Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

White House: Range of Viewpoints on Exit Strategy; U.S. Defense Secretary: No Risk-Free Option to Keeping U.S. Troops in Afghanistan; Haitian Prime Minister Speaks to CNN; U.S. Lawmakers Grill Top Military Brass on Afghanistan; Government Trying to Tempt Lorry Drivers Amid Shortage; U.S. Military Brass Testify. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired September 29, 2021 - 11:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello and welcome to "Connect the World". I'm Eleni Giokos. I'm in for Becky Anderson. For a second day

top U.S. military officers are getting grilled on the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Today's hearing is in the U.S. House after a

similar hearing in the Senate on Tuesday.

Republicans are highly critical of the withdrawal timeline, some calling it an unmitigated disaster. The generals are again defending the withdrawal,

despite some of them appearing to contradict comments by President Joe Biden last month that they were all in agreement for a hard August 31st


U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says there was no risk free status quo option if the U.S. military had stayed in Afghanistan and more troops would

have been needed. So take a listen to this.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: I did not support staying in Afghanistan forever. And let me also say we've talked about the process

that we use to provide input to the president. I think that process was a very thorough and inclusive policy process and a recommendation to the

commanders were taken into consideration discussed and deliberated, deliberated on throughout that process.


GIOKOS: At the Senate hearing Tuesday, the top - appear to contradict comments from President Biden on the withdrawal timeline, with one calling

the mass evacuation, logistical success, but a strategic failure. Oren Liebermann has more.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Pentagon's top military leaders making clear their views on Afghanistan were heard,

but not followed.

GEN. KENNETH FRANK MCKENZIE, U.S. CENTCOM COMMANDER: I recommended that we maintain 2500 troops in Afghanistan. I also have a view that the withdrawal

of those forces would lead inevitably to the collapse of the Afghan military forces and eventually the Afghan government.

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R-OK): Yes, I understand that. And General Milley I assume you agree with that in terms of the recommendation of 2500.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: What I said in my opening statement, and the memoranda that I wrote back in the fall of 2020,

remained consistent. And I do agree with that.

LIEBERMANN (voice over): Republicans seized on the contradiction between those views. And what President Joe Biden said in August about the advice

that he was given by military leaders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did they want to keep about 2500 troops?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: No, they didn't. It was split. That wasn't true. It wasn't true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They didn't tell you that they wanted troops to stay?

BIDEN: No, not at - not in terms of whether we were going to get out in a timeframe all troops. They didn't argue against that.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-SC): Is that true?

LIEBERMANN (voice over): Republican Senator Tom Cotton went after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on this point.

COTTON: It's a simple question, Secretary Austin, he said no senior military leader advisor and lead a small troop presence behind is that true

or not? These officer and General Miller's recommendations get to the president personally?

AUSTIN: Their input was, was received by the president and considered by the president, for sure.

LIEBERMANN (voice over): Lawmakers grilled top military leaders on the rapid collapse of the Afghan military and the failure of the U.S. to see

coming after pulling U.S. advisors three years ago.

MARK: When you pull the advisors out of the units you can never - you no longer can assess things like leadership. We can count all the planes,

trucks and automobiles and cars and machine guns and everything else. We can count those from space and all the other kind of Intel assets. But you

can't measure the human heart with a machine. You got to be there.

LIEBERMANN (voice over): Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley said it was an open question, whether an evacuation that moved 124,000 people

should have begun earlier, but ultimately it was a State Department call.

SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R-AK): You and I've discussed this. Do you - would you use the term extraordinary success for what took place in August in


MILLEY: That's the noncombatant evacuation. And I think one of the other Senators said it very well. It was a logistical success but a strategic


LIEBERMANN (voice over): The Pentagon knew the Afghan government and armed forces critically relied on U.S. military and financial support. What

surprised everyone was the speed at which it all fell apart in a matter of days, not months.

AUSTIN: We certainly did not plan against the collapse of a government in 11 days. We helped build the state, Mr. Chairman, but we could not forge a


LIEBERMANN (voice over): The Biden Administration defended the president's decision not to heed the advice of his generals.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What the American people should know is that president is always going to welcome a range of advice. He

asked for candor. He asked for directness and in any case scenario, he's not looking for a bunch of yes, men and women. And what that means is that

ultimately, he's going to have to make the decision about what's in the best interest of the United States.

LIEBERMANN (voice over): Senator Cotton responding to learning President Biden didn't follow the military's advice.

COTTON: If all this is true General Milley why haven't you resigned?


MILLEY: This country doesn't want generals, figuring out what orders we are going to accept and do or not. That's not our job. The principles of in

control the military is absolute. It's critical to this republic.

LIEBERMANN (voice over): Milley also addressed revelations in the book "Peril" about the final days of the Trump Administration. Authors Bob

Woodward and Robert Costa wrote that on a phone call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Milley agreed that the president was crazy. Today Milley said

he did not make that assessment.

MILLEY: I am not qualified to determine the mental health of the President of the United States.

LIEBERMANN (voice over): Milley was also worried the authors wrote that Trump would start a conflict with China to distract from his election loss.

Milley defended the two calls he had with his Chinese counterpart in late October and January 8th, after the Capitol insurrection.

MILLEY: My task at that time was to de-escalate. My message again was consistent, stay calm, steady and de-escalate. We are not going to attack


LIEBERMANN (voice over): Milley says the calls were coordinated with Trump Administration officials. And he personally informed Secretary of State

Mike Pompeo and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about the calls.


GIOKOS: And Oren Liebermann is joining us today from the Pentagon. We also have Kylie Atwood back with us this hour from the State Department. Oren

just listening to your piece there and there's so many things that we've learned over the past day with regards to why it was chaotic and how the

exit actually occurred?

We don't know who was pro keeping soldiers and troops on the ground and who was against, but do we know anything about how the decision was made to

exit everyone at such a rapid pace?

LIEBERMANN: We have a sense of the discussions and the input. One of the key points that now been agreed upon, it seems by everyone who has spoken

at the hearing was that there was the consensus from the international community was that the collapse of the Afghan military and the government

could come within weeks, perhaps months, most likely, but not days.

There was no assessment and we've heard this now both in Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as well as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley

that would happen within 11 days, that wasn't something that had come up.

And of course, that was something that everything rested upon the fact that the government would hold out longer than the military would hold out

longer was essentially an underlying assumption that went into the planning.

It was a surprise, Austin has said that everything happens so quickly, and it affected everything that follow forcing essentially a 17 day or a 16

day, noncombatant evacuation operation. One that in a Herculean effort moved 124,000 people, one that has some Senators yesterday and Congressmen

today has left behind American citizens. And that focus has now shifted from a military operation to a state department operation to get the rest


GIOKOS: Yes. OK, Kylie, let's bring you in here. And again, you know, tough criticism coming through not only from Republicans, but also Democrats

during these hearings. Again, the question you arising, why the massive exodus so quickly, why not keeping troops after the 31st of August, and

basically what options the president had?

As these revelations are coming through it seems that the big finger that is kind of pointed at the Afghan army, what are we hearing on that front?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. I mean, we did hear in the testimony yesterday that there was some frustration with

the leadership of the Afghan army and the orders that they were given by President Ghani.

They were rotating officers in and out at a rapid pace, which, essentially, you know, U.S. military officials were saying yesterday, didn't help with

regard to trying to build up the Afghan army and how capable they were?

But we also heard from these military officials, a very blunt assessment of the fact that the intelligence assessment that the Afghan - of the Afghan

army and their capabilities just really wasn't all that great. They expected that, you know, Afghanistan was likely to fall to the Taliban in a

matter of months, but really not in a matter of 11 days.

And that was something that these officials consistently said yesterday, and they pointed to the fact that there are questions as to why the U.S.

didn't see that? You know, what they didn't see on the ground? And we heard from General Milley that there was, you know, one thing that he pointed to,

which was U.S. advisors had been pulled from those Afghan military units about three years ago, that may be one factor.

But we really don't know the breadth of the factors that really led to this misreading of the intelligence that was being put before them then of

course, impacted the U.S. policy and forced the United States to really have to drum up this evacuation in such a rapid pace.


ATWOOD: The other thing that's really important that we learned yesterday from General Milley is that he believes the U.S. credibility has been

damaged in terms of its relationships with allies. And that's something to watch, not just, you know, further repercussions when it leads to with

regard to Afghanistan, but also with regard to working with U.S. allies on different things on different foreign policy agendas for the by


GIOKOS: Oren, you know, there's one really fascinating, you know, outcome here. As we heard that General Milley was talking about President Trump

ordering the total U.S. trip withdrawal from Somalia and Afghanistan by the 15th of January, and he said that they weighed up the risks and the

benefits and then days later that order was rescinded.

What does this tell us about the impact of the Trump Administration's decision to stop the withdrawal in Afghanistan?

LIEBERMANN: Well, General Mark Milley said he had not spoken to the president, but he had spoken to others on this specific point a memo that

required from President Donald Trump or Former President Donald Trump, I should say that withdrawal from Somalia by the end of last year, and then

the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the complete withdrawal just a couple of weeks later.

Milley was against the full withdrawal. He's made that clear that he his personal view was in favor of 2500 to 3500 troops remain in the country as

a stabilizing force, not only for the government, but also for the military there. And now it's clear that he was in favor also keeping some troops in

Somalia as well.

I think you can assume for a measure of stability there as well. It was Trump's position that that it was time to get out. It was a promise he'd

made. It was a promise he intended to keep and what he intended to do after it was clear that he had lost the election and after it was clear that

essentially one of the hamstring Biden's options when it comes to what happens both in Central Asia and in Africa.

GIOKOS: Right. Oren and Kylie, thank you very much for that insight. Let's get the perspective from Afghanistan. We've got CNN's Chief International

Correspondent Clarissa Ward, in Kabul. Clarissa, you know, we know that the general sense from Afghans is that they feel abandoned and the total

takeover by the Taliban not only came to as a shock to the U.S., but Afghans were warning about this in the lead up to the exit. What are you

hearing now from people on the ground?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well look, I think there are two components here Eleni. First of all, I don't think anyone

even on the ground here, even among Taliban fighters who I've spoken to, could possibly have predicted just how quickly the Afghan forces

disintegrated and crumbled leaving behind this vacuum that then allowed the Taliban to enter Kabul in a matter of hours with hardly firing a single


So nobody could have prepared for that. But depending on who you talk to, I think there are still a lot of anger and bitterness, and confusion,

frankly, as to how this whole withdrawal was carried out? Why it had to be done in such a hasty manner? Why there couldn't be more extractions or

guarantees that the Taliban would have to provide in order to move the number of U.S. troops down?

I do want to add, though, and I think it's an important point, that there are plenty of people in Afghanistan, who also very much supported the U.S.

withdrawal who very much support the Taliban, and who now feel that their country's in a better situation, that it's more secure, that there are

fewer airstrikes, drone strikes, and that the war for now hasn't come to a grinding halt.

But certainly, there appears to be something of a lull in the fighting. So it really does depend who you talk to on the ground here in Afghanistan.

But one thing I would say both sides share Eleni is a conviction honestly, that despite some of the interesting points and the candor that we've seen,

from U.S. military leaders throughout the course of these hearings, most Afghans have really moved on.

And these hearings are not strictly relevant to their experience now, which is more about survival. It's about trying to rebuild the country or for

many people trying to get out of this country.

GIOKOS: So, you know, the Secretary of Defense was saying what they couldn't do is help build institutions, and they couldn't also help build

the will for the Afghan military to win.

Do you think that was anticipated by average Afghans because in the lead up to this not coverage on the ground as the U.S. was exiting, you really

could see - hear the fear of average people that were afraid that the Taliban would take over and we know it happened faster than people had

anticipated. But it seems that it was anticipated that it would eventually happen.


WARD: All the timelines that they had worked out seem to end with the Taliban taking over. So there was a kind of understanding that this was

somewhat inevitable, albeit on a very different timeline. And I would just say that in the weeks before, Kabul fell, we saw clear indications that the

Afghan army had no will to fight.

I'll give you one example. We were driving from here in Kabul, to a neighboring province, we were going into Taliban held territory, there was

a small checkpoint with an Afghan base attached to it. The checkpoint as we were driving through was coming under fire from a Taliban sniper.

And we literally watched with our own eyes, as Afghan soldiers ran down from the base, pulling off their uniforms hailed a civilian vehicle and

left. And that was a very startling revelation for those of us who witnessed it that there was no intention to fight to the death on this one,

that the decision had already been made within the Afghan forces, that they were not going to keep trying to defend their positions.

And so when that became abundantly clear, I guess you can - you know, that's anybody's guess. And there are people in the intelligence community

and within the military, who obviously will have a better sense of that. But I would say to those watching closely, that there were certainly

warning signs that things were going very badly, and much more quickly than anyone had anticipated.

GIOKOS: So Clarissa I mean, we know you were there, during, you know, very high tension moments where people were desperately trying to get out. How

would you describe the situation right now in Kabul versus what you saw in late August?

And I refer to what General Milley had to say, saying, you know, we worried about a civil war, we were worried about a potential attack on the U.S. And

here we have messaging from the Taliban that they've transformed, but we're not seeing that action on the ground.

WARD: I don't think anyone's seen a transformation, that's for sure. What we have seen compared to when I was on the ground in late August, the

situation was so chaotic was so fraught, was so tense. You had of course, that horrific attack at the airport, it does feel a lot calmer, on the

ground in Kabul, now, the traffic is moving.

The Taliban are no longer on every single city block. They are manning checkpoints, they have a presence. Many more of them are wearing uniforms

than they were before for a number of reasons, both to look more professional, but also to try to avoid ISIS-K militants from blending in

and pretending to be the Taliban and carrying out more attacks.

So there is a sense that there are more normalcies in life. But underpinning that is a real sense of fear, a real sense of panic and a real

sense of dread that we are only just starting to see the Taliban's true colors and have some kind of an inkling of what their governance will

actually look like.

GIOKOS: Yes, Clarissa great to have you on the show. Thank you very much for your insight. First, not just for Tunisia but for the entire Arab world

Tunisia has appointed a Female Prime Minister, Najla Boudin Romdhane was tapped by it the country's President, just two months after he dismissed

the previous Prime Minister and suspended parliament. 63-year-old Romdhane previously served in Tunisia's Ministry of Higher Education.

President Biden's top military officers are facing more questions over the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. His Defense Secretary is telling you as

lawmakers why he supported the president's decision to end the war. We'll break down the testimony ahead.

Plus, CNN sits down in Port-au-Prince for an exclusive interview with a Haitian Prime Minister. He tells us why he's keen to cooperate with the

U.S.? Plus, after 10 days of sneaking through neighborhoods lava from an erupting volcano in the Canary Islands has reached the ocean. What

residents are doing now to stay safe?



GIOKOS: North Korea appears to be joining the hypersonic missile race, but South Korea says Pyongyang's advanced weapon seems to be still in the early

stages of development. It was launched into waters off the Korean Peninsula on Tuesday. CNN's Will Ripley brings us the details. Take a look.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): South Korea is trying to downplay concerns at least immediate concerns about the threat from North

Korea's purported hypersonic missile test on Tuesday. The missile the North Korea calls the - was shown in state media for the first time.

Analysts looking at the image say it does seem to indicate a hypersonic missile in the early stages of development. And that's what South Korea is

saying. They say it will still take a considerable amount of time for this weapon to be deployed.

But the fact that North Korea now joins a very small handful of nations that actually have this technology, only Russia and China are known to have

deployed hypersonic missiles The United States is currently testing and developing hypersonic missile technology.

It shows just how far this tiny impoverished country has come in their terms of their weapons development despite increasingly tough international

sanctions over its nuclear program. Now what we know about this particular missile is pretty limited.

North Korean state media says that it has a gliding flight warhead, which means the warhead would detach from the rocket portion of the hypersonic

missile, and it could basically act like a hang glider as it moves towards its target. What we know about hypersonic missiles is that they are defined

as anything that can move faster than five times the speed of sound roughly 4000 miles an hour around one mile per second.

But a lot of ballistic missiles also are known to travel at hypersonic speeds but analysts say the difference between a ballistic missile and a

hypersonic missile is that a ballistic missile travels on a set trajectory from point A through the air to point B the target that makes it easier to

track and trace and potentially intersect.

Hypersonic missiles can be launched at a very fast speed and then sort of zigzag their way to a target which makes it much tougher for missile

defense systems that are deployed in places like South Korea and Japan and the United States.

But at this stage, South Korea does say that their missile defense systems would be able to intercept this current version of North Korea's hypersonic

missile which they're calling the --. North Korea back in January said that this is one of the weapons that they're looking to develop and develop very


And there were other weapons on the list as well, including new types of ballistic missiles that use solid fuel solid fuel of course, it's tricky

because you can roll the missile out and launch it with very little notice.

North Korea also looking to develop a military reconnaissance satellite, new types of drones and even an intercontinental ballistic missile that

could travel some 15,000 kilometers more than 9300 miles putting well within striking range the mainland U.S., Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


GIOKOS: The Haitian Prime Minister is speaking publicly about the migrant crisis at the U.S. southern border. Talking exclusively to CNN Ariel Henry

says he understands why the United States has been deporting thousands of Haitian migrants from the Texas border.

And that he'll welcome home those who fled the disaster hit country. He's also talking about accusations that he hampered the probe into the late

president's assassination. CNN's Melissa Bell has that interview from Port- au-Prince.


MELLISA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Haiti is a country in the midst of multiple crises, the migrant crisis that we've been talking so

much about over the course of the last week. The abject poverty of course, that continues to be such a difficult thing for so many people day to day,

the gang violence that now grips so much of the Haitian capitals with daily kidnappings on its streets.

But also there is the political crisis in which it currently finds itself at the helm of Haiti at the moment, with the departure of U.S. Special

Envoy to Haiti described as an unelected de facto leader, the man who is currently the Prime Minister of Haiti. CNN got a chance to sit down with

him for a chat.


BELL (voice over): Since the migrant crisis and the deportation of thousands of Haitians, the man now in charge of Haiti gives an exclusive

interview to CNN.

ARIEL HENRY, HAITIAN PRIME MINISTR: We saw some of the mistreatment that these Haitians suffering and it struck us a lot. What we are saying is that

as long as there are countries that are better off than others, there will always be an appeal to those wealthier places.

BELL (voice over): But despite the migrant crisis, Prime Minister Ariel Henry says that Haitian cooperation with the United States is good, and

that he means it to remain so. Henry took office just two weeks after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise elections had been due in

September, they've now been pushed back.

HENRY: The train has derailed for some time in Haiti. We have no more elected officials, only 10 Senators who cannot pass a law because there

aren't enough of them. We want to move as quickly as possible to the restoration of democracy through elections.

BELL (voice over): But since taking over Henry has been accused of hampering the investigation into the late president's murder, by firing the

prosecutor and the justice minister.

BELL (on camera): How can people have faith in the investigation when the executive is meddling in the judiciary?

HENRY: The prosecutor was dismissed for breaking the law. The Minister of Justice was dismissed for breaking the law as well. It is important for us

that President Jovenel Moise has justice, it is fundamental for us and we are going to do everything so that justice is done.

BELL (voice over): The prosecutor had wanted to see charges brought against Henry over alleged phone calls that were made in the hours after the

assassination with one of the main suspects Joseph Badio, who is still on the run.

BELL (on camera): The questions that the prosecutor had were about phone calls that you'd received from one of the main suspects. What is your

relationship with Joseph Felix Badio?

HENRY: I have no recollection of this telephone call or if it took place. I have no interest in being associated with these people. And I have never

been and never will be.

BELL (voice over): Despite the controversy that has surrounded him so far. Henry says that he's determined to bring stability to Haiti by taking on

the gangs that control so much of the country.

HENRY: We have asked friendly countries for help and supporting our police to fight these bandits. And get them out of public life so that the economy

can pick up so that our children can go about their normal lives.

BELL (voice over): Little comfort to the deportees returning to a country more violent and politically unstable than the one they left.

BELL (on camera): That gang violence and the kidnappings that we've seen spiraling over the course of the last few weeks really what is on the mind

of Haitians as they try and go about their daily life, but you will only really see people out on the streets during the daytime since after dusk

the city simply becomes too dangerous for people to head out onto the streets.

In fact, as we left the Prime Minister's residency rather chilly, he warned us to be careful since the streets at Port-au-Prince might not be that

safe. Melissa Bell, CNN, Port-au-Prince.


GIOKOS: And coming up President Biden's top military advisors telling lawmakers the war in Afghanistan didn't end the way the U.S. wanted and

came at a terrible cost. CNN's Nick Payton Walsh spent time recently in Kabul he'll join me after the break to discuss.



GIOKOS: Well, there was no risk free option to stay in Afghanistan forever. That's what U.S. President Joe Biden's top military advisers are telling

members of the House Armed Services Committee they're testifying for a second day on the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. General Mark

Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff laid it out in blunt terms.


MILLEY: It is obvious to all of us that the war in Afghanistan did not end on the terms that we wanted with the Taliban now in power in Kabul.

Although, the Neo was unprecedented and as the largest air evacuation in history was a tactical operational and logistical success, evacuating

124,000 people. The war was a strategic failure.


GIOKOS: For some more analysis, let's bring in CNN's Nick Paton Walsh. He's covered the situation in Afghanistan for years. Nick, I mean, hearing about

the strategic failure. We've also heard the line that the loss of the war and what we've seen happening this year isn't just what happened in August,

but also combination of events over the past 20 years.

They're trying to rationalize what's occurred over the past couple of months. But do you think that it's enough to explain the chaotic exit?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I think, frankly, the war in Afghanistan and those Americans who served in it, and those Afghans

who suffered during it would have massively benefited for this kind of scrutiny.

And frankly, the kind of candor that we've heard from those senior military officials there over the past six, maybe seven years or so, during which

period of time the American presence there seem to go, frankly, on autopilot, that essentially decided there would be some kind of political

negotiation with the Taliban.

And then as that year by year dragged on, it looked less and less optimistic for the U.S. outcome, incredibly unoptimistic for the Afghan

government and eventually seemed to lead towards some kind of end state where the U.S. would predominantly have left.

An interesting phrase, just a few moments ago, I heard uttered by General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of CENTCOM, I paraphrase here. But he

essentially said the more senior you get, the harder it is to get truth to you and that they needed to address that issue.

And I think that broadly feeds in to the problem that many people who've tried to assess the Afghan war have faced there, there's been an effort to

perhaps massage the narrative to present often transient successes or amorphous successes, think quite hard to define as something finite that

can be lent upon.

And then of course, we had this extraordinary collapse of the Afghan government, which most of these senior officials now appear to be pointing

towards them, having had some kind of foresight or idea could have happened.

But peers also have just taken everybody by surprise, looking at the speed at which territory was lost to the Taliban. Looking at the amount I think

of missteps that have clearly occurred in the years leading up to that moment.

It's hard really, to see quite how some kind of rapid collapse couldn't have occurred Kabul, it's fair to say fell much faster than anybody

thought. But at the time in which it did so much had already changed. And so we are seeing a time very partisan effort here to pass the final stages

of a war.

The phrase that seems to have come out here is a logistical success, but sorry, logistical success, but a strategic failure. And I think some

critics may flip that round and sort of say, well, look, the logistics of the end of this were very complicated, were rushed, were taken by surprise

by the collapse of the Ghani government in Kabul.

But the broader strategic picture for the United States of getting out of this forever war, despite the damage it's caused to its reputation and its

alliances has, in fact, been achieved.

But we are still at the point where it's clear, much of the U.S. military is trying to assess quite what has just happened quite where it leaves them

now, certainly where it leaves their counter terror operation in Afghanistan.

Interesting to note them say that they consider the Taliban to be a terrorist group. That's a phrasing we've heard little of over the past

years because of the need to talk to the Taliban. And that shifts the narrative certainly now to what can be done to put the U.S. back in the

position that where it was where it was hunting down al Qaeda, making them unable to operate in there.


WALSH: It says that's the case at this stage. But it's now a key mission for them moving forward because of this ungovernable un-monitorable space,

they've now left behind them after their longest war.

GIOKOS: Yes, I mean, what's also really interesting is hearing the potential risks right now. For example, they were talking about, you know,

Afghanistan, perhaps, perhaps fracturing into civil war and talking about a potential attack on the U.S.

So this is, you know, really interesting to see the uncertainty that the exit has sort of, you know, the big consequence of the exit. How are they

going to look at this from a military perspective in the next few months, because surely, they've left now, but they've created a new risk profile in


WALSH: It's very hard. I mean, yes, obviously, that the Taliban having full control of the country in the way those they do now.

And it clear links with al Qaeda and the thriving presence of ISIS-k within that country, despite their sort of death battle with the Taliban for

prevalence there that is a severe security risk for the United States. The Taliban is part of their deal with the U.S. said that they would not allow

attacks on foreign countries from Afghanistan. But how much can you really put to that at this stage?

And I think the concern certainly was before we saw this withdraw and collapse back in April, I did reporting that al Qaeda was doing very well.

Thank you, that the U.S. were pursuing key targets inside that country acting on information received in those raids, and hitting other al Qaeda

targets elsewhere in the world very much in a live threat.

Of course, it's worse now, of course, the U.S. is much more compromised. Now they don't have a presence on the ground. We've seen the inaccuracy

that they're able, unfortunately to slip into like the drone strike on what seemed to be a family when they thought they were hitting ISIS-K.

There are more risks of that as we go down the line and their capabilities are further away. But they have to move fast, I think to get a stronger

presence in the neighboring countries around Afghanistan to increase their visibility on what's there. Otherwise, we are looking at a very complicated

few months ahead.

GIOKOS: All right, Nick, thank you very much, great to have you on the show. Ahead now panic at the petrol pumps. The British government claims

the country's fuel crisis is improving. But it's decided to bring in the military to help. We'll take you live to London. It's not just a fuel


A lorry driver shortage has the UK scrambling to tempt more people to get behind the wheel. But union leaders say the government is going about it

all wrong.



GIOKOS: The British government insists the country's petrol crisis is starting to improve but business secretary says soldiers are being deployed

in the next couple of days to help get gasoline back into the pumps.

It also is launching a civilian reserve tanker fleet to help. Still CNN is witnessing long queues wrapping around stations, there's been a recent

shortage of truck drivers. And it's triggered a spate of panic buying over the last few days. The Prime Minister had this to say on Tuesday.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We now are starting to see the situation improved we is hearing from industry that supplies are coming

onto the forecourt in the normal way. And I would just really urge everybody to just go about their business in the normal way and fill up in

the normal way when you when you really need it. And you know things will start to improve.


GIOKOS: Right, we've got Anna Stewart, in London for us at a petrol station. And we heard the Prime Minister saying that suppliers coming back

into sort of normal levels. But could you describe the level of anxiety to buy fuel right now?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: I don't think you can really underestimate it. There have been some themes of panic buying for sure. But also of course,

this is really about a shortage of drivers. There's not a shortage of fuel in the UK. It's just they can't get from the refineries and the platforms

to the petrol stations that need it.

And we're days into this crisis. So it's all very well the Prime Minister telling people you know, don't get fuel unless you really need it. But days

in plenty of people need it. People who have worked that is the car is critical.

We're talking about taxi drivers, delivery drivers, first responders. But at this stage, Eleni, how do people in a remote area of the countryside get

their children to school? How do you get to a doctor's appointment? How do you pick your grandmother up from hospital?

This is impacting all sorts of people. And while things are improving, according to the government, according to Boris Johnson and from the

business secretary who we heard from earlier this morning, it's not necessarily being felt here. But here is what the business secretary said



KWASI KWARTENG, BRITISH BUSINESS SECRETARY: Last few days have been difficult. We've seen large queues, but I think the situation is

stabilizing. We're getting petrol into the four courts. And as I said yesterday that was matched by the sales. So the situation the stock is

stabilizing. And I think we're going to see our way through this.


STEWART: The situation is stabilizing. I'm sure it is in many parts of the country, but it certainly wasn't here today. This petrol station Eleni has

now been here for around 24 hours. And I can tell you that had a big delivery of fuel yesterday morning, it was great news.

10,000 liters of diesel 20,000 liters of petrol less than 24 hours later they are completely empty. Every pump is closed off here and that is why

you're not seeing a massive queue here.

So it's making people anxious timbers afraid at so many petrol stations up and down the country scenes of fights violence people in one situation

brandishing a knife. Hopefully this does resolve the army are going to be stepping in we'll be seeing them apparently otherwise in the next few days.

And of course, the government has some drivers hopefully reaching petrol stations today part of a new fleet - Eleni?

GIOKOS: Anna, thank you very much, good to see you on the ground. And it's not just a petrol crisis; a lorry driver shortage in the UK has only grown

worse because of Brexit and the COVID pandemic.

Now the government is trying to tempt thousands of drivers to come to the UK by offering things like temporary visas, but the drivers unions are

saying not so fast. And joining me now is Frank Moreels, President of the European Transport Workers' Federation.

Frank, good to see you, thanks so much for joining us. Are temporary visas the answer here? And would you say this shortage is because of COVID or


FRANK MOREELS, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN TRANSPORT WORKERS' FEDERATION: I don't think that's temporary visas will be the solution for the problem the UK

has now. And it is true that of course Brexit and the COVID crisis made the problem appearing but the problem is there since a very long time and that

is the shortage of drivers all over Europe.

And not only in the UK, in the UK, there are 100 jobs open for truck drivers, but also in Germany and Poland and France. And even in my country

Belgium a lot of jobs are open for truck drivers. So there is a shortage as such.

GIOKOS: So Frank, how many you know, positions are open right now? Could you give me a sense of the numbers here when you talk of shortage, how many

people are we speaking here?


MOREELS: In the UK, we speak about 100,000 jobs that are open. In Germany we speak about between 45,000 and 65,000. In Poland, we speak of 120,000

jobs that are vacant. And in Belgium, my own country, there are the age of the average age of truck driver is 50.

That means that in the short time, we won't have enough truck drivers anymore needed. So it's a major problem all over Europe. And it has to do

with the attractiveness of the job. The truck drivers, all of Europe are badly paid. The wages are not high enough.

The working conditions of truck drivers are very poor, very bad. There was not a lot, not enough parking areas where they can rest.

GIOKOS: So we talk in fact about hundreds of thousands. We're talking about a shortage of hundreds of thousands of truck drivers across Europe. You're

talking about bad working conditions and poorly paid.

Yet this is an important skill, because not everyone can drive attracted, we're talking about so many things that are required to become a truck

driver. What are you doing right now and as a federation to try and get governments to think differently and businesses to think differently about

this, this job?

MOREELS: So we think we have to put a lot of efforts on making the job attractive again. And the first thing we have to do is to pay decent

salaries for truck drivers. That's the first one. But also, we need to make the working conditions better.

We have to make the job more comfortable, enough parking areas, good sanitary conditions. And after all, it's at the parking areas, good

showers, where the truckers can take a shower, and so on.

So we have to do a lot of effort in ameliorating bettering the working conditions of the truck drivers, so the job will be more attractive. And

the young people will be motivated to step in. And secondly, of course, we have to --yes.

GIOKOS: So, Frank, I mean, what you're saying now the solutions seem pretty simple. If they are put into effect where you see an increase in salaries

and better conditions, specifically at border posts, in terms of, you know, the conditions for drivers to stop and take rest, how quickly could the

situation be rectified?

Because from what it sounds like, if you're talking about hundreds and thousands of people that have moved away from this industry, we're talking

about a crash in supply chains.

MOREELS: Absolutely. And it is something that is not new, since the years, we are complaining about this situation since a long time, the union say

that something has to be done. Since a long time we are pleading for better working conditions for the truck drivers.

And it will not be possible to solve this problem, such. So like that we have to do make efforts to better their working conditions. And it will not

be for tomorrow, that's for sure. We will be confronted with this shortage for quite a long time.

But we can do something for example, multinational companies; they can clean up their supply chain. They can say we don't accept that there is

social dumping in our sector; we don't accept that drivers are poorly paid; we don't accept that they are maltreated or mistreated.

So the big companies can do something but also the governments can do something they have to control they have to enforce. They have to look if

CBAs --are respected, which is in many cases not like that. So for the clients, the big, multinational companies, there's something to do. And for

the governments there is a lot of work to do.

GIOKOS: Yes, absolutely, so policy and of course, from the corporate angle as well. Thank you very much, Frank for joining us today. Good to have you.

Thank you. Oman is reinventing itself.

One big part of the country's 2040 vision plan is to increase strategic utilization of the country's natural resources. I learned about a niche

company in Oman, that is doing just that.


MARCO PARSIEGLA, CEO, AMOUAGE: Welcome Eleni to Amouage.

GIOKOS (on camera): Thank you so much so good to be here. It smells really good in here. It smells really good.

PARSIEGLA: Well, I'm glad you're saying that it should smell good. We are one of the most luxurious fragrance houses in the world.

GIOKOS (voice over): Amouage is a small company by perfume standards, but a giant in Oman. Started in 1983 CEO Marco Parsiegla wants to double his

business in the next four years and become the number one independent fragrance house.


PARSIEGLA: It's all about innovation. We have been innovating we continue to innovate. And that's our duty for the industry as an authority to bring

the innovation to the next boundaries possible.

GIOKOS (voice over): Economists in Oman say niche companies like Amouage are delivering an important message to the rest of the world.

ADHAM AL SAID, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, SILTAN QABOOS UNIVERSITY: These are the tugs that we can pull people into Oman and say, hang on, if

you've bought yourself a bottle of - wouldn't you like to visit the country?

These are not going to be large industries, but they're going to be highly valuable, perhaps luxury brands, perhaps highly personalized brands. And I

think those are going to be the ones that Oman is going to be remembered for.

GIOKOS (on camera): So how many perfumes do you have in your portfolio?

PARSIEGLA: Well, we have more than 50 different fragrances right now. And all of those are creations, really to serve the different desires of our

very discerning clients.

GIOKOS (voice over): There are three main ingredients used in every Amouage fragrance. And they are all sourced right here in Oman. Frankincense which

comes from the Dhofar region in the south, Rock Rose, a flower grown in the mountains in the northern part of the country and Ambergris, a foul

smelling substance that is commonly used in perfume. It's produced by a whale's digestive system and found washed up on the shores of Oman.

PARSIEGLA: It's a long tradition.

GIOKOS (on camera): I feel like I've got a lot more things to smell. - look the sperm whale digestive like you got me there.

GIOKOS (voice over): Although Amouage is steeped in Omani culture and tradition; it is an international brand with China, Italy, and the U.S.

among its top 10 markets.

PARSIEGLA: So we are actually having a fairly balanced footprint globally. And that gives us the strength to actually expand now internationally.

GIOKOS (voice over): Growing beyond Oman's borders, but never forgetting its roots.

PARSIEGLA: We believe our role is not just to run a business, but also to be an ambassador for Oman in the --. And we are very thought to be an Omani



GIOKOS: That was one of the most pleasant factories I've ever visited, I have to say. So we live in Spain after the break. Rivers of white hot lava

have already wreaked havoc on the Spanish Island. But now it's pouring into the ocean sparking fears of toxic gases.


GIOKOS: Spanish authorities are telling residents on the island of La Palma to shelter in place. Now that lava from an erupting volcano is entering the

Atlantic Ocean. They've warned that harmful gases can be generated when lava enters the water.

For 10 days now lava has been inching its way through residential neighborhoods, threatening everything in its path. The government has

declared the island a disaster zone. We've got Al Goodman monitoring the situation for us.

He is live in Madrid, an escalation of the danger looking at lava now entering the ocean and we know what that means the toxic gases here. How

serious is a situation at the moment?


AL GOODMAN, JOURNALIST: Well the people on the island of La Palma and the authorities have certainly taken it quite seriously. There are large

numbers of people who are locked down being told to stay inside and about 200 have been evacuated according to officials.

Now Eleni, it was just before midnight just at the end of the day, on the 10th day consecutive day of eruptions in lava flows from that Cumbre Vieja

volcano on the island, that the lava finally made it over to this cliff, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the western side of the island and

dropped a long way in to the ocean.

Now officials had been expecting this since the start of the eruptions. Back on September 19, they had set up an exclusionary zone at sea and on

land. Scientists on land and at sea have been studying especially the ocean to see what kind of damage by daybreak this day, now the 11th straight day

of eruptions.

They're seeing that this lava has actually formed a kind of a Delta extending the coastline out like a Delta like a little triangle away from

the coastline like landfill is what they're initially seeing.

What they haven't seen, according to reports from officials is actual the threat of toxic gases becoming a threat to people at this point, they're

saying that the winds are blowing Southwest away from the island.

That's away from the airport on the eastern side of the island. It's had a lot of problems with the volcanic ash. But right now they're not taking any

chances. So far, there have been no reported injuries or deaths.

Although the lava as you mentioned in its relentless path to the ocean and it's continuing to flow that way. One set of lava on top of another set of

lava, destroying everything in its path.

Hundreds of buildings about 700 according to official count have been damaged, many of them completely destroyed Eleni?

GIOKOS: Yes, I mean looking at these visuals, the smoke, the heat, unbelievable. We also heard that officials are telling people to use wet

towels and tape to keep the smoke out. Thank you so much for that update. Well that was "Connect the World". I'm Eleni Giokos. Thanks so much for

joining us. "One World" is up next with my colleague, Larry Madowo stay with CNN.