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Climate Week at Dubai Expo: A Call for Action; Taiwan Says China Capable of Mounting Invasion by 2025; U.S. Secretary of State Admits U.S. Took French Alliance "For Granted"; Facebook CEO Responds to Whistleblower Allegations; Pope Calls French Church Abuse Report "A Moment of Shame"; ISIS-K Suicide Bomber Was in Prison Just Days before Kabul Airport Attack; Pavilions at Dubai Event Gloss Over Realities of 2021; War-Torn Afghanistan Represented at Dubai Event. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired October 06, 2021 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Taiwan has some dire warnings about China, in a week when Beijing has flown a record number of warplanes near
Facebook's CEO is on the defensive after a former employee's damning testimony on Capitol Hill.
Will this though change the way the media giant operates?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS, PONTIFF, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): I wish to express my sorrow and my pain to the victims for the trauma that they
have suffered and also my shame.
ANDERSON (voice-over): The pope's reaction to explosive revelations about decades of abuse in the French Catholic Church. We're live in Rome for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): And three Nobel winners with one thing on their mind: the change in the Earth's climate.
ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson in Dubai for you. A very a warm welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.
And it is climate that is front and center in discussions this week here at the Dubai Expo. Less than a month out from the COP26 meeting in Glasgow,
we're taking a deep dive into the most pressing issue of our time.
In the midst of more urgent warnings and more real-life impacts but still wanting in the way of solutions. It is no coincidence at all that, this
week, the Nobel committee recognized three men who forecast Earth's climate crisis decades ago, awarding them the Nobel Prize in physics.
One of those honored, Giorgio Parisi, immediately looking ahead to the upcoming COP26 climate summit in Scotland, uttering words we've heard
before but with added urgency, warning humanity that it must act now to save future generations from climate catastrophe.
Next hour, we're going to ask the tough questions about that pivot to clean energy, the politics and money involved and whether the pledges being made
will really convert to actions to avert a climate disaster.
Amid an energy crisis in Europe, I'm going to talk to Portugal's secretary of state for the environment about her government's initiatives and the
challenges it currently faces.
And we'll speak to a group of young climate activists from around the world, who say input from their generation is absolutely crucial to speed
Before we do that, I want to connect you to the day's other news today. And Taiwan, a warning and warplanes. The current tempest between Taipei and
Beijing looks more like than money and politics.
That is because leading players in the scenario are also the world's two biggest economies, the U.S. and China. We're watching for a big diplomatic
face-to-face in Switzerland, where U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan is set to sit down with some of Beijing's top diplomats.
Looming over those planned talks in Zurich, a warning to make you stop and look. Taiwan's defense minister says China could be capable of mounting a
full-scale invasion of the democratic island by 2025.
That declaration comes just days after record numbers of Chinese warplanes flew into what is known as Taiwan's Air Defense Identification Zone. CNN's
Ivan Watson covering this for us from Hong Kong, joining us live now.
And the backdrop to this Zurich meeting couldn't be more important at this point.
Do we know what we can expect out of Switzerland?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is not going to be the same as the last time that President Biden's national
security adviser sat down with his Chinese counterpart.
That was in Alaska; alongside the U.S. secretary of state and it was in front of cameras. And it was a very publicly acrimonious meeting, where the
diplomats from both governments went after each other, reproaching each other.
And there was a lot of consensus that, after the fact, it was not very productive. The Chinese government has indicated that this meeting in
Zurich is a follow-up from a 90-minute phone call between President Biden and Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, last month. And it is building off the
WATSON: The White House saying in that call that they wanted to establish basically guardrails for the increasingly tense relationship between
Washington and Beijing and for that to be filtered down to lower level officials.
So this will be a test of whether or not the two governments can find a way to, at least, sit down and talk without kind of yelling at each other. And
we may not know how it goes because we don't think they'll repeat, arguably, the same mistake and do it in front of cameras, which can allow
officials to perform for the domestic audiences -- Becky.
ANDERSON: The big question obviously at this point, given the background to this meeting, is whether these incursions, that we have just described
by Beijing, will be a big part of the discussion.
This was a grim warning from Taiwan's defense minister that I've just reported. But U.S. President Joe Biden, as I understand it, says he and
China's president will, quote, "abide by the Taiwan agreement."
Just explain what that is and how much could the already existing tensions between Beijing and Washington escalate with Taiwan as the catalyst?
WATSON: Right, and why don't we take a listen to what President Biden said to journalists last night about this very subject?
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have spoken with Xi about Taiwan. We agree we'll abide by the Taiwan agreement, that's where we are
and we made it clear that I don't think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: The U.S. president didn't clarify at which juncture he spoke with Chinese President Xi about Taiwan, whether it was that phone call last
month. Taiwan is just one of many flashpoints that the U.S. has with Beijing.
But it certainly has been a tense couple of days for Taiwan's military, with a record number of Chinese warplanes approaching Taiwan, flying in its
Air Defense Identification Zone, 150 since the beginning of this month.
That number has tapered; on Monday there was a record 56 planes in one day. And that went down to just one plane on Tuesday. The warning coming from
the Taiwanese defense minister actually saying, China could invade today if it wanted.
We would make it pay a price for that. The price would be less high in 2025, if China tries to do that. And the context here was that he had been
discussing with Taiwanese lawmakers a new budget, that would propose long- range defense missiles from Taiwan, which would presumably make the cost of a potential invasion from China much higher.
The hope, of course, is that these two entities will not come to blows. But it certainly is messaging, strong messaging, coming from China, not only to
Taiwan and to its allies like the U.S. but many analysts argue, for a domestic audience as well during a national holiday. Back to you.
ANDERSON: Yes, yes, fascinating. All right. Ivan, thank you for that.
America's top diplomat is facing the brunt of France's anger during his trip to Paris. In a testy TV interview on Tuesday, U.S. secretary of state
Antony Blinken admitted Washington had taken France for granted, as he answered questions about the betrayal that France felt.
Paris, of course, was blindsided just weeks ago, when the U.S. excluded it from a new submarine agreement with Australia, causing France to lose its
own multibillion dollar deal with Canberra.
We're joined now by Cyril Vanier, who is in Paris, where, Cyril, Secretary Blinken is wrapping up his trip there with talks at the OECD, the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
And how successful has Blinken been, do you think, during what has been a pretty delicate mission to repair the rift between the U.S. and France?
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely, Becky. Look, this is really the essence of diplomacy, isn't it?
Secretary of State Blinken here in Paris for a few days on a high-level diplomatic mission, trying to mend fences with one of America's most
important and oldest allies.
He went on French primetime TV yesterday and deployed his impeccable French, I have to say -- I would note that he has been to -- he went to
bilingual school here in Paris -- and deployed his impeccable French and appeared contrite.
VANIER: Here's what he had to say, Becky.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE (through translator): We should have done better in terms of communication. This is what President Biden
and President Macron said to each other, when they spoke a few weeks ago.
But above all, we sometimes tend to take for granted a relationship as important and as deep as the one between France and the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: So America's top diplomat has acknowledged that the U.S. could and should have done better. The U.S. President, Joe Biden, said as much on his
phone call with Emmanuel Macron last month.
So where does the relationship stand now?
Well, the French have signaled they are not ready to put this crisis behind them yet. And Macron was asked by "Politico" earlier today whether he was
confident that the U.S. viewed France or understood the importance of France as an ally.
His answer, quote, "We'll see. I believe in actions."
As CNN understands it, the two countries are now looking for areas, where they can come to some concrete agreements, concrete actions, where they can
cooperate for the Presidents Macron and Biden, who are scheduled to meet later this month to announce sometime in October -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Cyril, thank you for that.
Cyril Vanier is in Paris for you.
Well, after what may have been the worst couple of days in his company's history, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally spoke up on Tuesday
evening. He responded to the explosive testimony of this Facebook whistleblower saying -- by saying the media are painting a false picture of
In a statement, posted to his Facebook page, Zuckerberg said many of the whistleblowers' allegations just don't make sense because they would be bad
for Facebook's business.
He said his company cares deeply about safety and mental health issues and he was especially critical of claims that Facebook products harms children,
urging Congress to update regulations regarding children and the internet.
Let's bring in our chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, for more on what the Facebook CEO is saying.
And he's able to get his message out on the Facebook site, of course, because that site is now back up and running. It was down, as was WhatsApp
and Instagram, owned by Facebook.
What do you make of what he said?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's using the outage -- yes, he's using the outage as an example of Facebook's importance,
saying this is proof that so many people need and want our products, that so many businesses and communities and schools rely on Facebook and
Instagram and WhatsApp.
And he's not wrong about that.
But then it becomes about what are the harms that come from these platforms?
And are the harms outweighing the positives?
And, of course, he says, no; he says the company is being maligned by the media and the whistleblower. He goes through his defenses and really
focuses on the impacts to young people, saying every negative experience on Facebook and Instagram matters.
He claims the company takes it seriously but also says, ultimately, Congress, the U.S. Congress, will have to step in here.
And that has been the narrative from Facebook for several years now. They say they need someone else to come up with the rules of the road. They need
lawmakers to set the rules.
Of course, that sounds a lot like punting. It sounds a lot like an excuse, saying we're not responsible for the behavior; someone else should tell us
what to do. And when they're saying that, in the midst of a broken political environment in the U.S., it comes across as rather hollow.
By the way, this is about more than the U.S. Frances Haugen is about to head over to the U.K. She'll testify to Parliament there. So she has a lot
more to say and this is not just an American matter. So every time Zuckerberg says the U.S. Congress should tell me the rules, I think, mmm,
this is a lot more complicated than that, Zuckerberg.
ANDERSON: And Congress, of course, really wants Zuckerberg to speak to them under oath.
Are there plans for the Facebook CEO to go to Washington?
And what can Congress do at present?
You're right to point out, this is not just a U.S. issue. I'm not sure that this statement is going to put -- is going to satisfy Facebook's critics.
It is not just a U.S. issue. It is a global issue, this.
But what about these moves by Congress?
STELTER: Right. Certainly there is bipartisan agreement on the problem. There are not a lot of solutions being put forward that are specific enough
to address the problem.
Haugen made some really interesting specific arguments, though. She said, maybe Facebook should go back to a chronological news feed. So instead of
the algorithm trying to give you more and more and more of what you want, the way that a bartender would overserve a drunk customer and get them too
drunk to drive, maybe Facebook should go back to a more calm, chronological, just-the-latest sort of approach.
STELTER: So she had some ideas. You know, there are other simple -- not simple but there are other practical things that could happen.
Facebook could be told that humans must be involved every step of the way, that robots and AI is not enough, that humans must be doing constant
moderation. There are those sorts of regulations Congress could put in place.
But whether there is the appetite to do that and whether Facebook's army of lobbyists would swoop in and try to influence that regulatory writing
process, well, I think we know that would happen.
To answer your question, there are no public plans for Zuckerberg to visit with Congress, to testify under oath. I think he sent a message the other
day about posting a picture of him sailing, a video of him sailing with his wife, while all this was starting to erupt.
And now days later, he has realized he has to respond. But normally he tries to wait out these storms, let them blow over. He might be trying to
do the same thing now.
ANDERSON: Yes. Always a pleasure. Brian, thank you. Brian Stelter in the house.
It is a moment of shame: the pope reacts to explosive revelations about decades of abuse in the French Catholic Church.
And we've got new shocking details about the suicide bomber, who carried out the deadly attacks at Kabul's airport in the final days of the U.S.
Do stay with us. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson for you.
ANDERSON: Pope Francis is expressing his sorrow over a stunning report that exposed decades-long sexual abuse in the French Catholic Church. And
he's calling on church leaders to ensure, quote, "similar tragedies never happen again."
The pope's comments come a day after the damning report found that members of the Catholic clergy in France sexually abused an estimated 216,000
minors over the past 70 years and that the church prioritized the protection of the church over survivors, who were urged to keep quiet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POPE FRANCIS (through translator): I wish to express my sorrow and my pain to the victims for the trauma that they have suffered. And also my shame,
our shame, my shame for the too long incapacity of the church to put them at the center of its attention. I assure them of my prayers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Delia Gallagher is following the story from Rome.
We just heard what the pope said in brief.
What else did he have to say about this report and his weekly remarks at the Vatican?
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, he called it hard but healthy.
GALLAGHER: Healthy because a reckoning like this is necessary, if you're going to talk about justice for victims and about healing; as difficult, of
course, as it is to hear and read this kind of a report.
This was a report which was requested by the French Catholic bishops themselves, knowing full well it wasn't going to be a report that would
make them look good but that it was a necessary part of the process of healing sexual abuse in France and in the Catholic Church at large.
And Pope Francis is obviously fully on board with that. What is interesting, Becky, is we really only had a handful of these countrywide
report -- we had them from the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Australia, Germany, now France.
But we certainly haven't had them from all countries in the world. These are reports that require a tremendous amount of resources, of staff, of
technology, of time to put this kind of thing together. Not all countries, of course, have that; not all countries have a culture of transparency when
it comes to sexual abuse.
So unfortunately, I think there will be other reports. But from the pope's point of view, those are a necessary part of the process -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Thank you, Delia.
My next guest is an attorney who has represented hundreds of church abuse victims around the world.
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian released this statement in response to the French church abuse report, quote, "You have what is purportedly the most
moral institution in the world, being the most evil and heartless.
"Any victim of clergy sexual abuse should just call the police immediately to report the sexual abuse."
Mitchell joins me now.
Sir, it is good to have you with us. Your reaction, first, if you will, to these findings, that members of the Catholic clergy in France sexually
abused some 216,000 minors over the past seven decades.
Does the scale of this surprise you?
MITCHELL GARABEDIAN, ATTORNEY, CATHOLIC CHURCH ABUSE VICTIMS: Thank you for having me. I think the number is low myself. I've been representing
victims of clergy sexual abuse for decades now around the world, thousands of victims.
And what the report probably can't take into account is the number of victims who have committed suicide, which is common, unfortunately. Many
victims feel alone; they feel isolated; they feel different; they feel like they can't let their guard down. They have a lack of self-esteem; they
don't know where to turn and they commit suicide.
Other victims will deny having other victims will deny having been sexually abused, simply because the shame attached to being sexually abused, the
stigma attached by many victims.
Again, they don't have any self-esteem, self-respect and they're afraid that the news of them being sexually abused will damage themselves forever
and hurt their family. So many victims who are sexually abused will also deny it. They'll deny it for decades.
I'll get a call from a victim in my office, who wants to report having been sexually abused but he won't make -- or she won't make the second call for
maybe five or six years later and then they'll call me again, to say, OK, I have the strength to talk about it now.
There is a reason why victims don't come forward until they're at least 45 or 50 years old. That's because their coping mechanisms won't allow them to
come forward. And they can't report the sexual abuse.
ANDERSON: The thought that survivors of abuse often come forward, as you say, after decades have passed -- and much of the abuse uncovered in this
specific report on France took place as far back as the '50s.
Does that make building a legal case a lot more complicated and should victims be compensated in this?
What is your sense of what happens next, once you get --
GARABEDIAN: What happens next -- what happens next is statute of limitations laws around the world, civilly and criminally, have to be
amended so that these crimes can be prosecuted, so that victims can try to heal and gain a sense of validation in court, a sense of being, a sense of
self-worth, a sense of self-respect.
It needs to -- in Massachusetts here, because of the exception in the criminal law, we were able to criminally charge former cardinal Theodore
McCarrick of sexually abusing my client for decades. And statute of limitations civilly and criminally have to be changed.
Now in terms of reparation, in terms of compensation, each and every victim wants validation. They want to be told that the crime was not their fault.
GARABEDIAN: And how do they obtain that?
Sometimes through the civil courts in the United States; for instance, in other countries, we use a monetary value for that. Other times, there is
criminal convictions. Whatever the validation is, it has to be obtained, so victims and survivors can try to heal.
ANDERSON: Can you just remind us how many people you have personally represented in the past and how many you currently represent?
You say victims should just call the police immediately.
Is law enforcement more willing to go after top church officials now?
GARABEDIAN: Yes, I represented more than 2,500 victims of clergy sexual abuse through the years. I had the original cases in Boston that broke it
open worldwide, the father John J. Gagin (ph) cases.
Now the police are much more receptive to prosecuting priests because the laws have changed and the attitude, the society's cultural attitude, the
mores of society, are more open now and prosecution is more acceptable; whereas, 25, 35 years ago, the police would just call, in many instances,
call the church. And the church would take care of it and it would be swept under the rug.
That no longer exists. Prosecutions have to take place. This is the -- we're talking about the wholesale sexual abuse of children, by an entity
which purportedly is moral. The last thing in the world -- child abuse is, is moral. The church doesn't know how to be ashamed of itself.
They've created this front of love and spirituality and kindness; meanwhile they're committing the worst crimes on Earth and they're covering it up.
The supervisors have to also be responsible for -- criminally and civilly for covering up these crimes.
As we're talking right now, children are being sexually abused by priests in the Catholic Church and it is being covered up.
ANDERSON: Briefly and lastly, what do you make of the pope's comments today?
GARABEDIAN: They're just words. You have an entity that has committed these crimes, knowingly, for decades upon decades upon decades.
All of a sudden, these priests, the pope, this church, this supposed moral entity, supposedly moral entity, is now deciding that child abuse is wrong?
They need to be shown, they need to be told, they need to be held accountable, so that they stop abusing children and stop covering it up.
They're just words; no action behind it.
And even if there was, how can you trust an entity that has allowed the wholesale sexual abuse of children for decades upon decades upon decades to
They can't. They're all about money. They're all about greed.
ANDERSON: Mitchell, we thank you for joining us.
GARABEDIAN: Thank you.
ANDERSON: U.S. officials have learned a lot more about the suicide bomber attack at the Kabul airport in August. You won't ever believe where he was
just days before his attack. Details on that are coming up.
And at Expo 2020, all that glitters is not gold. We'll take you to Afghanistan's pavilion, one of the wartorn countries represented at this
major international event.
Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in Dubai. You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
CNN has learned some shocking new details about the suicide bombing at Kabul airport that claimed the lives of 13 U.S. service members and dozens
of Afghans. U.S. officials say the ISIS-K member who carried out the attack was actually behind bars just days earlier. He was in a prison, taken over
by the Taliban in early August.
The Taliban released those inside, including hundreds of ISIS-K members. CNN's Oren Liebermann has been following the story from the Pentagon.
And why were the Taliban releasing members of ISIS-K -- Oren?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The Taliban swept across the country and approached Kabul in August 15th. They released all these
prisoners from different prisons but weren't very discerning about who was let out.
It was thousands of prisoners from just the two main prisons near Kabul, Parwan detention facility near Bagram Air Base, which was run by the
Afghans since 2013, even as the U.S. handed over the base, only on July 1st, and then the Pul-e-Charkhi prison, just near Kabul.
They were both emptied out, including members of the Taliban but not only. And that's why they were members of Al Qaeda and ISIS-K that were released;
that includes, according to two U.S. officials, Abdul Rahman, who just 11 days later would carry out the suicide bombing at Abbey Gate near Kabul
International Airport that killed 13 U.S. troops and dozens of Afghans.
The Taliban simply care really who they were releasing. They called them political detainees. Just a couple of days later and emptied out not only
the prisons in Kabul but also others across Afghanistan.
ANDERSON: Oren Liebermann is at the Pentagon for you. Thank you, Oren.
Countries dealing with political and economic turmoil, even war, they are represented here in Dubai at Expo 2020. Ahead, how these nations are tiring
to put their best foot forward and ofttimes glossing over some of the uglier realities of 2021.
Plus, two of golf's most competitive rivals will face off in a major showdown next month in Las Vegas. We'll have more on the highly anticipated
ANDERSON: Well, we are in the first full week of the World Expo here in Dubai, the start of what is a six-month long strut for almost 200
countries. They set up booths and send representatives to the event to put their best foot forward, to attract investment tourism or maybe even to try
to one up on each other.
But what you see here at Expo 2020 can be starkly different from the reality of the world out there in 2021.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If Expo 2020 in Dubai is supposed to be a global village, it is a sanitized, newly-built luxury
version; perfectly manicured walkways and a newly built home for each of the 192 national governments represented.
Even countries plagued by extreme poverty, civil war or a violent struggle over control of government.
Earlier this year, after a landslide election won by the incumbent party of leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's military alleged fraud, staged a coup,
arrested Suu Kyi and violently cracked down on protest and dissent. But walking through the Myanmar pavilion at Expo, you would never know it.
LEVI SAP NEI THANG, MYANMAR PAVILION DEPUTY COMMISSIONER GENERAL: Attracting tourism and then promoting our culture and promoting my people.
MCLEAN: Would you still want tourists to go to Myanmar today?
THANG: I want them to come but it may not be a good time.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Levi Sap Nei Thang is a successful entrepreneur in the U.S. and a household name in Myanmar. She says she was appointed to run
the pavilion by Suu Kyi's previous government five years ago.
She is technically the pavilions deputy commissioner general; deputy because the Myanmar's military junta is now in charge of the country and,
at least on paper, the pavilion, too.
THANG: I do this for my people, not for any political parties.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Thang says she paid to outfit the pavilion from her own pocket. If she is forced out, she doesn't know what she'll do with the
boxes upon boxes of items she has brought with her.
MCLEAN: Do you think that someone from the current government would rather have this pavilion?
THANG: I think they want to send a new chief.
MCLEAN (voice-over): The Burmese military government did not respond to requests for comment.
Meanwhile, across the road, there is no sign that the Taliban plan to occupy the Afghanistan pavilion. It is fully built inside and out, with
empty shelves and display cases. There is no sign that any Afghans have actually been here.
War-torn Syria, though, is represented at Expo 2020. And here, there is no doubt who is in charge. A portrait of President Bashar al-Assad, accused of
using chemical weapons on his own people, is displayed amongst 1,500 wooden paintings that aim to represent the unity of a country torn apart by a
decade of civil war.
At the Yemen pavilion, a 300-year-old manuscript and some of the Gulf's rarest swords are on display. But there is no mention of the Saudi-led war
that's killed more than 200,000 people.
Last year, a massive explosion rocked the Beirut port in Lebanon, killing hundreds and injuring thousands. The country already in the midst of a
financial crisis that, according to a recent U.N. report, has pushed almost three-quarters of the population into poverty.
But inside the Expo pavilion, it is another world. The Lebanon pavilion, unlike most every other, has no connection to the dysfunctional Lebanese
government, blamed for swinging the country from crisis to crisis. Instead, the organizers say it's here thanks to Lebanese businesses and expats.
MCLEAN: Do you ever think that maybe you are carrying water for the government?
NATHALIE HABCHI HARFOUCHE, LEBANON PAVILION DIRECTOR: We won't carry water to the government. We are not doing their job. We are doing it for the
people. And if they are not willing to do it, then we will do it.
ANDERSON: And Scott McLean reporting there.
We've just found out that the Afghanistan pavilion is no longer empty. You are there.
What are you observing?
MCLEAN: Hey, Becky; yes, that's right. Since we shot our story, the Afghanistan pavilion has opened up.
And the most obvious question we had when we walked in the door is who is in charge here?
Which government is responsible for all of this?
Well, I can now tell you it is not the Taliban, it is not the previous government, either. The man in charge here is actually -- his name is
Mohammad Omar Rahimi, he is a private citizen, an antiquities collector, who fled Afghanistan in the 1970s. He now has a shop in Vienna, Austria.
And he says that he's actually represented Expo -- or Afghanistan -- at previous expos as well, including the World Expo back in 2010.
Because of the fall of Kabul in August and the chaos that ensued after that, Expo organizers reached out to him, given his previous experience of
more than a dozen previous expos and asked him to step in, which he was happy to do.
So on very short notice, he managed to get his collection together and bring it here to the United Arab Emirates. He was late opening up shop
here, because he had some customs difficulties, getting all these antiquities, some pieces which are 900 years old, through customs.
But he's here now and he also made very clear to us, Becky, that he's not a partisan, he doesn't represent one government or another, what he's
interested is in peace.
And like we heard from the organizers of the Myanmar pavilion and the Lebanese pavilion, is that he's here for not for any government but for his
people. And he wants to show that there is more to Afghanistan than just war.
ANDERSON: Scott McLean on the story. Scott, thank you for that.
Also exciting news for golf fans. Possibly the fiercest rivals currently in the sport are going head-to-head next month in Vegas. Brooks Koepka will
face off against Bryson DeChambeau in the latest installment of the match. The two have had a rivalry brewing all year.