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Connect the World

Hezbollah Trucks Bring in Iranian Fuel, are Greeted as Heroes; Biden Authorizes New Ethiopia Sanctions After CNN Reporting; Pakistani Taliban Reject Government's Amnesty Offer; Shifting Geopolitics in Region after U.S. Withdrawal; Photographer Shows Beauty and Resilience of Afghan Women. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired September 17, 2021 - 11:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: I'm Becky Anderson coming to you live from Abu Dhabi where it is 7 pm. It is 6 pm in Beirut and it is

Lebanon that we start this hour. As regular viewers of this show will know, we follow the situation in Lebanon very closely. It is a nation deep in


Finally, though, it is opening a new chapter or at least that is the promise from Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who has formed Lebanon's first

functioning government in more than a year. Well, the country is billions of dollars in debt and last year's port blast in Beirut only made things


Cash and crucial supplies like fuel, now very scarce for the people in the thick of it. Just yesterday, a Hezbollah convoy paraded into Lebanon's

Beqaa Valley, the trucks were bringing in Iranian fuel in defiance of U.S. sanctions and they were greeted in that area as heroes.

A day later, fuel prices are increasing by more than a third as the government continues to wean the public of subsidies were all of this

causing a lot of hardship for ordinary Lebanese people has listened to this.


ANDERSON (voice over): Anger, anxiety, and to a certain extent, apathy. These are the scenes playing out on the streets of Lebanon. People queue

for hours desperate to secure the little fuel left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I come here every three days; I arrive at 3 am and wait till about 7 am to fill my car. Sometimes gas stations open at 9 am. Other

times it's simply we never know.

ANDERSON (voice over): No fuel means no regular electricity, forcing the country to run on generators, including hospitals, which are barely

running. Pharmacies are also struggling to operate normally, subsidy carts are much needed prescriptions means medicine is both scarce and overpriced.

With a currency in free fall worth some 90 percent less than it was two years ago.

Savings and salaries have shrunk to almost nothing. Most people can't even afford to pay a generator bill. The World Bank says Lebanon is facing one

of the most severe depressions recorded in modern times, with more than half of the country's nearly 7 million people likely living below the

poverty line.

Fueled by years of corruption and mismanagement, the deadly Beirut Port explosion last year only deepened this disaster. With inadequate support

from the state, the Lebanese have had to bear the brunt of these crises largely on their own. For nearly a year, there was no government to

implement much needed reforms to stop the economic collapse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First I want the government to be formed so that Lebanon's name can return to what it once was. Lebanon was the most beloved

country in the Middle East and now everyone is making fun of us.

ANDERSON (voice over): Now that squabbling over the makeup of a cabinet is over. A new group of politicians get ready to tackle the many challenges

facing Lebanon today the anger and disappointment of the people being chief among them.


ANDERSON: Well, the EU's parliament is calling for sanctions on Lebanese politicians who blocked progress of the new government. Earlier today, I

spoke to the new Prime Minister Mikati in what was his first interview with an international media organization since taking office.

This is the third time that he has held that post and I started by asking him what the people of Lebanon should trust him.


NAJIB MIKATI, LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER: It's a matter of timing, the timing is important. And it is neat for today to have the government, as you

mentioned, 30 months without the government vacuum and at the level of government, no decision taken. Collapse and more collapse in the financial

sector, more collapse in all sectors, education has and energy.

So it is time to have a government. At this stage yes, I'm doing the quick - the quick fixes that it needs to be done immediately. Especially energy,

health, education, work in transparency and shows it liberally when he is that there is governance, there is a transparency. That's what we are

trying to do. And hopefully it would take that's what --

ANDERSON: I'm going to press you on this with respect sir why should the Lebanese people trust you and this government? As I say, new faces, but

this is a government picked by the same old political establishment, which the people of Lebanon are quite frankly fed up of?


MIKATI: In Lebanon there is no coup - people they don't trust, they cannot change overnight. We are in a transitory period towards a change, to take

the country towards election and let the people decide whoever they want later on. At this time was a need, as I mentioned at the beginning, it's a

matter of timing.

They need somebody to handle, I don't like just to say manage the crisis, but at least try to stop this free fall and try to save Lebanon that's what

exactly what we are going to do.

ANDERSON: One of the most urgent economic issues that your government has to address is the country's expensive subsidies program on fuel and on

medicine, both of which we know are critically short, in Lebanon, at present. Are you proposing to lift these subsidies? And if so, what is your

plan afterwards?

MIKATI: It's almost - the subsidy is almost lift because we don't have as you mentioned, we don't have any more cash or reserve to pay to subsidize

oil or our all other commodities. We are going to keep the subsidy for medicines, especially chronic medicine.

But others it's almost lifted. And we are in a way to keep it - to give it free import all this commodities that's what we plan to do because in fact,

we don't have the money. It's very clear. You -- just I give you an example. The last - in the last few months, year and more we spend to


The commodity is around over 10 billion. It's much over 10 billion. We discovered just 26 percent of the subsidy is used by Lebanese end user and

75 -- 74 percent they were misused by traders by corrupted people. And that's what we also want to investigate where this money was?

Where this money went? So this is very important to stop the subsidy and to start to build up Lebanon with end connection. And we have very good

association with IMF, World Bank, and all the friends and international community.

ANDERSON: Two have the 24 ministers selected in your cabinet belong to the Hezbollah Party. Hezbollah has publicly supported your Premiership, do you

support them?

MIKATI: I tell you, frankly, I'm very pragmatic. And I see what I care is I care for Lebanon. How I can save Lebanon? I have two ministers. Yes, they

are friends of Hezbollah. And Hezbollah as a political party exists in Lebanon. So I cannot bypass this community.

I can - I cannot bypass this party. Let's say I have two specialized people that I can deal with. My objective today I'm saying please put political

aside. Let us see how we can save this country? It country it was to be saved. We have good people. And we have good resources. And we can save it.

So if we go - like to start to stay. This one is from this party, the other from the other party. We will never save this country.

ANDERSON: Were you forced to take those two cabinet members? Were you forced to take them into your cabinet?

MIKATI: Sorry.

ANDERSON: Were you forced to take those?

MIKATI: No - I'm not. I'm not - I'm not forced at all, not at all. I'm not forced at all to them. It's my decision to make to - let's say if today -

tomorrow we are going to have result from IMF it has to pass through Council of Ministers. I'd like to have an anonymous decision and the -

resolution towards implementation of this.

If they are not there I will not -- it will not be implemented. So for this reason, I'd like everybody to share with me this kind of decisions.

ANDERSON: The first of several Trump convoys carrying Iranian fuel has arrived in Lebanon from Syria just yesterday. This was of course

facilitated by Hezbollah. Do you welcome that support?

MIKATI: I tell you, frankly, I am sad. I am sad because this is a lack of the sovereignty of Lebanon. Sovereignty of Lebanon - I prefer not could

make any further comment because we are trying to solve this in a very convoy.


ANDERSON: This shipment as you are aware violates U.S. sanctions are you concerned Lebanon will face punishment by the U.S. for through sanctions,

for example?

MIKATI: Since the Lebanese government didn't approve this. Lebanese government - no play - nothing, none - nobody applied to have this. We

don't deal in this at all. So I don't believe Lebanese government would be subject to any sanctions can be done. So but - I don't know what kind of

procedures that are going to take for the people using this or this kind of fuel.

ANDERSON: Hezbollah's fuel arrived before your government could deliver a shipment previously agreed with Iraq. That looks quite bad, doesn't it?

MIKATI: It arrived today. This shipment from Iraq arrived today and we welcome this. And here I take the opportunity, again to thank the Iraqi

government forces.

ANDERSON: Hezbollah is Iran's arm inside Lebanon, they are powerful, and they are influential. But with their growth they also let's be frank hinder

Lebanon's ability to reengage with regional and global allies. So I ask you, sir, is there a plan to exert control over Hezbollah?

MIKATI: Hezbollah, as I mentioned, it is a political party in Lebanon and exist but the most important not to have Lebanon as a platform for any

conspiracy against any other country out of Lebanon. That's the most important for me, that's what I can, I can promise that I can do.

ANDERSON: Sorry. Can I just follow up? What do you mean by that?

MIKATI: --from the outside and not let them to do. As you know, the Arab world today is taking this attitude, because they believe that Hezbollah is

out of Lebanon is making, let's say media as a training, things done in Lebanon. That's why they think. I don't have any proof. But I'm going to do

my best to change this image of Lebanon.

ANDERSON: Well, you have said that Lebanon needs the Arab world? Let's just start there about where Lebanon needs help at this point. How would you,

for example, describe Lebanon's relationship with its Gulf allies such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, for example whose relations with Lebanon have

soured over the years due to Hezbollah's influence?

MIKATI: Lebanon is founder of the Arab League. We always during the last decades, we are in very good relation with the Arab world. Today, Lebanon

is a tiny, small country in the Arab world. And we are looking what I am saying and looking for the big brother, for all Arab countries to come and

to handle our hand and to take Lebanon from this mess. That's what - that's what my call for the Arab world.

ANDERSON: And what is the response for example?

MIKATI: Lebanon is very important for Arab World. A stable Lebanon --

ANDERSON: Abu Dhabi.

MIKATI: Sorry.

ANDERSON: What's been in response?

MIKATI: Sorry.

ANDERSON: What's been the response from those big brothers for examples Saudi Arabia and UAE?

MIKATI: So far - so far for the last for seven days - seven days, I didn't have any response, neither negative or positive, but I am sure - I am sure

in the coming days, it would be a positive response, because they are going to see how serious we are going to do and what we are working? And it is to

the benefit of all Arab - all the region in the Arab world to have stable Lebanon.

ANDERSON: Well, over the last year, France, of course, has taken a lead in trying to resolve Lebanon's crisis. How much of a role did the French play

if at all, in the formation of your new government?

MIKATI: I'll tell you there is nothing directly done by the French but the French are making is a push, they want to save Lebanon. They want the

government to deal with, and they are ready to help and to support Lebanon. So they didn't go into details, but they are really a great, a great

country where they push Lebanon heavily. We push us heavily to form a government.

ANDERSON: And there is no indication that Washington has a plan to save Lebanon from its catastrophe. Many experts say that the U.S. has simply

outsourced the Lebanon file to France. Have you spoken to U.S. President Joe Biden and if not what is your message to Washington at this point?


MIKATI: No, I don't have the chance to talk with the president. But I received few calls from the U.S. administration and they were all

supporting this government, supporting me personally and supporting the government and they are saying whenever I am ready and I have my plan, they

are ready to consider and to look to this plan.

What I'm looking for Washington, especially when we start negotiations with IMF, they are the one who I expect and rely on to, let's say things that

let things to be done by IMF, World Bank is helping a lot. And today especially for the ration cards that we are making for poor and so on. So

they are helping a lot. And this cannot be done without the consent of the U.S. administration.

ANDERSON: Prime Minister, I need to address the port blast. Rights groups have said that Lebanese officials have been obstructing justice, the

victims' families demand answers, which side are you on here? And will you ensure that former ministers will appear in court to answer for that deadly


I mean, Former Prime Minister Hassan Diab has a questioning session on Monday, but he's traveled to the U.S. What's your position?

MIKATI: I'm telling you, I am supporting the justice fully. And I am - after - after 4th of August last year the Former Prime Minister and the

including me who did this statement will ask for international investigation. And we are now today - we are supporting the justice, I'm

saying fully without any hesitation.

And we would like to note to have to have the tools. This it was a real disaster and enforce a big tragedy. And we are looking forward to know the

truth itself.

ANDERSON: You've held this position a number of times in the past. Do you accept any responsibility given your position in Lebanon and you're being

embedded in Lebanese politics for so many years? Do you accept any responsibility for the state of your country today?

MIKATI: I can say I'm not necessary to put myself with this particular class. But definitely there is a responsibility for the whole class of what

Lebanon is today. Definitely I say this and because we were - we were spending. We were - we didn't have any - we kept throwing the money with

corruption, no governance. It was there. Yes.


ANDERSON: My exclusive interview with the Prime Minister of Lebanon. I want to get Ben Wedeman's take on all of this. He's been living in and covering

Lebanon for many years probably forgotten more about Lebanon the most of us will ever know. Ben, it's good to have you from Rome with us today. You

heard that interview your thoughts?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly what we hear oftentimes from his predecessor Hassan Diab and Saad Al Hariri

before him all prime minister's was this sense that they may mean well, but the fact of the matter is, there are forces at play in Lebanon.

And it's not just Hezbollah; it's all the political parties at play, which oftentimes in public will talk about their opposition to corruption and

their efforts against it. But in private away from public view they're doing the exact opposite.

I heard it once said in in Beirut, that Italy, for instance, is a country with a mafia, Lebanon is a mafia with a country. What we've seen really

since going back many decades, at least to the end of the Lebanese Civil War in 1990, is public discourse; it would indicate that the politicians

mean well that they want to reconstruct the country.

But what we saw after the Civil War was that the infrastructure which the world community gave billions of dollars to fix was never fixed. The

electricity since the Civil War has never been running 24 hours a day. Lebanon which is blessed with abundant water resources still does not have

reliable water services and if you drink from the faucet you will become ill.


WEDEMAN: The infrastructure the roads have never really been repaired since the Civil War only sort of superficially. So what we have now is Lebanon in

the deepest crisis in perhaps 150 years. The economy in free fall, the politicians publicly saying they want to do something to stop the free

fall. But the fall continues.

It took these politicians 396 days to form a new government squabbling over who gets what ministry while the country fell apart? You had the aftermath

of the Beirut Port blast, which was a horrendous event.

The Lebanese Lira losing 90 percent of its value in about a year and a half against the dollar. Inflation skyrocketing. And these politicians, the

current crowd in the government, we're all basically supported the ministers we have now we're supported by the same people who stood by and

squabbled over petty matters while the country fell apart.

And so most Lebanese wish Najib Mikati well, but have scant confidence that he and this current government will be able to do anything differently from

the last. We've already seen Becky that the IMF is willing to give more than $1.1 billion in special drawing rights to Lebanon to deal with the

crisis immediately.

But the fundamental structural problems in Lebanon aren't being dealt with. Now - he -- you talked about this shipment of Iranian oil via Syria,

brought in by Hezbollah, a fascinating case of the state sitting by and doing nothing. Everybody knew the tankers were coming from Syria.

They opened - they came over not through border crossings, official border crossings, no security checks, no customs checks. They just came in. The

state essentially is a facade for as I said earlier, a mafia that has a country Becky.

ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman is out of Rome for you this evening. Ben, appreciate it. Thank you. Well, the U.S. has just put more pressure on all sides

fighting in Ethiopia. In a live report we'll discuss President Joe Biden's new executive order aimed at ending atrocities in Tigray. Plus, the

frightening reality for women who were judges in Afghanistan now fearing for their lives under Taliban rule.

Well, is a cover up not a crime but a work of art? When it's a landmark wrapped just the way that a Christo had planned it. I'm going to explain a

little more on that later this hour.



ANDERSON: The U.S. has just tightened the screws on those fueling the ongoing conflict and atrocities in Northern Ethiopia. Today, President Joe

Biden signed a broad executive order paving the way for potential new sanctions against the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments against the Tigray

People's Liberation Front and the Amhara regional government.

Now CNN has been on the ground in the region documenting "Bear the hallmarks of genocide". CNN's Nima Elbagir has uncovered much of the horror

unfolding in the region with her team, and she joins me now with more. And let's start with that reporting; just remind us, if you will, of some of

that investigative work that you and your team undertook Nima?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have been focusing on this here with you on this show for months now. We were able to get into

Ethiopia to show the obstruction of aid by Eritreans capturing the first evidence for on camera.

But more recently, we wanted to focus in on the bigger picture. Taken together what do these atrocities mean? And through managing to be at the

scene when bodies arrived in Sudan downstream from the Ethiopian region of Tigray, we filmed these pictures, and I have to warn you and the viewers,

they are very graphic.

But what they show is incredibly important because it corroborated for us extensive witness testimony of torture, of execution of beatings of

ethnically motivated crimes. And it is that evidence of the methodology, and also the evidence of the scale that we were able to find.

We have a map here of Humera town, just across the border from Sudan. And inside Humera alone, we were able to find seven different locations where

Tigrayans had been detained on mass for the crime of their ethnicity for the crime of being Tigray and then two more outside of Tigray.

And so it was clear to us at that point that this methodology, the evidence of a methodological campaign, that in and of itself, under international

law, "Bears the hallmarks of genocide", Becky.

ANDERSON: We just had a response to Biden's action from the Ethiopian government, at least. What they said?

ELBAGIR: Well, I want to read to you. It's an extensive response. It's at least two full pages. An open letter to President Joe Biden, and in it,

Prime Minister Abby Ahmed says "We have seen the consequences and aftermath of hurried and rash decisions made by various U.S. administrations. And he

goes on to say it is essential to point out here that Ethiopia will not succumb to the consequences of pressure engineered by disgruntled


He's rejecting this, Becky. And what does that mean? What it means is that he is rejecting the direction by the United States, in addition to the

requests from the international community that have been coming for weeks now, to open up access to Tigray to bring humanitarian resources and

reserves into Tigray in a region where hundreds of thousands of people are already in famine like conditions.

By rejecting this executive order from the United States what Prime Minister Abbey and his administration are really saying is that we reject

our legal obligation to allow food in to an Ethiopian region Tigray.

ANDERSON: Nima Elbagir is the correspondent on this story working with a team of course Nima, thank you. And let's just remind you what we've had

today. That was the Ethiopian part of the Ethiopian response to President Joe Biden's broad executive order, paving the way for potential new

sanctions against the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments against the Tigray People's Liberation Front and the Amara regional government. More than

that, of course, as we get it. You're watching "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson live from our Middle East Programming Hub here in Abu Dhabi

well, the time is just before half past seven.

CNN's Sam Kiley with us this hour, his team was in Kabul for those chaotic final days of the mass exit - evacuation net. We'll look back and we will

look ahead when Sam joins us live.



ANDERSON: The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is emboldening the Pakistani Taliban known as the TTP. And that group today rejecting the Pakistani

government's amnesty offer to TTP prisoners released in Afghanistan, saying they will continue dialogue with the government if it falls within the

boundaries of Sharia law.

They will if Pakistan's leaders promote anti Islam policies, they will continue their jihad in the country. Well, Pakistan's interior ministry is

denying New Zealand's claim. There is a security threat ahead of an international cricket tour in Pakistan that perceived threat, prompting New

Zealand to pull out of its first tour of Pakistan in 18 years.

Pakistan's Cricket Board and government say they've made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. While England and Wales Cricket Board

will decide by Sunday on whether to go ahead with their planned men's and women's tours of Pakistan, which are set for next month.

Our International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson is in Kabul for you tonight. I want to start by asking you about that statement by the

Pakistani Taliban turning down the government's amnesty offer just set this in context for us, if you will, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, Becky the TTP are going to interpret that amnesty offer as really, you know, a call on the

TTP to go into a some kind of ceasefire level an amnesty that will perhaps allow some of these fighters who were in prison in Afghanistan to go back

to Pakistan and essentially stopped their fight.

They vowed to take control of the Pakistan's tribal border region and impose strict Sharia law just the same way that the Taliban, the Afghan

Taliban on this side of the border are doing here right now. And they think an Afghan Taliban victory helps them.

What's interesting, really here is that while the Afghan Taliban have been fighting to victory, the Pakistani Taliban's fight against Pakistan has

been ongoing, but that its level has increased recently?

And there's a real perception of how things you know, play out between Afghan Taliban in Pakistan Taliban. The Afghan Taliban have been stopping

the Pakistan Taliban from launching so many fights and offensives. But if they were to continue that now, that could really cost them foot soldiers.


ROBERTSON: And we also understand that TTPS made more alliances along the border to increase their attacks as well complicated.

ANDERSON: And is a subject that I discussed in my exclusive interview with Pakistan's President Imran Khan earlier this week. I asked him about the

risks to the Pakistan's Prime Minister, the risks to Pakistan's national security if this situation in Afghanistan doesn't improve.

He said refugees were his number one concern. What he described as the biggest risk to Pakistan's national security. But have a listen to what

else he told me.


IMRAN KHAN, PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER: The second worry is terrorism. We had three sets of terrorism, a terrorist in Afghanistan using the soil to

attack us, ISIS Afghan, Pakistani Taliban and the Baluch terrorists.

So if there, if there is chaos in Afghanistan, if there's not stability there, then we have these two major problems looming in front of us, we are

the country that is going to suffer the most.


ANDERSON: Well, it's only stability that will avert a humanitarian crisis. And Nic and you've been on the ground, you know, getting a sense of just

how bad things are at this point. What did you find?

ROBERTSON: It's a bad, very bad situation. I mean, you have the IMF today, the International Monetary Fund saying that they see a looming humanitarian

crisis coming.

We were on the ground today with several thousand displaced people who are not getting any help from not the Taliban, not the international community,

not any one; they're literally living in these flimsy tents in what is in essence, a central reservation between two sides of a highway.

There's no food going to them, no, no water going to them, no shelter given to them and no toilets. It's - it is exactly the sort of environment where

you can expect disease to spread quickly. The economy of the country is not doing well, almost everywhere I go.

In fact, every storekeeper that I talk to here is either telling me that people have stopped coming because they don't want to spend money. They're

worried about the future. Or people are selling up their own goods or storekeepers, even just a couple of hours ago, telling me they're selling

up their store so they can get money to leave the country.

The economy, they don't think is good. They don't want to live under the Taliban, they want to leave. The economy here definitely at this moment,

does look dismal. And that will mean further humanitarian suffering, suffering, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Nic Robertson is in Kabul. Thank you, Nic. Well, there is a frightening reality for women who served as Afghan judges before

the Taliban takeover that they are now many of them now in hiding and on the run of fearing for their lives in a CNN exclusive. Anna Coren has more

on these judges and others who managed to escape Afghanistan.


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Childhood laughter shared by two young sisters who have no idea about the dangers

they now face. Their mother Nabila was a judge in Afghanistan, a profession now made impossible for women, the Taliban has told them not to return to

work. And now the whole family has a target on their heads.

NABILA, AFGHAN JUDGE: A day or two after the Taliban arrived in Kabul, my personal number was called and I was threatened with revenge, threatened

with murder and I had to cancel my phone numbers.

COREN (voice over): The family is currently in hiding in fear of being hunted down by men she put behind bars, some of whom have now been freed by

the Taliban.

NABILA: Because of this threat from the prisoners, I changed my house once every four days. I hide that and I try to never go out.

COREN (voice over): Her fear compounded after a Police woman, eight months pregnant was murdered by the Taliban according to her family. A claim the

Taliban deny. Nabila is one of around 200 women judges left stranded in Afghanistan.

Many of them presided over the worst cases of violence against women, including rape, murder and domestic abuse. Some of them had even traveled

to the U.S. for a judicial education program.

Under the cover of darkness and gunfire, a few dozen others have managed to get out. One experienced High Court Judge risked her life to flee the

country after the Taliban came looking for her.

NABILA: Five members of the Taliban came to my area asking my neighbors about me. I relocated again because I was so scared they could find me.

COREN (voice over): This judge managed to escape with her nieces and nephews on a flight from Kabul after days of waiting at the airport. She

wants to keep their identity hidden as she fears for family members back home. They landed safely in Poland and are now trying to get to the U.S.

But the judge can't forget the life she left behind.


NABILA: Now I feel like I lost everything. Imagine you have a personality, a career respect, a home, a car, a life and everything. And suddenly you

leave everything.

COREN (voice over): As chaos and uncertainty unfolds inside Afghanistan, the U.S. based International Association of Women judges is trying to help

more of their Afghan members to leave. But they say western countries need to do more.

VANESSA RUIZ, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN JUDGES: Governments need to be better, more agile, more generous, frankly, in giving admission to

people who are in danger in Afghanistan. We're not going to abandon them, we're not going to forget them and we're not going to let the world ignore


COREN (voice over): For those left behind, like Nabila escape is their only hope, as they see no future in their homeland under Taliban rule. But she

hopes one day she will be allowed to return to the bench.

NABILA: We have been working for many years to combat violence, oppression and injustice. And I want to continue with my work.

COREN (voice over): Her bravery in protecting Afghanistan's women despite the dangers was to create a better future for her daughters. A generation

that now faces a dark reality under the new regime. Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: We'll bring in Sam Kiley at this point. He was in Kabul when the U.S. withdrew its forces last month. And he's here to reflect on what has

happened and get some perspective on what we might expect to happen next.

Sam, you're on the ground in carbon in those chaotic days during the evacuation that you were then in Qatar for some time, that's a country

playing a pivotal role on both the sort of humanitarian side and in politics. You know, just reflect on this past month, if you will.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very interesting. Indeed, if we go back to the interview I did with the Qatari

Foreign Minister just at the beginning of my assignment and we'll play a little bit of that tape in a second. You can see their hope, but no

naivety. This is how the exchange went.


KILEY (on camera): Do you regret getting involved in this? Do you regret a process that arguably hastened the victory of the Taliban?

SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN AL-THANI, QATARI FOREIGN MINISTER: Sam, look regretting to be able to help in making peace between countries and

saving lives of people, I think this is what never happened for us.


KILEY: Now, of course, he's talking about the peace process there that Donald Trump hastened with his effective unilateral promise to withdraw

from Afghanistan, which in the end, precipitated the collapse of the Afghan National Army and the government.

And it was that looking for regret there. Now the Qataris are several weeks into their very important role of influence there, Becky. They are very,

very anxious indeed, that all of the signs are going in the wrong direction coming from the Taliban.

There's been the appointment of a very hard-line government; we're seeing a relentless restriction on the role of women, the levels of education for

women, their roles in the judiciary. We've just heard about from Anna and of course, broader restrictions on the right of protest democracy and

attacks on the media. So none of that is signaling what they want to see from the Taliban.

The Qatar is very anxiously communicating to the Taliban, the necessity of moderating their position. Because they need they know that for regional

stability, you need to have an Afghanistan that is getting humanitarian aid that is getting trade going. And none of those two things can be really

easily conducted at all, if you have this backsliding by the Taliban, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes and China, Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan and others meeting today to talk about that potential regional instability. And the Chinese

are calling for more inclusiveness from the Taliban when it comes to women specifically and effectively calling for that moderation that you suggest

that the Qataris are working so hard behind the scenes to try and get.

I mean, there are no signs at this point that this is going well, though, right. I mean, the ministry of women has been converted today to the

ministry of what - just explain it to us.

KILEY: With the ministry for the protection of virtue and the combating I think - and in other words a return to the very same ministry that was had

young men on the streets of Afghanistan between 96 and 2001 beating women who weren't wearing Burkas sending Afghanistan backwards.


KILEY: The difference for the Taliban, though that was when they when that kind of ministry was operational in a place like Kabul, there were four or

500,000 people in Kabul. Now there's maybe 4 million and a similar level of urbanization has gone on elsewhere.

And then you have these regional governments taking a keen interest and it's a catch 22 for them. Not all of these governments have a fine

tradition for the respect of human rights.

If you look at the Chinese treatment of the Uyghur's - who are Muslims on the border with Afghanistan, frequently accused with some justification of

a genocidal campaign against them, you've got autocracies almost all way all the nations up against Afghanistan or bordering Afghanistan.

So they've got a catch 22. On the one hand, they want to look good internationally, but on the other hand, stability, pretty much at any cost,

is what they're going to be pursuing.

ANDERSON: Sam Kylie is back in Abu Dhabi for you this evening. It's been quite some deployments. Sam, thank you. Well, coming up we've heard about

the enduring resilience of Afghan women in the face of these incredibly uncertain future.

Well, one photographer has captured this in a series of stunning photographs and talk about stunning shots of Paris landmark gets all

dressed up, what it took to make the late artists Christos vision, a reality that is all still ahead on this show.


ANDERSON: Well, many of you no doubt will remember the late artist Christo and his obsession with wrapping up spectacular and iconic places, I am not

saying this very well, am I, buildings islands, bridges.

He famously transformed the Reichstag in Berlin, for example, with fabric one of his many rap projects in a career that covered landmarks across the

globe until his passing last year.

Well, French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the artist on Thursday by turning out for the inauguration of a project Christo had

dreamed up 60 years ago. My colleague Saskya Vandoorne has more on the cover up that has Paris talking. Have a look at this.


SASKYA VANDOORNE, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER (voice over): It took 90 climbers and 25,000 square meters of silvery blue fabric to transform Paris's most

famous War Memorial into a new work of art.

CHRISTO VLADIMIROV JAVACHEFF, BULGARIAN ARTIST: That cross of the four arches is incredible. You have a nonstop wind and you cannot believe it how

the fabric above you will be like a moving, like a living person because all that will be also wrapped.


VANDOORNE (voice over): That was the vision of the late Bulgarian artist Christo as he spoke to CNN in 2020, one of his last interviews. Conceived

60 years ago when he was a young man in Paris. The project's success is rooted even further in the past.

Paris is archives with the key to its construction engineers pored over drawings of the 50 meter high monument studying where they could drill into

the 19th century structure.

ANNE BURGHATZ, ENGINNER, SCHLAICH BERGERMANN: Some of the statues, they have wings, they have swords, they have trumpets. So we build these cages

around the statues to protect them from the fabric from the climbers from the construction side work.

VANDOORNE (voice over): Using textiles to transform historic monuments and landmarks is what made Christo in his late wife Jeanne Claude famous. Small

islands of Miami covered in tutus, a flamingo pink, the 16th century porn Earth draped in Golden sandstone and Berlin's Reichstag covered in silvery


The bill for wrapping the ark, more than $16 million funded through the sale of Christo's art. The installation will open Saturday, but many

visitors in Parisian have already formed an opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is engineering, there is art. There is poetic -- . And this kind of connects to everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not really the kind of art that I like, but it's only for three weeks, so I'm OK with it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I didn't expect is that it is at the same time, so monumental and so central.

VANDOORNE (on camera): The recyclable fabric is designed to evolve with the weather, the red rope, a poetic interpretation of the French flag, years of

planning and 12 weeks around the clock work have gone into making a sketch come to life.

VANDOORNE (voice over): Wolfgang Volz who worked with the couple for 50 years is part of a team overseeing the project, the first time he has done

so without them.

WOLFGANG VOLZ, PHOTOGRAPHER: I missed them now, but I will miss them tremendously in that fantastic moment. When you see it, it's done. You look

at it and say it's not bad.

VANDOORNE (voice over): Like all of Christo's artworks, it will be short lived just 16 days.

JAVACHEFF: You cannot own it, you cannot buy it. It will be gone. I will never see it again. And that is also the magnetic force of our project.

They're not something that stays.

VANDOORNE (voice over): The ephemeral nature of Christo's work, all the more poignant for being brought to life after his death. Saskya Vandoorne,

CNN, Paris.


ANDERSON: Well, I visited one of Christo's most iconic works a couple of years back in London's Hyde Park; the London Mastaba its geometric form

took inspiration from the ancient Mastaba. Have a look at this.


ANDERSON (on camera): A giant floating installation by Bulgarian born artist Christo. This is the London Mastaba. Christos first public work in

this city its 20 meters high, made up of some 7000 oil barrels and one of a number of V structures that the artist has proposed for international size.


ANDERSON: We're going to miss him. After the break, our parting shots are from a photographer who beautifully captures the strength of Afghan woman.

She wants to redefine her subjects after the war took so much from them. That is after this.



ANDERSON: Well, we have spent much of the past month looking back on the last 20 years in Afghanistan and speculating about the role of women there

in the future. Those of you don't live in the region. You could be forgiven for painting the women of Afghanistan with a broad brush, but the reality

is those women are as diverse as the colors of the rainbow.

So we will wrap up these two hours and indeed this week. With the work of Afghan photographer Fatimah Hossaini, she shows us some of that color and

diversity and why it means so much to her.


FATIMAH HOSSAINI, AFGHAN PHOTOGRAPHER: I wish to capture a beauty peace, the beauty of colors and races and what's ever the war took for my

motherland. I assure that the real peace comes from embracing the diversity and by respecting the differences.

Here different faces of Afghan women such as Pashtun, Tajiks, Hazara, Baluch, Uzbek stood in front of my camera, rather exclusive glossing to

beauty and femininity showcased and frame into a cover of diverse culture and traditions of Afghanistan.

These are all about capturing and redefining Afghan women by showing their beauty, their femininity and hopes. And I think for now, there is no hope

and beauty of women when Taliban is in power in Afghanistan. Amid all these miseries, there is the other side of Afghanistan; the bright side that

always inspires me to capture it.


ANDERSON: There has to be a bright side for women in Afghanistan that diversity in their voices deserves to be heard. You know that. That's good

night from us from Abu Dhabi. "One World" with Larry Madowo is next, that is live from our headquarters in Atlanta in the U.S. From us, this team

here and those working with me, it is a very good evening.