. Just give us a sense of what the situation is like where you


RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm telling you, people's frustrations are starting to rise. Obviously, we're dealing with this heat and, I mean, it's

hot already early in the morning. And the fact that people don't have enough food or actually gas at this point is really stressing folks out.

Look, we're in the middle of the street here and can you see how big the tree is that crashed into this house. You have to think that before the

power can be restored to this street, they first have to come deal with this.

And this is the last of their worries at this point because so much of the city is without power.


YOUNG (voice-over): With no power and sweltering heat, Louisianians are waiting in long lines for a chance to find essential items, like food and


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These people are going to wait hours to get gas, probably seven, eight hours to get gas. It's not good.

YOUNG (voice-over): Hurricane Ida knocking out water systems and shutting down cell phone service for many. As the days go on, residents are

increasingly frustrated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The food issue, the water issue, I don't think they have these things out quick enough.

YOUNG (voice-over): With dangerous conditions after the storm, local leaders say it's tough to get resources in here.

CYNTHIA LEE SHENG, JEFFERSON PARISH PRESIDENT: The difficulty is the supply chain. They are having the same difficulties getting their supplies

here as we're having, you know, living here. So it's going to take some time.

YOUNG (voice-over): Nearly a million homes and businesses in Louisiana have no electricity and, for many, it will be out for weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not satisfied with 30 days. The Entergy people aren't satisfied with 30 days. Nobody who is out there needing power is

satisfied with that.

YOUNG (voice-over): The New Orleans mayor saying some power could be restored today.

MAYOR LATOYA CANTRELL (D-LA), NEW ORLEANS: Again, the expectation should not be, because it's not a real one, that the entire city will be lit.

YOUNG (voice-over): At Tulane University, classes are cancelled until September 12th. Students loading into buses and evacuating to Houston,

where some will stay and others will make their way home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even if we have power on campus, if power is out on all of New Orleans, you can't stay here. You can't go to -- there's no food,

there's no supplies. It's not a -- it's not a good situation.

YOUNG (voice-over): And volunteers trying to help, setting up in New Orleans to provide hot and cold meals.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New Orleans is known for caring for our community and a lot of ways that we show love is food.

YOUNG (voice-over): With patience wearing thin, the governor urging people who evacuated to wait to return.

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (R-LA): Please don't come home before they tell you that it's time.

YOUNG (voice-over): But for some who stayed through the storm, it's time to begin cleanup. In LaPlace, one resident saying Ida was unlike any other

hurricane she's experienced before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We kept telling ourselves it was just stuff and as long as everybody was OK, that's all that matters.

YOUNG (voice-over): Meantime in Lafourche Parish, this neighborhood is now filled with debris, remnants of where houses and other structures once


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was real scary. I won't stay again, no way. But I just thank God we all made it.

YOUNG (voice-over): Floodwaters still surrounding homes in Grand Isle, where it could take years to rebuild.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never seen it look like this. It's decimated, people are very sad a lot of people have lost their homes, talking about

they don't know whether they'll bat go back or not because they don't have the money to go back, can't afford to go back.


YOUNG: And, Becky, right now, the homeowners actually trying to cut parts of this tree off their house. It didn't puncture it, thank goodness but

this is just one street. You think about it, you have that house that's been hit by the tree; you have these lines that are down right here.

You have another house that's been hit by a tree. You see the power lines tangled up there. And you multiply this over and over throughout this city

and you think about the major city that it is, with gas lines that stretch for more than a hour, people without power in the sweltering heat,

especially the elderly, you know that it's going to be a tough, tough few days. It's tough to deal with this heat every single day.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. Ryan, thank you.

Later on the show, CNN goes inside the Kabul International Airport. We're going to tell you what's been left behind by the Americans as they rushed

to evacuate.

The road out of Afghanistan long and perilous. We're going to take you to one of the stops along the way for Afghans fleeing the Taliban.




ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. You're more than welcome.

U.S. President Joe Biden says there's no deadline to get out the 100-plus Americans who are still in Afghanistan. That is even though the last U.S.

flights, of course, out of Kabul was Monday.

Officials say they are going to try the diplomatic route to get them out. And in a speech Tuesday, the president also shifted blame for conditions

that led to the Taliban's takeover, the country and the resulting chaos during the evacuation of thousands of Afghans.


ANDERSON: Chaos that included an ISIS-K terror attack that killed 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. troops.

President Biden promised to continue to go after terror, telling ISIS-K, "We are not done with you yet," and I quote him there.

Meanwhile, Taliban militants across Afghanistan celebrating their takeover. They are also getting congratulations from allies like Al Qaeda, which

praised them for taking control of Kabul.

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan says the Biden administration is still committed to getting at least these 100 remaining Americans out

but they will go about it, as I said, through diplomatic means.

The U.K., too, is also seeking diplomatic channels. It sent a special representative for the prime minister to meet with senior Taliban

representatives in Doha, with the goal of ensuring safe passage out of Afghanistan for British nationals and, indeed, for Afghans who have worked

with them.

Sam Kiley has more on who and what has been left behind.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The spoils of war, body armors, helmets, aircraft, all left by Afghanistan's army and

the U.S. rush for the exit from America's longest war. The U.S. says it destroyed what it could not take, when the last American boot left the

ground from Kabul International Airport.

GEN. KENNETH MCKENZIE, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: We have also demilitarized equipment that we did not bring out of the airport, that

included a number of MRAPs, up to 70 MRAPs that we militarized, that will never be used again by anyone; 27 Humvees that all tactical vehicle that

will never be driven again.

Additionally, on the ramp at HKIA a total of 73 aircraft; those aircraft will never fly again.

KILEY: Although these armored NATO MRAP vehicles have clearly been successfully salvaged but after 20 years of war, terror attacks and

political murder, the triumphant Taliban striking a conciliatory turn at the same airport.

"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants good relations with the Americans through diplomacy. However, the Americans failed here. They failed. From

the military perspective, they failed to achieve their goals but the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants to have good relations with the whole

world on behalf of the nation," said the Taliban spokesman.

He repeated orders for Taliban special forces to treat even former Afghan enemies with respect.

"I call on all our soldiers to treat the people well because the people have the right to peace, to unite and we are the servants of the nation. We

must not oppress the people," he said.

In Kabul, some celebrated the U.S. withdrawal with gunfire. In daylight, a persistent fear of the city's new Taliban masters, a more muted response.

"It is good that Americans withdrew from the country. They must let Afghans discuss what they will agree on and how they would form a government. The

government must be inclusive, acceptable to all Afghanistan," he said.

The Taliban has promised to deliver that and to allow anyone who wants to leave to go, including at least 100 Americans still trapped in Afghanistan.

Their future administration and aid and trade depends on it. Failure to deliver will inevitably lead to a victory spoiled -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Doha.


ANDERSON: Meanwhile, the U.S. base in Germany continues to fly out Afghan refugees to their new lives in the U.S. and other places. But as my

colleague Atika Shubert tells us, the process is not always quick and not always easy.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The vast majority will be taken in by the U.S. but it's still a long process. What we've seen

at the Ramstein Air Base is that more than 20,000 have been evacuated to that air base.

Now the good news is that, in the last few days, we've seen almost 12,000 evacuees being transferred to the U.S. There have been more than 51 flights

that have taken off in total and that means the number of flights bringing to the U.S. has definitely picked up speed.

But the bad news is that there's still more than 10,000 evacuees living in very basic conditions in that sprawling tent city at Ramstein Air Base.

It was supposed to be a very quick, in-and-out transfer of less than 48 hours for evacuees. The reality is much longer. I've been in touch with one

evacuee, who has been there now for 10 days going through various screening processes, processing of visas, et cetera. He's still waiting for a flight

to the U.S.

And for many of these evacuees, even when they get on a flight to the U.S., once they land, it doesn't mean that they are just free to go, start their

new lives or rejoin their family members there.


SHUBERT (voice-over): They go through an extra screening and processing, not only at the airport but one evacuee I spoke to, he, his wife and two

young children were then taken to another tent camp for more screening.

So it is a very long, a very painstaking process. Even though many are relieved to be out and the last military evacuation flight is out, they

still have a ways to go before they are able to start their new lives in the U.S. -- Atika Shubert for CNN, near the Ramstein Air Base in Germany.


ANDERSON: More stories on our radar right now.

The World Health Organization has added another coronavirus variant dubbed M-U or Mu to its list of variants of interest. It was first identified in

Colombia, where its prevalence among sequenced cases is 39 percent. So far it only makes up 0.1 percent of global cases.

India's health ministry says it has administered more than 30 million COVID vaccine doses in the past day. That's a new record for the country and

makes it 186 million doses given in August. That comes just months after India's brutal second wave fueled by that Delta COVID variant.

Google says its employees don't have to come back into the office until next year. The announcement is in line with similar decisions from other

companies, as the Delta variant continues to spread. This is the second time Google has pushed back its return to office date.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Ahead on the show, China waging a crackdown against Big Tech. Why Beijing has wiped trillions

of dollars, trillions of dollars off the market value of some of its largest private companies. That's up next.




ANDERSON: China is tackling social ills and income inequality by cracking down on private enterprise. This year, regulators have slapped some of

China's tech giants with antitrust probes and heavy fines, wiping $3 trillion off the market value of some of its biggest firms. Kristie Lu

Stout reports from Hong Kong.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: A sector under siege: China's leading tech players, from major e-commerce platforms and ride-

hailing companies, to education tech groups, all have been targeted by Beijing's crackdown on private enterprise.

STOUT: Casualties include some of China's leading tech firms: Alibaba, ByteDance, DiDi, Meituan, New Oriental Education, Pinduoduo, Tencent and

the list goes on.


STOUT (voice-over): Companies have been slapped with fines, banned apps and, in order to overhaul the business, prompting sharp falls for listed

Chinese tech firms and stoking fear about the future.

But observers say the end goal of Beijing's bid for control is not about creating chaos; it's all part of a top-down plan.

STOUT: Why is this happening?

DAN WANG, GAVEKAL DRAGONOMICS: This isn't simply a power play by Beijing to crush these upstarts, these billionaires, these entrepreneurs. A lot of

this crackdown is driven by political campaigns like Common Prosperity.

STOUT (voice-over): Common Prosperity is the prosperity of all the people, says the Chinese president Xi Jinping, as he pledges to redistribute wealth

in China. Analysts say the crackdown is out to fix social ills like income inequality and hypercompetition.

WANG: The government believes that these companies are mostly in the business of monetizing status anxiety, in which you have the sales people

from these online education firms really preying on the middle class dreams of sending the kids to the best universities.

STOUT (voice-over): There's another force behind the takedown: redirecting the sector toward hard tech like semiconductors and AI.

KEYU JIN, ECONOMIST, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: The Chinese government wants to have technological supremacy, that means setting global standards,

shaping future, technologies, especially in the critical and high-tech areas, creating general purpose technologies that will influence economies

all around the world.

STOUT (voice-over): That's one reason why influential investors still see opportunity. BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, is reported as

saying investors should as much as triple their allocations in Chinese assets.

While billionaire hedge fund founder Ray Dalio says investors should keep their faith in China, writing, "I urge you to not misinterpret these sorts

of moves as reversals of the trends that have existed for the last several decades and let that scare you away."

But as China's sweeping tech crackdown continues --

STOUT: Could this crackdown kill China's entrepreneurial spirit?

WANG: That's something of considerable debate. A lot of regulatory crackdown has focused on 10-20 of China's best and bright entrepreneurs. So

these are including the founders of Meituan, Alibaba, Pinduoduo. But I think for the broader masses of entrepreneurs, this is not so much

bothering them.

JIN: Especially in the new generation, these eager young minds are very motivated by China's large market. They see lots of opportunities.

STOUT (voice-over): A sector under siege is also being remade to serve the people and their master planners -- Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.