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Al Qaeda Killed Ahmad Shah Massoud 20 Years Ago; NATO Secretary General: We will put Pressure on the Taliban; ICRC President Wants Further "Independent Humanitarian Action"; Pakistan's View of New, Hardline Taliban Government; Is Pakistani Taliban Emboldened by Afghan Taliban's Success; Celebrating 50 Years of John Lennon's "Imagine". Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired September 09, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Welcome back to the show. Non- Afghans are flying out of Kabul Airport for the first time since the evacuations ended last month. Around 200 people said to be on this
commercial flight to Qatar, including some Americans catapulted a major step towards reopening the airport after last month's chaotic airlift says
the Taliban seized power.
Here's some not so subtle evidence of Taliban control. Meantime, portraits of the late anti-Taliban Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud defaced. He was
killed by Al Qaeda terrorists 20 years ago today and remains a symbol for the resistance.
Well, let's get you on the ground Journalist Vladimir Banic has met with Taliban firsthand he joins us from the Northern Afghan City of Mazar-i-
Sharif. You've met with the Taliban. What have you heard? What have they told you?
VLADIMIR BANIC, JOURNALIST: Yes, my first meeting with them was this morning when I crossed almost Uzbekistan to Afghanistan and since then, all
the way 100 kilometers' to Mazar-i-Sharif. During these checkpoints, they've been quite open, wanted to take photo with me, wanted to have a
quick chat with me about my reasons to visit Afghanistan.
Then again, I'm met with spokesperson Media guy here in Mazar-i-Sharif without his permission, I can't do anything else. But life hits, like now
so no interviews, nothing else. And the meeting with him, but also with the Education Minister for this region was quite pleasant and fair, and nice.
And I believe that, and I hope that after I got my permission to report about the news here in Afghanistan in this area, it would be the same not
everyone is lucky like 200 people from Kabul, apparently 640 people are still here in Mazar-i-Sharif, waiting for Taliban, to negotiate their
application from decision.
Just spoke with one of them. He does want to get his identity revealed, but he says that every one of them is either green card holders or American
passport holders. So that's one story that we're going to pursue next days here Becky.
ANDERSON: So the Taliban's commitment to ensuring safe passage for people out of the country as far as that person you spoke to concerned, certainly
being broken at this point. What's the atmosphere like on the ground?
BANIC: Well, it's on the side of the people who have been living without Taliban's, there is kind of still fear this present because everybody
remembers how it looked like 20 years ago, on the other side, Taliban side like I told you, there is a curiosity. They're very curious. They're all
over Mazar-i-Sharif. They're patrolling, they're guarding the mosque that's behind me. That's the famous Mosque here in Mazar-i-Sharif.
So I didn't see - I tried to remember if I saw a female person today here in the city, and I didn't, and I didn't see a guy wearing jeans, and the
only one having this. So there's still kind of transition ongoing. You can feel this in the city.
There is calm before the storm, some would say but some say that city is much safer now, in two hours is going to be curfew. You would usually hear
music from the cars banging, but now it's not the case Becky.
ANDERSON: Thank you for that. That's the story on the ground in Mazar-i- Sharif. We're taking a closer look then at the death of the legendary Afghan Commander, Ahmed Shah Massoud. This is CNN's Security Analyst Peter
Bergen with Massoud back in 1993. That was after Massoud was instrumental in forcing the Soviets out of Afghanistan.
Peter Bergen joining me now from Washington, D.C. and those images now, quite something when we consider that this is the 20th anniversary of his
death. Just remind us who he was and his significance to the story of Afghanistan in its recent past?
PETER BERGEN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Becky thanks for having me on. Yes, Ahmad Shah Massoud was one of the great Military Commanders of the
20th century. He fought off nine Soviet offensives during the 1980s from his sort of strong post in the Panjshir Valley in Northern Afghanistan.
And, you know, he was instrumental, "The Wall Street Journal" called him the man who won the cold war that may be a bit of a stretch, but he
certainly got - he was instrumental in getting the Soviets out of Afghanistan. And then, you know, there was a civil war against the
Massoud was leading anti-communist forces. They eventually won against the communists and then the civil war continued with the Taliban emerging and
Massoud lea the anti-Taliban resistance and when bin Laden -- bin Laden knew that the 9/11 attacks were happening, and he knew that it would cause
problems for the Taliban.
BERGEN: So the one thing he could really give the Taliban was the assassination of Massoud, which bin Laden orchestrated, and we're exactly
20 years later today. And, you know, it's a great tragedy that he was killed because I think he would have - he practiced, you know, he was not a
very observant Muslim, but he was not opposed to the west.
ANDERSON: Well, his assassination, of course, two days before the 9/11 attacks in New York and elsewhere. What is his legacy? Today, we were well
aware of what we've seen out of the Panjshir Valley over the last, what, 70 to 96 hours?
We spoke to the Spokesperson of the National Resistance front just yesterday on the show. He is determined that that resistance goes on.
What's your sense, given that the Taliban says it's all over bother shouting at this point?
BERGEN: Well, I think the Taliban are a much more formidable enemy today than they were before 9/11 because they've got all these American armored
vehicles, armored Humvees, they're kitted out with American military equipment. They've been fighting for 20 years.
And, you know, it seems - there seems to be some debate about the exact state of the anti-Taliban resistance. But you know, clearly, it's in pretty
bad shape. I think it will continue. Yes, there are some reports that Amrullah Saleh the Vice President of Afghanistan fled, you know, fled to
And there are people who are opposed to the Taliban and the Taliban are going to make mistakes are going to alienate the population. You know,
they've just appointed Becky, the Minister of the Interior Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Taliban Minister of the Interior?
Well, according to the United Nations, he's actually part of Al Qaeda. And so you know, here you've got a member of Al Qaeda in the Taliban
government. And I think that sort of speaks for itself. So there will be resistance, how effective it will be. But we'll see.
I mean, right now, I think it's the Taliban have very much the upper hand. And, you know, it's a great shame that 20 years after 9/11, we're back to
exactly where we were just before 9/11, which was, you know, the Taliban this time around they defeated Ahmad Massoud who was the son of Ahmad Shah
Massoud who was leading the anti-Taliban resistance, and they control all of Afghanistan.
So that's the same situation that it was 20 years ago, when I was going into CNN on 9/11. I was going in to speak about the assassination of Ahmad
Shah Massoud. And, you know, it feels like history sort of repeating itself here.
ANDERSON: Given what you have seen and heard of this new Taliban government. And it was only announced, of course, and this is an interim
government only announced in the last 48 hours. To your mind, given what you know about the country, the depth of reporting that you've done both in
and from the country in the past. What's your sense of where Afghanistan is headed next?
BRGEN: Very much back to the pre-9/11 Taliban controlled Afghanistan where I spent a fair amount of time. And, you know, it's significant that two of
the people who are cabinet members in the government are both on the FBI's most wanted list. I mean, I think that sort of speaks for itself.
So here you have a cabinet in which the Minister of the Interior, which is equivalent for in American terms of running Department of Homeland
Security, and the FBI, combined. This guy's got $5 billion on his head from the FBI $10 million on his head from the U.S. State Department. And the UN
describes him as a leader of Al Qaeda.
I mean, it's kind of astonishing. So that's the - that's the shape of the government. And there's been a lot of wishful thinking about him Taliban
2.0. That was wishful thinking. There's this hardline government they've appointed sort of speaks for itself.
ANDERSON: There was clearly a concern by the international community. And I spoke just earlier to Jen Stoltenberg about the dearth of intelligence now
that both the U.S. and NATO have pulled out. We see the CIA Director, William Burns in Pakistan today reportedly can't stand this up are
reportedly in India before that. Where do you think the U.S. goes next with regard Afghanistan? What's its strategy at this point?
BERGEN: Well, I mean, it's kind of trying to staunch an open wound, right? I mean, I'm sure you've just reported put on this group of American
passport holders and green card holders are getting out. But, you know, the International Rescue Committee estimated that 300,000 Afghans helped the
United States in some shape or form.
And, you know, clearly most of those people didn't get out. So, you know, I follow the American University in Afghanistan pretty closely and they were
only able to get 150 of their students and alumni and faculty out as opposed to 3900 that still remain there. And that's just one microcosm of
the bigger story.
BERGEN: So this is just going to go on and on and on. I mean, Tony Blinken is going to testify on Monday. I think it's going to be a pretty rocky
hearing because there are a lot of concerns about everything. I mean, first of all, the execution of this withdrawal, which clearly no one can really
defend, except the airlift went pretty well, eventually.
And then, you know, the bigger policy question about why was this even really necessary, because here we have the, you know, the Taliban took over
the country, and that it's a hardline Taliban and the Taliban had a peace agreement with the United States, which they didn't observe and President
Biden said he was bound by it.
But I don't think that was really true, because the Taliban didn't cut their ties with Al Qaeda, one of the Al Qaeda members is in the Taliban
cabinet as we speak. So, you know, that whole kind of "Peace Process" with the Taliban, I think was a you know, it was a big waste of time, the
Taliban did a brilliant job of snowing the United States about their intentions. And here we are today, with a with a hardline Taliban
government in control.
ANDERSON: Earlier, I spoke to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Peter, as I said. I asked him about the risks having no presence in
Afghanistan. And this is what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: NATO's main responsibility is to protect and defend 30 allies a collective defense against any threat from
any direction. So we went into Afghanistan to fight terrorism, we have made significant achievements degraded Al Qaeda and prevented terrorists attacks
from being organized from Afghanistan, Afghanistan, not being a safe haven for international donors.
Now, this issue, or the task is not to preserve that game. And we will do that partly by putting pressure on the new government in Afghanistan, but
also by working with partners and allies around the world. It is always, of course, a challenge when you reduce the military presence.
But this was a gradual evolvement over years; we had more than 100,000 troops, not so many years ago. Now we're down to 10,000. And now we're down
to zero. But we will continue to be committed to the fight against terrorism. And we are proven in other countries, that we are able to fight
terrorism without thousands of troops on the ground.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Critics say that NATO's efforts, quite frankly, have been a massive defeat in Afghanistan, whether or not the NATO Secretary General
was prepared to concede that he wasn't by the way in that interview, although he was, to a certain extent struggling to come up with a
convincing narrative as to why it was a success.
But be that as it may, the question really is certainly for Washington, and indeed, for countries around the world. Will Afghanistan be a terrorist
threat or will there be a terror threat that emanates from Afghanistan going forward --?
BERGEN: The short answer, the short answer is yes of course. You know, I mean, we've seen this movie before in pre-9/11, Afghanistan and in Iraq in
the summer of 2014. The question is who is threatened by the threat and, you know, for Al Qaeda, or another jihadi terrorist group to organize that
attack on the United States from Taliban controlled Afghanistan that will be pretty hard.
But for Al Qaeda or other jihadi groups to organize attacks in the region, or to try and attack American targets in the region, or to train Europeans.
That will be easier. And I mean, NATO, as the Secretary General pointed out, you know, it's an alliance, you know, it many of those members are in
Europe, and we have 7000 Westerners go, most of them, Europeans go to get training from ISIS, and some of them came back.
And of course, this is not exactly the same situation. But the similarities are more important than, than the differences. And we'll see people
traveling to Afghanistan to get training; whether it's from we're already hearing from the UN, that people from Central Asia and Pakistan are joining
And we're going to see Westerners try and join. And we're going to see people very excited by this victory, who just sitting at their computers as
I am, observe, you know, taking in online propaganda, we saw that in the United States that ISIS didn't need to train Americans, people sort of
self-identified as soldiers of ISIS, and carried out attacks in the United States.
So we'll see some of that too. So unfortunately, the threat is clearly worse, because before we were managing it with a relatively small group of
American soldiers and allied NATO soldiers, and now this entire country has just been handed over to a group of people who have essentially changed
their views about the world and remain allied to Al Qaeda. That's not my view.
That's the view of the United Nations, which released a report in June saying that Al Qaeda and the Taliban are closely aligned.
ANDERSON: Peter, it's always good to have you on thank you very much indeed for your insight and analysis Peter Bergen for you folks.
ANDERSON: Well, the Head of the International Red Cross has been in Afghanistan. He's only just back and he is ready to tell us why in his
words he is heartbroken at the stage of such a beautiful country? And what can be done to help? Peter Maurer joins me live up next. And I'm going to
want to talk live with Pakistan's National Security Adviser about his country's relations with Afghanistan under Taliban control that all coming
ANDERSON: Humanitarian aid can't get into Afghanistan quickly enough. That is the urgent message from the International Federation of Red Cross and
Red Crescent Societies. They say millions; millions of Afghans face colossal humanitarian needs as the country reels from conflict, drought,
and COVID-19. The aid groups put a start number to the situation. 14 million people don't have enough to eat.
Well, the President of the ICRC was in Afghanistan recently, to see the humanitarian crisis there for himself. Peter Maurer left this message on
his Twitter feed before that trip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER MAURER, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS: I will visit ICRC operations and talk to Afghans to understand better what their
short, medium and long term needs are. I'll talk to authorities to ensure that neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian action will continue
to be the basis of our work, and for further scaling and increasing our operations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Peter Maurer, joining me now live. You are just back from that trip. Tell us what you witnessed and what Afghans on the ground told you?
MAURER: When traveling through the country, of course, you'll become a witness of a very contradictory reality. You see, the remnants of war, EMT
camps, fresh graveyards along the road, the abandoned vehicles, the battle around this or that flag being on a checkpoint.
And at the same time you see the day to day life going back to almost normal in the cities of Afghanistan you see markets and streets alive. And
in between when you look carefully you'll see the enormous suffering that you have been alluding to in the introduction.
Half of the Afghan population is in need of humanitarian assistance today, and this is the effect of 40 years of conflict and violence. The health
system is in a shambles, the health clinics in Afghanistan can't supply medicine to patients, instruments - medical instruments are not there and
even the most elementary primary health care activity is today in question.
Water and sanitation systems in villages are not functioning anymore because of the disruptions because of the conflict but also have persistent
poverty. And this has compounded in these events where war has intensified over the last years, but in particular over the last couple of months, and
we have sometimes forgotten that this has caused the toll of thousands of people killed maimed this place.
And the sort of focus of everybody on what has happened around Kabul Airport is just a pale image of what you see when traveling through the
ANDERSON: Peter you were going to meet with authorities. So I presume you were referring to the Taliban? Did you meet them when they were there -
when you were there? And if so, what did they tell you?
MAURER: Yes, I met Mullah Baradar, as well as his closest aides in the political committee and some humanitarian aid of the Taliban. As you know,
we have been engaging, discussing negotiating with the Taliban for the last 30 years and more where ICRC has been active.
We have met them in detention, where many of the leaders have spent and so it was just a continuation of a dialogue the ICRC has entertained over the
last decades. And what I heard is that there is first clear interest and engagement to get continued humanitarian assistance more and faster
humanitarian assistance from the Red Cross, and certainly from other actors as well.
And there is readiness to consider and to accept that in order to do good humanitarian work, neutral and impartial, but also effective humanitarian
work, we need an inclusive environment. And I do believe that the Taliban leadership understands, obviously, is also challenged to pass the messages
in the ranks.
I was able also to talk to local Taliban leaders, as you have seen; I have not visited Kabul only but Kandahar, Lashkar Gah and other places. And so I
got a fair vision of what the Taliban decision making process on communitarian assistance and how complex it is and where it stands today?
It's still discussions ongoing amongst themselves and with us on right best way forward to deliver more.
ANDERSON: Are you comfortable working with the Taliban going forward?
MAURER: Well, that's not a question I can respond. As a President of ICRC, I'm comfortable in the sense that it is my legal obligation to work with
all parties to a conflict to ensure a humanitarian space to negotiate. And so that's my key task. And it's the key task of my organization.
And to the extent that we have done it over decades with the Taliban in territory is controlled with them. We have at least practice some examples
which demonstrate that it is possible to find acceptable compromise to move forward. Now, at the present moment, the situation is new, because the
group which had and was in control of some parts of Afghanistan is in control of the central government and the whole of the country.
And therefore, it will be important to continue in negotiation process on exactly the ramification of humanitarian assistance as it can happen in the
future. And this will need further conversations, as many others have said. We will have to work through those issues. We can't expect things just to
fall into places today and tomorrow.
ANDERSON: I spoke to the Secretary General of the NATO Alliance earlier today. Jens Stoltenberg told me that the world does still wield some
leverage, nothing like the leverage that they might have had in the past but some leverage over the Taliban with regard economic leverage.
Now you have appealed to the World Bank to unlock funds to Afghanistan. The question will be doing those institutions that have frozen those funds
trust this group? Should they will that be your message to the IMF, the World Bank, others can the Taliban be trusted with money of that kind?
MAURER: Well, my basic message is that humanitarian work is not only dependent on what we are able to negotiate as a humanitarian space. It will
also depend on the political conundrum of recognition and economic assistance as you have elaborated.
And to the extent that is not happening, the pressure on humanitarian actors will be bigger to the extent that trust will be established in the
international community and political arrangements will be filed, which channels other than humanitarian money into an economy which is falling
apart, will determine on how good and how much space we have and how much pressure we will see?
I would certainly appreciate if a political arrangement would be filed soon, which allows to finance critical infrastructure in Afghanistan. It
doesn't need to be from one day to another trust and recognition. This is a long term process.
But we know from other conflicts in the world, that when critical infrastructure, health, water, sanitation, education, electricity falls
apart, that then you get a spiral of instability, which will be, again, politically worse than any experiment on offering trust and negotiation,
even to a government which eventually politically, you may not like.
ANDERSON: Peter, I hope you don't mind me saying, but you have been around a long time. And the sense I get from you and from this trip was one, which
was pretty depressing. You talked about it being heartbreaking, just reflect, if you will, on how Afghanistan today fits in to the kind of wider
humanitarian story that you have been part of, over so many years, just how bad are things potentially?
MAURER: Well Becky, there are these places in the world, which are emblematic places to a President of the ICRC because everything which can
go wrong, somehow goes wrong, and converges in those places. And Afghanistan is definitely along Syria and a couple of other places I have
dealt with in almost 10 years as a President of ICRC.
Afghanistan is one of these places where political difficulties, security difficulties economic conundrum converge into major humanitarian crises
with which we deal and then I didn't want to sound depressed, I come rather reinvigorated also from the trip as bad as the situation in Afghanistan is.
Because I do believe in the enormous strength of those Afghani populations that I have met women and men working in our programs working for the ICRC
for the Afghan Red Crescent Societies first and foremost don'ts I have met during that week. And I have been impressed that they stay that they want
to improve that they expect from us also to support them in the future.
They have a rather somber image of those internationals, which left to put it mildly. And they are disappointed by a certain international community,
which has abandoned and which in their discourse is almost exclusively focusing on preventing migration and security issues, while their issues as
Afghan people are basic services and basic infrastructures to make their lives easier.
So it is a difficult conundrum with which we are dealing but I'm not at all depressed. I think we are at a turning point and at a turning point even if
it is a bad one, teams can go better.
ANDERSON: Peter, it's a pleasure having you on thank you very much indeed for joining us Peter Maurer of the ICRC.
MAURER: Thanks a lot.
ANDERSON: You're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson. We're live for you from our Middle East Programming Hub here in Abu Dhabi, where
it is just before half past seven in the evening. Still ahead, my live interview with Pakistan's National Security Adviser what he thinks about
future relations with the new hardline Taliban government in Afghanistan, hat is next.
ANDERSON: Well, the Former Afghan President who the Kabul airport was named after says the Taliban need to form a more inclusive government and include
women Hamid Karzai also saying in the statement on Twitter that the creation of a caretaker government was necessary to keep services running.
While the Taliban for now choosing to exclude Karzai and other Afghan politicians who served during the 20 year conflict. Karzai's comments
coming as the first commercial flight leaves the Kabul airport bound for Qatar, with about 200 people on board, including Americans.
Well, the Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency visited Pakistan meeting with the Pakistani Army Chief of Staff in Islamabad. Pakistan's
Military releasing this image of the meeting along with a statement saying that they discussed the current situation in Afghanistan and regional
security also present the head of the ISI Pakistan's intelligence operation.
Well, I'm joined now by Pakistani National Security Adviser, Moeed Yusuf joining us tonight from Islamabad and it's good to have you with us. We
were due to speak the night that the Taliban actually announced this interim government.
Before we talk about the makeup of that government, Sir, what came out of the Bill Burns meeting with Pakistan's army chief and as I understand it,
the ISI chief there as well?
MOEED YUSUF, PAKISTANI NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Look, I mean, these are consultations Becky that continue. The U.S. Intelligence Chief was here
talking about the situation, of course in Afghanistan, talking about the threat of terrorism. And that's something that Pakistan has been raising
again and again.
You know, you have to understand where Pakistan comes from, is 1600 mile border with Afghanistan. For four decades, instability has spilled over
from Afghanistan into Pakistan. Just since 911, we've lost over 80,000 people $150 billion dollars in the economy and over three and a half
million internally displaced people.
Why? Because the terrorists turned on us after we started supporting the U.S. once 911 had taken place. For this country, Pakistan, instability in
Afghanistan is an existential problem.
And that's why we are talking to all countries that matter, counseling that they must engage the new reality in Afghanistan. We must make sure there is
no economic meltdown because if there is like the 1990s when the world abandoned Afghanistan, what came in mass migration, a refugee crisis and a
security vacuum filled by international terrorist organizations.
ANDERSON: So let's talk about what's happens going forward. U.S. Secretary -- hang on, hang on, I hear what you're saying. I just want I want to press
forward on this because I certainly get a sense from you of where you are at.
ANDERSON: U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin has been touring the region. He had this to say about the challenges of the U.S. now not being
present on the ground in Afghanistan. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: There's no question that it will be more difficult to identify and engage threats that emanate from the region.
But we're committed to making sure that that threats are not allowed to develop and create significant challenges for us in the homeland.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Now, you have talked about, you know, the need for cooperation, going forward, will we see more cooperation from Pakistan on the fight
against terrorism coming from Afghanistan going forward?
YUSUF: When are you not, I told you the kind of support you provided and the kind of cost we've paid for Pakistan's always been there on the right
side of the international community.
For us, this is the issue; we cannot afford instability in Afghanistan. We have to do whatever we can, we are engaged with Afghanistan, and
disengagement is simply not an option for us. But the corporation Becky has to be under a legal framework.
There can be no boots on the ground of any foreign country in Pakistan, Pakistan cannot partner unless it is mandated and sanctioned under
international law. After 911 this was a mistake that was made.
One thing was said another thing was done by the U.S. with all due respect and others and Pakistan suffered. So we will be transparent, we will
cooperate, will cooperate within the bounds of international law and there will be no infringement of Pakistani sovereignty.
But the more important point is, rather than constantly talking about, there is a security vacuum, we must do something about it. Let's first
cooperate to avert that. Why talk about a managing refugee crisis, managing the security problem, let's engage the reality in Afghanistan.
Let's incentivize good behavior. And by doing that get to a governance model that provides for the average Afghan and there is no need for a
security vacuum, because the country would be stable. This is where Pakistan wants to go.
And Pakistan is willing to work with the international community in ensuring that Afghanistan is peaceful and stable, but the engagement has
come from the west. That's where the legitimacy lies for the Taliban.
ANDERSON: Let's talk about what's going on in the country because the National Resistance Front has accused Pakistan of using drones to support
the Taliban offensive against resistance forces in the Panjshir Valley.
I spoke to the group Spokesman Ali Nazary on this show yesterday, who expanded on that, Iran's foreign ministry has also condemned, "Foreign
Interference". Did the Pakistani army support the Taliban attack on the anti-Taliban forces in Panjshir using drones and, and or other weaponry?
YUSUF: Is preposterous is all I can see. But let me tell you why. This question even gets to the point where Becky Anderson has to ask Pakistan's
national security adviser. For two decades, Becky, Pakistan is the only country that kept saying that project Afghanistan is failing, because of
internal problems in Afghanistan, the army won't fight.
The government is not credible. It is not going to work with the kind of corruption but what was the world saying? Oh, Pakistan is the problem. This
was the bogey.
This was a scapegoating by governments in Kabul, which unfortunately, the international community started believing because they didn't want to talk
about their own failure.
And you say drones and Pakistani support. Let me show you what is happening. I wonder if your audience can see this. This is very important.
This is mainstream Indian media, showing a picture of an American jet flying over Wales, in the UK and presenting it as Pakistan doing something
There have been millions of dollars spent by India, our archrival in creating a fake news network in creating a bogey and that's what the world
has faced. That's why the word was embarrassed. Let's move beyond that position.
ANDERSON: OK, that's your position and we've heard and we and we have heard the position of the Indians as well. I certainly saw that image tweeted on
your site as well.
So I've given you the opportunity to say, hang on, Sir. Hang on Sir, hang on. I want to ask you what you make of the announcement of the Taliban
government and just how involved was Pakistan in its makeup?
YUSUF: I - say that I want your audience to know that international media has done major ex-posies - exposes on the fake news network run by India,
Pakistan only wants peace and stability in Afghanistan. It's a sovereign country; we have to accept that there is a reality there.
That's not of Pakistan's making. But now we must do the right thing in terms of where things must head in Afghanistan.
ANDERSON: OK. I am going to ask you a specific question. Go on, Go on.
YUSUF: No, no, all yours.
ANDERSON: The specific question was, is Pakistan or was Pakistan involved in the makeup of this government? I mean, why would the head of the ISI
spend so much time in Kabul at this point, if Islamabad isn't directly involved in the formation of this government?
YUSUF: Why did the CIA Director Bill Burns go to Afghanistan much before my ISI chief went there? Was he?
ANDERSON: Because the Americans were working with the Afghans in the past.
YUSUF: So let me tell you why the ISI Chief was there and will be there again.
YUSUF: Because we have a 1600 mile border, we are worried that undesirable elements ISIS, Pakistani Taliban, other terrorists can cross over; we've
got to engage with the new government to make sure our borders secure.
The world, including the U.S. is asking us every day to facilitate more evacuation from Afghanistan; by the way, we were evacuated 12,000 people
already including Americans. So if we want to negotiate with the government there to make sure the evacuations happen to Pakistan. How do you do that
without a conversation?
And let me also say, I think these conspiracy theories at least have to be logical. Intelligence Chief goes, sits with his colleagues in broad
daylight in the city in a hotel is interviewed by media. He's on a secret mission.
No, Pakistan has a right to defend its national security, we will do that, we are engaged, we will engage on only one thing, how to secure my country.
So -- instability in Afghanistan, that is my right, it will continue.
Let's get beyond these Conspiracy theories and think about how to coordinate as the international community and help the average Afghan who
is suffering who doesn't have food who's stating a humanitarian crisis.
ANDERSON: OK. Let's just be clear, let's just be clear, I certainly didn't suggest that that was a secret meeting. But you have addressed why he was
there. You still haven't addressed whether Pakistan was involved in the formation of the government, but be that as it may - hang on, Sir, hang on,
and hang on.
Let's talk about what you just suggested. Let's talk about safety and security going forward. We've seen the Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban ramp
up attacks along and near the border of Pakistan lately. Do you think groups like the Pakistan Taliban or TPP have been energized by the success
of the Afghan Taliban? And how concerned are you about their strength at the moment?
YUSUF: Yes, first, I don't want to leave that unanswered, absolutely nothing to do with the government. It's a sovereign country, there is a new
reality. And anybody who wants to deal with it must do so directly. I found out from the television screens, just like perhaps you did. So I want to be
I think we need to end this conversation once and for all. If there is any country or a region that has leverage over the Taliban, it's the West, it's
the West that's going to provide them or not provide them legitimacy and assistance, not Pakistan. So let's be clear about that.
As far as the Pakistani Taliban are concerned, yes, I think there is this space that they have felt that there's been, you know, no control for a
while for a few days. There were jails that were broken. The Taliban release prisoners, there were Pakistani Taliban, in them as well.
So I do think there is a moment where they think they have greater flexibility and opportunity to attack and undermine Pakistan. That's
perhaps why you've seen some of the attacks.
And that's one of the main reasons our Intelligence Chief had to be there to make sure that this is not repeated because all these people are in
Afghanistan. And we very much expect we've been public about this, that Afghan soil is not allowed to be used by any sort of terrorists against any
YUSUF: But as I told you, Pakistan because geography bears most of the pain and the brunt for what comes out of Afghanistan.
So yes, we are, worried we are working on this. And we will ensure that Pakistan is not allowed to be destabilized by any actor in the region in
Afghanistan, or in India that for 20 years has been working with hostile intelligence agencies to do that. We are on it, but we will engage with
Afghanistan to make sure that that doesn't happen.
ANDERSON: Finally, we have seen a lot of anti-Pakistan protests on the streets of many Afghan cities, some raw anger. I want our viewers and you
just to have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've come today to ask why Pakistan is destroying Panjshir. I'm from Panjshir, the people need to express their anger, men
and women, they must not stay silent. Pakistan enters my country and destroys it. Neither Pakistan nor the Taliban, or al Qaeda have this right;
long live Panjshir and its resistance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: I just want to how you can explain these anti-Pakistan protests, death to the ISI, as we heard many chants over the weekend. Purchase of
hundreds of Afghan men and women, they certainly seem convinced of Pakistan's involvement in their country's affairs.
YUSUF: Say three things to you, Becky, first of all, I think you'd have to take a closer look at the hundreds. I don't think that's true. But yes, it
is true that the mines have been poisoned over 20 years. There has been a narrative floated as I told you, where Pakistan was used as a scapegoat for
the average Afghan.
Let me just read something to you, President, then President Ashraf Ghani days before he fled the country tells the U.S. president we are facing a
full scale invasion composed of Taliban, Pakistani planning and logistics support 10 to 15,000 international terrorist.
Are we mad that 10 to 15,000 people are crossing from Pakistan and nobody notices? So this has been a fabrication of reality that's been created. But
the real answer I want to give you is African and Pakistan's are brothers and sisters.
We host 4 million of them even today, every day 25,000 crossover and go back divided families, divided villages, a bond and an affection that is
unknown and unheard of anywhere else in the world. That's the real Afghan, a surreal Afghanistan.
Those are the conversations. If you can get 10 people on a CNN screen, Becky, that's not reality. You need to dig deeper in this. Afghanistan and
Pakistan go back centuries, there is no way our societies can't connect and be together.
That's why - for us all these years, there was no way to stop anybody, and everybody wants to move around. So I think this is really made up out of
proportion, Pakistan will work for stability of Afghanistan; Afghans know that we have no other interests.
And our goal to encourage the world to engage is also for the sake of the average Afghan and for Pakistan's own security, which is my responsibility.
And I will do that in a very unapologetic way, working with Afghanistan and the international community, including the U.S. And that's why we've had
very good meeting with the CIA Director, who was present here.
ANDERSON: And with that, we'll leave it there. The images speak thousand words, Sir, so please don't ever accuse us of making things up. The images
speak thousand words, but you have been given a lot of time to address some of these concerns that are out there. And we very much appreciate your
time. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.
YUSUF: Thank you.
ANDERSON: A national security adviser to the President. We'll be back right after this.
ANDERSON: Today on "Call to Earth", California's kelp forests are under threat from an explosion of purple sea urchins threatening their incredible
marine life and ability to help fight climate change.
But an enterprising, environmentally minded group has come together to find a way to turn these kelp eating urchins into a premium sustainable food
source. Have a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): For the Santa Barbara urgent divers battling sharks, swells and spikes, is all in a day's work. But despite the
dangers, Stephanie Mutz and Harry Liquornik have found a home in the ocean.
STEPHANIE MUTZ, SANTA BARBARA URCHIN DIVER: I think both of us are more comfortable underwater than on land, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): That home is immediate California's kelp forests, some of the world's most diverse and productive marine ecosystems,
supporting over 700 species. They absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide in the ocean, helping to combat climate change. But over the years, these
divers have seen changes due to warming waters.
MUTZ: Catechisms always changing, the rate at which things are changing concerns me. So other organisms are going to have to or starting to have a
difficult time to adapt to those changes.
HARRY LIQUORNIK, SANTA BARBARA URCHIN DIVER: Recent years, sharks have suddenly become a problem. The warm water pushed a lot of them up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): It's an ecosystem they want to protect and also harvest. California Gold is the nickname for the state's famous
red sea urchins.
MUTZ: Sees like avocados and butter and, and salt and sweetness and with a creamy texture, a custardy texture.
LIQUORNIK: California has some of the most prolific kelp beds in the world with macrocystis and macrocystis gives the urchin that really sweet taste.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Bad Red Sea urchin numbers have declined in recent years as populations of these smaller purple cousins have
His top urgent predator the sunflower starfish was decimated by a disease thought to have been spread by marine heat wave in 2013, leading to an
excess of kelp eating purple urchins, which have ravaged California's kelp forests already under threat from pollution, climate change and urban
This starved zombie like urchins can survive for decades with little food, sucking the life out of the ecosystem. They are commercially worthless for
divers until now. To find a way to feed both the urchins and the insatiable market for this seafood--
LIQUORNIK: Good morning guys. How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Mutz and the Liquornik have teamed up with local aquaculture farmer, Doug Bush.
DOUG BUSH, OWNER, THE CULTURED ABALONE: We started bringing in purple sea urchins from the urchin barons and not growing them but feeding them with
the seaweeds that we were already working with in order to take an urchin product which essentially had no market value.
Because an urchin coming from a barren is empty and devoid of row and turning it into a very, very high value high quality seafood products in
the space of about 12 weeks.
LIQUORNIK: It's always a little bit like a surprise, just absolutely stuffed now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Mutz then sell those fattened urchins direct to customers and to local restaurants like Industrial Eats.
JEFF OLSSON, OWNER, INDUSTRIAL EATS: They're amazing. They're I forgot that they're much sweeter than the reds. It's an amazing benefit to be able to
serve a product that's so good. And that's having the negative effects on the local marine environment.
MUTZ: Yes, we need more of those purple urchins, utilized outside of the ocean and people's stomachs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): While this local business is unlikely to make a dent in the scale of the problem, it's part of a growing industry
looking to capitalize on purple urchins, while helping to restore California's kelp forests.
LIQUORNIK: We have to be the leaders in the space to demonstrate that that trajectory exists. You can conserve and manage the resource for the net
benefit of California's economy and for the net benefit of the coastal ecosystem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Let us know what you're doing to answer the call, use the #Calltoearth if you will. We will be right back; you're watching "Connect
ANDERSON: Well, it's been 50 years since John Lennon released "Imagine" which many regard is one of the greatest songs of all time and the world
today, marking the anniversary by projecting a lyric from the solemn buildings from Tokyo to New York. It's very good evening tonight, from Abu