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First Move with Julia Chatterley
U.S. Completes Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan; Thousands of Afghan Evacuees Housed at U.S. Air Base; President Joe Biden Set to Speak on Afghanistan. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired August 31, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNNI HOST: Live from Dubai, I'm Eleni Giokos. Welcome to FIRST MOVE and we begin with the latest from Afghanistan.
It's the first day in 20 years for Afghans with no American protection. This photo shows the very last us service member to leave the country
marking the end of America's longest war. The Taliban celebrating at the Kabul Airport After the last U.S. military planes left the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZABIHULLAH MUJAHID, TALIBAN SPOKESMAN (through translator): We have a message for any possible invader, that anyone who looks to Afghanistan with
bad intention, they will face what the United States has faced today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: Afghanistan's neighbor Pakistan says the Taliban is expected to announce a new Afghan government in a few days. We've got Nic Robertson
standing by for us. He is in Islamabad in Pakistan.
Nic, when you're hearing a new government that will be formed and then you look at the visuals that we saw in those last moments as the U.S. exited
Kabul, so many questions about who is going to be in the government? How they are going to put this together? And importantly, is, you know, while
these threats that are still very much a reality, while you still have over 100 Americans on the ground, how that's going to play out in the next few
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, we heard from the U.N. that they want to have, you know, a zone that will allow those
that want to leave still leave Afghanistan to be able to do that, and that would include these 100 or so Americans, if they indeed want to leave and
present themselves to leave.
It's difficult at the moment to see how the mechanics of that would work. It is not something that the Taliban are going to sign up to. I think,
look, we are at a turning point in history. This is the end of the United States' longest war of 20 years and this is the moment that the Taliban
pick up the reins of power.
They've been in this process for the past couple of weeks of negotiating a government that they say will include non-Taliban members, we are yet to
see any specifics or details of that for countries like Pakistan.
What happens in Kabul in terms of governance is hugely important. Stability in Afghanistan is going to help stability here in Pakistan, and Afghanistan
in chaos and economic chaos is going to have a very serious impact on Pakistan, and Afghanistan that is still in military turmoil and conflict
will also spill over and impact Pakistan.
All regional countries around Afghanistan have a vested interest in seeing stability emerge in Kabul, and it was always going to be thus, the Taliban
were never going to announce a new government, while the as they saw it, the occupying force was still in the country.
So, I think the expectation that we will hear a government of sorts, announced soon that seems to be, I think, on track with regional
Who has the precise reins of power? That isn't clear, but I think it was important when we heard -- you know, we heard there from the Taliban
spokesman speak at Kabul Airport, he also went on to say that they want to have good diplomatic relations internationally.
And there was also a warning in there as for this exuberant gunfire that accompanied, you know, the U.S. final withdrawal, you know, pointing out
that there are aircrafts at the airport, and the Taliban don't want them damaged.
This is important economic infrastructure, and important for them to move forward and run the country. That's where we're at.
History has pivoted, essentially last night today. It's pivoted away from that 20 years of the United States in Afghanistan, and it's now all on the
GIOKOS: Yes, I mean, what's interesting is we know that the U.S. has said it's moved from a military operation to a diplomatic one. And while the
Taliban are putting together the government, and we're looking at the geopolitical scenarios that could possibly play out, that relationship with
the U.S. might be very vital in terms of the legitimacy that the Taliban is so desperately after.
ROBERTSON: Yes, you know, what the international community holds leverage over with the Taliban, if you will, is the aid and support that the Taliban
are going to need to help run a country that, you know by the U.N.'s analysis is the sort of third worst humanitarian disaster already, you
know, in the globe.
So, they have huge economic challenges ahead of them not just getting an economy up and running. You know, U.N. estimates are up to sort of, you
know, 18.5 million people that need help and humanitarian handouts. That's the leverage that the international community has.
ROBERTSON: But it's not clear that the Taliban will bend to that leverage or the international community will bend to what the Taliban is going to
do. That sort of meeting is the diplomacy that is yet to happen, and how that diplomacy happens depends on the future Afghan government.
But what is clear is very likely, one of the senior figures dealing with the international community will be the Taliban leader who has been
negotiating these past few years with the United States, Mullah Baradar.
ROBERTSON (voice over): The scale of more Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar's triumphant return to Afghanistan, just days after the Taliban took Kabul is
a measure of his importance.
Years in exile, many spent in a Pakistani jail, he has run point in all the Taliban's dealings with the U.S. for almost three years. Most recently,
reportedly meeting face to face with C.I.A. chief Bill Burns.
In Doha, February 2020, it was Baradar who signed the U.S. troop withdrawal agreement with U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, as then U.S. Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo looked on, and it was Baradar who the Taliban had negotiated it terms, hammered out over more than a year. They would not attack exiting
Baradar was a Taliban original, a founding member in the early 90s, and a close friend of its then leader, Mullah Omar. The pair fought the Soviet
occupation in the 80s and it was Omar who named him Baradar, meaning "brother."
In 2001, Baradar dodged invading U.S. forces hiding out in Pakistan, later captured in 2010 and released by Pakistan in 2018 to lead negotiations with
He is in his early 50s now, although not the Taliban's top official, he can expect to remain the international face of the Taliban for at least the
The Taliban's ultimate authority is Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Amir al-Mu'minin, leader of the faithful who emerged from the shadows last week
after years in hiding.
Baradar has rare experience, face-to-face dealings with Western powers. How much actual influence he will have in the day-to-day running of the country
rests in internal Taliban power plays, yet to fully emerge.
Haqqani Network leader, Sirajuddin Haqqani and Omar's son Mullah Yaqoob are powerful military forces within the Taliban, both with an eye for
leadership roles. Baradar will know to watch his back.
ROBERTSON (on camera): And one of the biggest issues that's going to face the Taliban in the near future is ISIS-K, the ISIS affiliate in the region
here. I mean, they are calling the Taliban, essentially apostates. They are accusing the Taliban of sort of being a tool of the United States because
Baradar was in talks and negotiation with them for so long, there is a perception in ISIS ranks that the Taliban and the U.S. teamed up to hammer
ISIS about a year ago, really sort of giving them -- hitting a lot of their leadership structure in a couple of the provinces of Afghanistan, Kunar and
So these issues are going to dog the Taliban coming up, and as well, the Pakistani Taliban who essentially live for the most part inside Afghanistan
have vowed to use the Taliban's victory in Afghanistan as a sort of a platform and base to launch their own attacks here inside Pakistan. And
indeed, their attacks have started ramping up along the border areas in the past few days.
So how the Taliban handles that and their relationships with Pakistan is going to be a huge pressure point for them and how the international
community reads the Taliban's real intent, not just intent, but capabilities going forward. It's those capabilities, as well as the intent
that are going to be the measure of the Taliban and how successful they are going forward.
GIOKOS: Major dynamics to take into consideration as the story develops. Nic, thank you very much for that update.
For thousands of Afghans who were able to make it out of the country, one of the first stops is Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Many are now living in
tents waiting for the next leg of the journey.
Atika Shubert joins me. Atika, great to see you.
Look, you've been at Ramstein Air Base since the start of this operation, and you've seen people coming in. I guess the question is, are you seeing
the process to try and get people out to their final destination moving along?
And how are people doing right now, now that the U.S. has finally exited Afghanistan? It must be very painful for the people watching from the Air
Base in this temporary housing that they're in.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there's such a mix of emotions here. I'm actually at the Landstuhl Regional Medical
Center, and this is basically the medical component of the Ramstein Air Base. Any medical emergencies that happened at the airbase are brought
here. They're right next to each other.
But you're absolutely right. It's really a mix of relief for a lot of the evacuees to be here safe, that they've managed to get here before the
deadline, but at the same time, worry and concern for relatives back home.
And, you know, I think for many of them, they don't know what's going to happen next, you mentioned those departing flights to the U.S. The good
news is that the system of processing of Afghan evacuees and getting them on those flights has picked up. They have now managed to get at least
10,000 evacuees delivered to the United States in the last few days.
But it's -- you know, it's still a painstakingly slow process for so many of them who are still in the camps. Keep in mind that at the Air Base,
there are still about 14,000 evacuees waiting, and they're living in very basic conditions at the tent in the tent city that's now been created
So, it is a long wait for them. There's a mix of sadness, but also relief to be somewhere safe. And for many of them, they just want to be able to
get to their final destinations to start their new lives -- Eleni.
GIOKOS: Yes, Atika, I mean, and that's -- this is the thing, right, it's temporary housing and then moving on to the final destination.
We know that at the Air Base in particular, there were issues with housing, because so many people were coming through. But now that's ended. What is
the German government, you know, relaying at the moment? We know that they will be taking on some people.
But again, this is a crisis, a refugee crisis that is going to impact Europe.
SHUBERT: They are taking on some, but the U.S. Air Base has an agreement with Germany that evacuees coming through here will only be transitory,
that they'll only be here for a maximum of 10 days.
And the ideal was to have people here only for 48 hours, evacuated out of Kabul, wait here for a short time and then on to the U.S. The reality has
become a little bit longer and the situation is even more complicated for those with a medical emergencies.
For example, we've just learned that 10 Afghan civilians were injured, for example, in that Kabul blast on Friday that were evacuated here to this
hospital. Many of them remain here. So, that will be a question also. What happens to those who need to stay here longer, for example, for medical
So, there is a lot of work to be done for evacuees with more complex cases and that really is the work of the State Department that really needs to
coordinate with agencies and figure out where evacuees will be going and how quickly it can get them there -- Eleni.
GIOKOS: Atika, thank you very much. Great to see you.
All right. President Joe Biden is expected to deliver his first remarks since the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan later today. Mr. Biden
is coming under fresh criticism that he left vulnerable Americans behind. The Pentagon insists efforts to rescue Americans will continue.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby today defended America's decades long military campaign in Afghanistan on CNN's "New Day." Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RET.) PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: The historians will write the -- they'll write the chapters here. What I can tell you is
that we prevented Afghanistan from ever becoming a safe haven for an attack on the United States again, and in the process, U.S. forces, coalition
forces, our NATO allies, and our Afghan partners made a lot of progress in that country; progress, which is now going to be up to the Taliban to see
whether they're willing to continue or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: John Harwood is live in Washington for us, and listening to that now shift from military operation to a diplomatic one to try and get over a
hundred Americans out, it seems that The Pentagon is now putting the ball in the Taliban's court saying, look, it's up to them and that is going to
then, you know, ensure that you have a smooth transition.
The big concern for many people here is, what is this diplomatic effort going to look like? And how quickly can they evacuate the remaining
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's going to be complicated. It's going to be difficult. And one of the questions is how quickly do the
Americans want to be evacuated?
Remember, many of these people had heard warnings for months to get out of Afghanistan and chose to stay, many of them are dual nationals. They've got
family or business engagements in Afghanistan. They have deep ties to the country. So, many of them waited to the last minute before deciding that
they might want to come out.
HARWOOD: Now in the diplomatic realm, the U.S. diplomatic engagement has shifted to Doha, Qatar. That's where the U.S. is going to have conversation
-- from where the U.S. is going to have conversations with the government now that they have shut their embassy in Kabul. They are also going to rely
The United Nations Security Council yesterday passed a resolution calling on the Taliban to live up to their commitments, to let people have safe
passage out. So, that's going to be one method.
The second thing is, it will depend a little bit on the conduct of the Taliban. If the Taliban, in fact, in order to loosen international aid
purse strings, to earn goodwill from the international community, moderates its behavior and allows a safe passage out that might slow some of the rush
to the exits.
If on the other hand, they revert to the medieval brutality for which they've become known over the last couple of decades, that's going to add a
tremendous amount of urgency to the effort and General McKenzie from Central Command yesterday said that more than a thousand Americans had been
extracted through Special Forces Operations. The United States still has some capability to do that, should that become necessary?
So, it's a complicated situation. It's difficult. It's important for the Biden administration to see this through, and we don't know exactly how
it's going to conclude or when it's going to conclude.
GIOKOS: Look, I mean, in terms of ISIS-K and a threat, we know how serious this was over the past week when you saw so many people dying, Afghans
dying, servicemen dying as well. Is there a concern? And are you hearing a worry about the potential threats still being evident in Afghanistan as
they try and embark on these diplomatic missions?
HARWOOD: Absolutely. And you couldn't have made that clearer or events couldn't have made that clearer than they did last week, both with the
bombing that occurred, the suicide attack that occurred at the airport, but also, a couple of days ago, the U.S. strike to disrupt a car bomb attack.
There is no question that ISIS-K has some capability. The United States believes that its ability to strike the United States is much diminished
than al-Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists' ability to strike the United States from Afghanistan is reduced, but it's not eliminated. And of course,
the ability to strike the United States exists in many other countries where the United States has not had troops.
So the question is, how do they manage the diminished Intelligence capability, diminished, but not eliminated, to prevent that threat from
metastasizing? Again, big challenge. It's more challenging in some ways now that the United States is out of Afghanistan. But Joe Biden -- President
Biden has been willing to accept that trade off and events are going to prove whether he was correct.
GIOKOS: John, thank you very much for that insight. Much appreciated.
All right, joining me now is Aaron David Miller, CNN global affairs analyst and former Middle East negotiator for the U.S. State Department.
Aaron, great to see you. Look, 20 years on, you've got the Taliban back in place, stronger than what we've seen before; and now, they are forming a
government. It is surreal on so many fronts.
And just watching those last moments of the U.S. final exit out of Kabul Airport, again, it just brings to question what the threats are? How they
plan to get the rest of the Americans that have been vulnerable out of the country? And you juxtapose that against this new reality. What are you
pricing in in terms of scenarios and how this could play out?
AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, first of all, I think it should be clear, and I'll be very clear where I stand on this
after 20 years, an unwinnable war and an unwinnable peace.
I believe the administration -- I've worked for Democrats and Republicans and voted for them as well. I believe the administration made the right
decision. Clearly, the withdrawal process, well, there is lot to be desired to say the least.
The notion, though, that Joe Biden is done with Afghanistan may be correct in his mind, the question is whether Afghanistan is done with Joe Biden.
And I think the issues that you allude to are clear.
The agenda is huge. Number one, extricating what may be 200 Americans, how are we going to do it? Number two, what do we do about the estimated
250,000 Afghans at risk? The SIV program has a backlog of 18,000. There may be 80,000 Afghans who are eligible for SIV. And how do we without the
leverage on the ground plan to extricate these people?
I think that's the challenge. Time here, I think, we have to be realistic. This process is not going to go smoothly. We're going to have to adopt this
strategy that the U.S. military, at least the formulation to work by within through elements on the ground.
MILLER: We do have allies. The administration has been relatively successful in mobilizing in support of the international community, but in
the end, and there's no sugarcoating this. The success of our efforts are going to depend on whether or not you are witnessing Taliban 1.0, 2.0 or
3.0. And that question, nobody reading tea leaves, golden trails or coffee grinds, nobody can answer that question right now.
GIOKOS: So, I mean, Aaron, we know the Taliban is actually not a homogeneous entity. It actually is -- it has got factions. It is quite
divided in terms of the hardliners and the more moderates and we are seeing that playing out because you're seeing stories of people being targeted in
So, it brings to question whether they can deliver on their promises of wanting peace and stability.
What advice would you be giving right now? Because you've worked so many decades in this region, and you understand that even Afghanistan has been
defined as the graveyard for peace deals.
Can it change? Does it have any prospects of being a country with peace and stability, even though in the shadows, it's got ISIS-K and harboring other
MILLER: One would like to hope, but if you look at the pattern since 1979, you see five relatively major changes in the order of things on the ground.
All five have triggered a trip into cycles of vengeance, violence, civil war, and strife.
The real question is whether the Taliban is prepared, having mounted a successful insurgency with a supportive predatory neighbors like Pakistan,
can it convert itself into a process, a structure, a system that could essentially deploy some measure of governance? And that question is, I
think it's almost impossible to answer.
Afghanistan is not the same in 2021 as it is in 2001. In many respects, there are advantages to the Taliban, but in many others, again, the
question is, is it the same Taliban in 2001 as it is in 2021?
I'm betting that their ideology is going to remain as severe as it was these many years. They didn't wage this insurgency to compromise on their
fundamental beliefs. Question is, can they summon up enough pragmatism to demonstrate enough flexibility in their own self-interest in order to
cooperate with the international community and particularly with the Americans to help them achieve their objectives?
Because we, I think, will hold the key certainly to freeing the international assets and providing the international legitimacy that they
And finally, will they make a concerted effort to control the jihadists that are even now returning to Afghanistan, with a view toward plotting
attacks in the region and against the homeland?
GIOKOS: Aaron, great to have you on the show. Thank you very much for your insights. Aaron David Miller, CNN global affairs analyst.
GIOKOS: All right, still to come on FIRST MOVE, Hurricane Ida leaves a million people without power. We have the latest from New Orleans.
GIOKOS: More than a million customers in the U.S. State of Louisiana can expect to be without power for weeks, and now many of them will be facing
The Gulf Coast is still sifting through the destruction Hurricane Ida left in her wake. Downed power lines, blocked roads, and flooded streets are
hampering rescue workers, and now, soaring temperatures are in the forecast.
CNN's Nadia Romero joins me from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Nadia, great to have you on. Look, I'm seeing you know, trees behind you, and we've seen the sheer devastation. Is there any reprieve? From what
we're hearing, now, we're talking about a heatwave?
NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Eleni, we are. The National Weather Service sent out a heat advisory for 32 million people across the
Gulf Coast here in Louisiana and Mississippi. It's August, down south, it is hot. And everyone in the City of New Orleans is without power, and so
that means no air conditioning. That means that they don't have power for any of their other items like phones and cell phone services slowly coming
back today after being out for the past day or so.
Also, it means having really cold showers. If you do have the opportunity to shower, it's going to be very cold water, so very uncomfortable
conditions. And this is why, as you mentioned, there's this large tree behind me that fell during the storm. It fell not only on top of all of
these power lines, bringing the power down in this neighborhood, but also on this beautiful Victorian house behind me that's on the market.
You could purchase this if you'd like, but there's some roof work that needs to be done first. The person who lives there, her name is Jennifer,
she is using a ladder to basically climb into the house because she can't access it any other way.
So, that's what people are dealing with. They have homes that are damaged, a lot of roofs that are leaking right now because of Hurricane Ida. There's
no power here. And yes, the longer this goes on, the worse it gets for people around here.
There have been some businesses that we've gone to in this area that have opened up their doors to people, but they are serving warm drinks because
they don't have power, and they are also trying to get everything out of their coolers and their freezers out as well because it's all melting and
And it's all cash. You only can operate around cash because there is no electricity, so you can't use your credit card. And there are some people
unfortunately who didn't get enough cash before the storm who are now in really dire situations right now -- Eleni.
GIOKOS: Nadia, thank you very much. Great to see you.
All right, stay with FIRST MOVE. CNN's coverage of the future of Afghanistan continues right after this break.
GIOKOS: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. The White House National Security adviser says it is now a diplomatic mission to evacuate Americans who
remain in Afghanistan. At least 100 U.S. citizens were left behind after the last military planes left Kabul. The Taliban say they want good
relations with Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUJAHID (through translator): The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants to have good relations with the whole world on behalf of the nation. We want
to have strong diplomatic relations with all, including the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: Meanwhile, many Afghans are still trying to flee the Taliban by crossing borders on foot. We've got Nick Paton Walsh live for us in Doha,
Qatar with more.
Nick, I mean, look, when you see these visuals of people trying to leave, you get a sense of the fear, of the uncertainty, of the trauma that they've
experienced over the last few weeks. And when the Taliban says they want good relations, they want to legitimate government, it is going to take a
lot to convince not only the West, but also the people in Afghanistan that the Taliban has transformed.
What do they need to do to be convincing enough?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I think the Taliban have an uphill struggle when it comes to simple governance at the moment.
They're not exactly inheriting a functioning state. There is so much corruption under the American backed Afghan government that actually
enabled the insurgency to flourish in the first place.
There is a crisis potentially in healthcare, particularly with the damage coronavirus did and on top of that, as well, there is severe economic
problems with definitely a banking crisis, potentially around the corner, as well.
So, it's a mess in itself, Afghanistan, before you start looking at the security issues and the possibility, they may face some sort of insurgency,
possibly in the Panjshir Valley, again, from the resistance front.
So, there are many challenges ahead of the Taliban. And I think their major one will be to show some governance competence in order for the
international community to see that if they do give them aid, if they do let food aid in, then that can actually be distributed in an effective
And I think the first challenge, of course, will be who their point in key governmental roles. There are lots of candidates who could potentially
appease the Western world, but at the same time, too, the Taliban are in no position or no desire to only appoint Cabinet appointees to make their
former enemy happy. They have a lot of their internal base to keep content as well.
So, the international airport will also be how quickly -- that is relevant -- quickly that is made functional, it will be a test case, frankly, for
how interoperable with the outside world or the international community, this sort of so-called Taliban 2.0 are.
A lot of signs, though, not regular, hard evidence, but a lot of stories that we hear and a lot of repeated reports that we do begin to see a
nastier side of the Taliban potentially taking vengeance against those who worked against them in the past.
So huge challenges, certainly, of security, of economy, of healthcare, the boring things, frankly, the Taliban, I'm sure never really wanted to get to
grips of in terms of governance, but vital things to show ordinary Afghans that they are worth potentially supporting and vital things, too, in order
to get the outside help that they so desperately need with three quarters of Afghanistan's economy so often dependent on external assistance, that
the Taliban really do have to show that they are a force that can be dealt with, bargained with, reasoned with in order to get the external helping
fast enough -- Eleni.
GIOKOS: All right, Nick, thank you very much. Nick Paton Walsh there in Doha for us.
Ever since the Taliban takeover, the U.S. has evacuated thousands of Afghans who feared persecution from the group. Among them, a former
interpreter who helped the U.S. military on the battlefield.
As Anna Coren reports, his escape from the country was long and harrowing.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We all witnessed those distressing scenes of desperation outside Hamid Karzai International
Airport these past two weeks, as tens of thousands of people wanted to flee Afghanistan.
Well, we met one family on our trip to Kabul last month, and through the help of CNN and an amazing team on the ground, we were able to assist with
COREN (voice over): His family piled into a taxi with just a bag of belongings. Abdul Rashid Shazad hoped this was farewell to Kabul's dust
ABDUL RASHID SHAZAD, EX-TRANSLATOR FROM AFGHANISTAN: We are heading to the airport, hope to make it and survive.
COREN (voice over): The 34-year-old former Afghan interpreter knew their chance for escape was slim.
SHAZAD: That's a Taliban vehicle right there with the white flag.
COREN (voice over): But as the father of three young boys, the alternative was not an option.
SHAZAD: That's Ali Akbar, that's my wife right there. This is me and this is Ali Abbas, and that's Ali Omid right there.
COREN (voice over): Once at the airport, Rashid realized he'd made a mistake. His eldest child nearly trampled in a chaotic sea of humanity,
also desperate for a way out.
SHAZAD: That's the marine gate right there. There is nowhere to get inside.
COREN (voice over): This was the family's second attempt at the airport within days, and as darkness filled, reality set in.
SHAZAD: With this crowd, it's impossible.
COREN (voice over): We met Rashid last month in Kabul while doing a story on Afghan interpreters who had worked with the U.S. military, only to be
left behind. A number of them had recently been executed by the Taliban, and Rashid among others feel they would also be killed.
Rashid had spent five years working for the U.S. Special Forces. SEAL commanders describing him as a valuable and necessary asset who braved
enemy fire, and undoubtedly saved the lives of Americans and Afghans alike.
COREN (on camera): These guys were your American brothers.
SHAZAD: American brothers, yes.
COREN (voice over): But at the end of 2013, his contract was terminated after he failed a polygraph test. So, when he later applied for an SIV to
the United States, his application was automatically denied.
Rashid and I kept in touch after I left Afghanistan. And in a matter of weeks, the country had collapsed and was now under Taliban rule.
SHAZAD: I don't want to be killed by the Taliban. They are going to cut our heads off if they find my location. Please help.
COREN (voice over): CNN evacuated staff from Kabul with the help of a security team on the ground working with British paratroopers inside the
airport. The channel established was now an opportunity for Rashid.
Before dawn on Sunday, 22nd of August, Rashid, his family, and another nine people were picked up at a location near the airport.
They were driven close to a Taliban checkpoints near the Baron Hotel back gate, manned by the British.
SHAZAD: We are at the back gate of camp Baron. We are so close to the gate. If they just come to that gate, they can see us. They can see us from
COREN (voice over): In less than an hour, British paratroopers let them in.
SHAZAD: Hey, Anna. We're good. We are inside now. Thank you so much.
COREN (voice over): But celebrations were short lived. U.S. Marines would not allow Rashid and his family pass the checkpoints because they did not
have a visa.
SHAZAD: The Americans asked just for U.S. visa and U.S. passport. That's it.
COREN (voice over): A frantic seven hours ensued as messages and phone calls between London, Hong Kong, Atlanta, Virginia, and Kabul were made
coordinating with security on the ground.
Once his identity was confirmed, they were through.
SHAZAD: We are at the airport terminal, we made it, we are really excited.
COREN (voice over): For almost two days, they waited patiently at the airport as thousands of fellow Afghans were airlifted to a new life.
SHAZAD: Another aircraft about to take off. Lots of Marines there.
COREN (voice over): Then it was their turn, exhausted but happy aboard a C-130 to the U.S. base in Bahrain.
SHAZAD: We are in Bahrain, Bahrain.
COREN (voice over): Less than 24 hours later, they were on the move again.
SHAZAD: Somebody knocked on our door and they said, "Pack your stuff up, you've got a flight now." We are so excited. We still don't know where we
are heading to. So, hopefully it's the U.S.
COREN (voice over): And sure enough, their wish had come true.
SHAZAD (voice over): Our aircraft has landing in D.C., that's Washington. We are this close. Everybody is excited.
COREN (voice over): In the space of four days, they were on U.S. soil.
COREN (on camera): How does it feel to be in America?
SHAZAD: We are so lucky that we are saved. It is beautiful to be here. We were the luckiest people you know.
COREN (voice over): Housed at Fort Lee military base, Virginia while his SIV is processed, Rashid was reunited with a SEAL team member who you
hadn't seen for nine years.
A second chance at life for an eternally grateful family whose hearts may remain in Afghanistan, but whose future now lies a world away.
COREN (on camera): Happy endings are few and far between these days, but this is a new chapter for Rashid and his family. They're all doing well and
adapting to life in America, but remain deeply concerned for the future of their loved ones, and the countless others who've been left behind.
GIOKOS: Well, Afghans are heading to new homes. We'll be speaking to a Colombian Ambassador as the country prepares to welcome thousands of Afghan
GIOKOS: As part of the efforts to evacuate people from Afghanistan, countries around the world are set to welcome Afghan refugees.
For example, Colombia, which will take thousands of people on a temporary basis before they move to the U.S., the country is already home to a huge
contingent from Venezuela.
The U.N. estimates Colombia has 1.7 million Venezuelans, more than a third of all refugees from the country.
Juan Carlos Pinzon is the Colombian Ambassador to the U.S. He joins us now via Skype from Washington.
Ambassador, great to see you. Thank you so much for joining us.
We know Colombia is set to take thousands of Afghan refugees. Could you give me a sense of the numbers, your preparations, and how many people have
arrived already in Colombia?
JUAN CARLOS PINZON, COLOMBIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: Good morning. Well, first of all, I think, it is very important to understand that we've got to
care for people in need.
We have seen in the images that you have presented today of people having a life threatening situation, people at risk. It demands you know,
commitment, this is why Colombia is always coming and open to provide for human rights, to protect women rights and child rights.
PINZON: And in that regard, you know, we are very close friends of the United States and happy to be a close, as they have been to us when we have
needed. And because of that, we have offered to bring up to 4,000 people from Afghanistan on a temporary basis, so they can come to Colombia, in
agreement with the United States, and stay there for several months, so they can then move up to the United States once they get their visas
GIOKOS: In terms of preparations and infrastructure, and how you're going to deal with the capacity issue, and also, importantly, what negotiations
you've made with the U.S.? We know that they will be footing the bill and they will be paying for the entire process. Could you give me a sense of
how much it's going to be allocated per refugee?
PINZON: I think that what is important is that as of now, there's an agreement being structured as we speak. And second, there are already some
visits to specific hotels that you know, can take these people with full dignity in a way that they can, you know, feel perfectly treated for these
very stressing period of time while they get their visas to the U.S.
You know, a lot of specific funding, it will come, of course, on necessary basis, depending on what is required and what is expended there. But
definitely, the United States, as you already noted, is fully committed to their own people that supported them in Afghanistan, and this is why they
will, you know, take care of the expenditures.
GIOKOS: Ambassador, when are you expecting the first people to arrive? And are you ready?
PINZON: We're ready, absolutely ready. But are we waiting, of course. I think that the main effort the U.S. just did, and we saw was trying to pull
out, you know, hundreds of thousands of people, apparently will come others, you know, from different ways and means.
And at the end, I guess that some of them will process directly to the U.S., and some others will be processed to Colombia, for instance, up to
4,000 in a way that, you know, they can wait for a time as they can come into the United States.
GIOKOS: Ambassador, in terms of the current refugee crisis that you're dealing with in Colombia right now, which has stretched your capacity, your
infrastructure, and capacity on the ground in the country -- in terms of Venezuelan refugees, you know, you're helping around 1.7 million people,
which is a really big amount. How do you plan to increase capacity to now help Afghans as well, when you're really sitting with a dire situation?
PINZON: Well, it's very important to tell that President Duque did something that is very important, and I believe, historically, allow the
Venezuelans to come under a special protection program, a TPS, and that's how Venezuelans are now coming into Colombia.
Of course, Venezuelans are, you know, people that are -- probably I'd say, a nation, you know, Colombia and Venezuela were born the same day, as you
can go into history. And of course, we've got to care for them and Colombian people has been very careful about allowing these Venezuelans to
They are coming, running, you know, from a very difficult and violent regime against them. And, of course, in the middle of a humanitarian
crisis. Colombia has done a lot of efforts. Other countries, including the United States and other nations have supported them with some resources in
order to take care of them.
But now, I think they are more and more merging into Colombian population, and we have to see the other part, of course, the challenges and costs, at
the same time, the opportunities for labor and, you know, merging as communities as we've seen.
And definitely in this case --
GIOKOS: Ambassador, very quickly -- Ambassador, very quickly, are you -- is Colombia considering at all having a negotiation or discussion with the
U.S. about permanently settling Afghans?
PINZON: As of now, we're caring for these Afghans to come and then move to the United States. That's the way things are being handled right now. We've
got to see what happens in the future, but that's where we are right now.
GIOKOS: Ambassador, great to see you. Thank you very much for your insights and for coming onto the show. Much appreciated for your time.
That was Ambassador -- the U.S. Ambassador -- Colombian Ambassador to the U.S., rather, thank you so much.
Still ahead, China's gaming Grinches strike again. Beijing is forcing millions of young gamers to limit their playing time. That story just
GIOKOS: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. Let's check in on the markets.
Now, U.S. stocks are up and running on this last trading day of August. The S&P and the NASDAQ are pulling back from record highs. All this, amid
worrisome new data from Europe and China.
Eurozone inflation is at a 10-year high. China's factory and service sector activity weakened this month as well.
Stocks in the news today include Robinhood. Shares of the popular trading app are lower after a six percent slide on Monday. U.S. regulators could
soon ban one of the company's main sources of income.
Shares of video conferencing giant, Zoom, are down more than 15 percent on fears of slowing growth. Alphabet and Apple are under pressure as well.
South Korea's Parliament passed landmark legislation today that challenges the tech giants in app payment dominance.
Now, China is delivering a fresh blow to its consumer gaming sector. Beijing is slashing the amount of time that children can play online games.
Kids under 18 will only get to log on for three hours each week.
Steven Jiang reports from Beijing.
STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR BUREAU PRODUCER: These new rules are not entirely surprising. Just a few weeks ago, a major state media outlet described the
video games as spiritual opium, as a result, wiping out billions of dollars in market value for some of the country's biggest gaming companies. So
these latest rules are almost the other shoe dropping.
Now, this is not even the Chinese government's first attempt to limit playtime for minors. Back in 2019, they already limited play time for
people under 18 to 90 minutes each day and three hours at most doing public holidays.
They have also long required real name registration and login for all video games.
But all of these restrictions apparently not enough according to officials because they have received so many complaints from parents who say gaming
addiction has severely affected their children's ability to learn, to study, their mental and physical health, as well as causing social
So the authorities trying to frame their latest decision addressing people's concerns and protecting children's welfare.
Now, the enforcement is mostly going to be carried out by gaming companies, which have pledged to strictly follow the latest regulations. But they also
added that minors account for only a very small portion of their user base as well as revenues.
There are of course, plenty of support and even cheering voices online with parents, some even outside of China applauding this decision as a move long
But this kind of nanny state approach of course is very much controversial. South Korea for example, is in the process of abolishing gaming curfew for
teenagers because of the lack of effectiveness. And some people also say this latest move is another example of the ruling Communist Party here
trying to reinsert itself into every aspect of people's private life for political and ideological reasons, especially for the younger generation.
JIANG: Just in the past few weeks, the government here has banned after school private tutoring and they are also cracking down on so-called
celebrity worshipping culture among the young people, and now, of course, these gaming restrictions.
So, leading some people asking sarcastically, what are young Chinese people now supposed do to during their spare time?
Steven Jiang, CNN, Beijing.
GIOKOS: Interesting question. All right, so let's move on.
Jury selection finally underway in California today in the criminal trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and the COO of now defunct firm, Theranos.
Holmes faces charges that she defrauded investors when she touted the benefits of her company's blood testing equipment while knowing full well
that the technology didn't work. Holmes has pleaded not guilty. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Well, that's it for the show. "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson is up next.
I'm Eleni Giokos in Dubai, thanks so much for watching.