Return to Transcripts main page
Connect the World
Taliban Allow Some Americans to Leave Afghanistan as Soldiers Crack Down on Kabul Protest; U.S. Secretary of State: U.S. Engaging with Taliban on Evacuations; Brazilian Independence Day Brings Pro- and Anti-Bolsonaro Protests; COVID-19 Impacts Israeli Education with Children Falling Behind; Taliban Announce New Government; Aired 10-11a ET
Aired September 07, 2021 - 10:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Speaking in Doha in Qatar, America's top diplomat says the U.S. is engaging in talks with the Taliban
to ensure the evacuation of American citizens left behind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): Defiant protesters take to the streets of Kabul in the biggest show of dissent since the Taliban took power. Many expressing
anger at what they see as interference from Pakistan. This hour, we speak to the Pakistani national security adviser, Moeed Yusuf.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): And they don't call him the Trump of the Tropics for nothing. Growing concerns about how far Brazil's president will go to
stay in power.
ANDERSON: It's 6:00pm in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to two hours of CONNECT THE WORLD.
Cooperation on one hand, control on the other: the two sides of the Taliban on display today in Qatar, where America's top diplomat reports
progress in evacuating remaining U.S. citizens and others from Afghanistan and in Kabul, where the Taliban disrupted a protest with gunfire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): Firing shots in the air as protesters marched for women's rights and chanted, "Long live the resistance" and "Death to
Pakistan," which supports the Taliban. An Afghan journalist tells CNN, soldiers detained dozens of women.
News organizations there report the beatings of two journalists with several temporarily detained and cameras confiscated for a time.
Well, the Taliban also raising signs of America's presence in Afghanistan, painting their flag and emblem on the now abandoned U.S. embassy in Kabul.
But in Doha, the U.S. secretary of state says the Taliban are holding to their commitment to allow Americans and some others to leave the country.
Antony Blinken also discounting a U.S. congress man's claim, the Taliban are holding Americans hostage in a northern city. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We have been assured again that all American citizens and Afghan citizens with valid travel documents will
be allowed to leave. And, again, we intend to hold the Taliban to that.
They have upheld that commitment in at least one instance in the last 24 hours, with a family that was able to leave through an overland route. And
we are not aware of anyone being held on an aircraft or any hostage-like situation in Mazar-i-Sharif.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Connecting us, Sam Kiley is in Doha, where we heard the comments from Antony Blinken. Nic Robertson is in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Let me start with you, Sam.
What do you make of these comments we are hearing from America's top diplomat in Doha?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, very specifically on the matter of evacuations -- and there are two sets of evacuations, if
you like. You've got the American citizens and green card holders. And then you've got people who are seen themselves as risks to Afghanistan who have
different forms of documents that will allow them to get to America or elsewhere.
In the case of Americans, a mother and three children were able to get out on a land route. Mr. Blinken said the State Department was keeping to
itself in terms of where they were and who helped them to cross. It wasn't without problems. They were held for 13 hours reportedly at the border
before being allowed to cross.
But this was coordinated with the Taliban. Very important, too, that he stressed that, in Mazar-i-Sharif, allegations coming out of Washington,
D.C., particularly from some Republican congress men, that the Taliban were somehow horse trading with the lives of American citizens, suggesting that
they were being held in some kind of hostage in return for some kind of diplomatic recognition being offered to the Taliban.
Completely false, said Mr. Blinken. He said the holdup was probably more to do with American bureaucracy and the need to screen passengers and the
different types of documents that different passengers had from the same group.
And that's very difficult because they don't have any Americans on the ground. So in the short term, stressing from the State Department, really,
Becky, that this coordination and cooperation with the Taliban was ongoing.
And he also added that he had -- this was a press conference mid-morning today in Doha -- that day also being in direct touch with the Taliban. So
this is something, certainly on a diplomatic level, they are keeping very much alive, Becky.
ANDERSON: Sure. His visit, alongside the secretary of state, for Defense.
ANDERSON: These are two key U.S. officials. Their visit to Doha underscoring the role that Qatar is playing. Of course, it has been hosting
political leaders of the Taliban now for some time in talks with the U.S.
We understand that this talk is -- this trip is about thanking the Qataris for what they have been doing.
But behind the scenes, is it becoming clearer what sort of talks the U.S. have been having with Qatar?
And what happens next with regard any relations with the Taliban?
KILEY: Well, that is very, very important. Again, Secretary Blinken stressed it wasn't an accident, that the U.S. embassy from Kabul had been -
- is being moved here to Qatar, stressing that the links between Qatar had been very, very useful at the U.S. request in terms of establishing
communications, not just with the United States but intra-Afghan talks.
And acknowledging not just the extraordinary role that Qatar played in this mass evacuation, suggesting over 50,000 people, I think, were processed
through Qatar during the airlift, more than half the airlift came through Qatar, according to figures being offered at that press conference.
But also looking to reassure Qatar and other nations -- we talked about this in the past, Becky -- in the Gulf, that the United States is not a
fair weather friend, that the apparent abandonment of the Afghan conflict was not a signal that the United States would be an unreliable ally in the
Gulf, something I put to Secretary Blinken.
He went to some pains to point out how deep those relationships were. Behind the scenes, though, we do know from our own sources in the Gulf that
is still a question that remains to be resolved, notwithstanding the heavy military presence, of course, that the United States has here in Qatar and
elsewhere in the Middle East -- Becky.
ANDERSON: So the U.S. perspective underscored in Doha today, with the visit of those two top U.S. officials.
Nic, let me get to you. You are in Islamabad in Pakistan. And over the border in neighboring Afghanistan today, chants of "Death to ISI" -- that's
Pakistan's intelligence agency -- by Afghan men and women at anti-Pakistan rallies. Explain what is going on here.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's hard to tell precisely why people chose to come out and protest today about Pakistan.
We've seen these protests for women's rights and education and political representation. But today's one had a different flavor.
It was part about what happened in the Panjshir Valley in Kabul, where the Taliban has overtaken the last pocket of resistance, and part at anger
directed at Pakistan.
Over the weekend, Pakistan's intelligence chief, the chief of the ISI, Faisal Hamid (ph), came into Kabul spent the night over the weekend, met
with Pakistani embassy officials, met with Taliban leadership figures.
We don't know what was said in those conversations. But the perception that appears to have been created at this very critical time, when the Taliban
are forming their government, all eyes, Afghan eyes in particular, are on the Taliban right now to see how they make this decision, to figure out
what it's going to be.
So when the ISI Pakistan's intelligence chief comes into that very sort of focused and heated mix, then, because of the history that the Pakistan's
intelligence service has had with the Taliban from the Taliban's founding, sort of being closely supportive through the following decades, while the
United States was in Afghanistan and the Taliban were attacking and killing U.S. forces, U.S. commanders really felt that Pakistan was playing a double
The Taliban could come over the border, shoot at U.S. troops and then duck back across the border and get sanctuary in Pakistan.
Clearly, that narrative resonates with some of the Afghan population. And they feel this is how it appears that the Taliban have come to power, again
with the support of Pakistan's intelligence service. And they reject that. They don't want it.
Now the Pakistani officials deny all of that. But this is a deep, enduring narrative in Afghanistan and it's not going to go away with the arrival of
the Taliban. And it's only going to look, under more scrutiny, when Pakistan's intelligence chief is in the country at a key time.
ANDERSON: Nic is in Islamabad and Sam in Doha.
To both of you, thank you. I've got a lot more insight from you coming up later here on CONNECT THE WORLD.
I'll be talking to Pakistan's national security adviser about his take on what is going on.
ANDERSON: Why he believes that there were these anti-Pakistan protests in Kabul over the last 24 hours or so and on avoiding a humanitarian crisis
amongst millions of Afghans.
Well, the Taliban now face the challenge of running one of the poorest countries in the world. And the situation is becoming ever more dire. The
U.N. just warned basic services are collapsing and food and other aid are about to run out. Lindsey Hilsum of the U.K.'s Channel 4 News shows us the
grim realities that Afghans now face.
LINDSEY HILSUM, CHANNEL 4 NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Taliban fighters in Kabul, freshly arrived from their victory in the Panjshir
Valley, they cruise the streets and rule the roost, young bucks with newly acquired American weapons. It's their moment, their city, their country.
They raised the Taliban flag in the Panjshir provincial capital. They've defeated the last resistance. The late warlord, Ahmad Shah Massoud, the
Lion of the Panjshir, looks down from the walls of the provincial governor's office as the Talib celebrate.
Back in the 1990s, the Taliban never defeated his militia. But today, they say they have vanquished fighters under the command of his son.
At a hospital run by the Italian NGO Emergency, the wards are full of injured people. A few years back, Haji Azatullah's (ph) son was paralyzed
by a stray bullet. He himself was one of the few people wounded in crossfire, as the Taliban entered Kabul three weeks ago.
HAJI AZATULLAH, INJURED AFGHAN: (Speaking foreign language).
HILSUM (voice-over): But the legacy of conflict is poverty. About 600 families, who fled their homes in the provinces, are surviving in a filthy
field on the outskirts of the capital. Abdul Malek (ph) and his family fled backland after his home was blown up in fighting.
ABDUL MALEK (PH), AFGHAN REFUGEE: (Speaking foreign language).
HILSUM (voice-over): Everyone wants to tell me their story: no food, no work, sons killed; 5 million Afghans have been displaced in two decades of
The U.N. says 18 million, nearly half the population, will need humanitarian assistance this year.
HILSUM: Some people here have fled war, others have fled poverty but most have fled both. They have lives of terrible deprivation. This camp was
bigger about a week ago because some people feel that they can now go home because the war is over.
But the people I've been speaking to say they don't dare go home. And although violence may now be decreasing, because of the terrible economic
problems that the Taliban is facing, poverty is only going to get worse and the humanitarian needs greater than ever.
HILSUM (voice-over): The head of the U.N. humanitarian agency flew to Kabul to meet the Taliban.
MARTIN GRIFFITHS, U.N. HUMANITARIAN CHIEF: I think they're surprised they are where they are today. I think we're going to get quite difficult
questions in their capacity to rule in terms of humanitarian issues in the coming weeks.
I came here 23 years ago to negotiate the same issues with the Taliban in Kabul in 1998. They're different now, clearly, from then. They are making
the right noises. They're making commitments.
HILSUM: But some people say by doing all this, you're normalizing these people and it should not be normalized.
GRIFFITHS: Humanitarians don't normalize. A humanitarian community does not recognize. A humanitarian community is focused on one thing and one
thing alone and that's delivering to the people in need, what they need, at the right time.
HILSUM (voice-over): Every day hundreds of people crowd around the banks. They're not getting salaries and can only withdraw a limited amount of
their savings. The middle class are becoming poor and the poor are becoming destitute.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).
HILSUM (voice-over): The Taliban are enjoying themselves. But running a country isn't the same as winning a war. And forcing your ideology on
people won't feed their families. We'll soon find out what really matters to Afghanistan's new rulers.
ANDERSON: That's Saitian's (ph) Lindsey Hilsum there. We'll have more about what daily life is like for Afghan's under Taliban rule.
A local journalist went on a road trip of sorts outside the capital. And he shows us what has changed in the past couple of weeks and what hasn't. You
can find that report on your CNN app or on our website at cnn.com.
Well, still to come, a lot more out of Pakistan and, indeed, out of Afghanistan.
Also tonight, president Bolsonaro of Brazil is flexing his muscles and so are his supporters. Big demonstrations are happening throughout the country
as we speak. We will tell you why.
And school closures prompted by the pandemic are putting millions of children behind in their education. Today we look at how Israel is bringing
kids back into the classrooms while trying to keep them safe from COVID-19.
ANDERSON: Brazilians are marking this year's Independence Day with demonstrations for and against the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): You are looking at live pictures from Sao Paulo where crowds in favor of president Jair Bolsonaro are gathered. Those
against him are also out in full force in several cities, including in Rio de Janeiro.
The president's critics fear he'll take a page out of Donald Trump's playbook and raise doubts about Brazil's democratic institutions ahead of
next year's election. My colleague, Isa Soares, reports.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Splashed across a big screen, Brazil's conservatives look to the American Right for inspiration.
DONALD TRUMP JR., FORMER PRESIDENT'S SON: Do you go the path of socialism or do you remain steadfast and strong for freedom?
SOARES (voice-over): The Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC, an American import, is hoping to revive Jair Bolsonaro's dwindling base as
the embattled president faces sliding approval ratings, a weakening economy and public outrage over his handling of the pandemic, which has claimed
over 580,000 lives.
Luiz Philippe de Orleans e Braganca, a lawmaker and Bolsonaro supporter, tells us why the president is seeking a second term in office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUIZ PHILIPPE DE ORLEANS E BRAGANCA, BRAZILIAN LAWMAKER: He believes that there is a risk that the radical Left will take over Brazil and that there
is a risk of totalitarian regime to take place in Brazil. And I believe that, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES (voice-over): With an election in Brazil looming large, this relationship with the Trump inner circle has strengthened over the years.
And in the Bolsonaro family, the likes of former Trump campaign manager, Steve Bannon.
STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: He's the third son of the Trump of the Tropics, president Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They say, Edoardo, you are --
SOARES (voice-over): With Edoardo Bolsonaro making an appearance at the My Pillow CEO's event.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bolsonaro will win unless it's stolen by - guess what - the machine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The machines.
SOARES (voice-over): Taking his cue from the Trump playbook, Bolsonaro has been sowing doubt on the integrity of Brazil's entire electronic voting
system, calling for printed ballots to supplement electronically cast votes.
JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT: (Speaking Portuguese).
SOARES (voice-over): And threatening not to hand over the presidency next year if there is suspicion of fraud.
BOLSONARO: (Speaking Portuguese).
SOARES (voice-over): As the calls for his impeachment grow louder, Bolsonaro continues to fight for political survival, using the armed forces
to project power, with a military parade recently in front of the presidential palace, enough to rattle some of Brazil's political
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).
SOARES (voice-over): A former member of Brazil's Communist Party, Amalia Natal (ph) said she was a victim of torture during the country's brutal
military dictatorship, which lasted 21 years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).
SOARES: Is Brazil's democracy at risk, Amalia (ph)?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).
SOARES (voice-over): Fortunately (ph) words from those who carry the scars of those dark days and fear that Brazil's past might just be about to
repeat itself -- Isa Soares, CNN.
ANDERSON: And we are keeping a close eye on what is going on across cities in Brazil as those crowds, both in support of and against the president,
swell. Stay with us for more on that.
ANDERSON: And just coming in to CNN, we are expecting a new Taliban government to be reported very shortly. That is according to a senior
Taliban official. A new government to be announced shortly, announced by that senior official on his Twitter account.
A news conference apparently to be held at that time. So, of course, stay with us here on CNN.
We're going to move on to another issue, another subject at this point. But believe me, as soon as we get more, as soon as we see that news conference
start, we will get you straight to it, an incredibly important story, as I know you will be well aware.
As we await that announcement from the Taliban, all this week, we are looking at something that no society can ignore: education. It's critical
to all societies, who want to see their kids prosper.
But some closures because of COVID have ripped a hole in the very fabric that holds institutions together. And it has worsened inequalities around
the world that were already there.
A UNESCO report early this year showed that, at the peak of the crisis, 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries were out of school. Some
closures had also impacted over 100 million teachers and school staff.
Well, students have fallen behind in their learning; 100 million kids will fall below the minimum proficiency level in reading. And at a time when
teachers need all the support they can get to make up for lost time, UNESCO says two-thirds of poorer nations have slashed their education budgets.
Now this report also highlighted the worsening digital divide. Nearly 500 million students -- that's half a billion kids around the world, from pre-
primary to upper secondary school -- don't have access to remote learning at all. Three-quarters of those live in the poorest households and in the
ANDERSON: OK. Well, look, stay with us. We want to get you to a press conference now from the Taliban. Let's listen in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is time for -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- the people -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- there is a great need that the services are delivered to the people and so that the people get their social justice and
have the rights as soon as possible and -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Islamic Emirate -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- that a crucial and important (INAUDIBLE) should be formed to deliver these services. It's worth mentioning that the remaining
ministries and organizations and institutions will be declared gradually of the. consultation (ph).
Key caretakers and directors will be announced as follows.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- caretaker of the ministry of (INAUDIBLE) - respected (INAUDIBLE) is the deputy of the ministry (INAUDIBLE).
Al Hajj Monas (ph) (INAUDIBLE) is the caretaker of the ministry of foreign affairs - foreign affairs. (INAUDIBLE) is the caretaker of the ministry of
(INAUDIBLE), respected (INAUDIBLE) is caretaker of (INAUDIBLE) caretaker of the ministry (INAUDIBLE) and (INAUDIBLE) the caretakers information culture
Respected (INAUDIBLE) -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sheikh (INAUDIBLE), minister of (INAUDIBLE).
(INAUDIBLE) is the caretaker (INAUDIBLE) justice (ph). (INAUDIBLE) caretaker minister of development ministry (ph).
(INAUDIBLE) is the caretaker minister of the propagation of (INAUDIBLE).
(INAUDIBLE) is the minister of the (INAUDIBLE).
Sheikh Mansoor, (INAUDIBLE) minister of the (INAUDIBLE) caretaker minister at (INAUDIBLE) minister of higher education (ph). (INAUDIBLE) is the
caretaker minister of communication and is (INAUDIBLE) caretaker minister of (INAUDIBLE).
(INAUDIBLE) is caretaker of (INAUDIBLE) services (ph).
(INAUDIBLE) is the caretaker...
(INAUDIBLE) ministry of defense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) is the deputy of the ministry (ph).
(INAUDIBLE) is the deputy ministry of (INAUDIBLE) ministry.
(INAUDIBLE) is the director of intelligence services.
(INAUDIBLE) is the intelligence minister (ph) (INAUDIBLE).
And (INAUDIBLE) ministry of (INAUDIBLE) drugs (ph).
As we all know that the country is -- was faced with a critical situation and the people were waiting that a caretaker government is announced to
(INAUDIBLE) services, therefore, the leadership of the Islamic Emirate decided that it was a mistake.
There are two deputies for the ministry of the -- ministerial position. Salam Hanafi is the second deputy (INAUDIBLE).
So, for now the Islamic Emirate decided (INAUDIBLE) caretaker administration at the moment. There are certain ministries that need to be
(INAUDIBLE) appointed but we have to (INAUDIBLE) particularly (ph) about.
And we are also trying to appoint professional people for the deputy positions. And as a follow, we would like to share power with the political
power presence (ph) again we focus on (INAUDIBLE).
(INAUDIBLE) in due course we will announce our other ministers and the deputies. This caretaker administration is (INAUDIBLE) to tackle the
immediate problem of poverty. However, there is no war in the (INAUDIBLE) security is being resolved. We needed a caretaker administration (ph) to do
And the name of these (INAUDIBLE) caretaker ministers, we've got copies and (INAUDIBLE) and Farsi so take copies from there. This policy, we have also
got a policy and (INAUDIBLE) in Farsi and English so you can (INAUDIBLE) in due course and you can make your reports.
And now I will offer time for the journalists if they have any questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: France-Presse agency asking a question.
ANDERSON: The Taliban spokesman announcing the cabinet members of the new government, the key positions of defense, interior and the head of the
council of ministers.
The big question, of course, many around the world are looking to get answered today, is this an inclusive government or a purely Taliban-
Let's get you to Sam Kiley in Doha, where he's been reporting on what is going on in Afghanistan from there. And he's been with the two top U.S.
diplomats there today, Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin.
And we've got Nic Robertson with us once again from Islamabad in Pakistan.
Sam, translation on that not easy to listen to.
What do you make of what you just heard?
KILEY: Well, as you say, it was very, very indistinct. So I confess that it was almost impossible for me to make out the ministers. I'm not going to
What I didn't hear -- and Nic may be able to shed some light on this, maybe he heard better than I - four is better than two on this kind of story.
KILEY: I didn't hear any mention of some of the key players that were part of the negotiations for the establishment of an all-inclusive government;
no mention of Abdullah Abdullah, as far as I was able to make out, former chief executive of Afghanistan.
No mention of Hamid Karzai, former president, both of whom remained behind after the outgoing president fled. Neither of whom, I don't think have
been, at least not yet, introduced as part of.
What is very interesting here, though, repeated - did -- what I did pick up in the translation is this word caretaker. Caretaker government, caretaker
So the Taliban allowing for the fact that this is a work in progress, perhaps signaling that there is an opportunity here for a bit of give and
take in terms of the personalities, suggesting that people are not in entrenched positions and perhaps also suggesting that they accept that the
country's been without a government for too long.
And ministries need to get up and functioning, that they need to get the wheels of state turning. They need to get the aircraft coming and going.
They need to open up their borders. They need to get aid flowing in -- 3.1 million children facing chronic malnutrition in that country.
Statistics like that should concentrate the minds of any government. And I think that's part of why they're trying to get this off the ground. But no
signs yet, at least to me, Becky, of the inclusivity that a lot of the international community have been looking for.
ANDERSON: Nic, let me bring you in at this point -- and we are being completely transparent here. That wasn't particularly easy to listen to.
What did you make of what you heard there?
ROBERTSON: You know, one of the caretaker ministries, I thought, that jumped out at me was this one that was for the Propagation of Good and the
Prevention of Evil.
In the 1990s, when the Taliban had that ministry, these were essentially the religious police, the religious enforcers, who would go around on the
streets and make sure the people were following Islamic law, following the Taliban's interpretation of it.
I couldn't -- didn't catch the name of who would actually have that ministry. But if that caretaker ministry is now being brought into being
and brought up and running, then I think that gives us an idea of what are the priorities for this particular government.
I think we heard the talks about development there as well. Obviously, this is an important thing for the Taliban. Perhaps we're going to be able to
get a better read-through on some of those names but there seemed to be the possibility indication there that Mullah Omar, the founder of the Taliban,
the original founder of the Taliban, dead now for six or seven years, his son may -- it seems Mullah Yaqoob may have got the position of defense
Now sources here in Pakistan had told us that he was in the running for the defense ministry. That's what they had understood from their discussions.
They didn't say who they had had those discussions with.
But Pakistan, sources in Pakistan said that he was in the running for that but it had been contested with another Taliban military commander. So it
does appear -- appear, we really need to check, make sure we heard all this correctly -- it does appear that the original Taliban supreme leader, that
his son, who the U.N., in a report on the Taliban earlier this year, the U.N. said that they knew that he was trying to get a leadership position in
And it does appear that he's emerged with that.
Mullah Baradar, another name we've been listening for here, he who was the main interlocutor with the United States in Doha, did we hear his name go
As a deputy or assistant prime minister, that wasn't quite clear. So I think really we need to dig into this a little bit more. But a few
takeaways, religious and the importance of this prevention of bad -- Promotion of Good and Prevention of Evil, that's a big one.
People who lived through the Taliban before will know wisely what that means, strict enforcement of sharia law.
ANDERSON: And 23 days, that is the time it has taken this group to form what is, as you rightly point out here, the -- a caretaker government but a
And a government, at this point, that doesn't look inclusive, Sam. And that will worry the international community. It will worry those two top U.S.
diplomats, who have been speaking in Doha, in Qatar, where you are today.
KILEY: And we just learned that Sarajuddin Haqqani, a very senior member of the Taliban military mechanisms but also a senior member of the Haqqani
Network, whilst integrated with the Taliban, also semidetached, the most powerful movement essentially in Kabul and all the way east to the
Pakistani border through Jalalabad, very militant organization, an organization responsible for numerous terrorist attacks, outright terrorist
attacks, not just acts of resistance against the military of the United States and the central government but terrorist attacks in Kabul, is the
Now that, on the face of it, would be deeply worrying to the international community, except, Becky, that because of his background in this field,
because of -- there were at least, historically, ties between the Haqqani Network and Al Qaeda, for example, he may be, if they are so inclined, to
be in the best position to actually keep a lid on those sorts of movements, to keep a lid on the more militant elements within the whole superstructure
of the Taliban.
And actually, privately, diplomats here in Qatar, not just talking about Qataris, are concerned the Taliban probably don't have the intelligence
infrastructure to manage and control those radical elements, such as Al Qaeda, more importantly ISIS-K in the future.
So the role of somebody like Sarajuddin Haqqani, whilst troubling as a personality, may also be reassuring if he chooses to go in the right
direction. But a man of violence and a very hardliner, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nic, is this a government whose shape was likely known before this announcement by the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence service, if not by
the president himself?
ROBERTSON: It's a good question, Becky. And it really isn't clear to us.
You know, interestingly, the briefings that we were getting here, the sources in Pakistan and this information came to us after the ISI chief
went to Kabul. Can't read too much more into it than that.
But the assessment we had was that Haqqani wouldn't get -- Sarajuddin Haqqani would not get a senior position in this Taliban government because
he is under U.N. sanction for connection to terrorism.
And for that reason, the Taliban wouldn't select him. I think the time duration that it's taken to come up with this comprehensive albeit
caretaker list is an indication of the difficulties going on inside the Taliban.
And I think that's difficult for anyone to read. You know, Pakistan's intelligence services have undoubtedly had their connections in the past
with the Taliban.
How current they are today, how much influence they curry in favor of the influence today, certainly the perception on the streets of Afghanistan is
they do; is that the Pakistani's intelligence service does.
But that is refuted on this side of the border here. And I think it's very hard to judge. There is certainly a stream of thought here in Pakistan that
says, actually, you know, the last time the Taliban got into power in the '90s, despite the early backing they had from Pakistan, they ignored a lot
of what Pakistan said to them.
The sense is we're seeing a replay of that at the moment. The Taliban are not inclined to bow and give Pakistan what may Pakistan may deem to be in
its best interest.
That said, what Pakistan has seen and witnessed over the past month is the removal of a government that it has seen as particularly being more sided
toward India; India is their big regional threat.
A government like the Taliban is certainly more akin to Pakistan's liking than the previous government, because it isn't one that is aligned with
India, which is their big regional enemy.
ANDERSON: To your point on India, the foreign secretary of India on Friday in Washington told reporters, and I quote, that "Pakistan has supported and
nurtured the Taliban that replaced the elected government."
We effort -- our access to the Pakistan national security adviser, who was lined up to talk to us on this show but since this Taliban announcement,
we're not able to speak to him as of yet.
But we have got a whole load of questions that we want to put to the national security adviser to the president of Pakistan. And we will
continue to press once again for that interview.
Sam, as Nic has been speaking, I know you've been keeping an eye on what else we've been hearing from this Taliban news conference. It started
about, what, 15 minutes or so ago. We've been promised the formation of a new government now for some days. Let's be quite clear.
ANDERSON: This is only 23 days since the Taliban took control of Kabul at the time -- and since they have said that they weren't actually intent on
taking control of Kabul.
It was only when the Afghan security services sort of disappeared, melted away, the president got out of the country, that they decided that it was
important to take control of security in the capital.
Needless to say, we now have this caretaker government announced.
Further thoughts, if you will, Sam?
KILEY: Well, I think it's very interesting. You rightly mentioned, the Taliban, at the time, said they stepped in to fill a power vacuum. They had
suffered what NATO calls, in military terms, a catastrophic success, a success that was so big they couldn't have planned for it quite so well.
So they stepped in. And interestingly, very rapidly, they injected large amounts of the Haqqani Network into Kabul; notably their special forces
brigade. A lot of them now in -- almost indistinguishable from U.S. Special Forces in that they've got a lot of the same equipment and dressed the same
way, apart from the long hair.
And they are the people that we've seen in the past, who took over the airport. They've been doing a lot of the more high-level, prestige security
jobs around the capital.
And it is that movement that arguably will have the best capability to keep a grip on the elements, such as ISIS-K, that want to embarrass the Taliban,
that have a dedicated program to unsettle and unseat the Taliban in the future.
But at the same time, of course, this is also a network with historic connections to terrorism. As Nic pointed out, the leader, on the U.N.
sanctions for acts of terror, this is going to be very difficult in terms of the actual personality of the caretaker minister for the interior to
now, for the Americans and others to work directly with him.
What had been, if you like, at an unofficial level, it's much harder when you are talking minister to minister. If the Taliban start demanding
ministerial connections between somebody who is their interior minister but still under U.N. sanctions for alleged acts of terror, that is going to be
extremely awkward in the future.
And the future for the Taliban is upon them. They are under enormous pressure to get those interior -- matters of the interior sorted out;
allowing people to cross borders, getting the airport up and running and then, more broadly, taking a look at how they're going to manage the
growing levels of protests that we're beginning to see on the streets, not just of Kabul but of Herat.
And as you've been discussing with Nic, a lot of that anti-Pakistan feeling coming out, These are all very awkward balancing acts, very, very
challenging jobs for any interior minister, much less someone who is so deeply associated in the past with terrorism, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nic, let me just bring you back in.
The Pakistan national security adviser said just a couple of days ago, and I quote him here, "If the world is not engaged with Afghanistan for the
sake of the average Afghan, then what are we" -- what we're really saying is, and I quote him here, "we don't care about a governance collapse. We
don't care about a humanitarian crisis. And we don't care about a security vacuum."
It's that sort of narrative from the Pakistanis that supports their position, that says, we need to support whatever government is running
Afghanistan, its big neighbor.
If it's the Taliban, so be it, at this point. I think, for the sake of our viewers, who may not be as well versed in the politics of Afghanistan and
its impact on, not just the region but its spillover to the wider world, I mean, you've been on this beat for years.
You were in Afghanistan before 9/11. Just explain the importance of what we're seeing today.
ROBERTSON: This is the international community getting its first look at what they're going to be dealing with in terms of Afghanistan. This is the
first test of the Taliban. This does not appear to reach the threshold of what the international community had outlined as needing to be inclusive.
The Taliban seemed to have fudged and hedged around that issue by characterizing this as a caretaker government. By necessity, Pakistan feels
it needs to engage with whomever has come to power in Afghanistan, in Kabul.
Because they feel that they potentially are the biggest losers if it goes wrong.
ROBERTSON: Because they will see an influx of refugees, as they did at the end of the 1980s, when the Soviets left, when the mujahideen started
fighting in Afghanistan when there were a lot of different warlords fighting over territory in the country, more than 3 million Afghan refugees
fled into Pakistan.
More than 2 million of them are still here. It's not easy for any country to absorb that number of people. It hits the economy. It hits socially and
culturally as well because they bring a different culture into the country.
There was also an increase in violence at the time. It brought terrorism into the country. So Pakistan is keenly aware that, without the engagement
of the international community, Afghanistan and the Taliban cannot succeed; they will bear the brunt of it.
I think one of the things that's happening already that Pakistan is seeing, we're seeing evidence of this along the border with Afghanistan, the
Pakistani Taliban, who live over the border of Afghanistan for the most part, the TTP, have increased their attacks on the border at Pakistani
military targets, really increasing them significantly over the last few days.
Pakistan's military went on a clean-up operation in one of those areas today. We're actually getting indications that the TTP now is being joined
by elements from Al Qaeda, is being joined by other jihadist elements all along the border with Pakistan.
This is a very long border with Afghanistan. So the early indicators are here that the Taliban success in Kabul is going to feed a Taliban brother
organization, if you will, the Pakistani Taliban, who vowed to take over and implement sharia law in the border regions of Pakistan.
They're vowing to take over Pakistani territory. They have increased their attacks and they're making alliances to put that into effect. This is a
very real threat with a significant increase in violence, potentially along the border for Pakistan, Becky.
ANDERSON: Stand by, Nic. I want to take a very short break at this point.
Viewers, back with Nic Robertson after this.
ANDERSON: Breaking news here on CNN. The Taliban finally announcing their caretaker government in Kabul. It includes Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund as
caretaker prime minister. This on the day of huge protests against the group's leadership.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): You're looking at what appears to be the biggest protest yet since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last month, some
shouting in support of the resistance in Panjshir; others shouting "Death to Pakistan," which is an ally of the Taliban.
Shots were fired into the air. And protesters and journalists were detained earlier. Now reports camera equipment used to film the protest was
confiscated. Nic Robertson is in Islamabad.
For viewers who may be joining us, Nic, we're talking about announcements we just heard from a Taliban spokesman on the makeup of this new Taliban
government. Just take us through the kind of key members here.
ROBERTSON: Yes, the prime minister, Mullah Mohammad Hassan, he was the former governor in Kandahar, the heartland province of the Taliban, if you
will, a shadow governor because of course, the Afghan government until recently had a real governor there. He was their foreign minister, too.
He is one of the older figures within the Taliban. But I think perhaps what's significant about him, he's the prime minister. He's going to be the
day-to-day leader of the country. How he ran Kandahar, he ran it under straight Islamic sharia law, under the strict interpretations that the
At that time, when he ran it, he was running it, the interpretation of those laws, so adulterers, for example, could face hanging. So that gives
you a sense of the political direction of the country.
We've seen indications of this already. I think, again, another figure from this, you know, from this caretaker government, is being called Mullah
Baradar, the main negotiator with the United States, is the deputy prime minister. Clearly a tough negotiator when it came to negotiating with the
But a political figure, not a military figure. We start seeing military figures lower down in the lineup. The defense minister, interesting, Mullah
Yaqoob, he is the son of the founder of the Taliban, Mullah Omar, who died five or six or seven years ago, died in Pakistan actually.
Mullah Yaqoob, we know from a U.N. report about the Taliban earlier this year, had been vying for a top position within the Taliban structure. It
does seem he's got that now. He's a military commander, a field commander, now he's defense minister.
The other sort of significant position within any government, particularly one that's just come to power through force, is the interior ministry
because the interior ministry is going to take control of internal security.
That has been given to Sarajuddin Haqqani, who, of all the Taliban, a strong commander, but has strong ties to Al Qaeda, has a strong own network
within the Taliban and is widely seen by analysts in the years running up to this as somebody who would give the Taliban a problem over the years,
because he wanted to go in his own direction.
ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in Islamabad in Pakistan. In neighboring Afghanistan, the Taliban announced their new caretaker government. More on
that after this.