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Hala Gorani Tonight

Investigation Underway into Haiti's President's Assassination; Indonesia Expands Restrictions As Record Daily COVID Deaths Reported; Officials Declare COVID State of Emergency in Tokyo Ahead of Olympic Games; Growing Myanmar Resistance Movement Training for Civil War; President Joe Biden to Speak on U.S. Future in Afghanistan; WeChat Deletes Dozens of LGBTQ and Feminist Accounts; Fans Celebrate England's Semifinal Victory. Aired 2-3p ET.

Aired July 08, 2021 - 13:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNNI HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN London, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT, a country on edge. How did an armed group enter the Haitian

president's home and assassinate him? What we're learning about the investigation in Haiti. Then deaths from COVID-19 around the world have now

passed 4 million.

We'll look at one of the countries still very much hard hit and waiting for its vaccine shipments. And later, we'll hear from the U.S. president on the

Afghanistan troop withdraw. How Joe Biden is defending the move that has left a big opening for the Taliban.

We begin in Haiti. A fragile nation to begin with, and it is reeling after the assassination of its president. President Jovenel Moise was shot at

least ten times by assailants who broke into his home, according to the acting prime minister.

The motive for Wednesday's attack remains unclear. Now, we understand that four suspects were killed after a fierce shoot-out and two others are in

custody. The police chief says other members of the hit squad are at large, though, and the Haitian first lady was wounded in the attack. She was

evacuated to a trauma center in the U.S. in Miami and is now in critical, but stable condition, and is said to be out of danger.

Now, CNN has just spoken to the acting Prime Minister of Haiti, Claude Joseph. Now, although he says he doesn't want to speculate about motive, he

had this to say about the late President Moise.


CLAUDE JOSEPH, ACTING PRIME MINISTER, HAITI: We all know that President Moise was really committed to some -- I will say some actions against the

oligarchs in Haiti, so we know that in the last days he spoke about the consequences that those actions can have on his -- on life.


GORANI: All right, as he's suggesting there, that it was some sort of hit from oligarchs who might have been unhappy with what the president was

doing, what actions he was taking against them? Still unclear. CNN's Matt Rivers is outside that hospital in Miami where the first lady is being

treated and he joins me now live with more on the investigation. What have you learned, Matt?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Hala, unfortunately, not a lot of clarity coming from the prime minister in that interview that

he gave not that long ago to CNN. There are still far more unanswered questions at this point, to an assassination that has rocked the country of



RIVERS (voice-over): By the time security forces responded in the early hours of Wednesday morning, it was too late. Haitian President Jovenel

Moise was dead, assassinated in his private residence. His wife, the first lady of Haiti, gravely wounded, medevaced to the U.S. for potential life-

saving treatment. As daylight dawn on the aftermath of bullet holes and spent shell casings, the scope of the brazen attack was more clear.

JOSEPH (through translator): The information we have is that the attackers were a group of English and Spanish-speaking persons. They were carrying

huge caliber weapons and killed the president.

RIVERS: This audio circulating on social media purporting to be at the time of the assassination, though CNN cannot confirm its authenticity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the air, up raising, everybody back up, stand down.

RIVERS: Claiming that they are U.S. Drug Enforcement Agents. Providing clues of how the attackers may have been able to penetrate the security

perimeter surrounding the presidential residence, seemingly with ease. The Haitian ambassador to the U.S. saying at a news conference Wednesday, those

responsible are believed to be highly trained mercenaries, posing as U.S. agents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said they identified themselves as DEA?

BOCCHIT EDMOND, HAITIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: Yes, that's why -- that's why they presented -- that's how they presented themselves, as the agents, like

they are in for an operation, the operation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And do you believe they were actually DEA?

EDMOND: No, there was no way -- there was no way DEA would have come in a country like this, we would have been informed, and everything DEA does,

always deal with U.S. Embassy at --

RIVERS: The U.S. State Department also dismissing as preposterous that those responsible could be DEA agents.

NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: These reports are absolutely false.


The United States condemns this heinous act, these false reports are nothing more than that. Just false reports.

RIVERS: As a manhunt for suspects involved continues, Haiti's ambassador to the U.S. said late Wednesday that four suspects allegedly connected to

the assassination were killed by Haitian national police, while two others had been detained.

The ambassador said all six were foreigners, but that their nationalities were not yet determined. The rest of state's acting prime minister who has

assumed leadership of the country, trying to ensure a stunned population, as well as world leaders, that the government and Haiti is still

functioning, declaring a, quote, "state of siege", which allows for the closing of national borders and temporarily invokes martial law.

JOSEPH (through translator): We want to assure you that we will bring the killers of the president to justice. Please stay calm and let the

authorities do their work. We don't want the country to plunge into chaos. This is a very sad day for our nation and for our people.

RIVERS: In life, Haitian President Jovenel Moise was a polarizing figure, with many protesting his rule and demanding he resign. He presided over a

country on the precipice of chaos. The question now, though, will his death push the nation past its breaking point?


RIVERS: And Hala, fair to say that what happens in the coming days not only will have a significant impact on the near future in Haiti, but also

the mid and even long-term future of that country.

GORANI: Right, of course. This country has had many crisis, many breaking points. I mean, of course, everyone remembers the devastating earthquake

more than ten years ago in the country, has had trouble recovering from that ever since.

Let me ask you a few questions there about what the officials in Haiti are saying are mercenaries that posed as drug enforcement administration

agents. They weren't obviously DEA agents. Do they think they were sent from abroad? Do they think that some foreign agency or foreign government

sent killers to assassinate the Haitian president? And if so, why?

RIVERS: I mean, and that is the question. That's why the prime minister's interview with us earlier didn't shed too much light on this,

unfortunately, because we simply do not know. All the Haitian government is saying right now is that the six people, so far, that they have either

killed or detained, are foreign nationals. They're not even saying where these people are from, what country they are from. They say they're still

trying to figure that out. But who knows if they're actually trying to figure it out or if they're just simply withholding that information.

And that then leads you to the motive behind all this. Who financed it? Why were these people sent here? What country are they from? Yes, we heard what

seems like an American accent, but how does that play into all of this? It's hard to believe when you take all of this information, it honestly

sounds like a movie in some ways.

I mean, how did these people get past the robust security that is normally outside of the presidential residence? Does that mean that this could be

some sort of inside job? We simply do not know. And that's why there's such mystery surrounding this at this point, Hala. And to this point, the

Haitian government not doing a lot to dispel any of the different theories that people are coming up with.

GORANI: Right, absolutely. Especially if mercenaries traveled from abroad, you would have -- you would have stamped passports, you would have CC TV at

the airport --

RIVERS: Exactly --

GORANI: You have a lot of evidence to work with. Thanks very much, Matt Rivers, and we'll get back to you when you learn more about what the

Haitians are saying regarding this investigation. Now, to an alarming and tragic global milestone. More than 4 million people have now died from

COVID-19 across the planet. Infections have hit a staggering 185 million.

Many nations are battling a surge in the Delta variant, which the World Health Organization calls the fastest and fittest variant yet. The numbers

can only tell us so much with a story like this. We want to illustrate the harrowing impact of COVID-19 for you directly. In just one of the countries

struggling to cope with that surge in the Delta variant. Paula Hancocks has more on the situation in Indonesia, which has been reporting record daily



PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a grim view, a rush to dig fresh graves in west Java, Indonesia, trying to keep up with the

record number of COVID-19 deaths. As one body is laid to rest, no funeral or grieving relatives allowed, another waits in the back of an ambulance.

In Jakarta, ambulances queue in an ever-growing grave-yard as cranes dig final resting places faster than human hands.


One disconcerting reality here, many of the victims are children. Save the Children estimates more than eight confirmed cases are below the age of 18

and more than 600 are believed to have died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the hidden victim here of this crisis, they've been out of school for over a year, the families are losing their incomes,

but now they are not hidden anymore because now, a lot of deaths is affecting them, and many more have been infected.

HANCOCKS: Chen Menleng (ph) thought she was safe, among the first in Indonesia to be fully vaccinated, but she suffers from diabetes. But on

June 23rd, she started coughing and spiked a fever. Within four days she was unconscious. Her children called an ambulance, but the line was

constantly busy. They hired a private van to take her to eight hospitals, but they all refused her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I called around 52 hospitals in Jakarta and also another region like Tangerang and also Bogor. But they said that they are

full, they don't have oxygen also.

HANCOCKS: Finally, her daughter found a private hospital who accepted her as long as she provided her own oxygen. Turning to social media, she

eventually found a donor and carried a 15 kilogram canister to the hospital herself. Her mother is not yet stable, but at least she's in hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is very full, all of their tents is full, and even in my mom's hospital, there are patients on the road because they don't have a


HANCOCKS: Trucks line up to get more oxygen for hospitals and clinics. Worried relatives bring individual canisters in the hope of giving loved

ones a life-line. One man says, I joined queue six hours ago to help a relative who is ill. This man says I've been queuing for five hours. I need

to refill two tanks for my mother who is ill at home.

JODY MAHARDI, SPOKESMAN, COORDINATING MINISTRY IN CHARGE OF COVID-19 (through translator): We are targeting a 100 percent of production of

oxygen in Indonesia to be utilized for medical usage. It means all oxygen for industrial usage will be switched over for medical usage.

HANCOCKS: The government says that preparing more than 7,000 extra hospital beds to try and ease the strain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's not that we don't want to serve the patients to the best of our ability, but our health workers are

exhausted and are falling sick.

HANCOCKS: More than 1,100 medical staff have died so far in this pandemic. This was one hospital last week, patients waiting in corridors for medical

attention. The hospital claims things are improving, but the daily number of cases continues to break records. And families struggle to find a

hospital that will take their loved ones. As Windell (ph) waits for good news from her mother, her father and brother have now also tested positive.

Paula Hancocks, CNN.


GORANI: Well, of course, COVID is having an impact on so many aspects of our lives, our health, of course, that's obvious, our travel, whether or

not we can visit our elderly relatives or our relatives at all, and also it's having an impact on the Olympic games. Two weeks out from Tokyo, the

government is saying that they are in crisis and they have now banned any spectators from attending events in Japan's capital amid pressure to keep

the lid on surging COVID cases.

That decision came today as Tokyo announces its fourth COVID state of emergency. That's where CNN's Selina Wang is and she joins us now live. So,

I mean, obviously, there's been a lot of -- Selina, a lot of public opposition to these games, but the government is going ahead and doing what

they can. What is the biggest concern right now as we're just a couple of weeks away?

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, for months now, public health experts in Japan have been urging that if these games are going to go

ahead, they should be held without spectators. And Hala, we are seeing organizers finally make that decision, at least for these Tokyo venues, for

venues outside of the Tokyo area, it is still unclear how many spectators, if any, will be allowed. And right now, COVID-19 cases are surging yet

again in Tokyo. Cases surpassing 900 earlier this week, the highest level in months, as the Delta variant is driving more of these infections, and

still vaccinations here, Hala, remain low.

Just 15 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. That is a major concern among health experts. Now, it's unclear right now just how much

this public sentiment is going to change, because right now people are still incredibly angry.

I was at an anti-Olympics protest that was here, Shinjuku area hours ago, and people were saying that they are frustrated that the Olympics are going

to go ahead in the middle of a state of emergency. And that while their lives are restricted, the world's largest sporting event is going to be

held in their stands, in their streets. People also felt that the IOC is putting profits and sports ahead of people's health and their lives.


Now, this is a huge blow, of course, to Japan, to have these games held in the middle of a state of emergency, which is not a hard lockdown, but for

this country, which has spent more than $15 billion on these games, more than a billion dollars alone just rebuilding that national stadium where

the Olympic opening ceremony is going to be held, it is a major disappointment that they aren't going to get the boost at tourism and

economic growth that they were hoping for. It is going to be extraordinary to see those stands completely empty here in Tokyo.

Now, of course, there are some disappointed ticket holders who are not going to be able to attend these games, but much of the public here just

isn't convinced that these games can be held safely. This is despite that very long list of COVID rules that all Olympic participants have to abide

by, including regular testing, contact-tracing, social distancing, and much more, Hala.

GORANI: All right, it's going to be -- it's going to be strange. It's going to be silent. This is not how we're used to watching Olympic game

events. Thanks very much, Selina Wang, live in Tokyo, where it's 2:15 in the morning. And from the Olympic games to accusations of a dangerous game,

more than 4,000 scientists, doctors, nurses and other professionals, are slamming the British government's plan to drop most pandemic restrictions

in England by July 19th, calling it premature, calling it, even, unethical. The U.K. is pushing ahead, regardless.

It now says travelers from England who have been fully vaccinated won't need to quarantine when returning from amber-list countries after next

week, and those include most of Europe and the United States. Nina dos Santos is here in London with more.

And we've already seen the crowds and, frankly, not many of them were wearing masks. Celebrating the England win, for instance, yesterday, packed

into pubs and restaurants and everywhere in between. So, I guess there is real concern from scientists here that in a few weeks we're going to reap

what we sow in this country.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and add to that, the fact that even before July the 19th, obviously we've got a final coming up with the

England team going to be playing, and yet again, there will be more scenes like that, Hala.

So, the country really finds itself in one of these positions where it feels like it has to start removing some of these COVID restrictions,

because otherwise people are just not going to be complying with them. Now or in the future, if they have to re-impose any of these restrictions, say

in the Fall, in the Autumn, when things get colder, and if of course, these variants like the Delta variants continue to gain more traction in this


And speaking of which, we know that the case numbers continue to rise in the U.K., now, they started out the week more than 20,000, the latest

figures were more than 30,000. Boris Johnson himself has predicted that we could see 50,000 new COVID infections in a couple of weeks time. And his

own health secretary has talked about a figure that's even double that.

So, it gives you an idea that this country is bracing itself for a new wave of infections. But the big question is, what is different this time? The

difference is obviously, that they're managing to vaccinate more and more people and more and more people with two doses of a COVID vaccine. This

brings me to the latest announcement that was made by the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today.

We've had this sort of litany of different announcements from the health secretary, the education secretary earlier on this week, the prime minister

is starting things out on Monday. Now was the turn of the transport secretary to announce, much to the relief of travelers who are keen to get

away from the U.K. if they've been double-vaccinated, this month, the next month for the Summer months.

Grant Shapps said that double-vaccinated U.K. adults would be able to, if they were residents in the U.K., travel abroad and return from amber-list

countries. These are the ones that are part of this traffic light system without having to isolate.

What they would have to do, though, is they still have to take a couple of tests which might put some people off because they are quite expensive. But

yet again, it's -- the point is that politically, the government is feeling it just too toxic to keep these restrictions in place when they've managed

to vaccinate so many people already, especially during the Summer months. Hala?

GORANI: All right, we'll be asking, actually, Nina dos Santos. Thanks very much. We'll be asking one of the doctors who signed that letter condemning

the U.K. government's -- U.K. government's moves, he'll join me after the break. I'll ask him why he's accusing the government of conducting a

dangerous and unethical experiment on the British people. We'll be right back.



GORANI: Welcome back. An investigation is under way to determine what caused a massive explosion last night in Dubai that rocked one of the

world's largest ports. The blast shook buildings as far as 15 kilometers away from the scene. A source told CNN there was a leak of flammable

contents on a container ship and that's what caused the blast. Amazingly, there were no injuries or deaths reported.

A few moments ago, we were talking about objections to England's plan to fully reopen on July 19th. Four thousand professionals have signed a letter

against that, including our next guest, Dr. Chaand Nagpaul is chair of the Council of British Medical Association, and he joins me now. Thank you,

doctor, for being with us. You were one of the co-signatories of a letter published in "The Lancet", essentially accusing the British government,

very strong words, "of conducting a dangerous and unethical experiment on the British people". What did you mean by that?

CHAAND NAGPAUL, CHAIR, COUNCIL OF THE BRITISH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: Well, in the U.K. at the moment, we are seeing a soaring increases in coronavirus

cases. In fact, the highest now for about five months, higher than many of the previous couple of peaks we've had.

And what the government is proposing in the U.K. is that on July the 19th, to remove all restrictions, so that would mean no more mandate for you

wearing of masks, no requirements for social distancing. And as really said that we should be able to live life like before COVID. It says that any

measures should be a matter of personal responsibility, but there have been no mandatory requirements for infection-control measures.

Now, we think this is not right because we know that coronavirus continues to be a deadly virus that is spread between person-to-person in close

contact. As I said, the infection rates are soaring in the U.K., and we also are seeing now increases in hospitalization and also increases in


I should add that the levels of hospitalization are much lower than in previous waves because we have vaccinated about half of our population. But

having said that, there are people becoming seriously ill. The other problem we also have is that about one in ten people are suffering with

long COVID symptoms that are lasting more than three months, and about 2 million people have suffered with long COVID systems. So --

GORANI: And --

NAGPAUL: What we're saying is that --

GORANI: Yes --

NAGPAUL: I believe we're the only nation -- yes --

GORANI: I'm sorry to jump in. I just wanted to get your take on this because you mentioned yourself that the number of deaths is actually

relatively no -- low, it's not that number rising, you know, in the same proportion as the number of cases.


And I guess those who support reopening would say, look, at what point -- at what point do we -- do we go back to semi-normal when the number of

deaths still kind of hover around 25, 30, 35 on a daily basis, that we need to get the economy going, we need to get tourism moving again? What would

you say to those people who say to you, I appreciate the science behind your -- you know -- your desire to be careful, but this country just can't

keep being paralyzed, what would you say to them?

NAGPAUL: Sure. Well, first of all, we're not paralyzed. We have actually the weakest levels of restrictions at the moment, and so. if you are here

in London, you'd see a lot of people outdoors, they're able to eat in restaurants, they're able to travel, they're able to go on -- to stay in

hotels, et cetera.

What we are seeing, however, is that it doesn't make sense to remove all restrictions. It doesn't make sense, for example, to have an infection that

is increasing exponentially. You know, we had about 1,000 new cases when we ended the last lockdown a couple of months ago.

We now have over 30,000. So, what we're saying is there should be some targeted measures, such as if you're in a crowded underground train, it

doesn't make sense for everyone to be infecting each other. I also would say --

GORANI: Right --

NAGPAUL: It's not all about deaths. The hospitalization rate has increased two-fold in the last month. So it might not be as high as before, but we

have got about 400 people in the U.K. fighting on a ventilator, fighting for their lives. And we had about less than half that number a month ago.

So it is increasing. That the other issue to say is that --

GORANI: Yes --

NAGPAUL: Just because you're not in hospital doesn't mean you're not ill. And we have, as I said, about one in ten people suffering long-term effects

of COVID, and that's not good for the economy if people are off work, off sick, and they may not be in hospital, but as a doctor, I know that a lot

of people who are ill are not in hospital. You can't just air-brush them out of the equation. They do also need to be protected and looked after.

GORANI: Why do you think politicians then are ignoring scientific advice? You're not the only scientist or the only doctor to say this is reckless.

Why do you think they're just --

NAGPAUL: Yes, and I think --

GORANI: Choosing not to listen to you?

NAGPAUL: So, I don't know, because actually, what we are saying and what the science would say is that this is not an indefinite problem we're

facing in terms of restrictions, because we know the vaccination program is effective. What we would like to see is enough of the population vaccinated

to create that herd immunity where the infection rate will go down. At the moment, the spread of infection is occurring in the younger adults and in

older children. They are the ones who are not yet vaccinated.

GORANI: So, you would like to see 80 percent --

NAGPAUL: But we are in a program --

GORANI: You'd like to see 80 percent vaccinated?


GORANI: Would that be a good number?

NAGPAUL: Yes, at the moment we have just vaccinated just over 50 percent. So it's certainly possible to achieve that. And when that is achieved, we

will then hopefully see the control of this infection, we'll see the "R" number go down and we'll be able to, I hope then, resume some normality in

life without the danger of people becoming seriously ill or becoming ill with a long-term symptoms. So --

GORANI: Yes --

NAGPAUL: It's more a stage of choosing the right time, rather than saying --

GORANI: Sure --

NAGPAUL: You'll never open. Of course, we need to be allowing the vaccination program to work. There's no point doing the vaccination program

if we're never going to make any changes as a result. It's the right time, yes --

GORANI: I have so many questions --

NAGPAUL: Now is the wrong time -- I'm listening -- yes --

GORANI: I have so many questions -- I'm sorry to jump in, but one last one. We've heard, for instance, today that in Israel, a fully vaccinated

46-year-old died of COVID. We've also heard that here in the U.K., fully- vaccinated patients in hospital have also lost their lives to COVID. Should we be concerned that these vaccines are just not as effective as we thought

they would be against the Delta variant?

NAGPAUL: No, I don't think we should be concerned, because, actually, no vaccination for any of us is 100 percent. In fact, what we do know is that

you need to have both vaccines to be fully protected, and you need --

GORANI: Wow --

NAGPAUL: About two weeks after the second dose to be fully protected. So some people may catch the infection, you know, a few days after the second

dose. They wouldn't have been fully immunized or they immediately would not be complete. So, what we are saying is that all vaccines have a small

failure rate.

The vaccinations against the current strains is very effective, and that is why we should be confident in progressing with the sort of 80 percent level

of coverage of the population with vaccinations. So, yes, you will always with every vaccinations get anecdotes. But actually, we will be doing a lot

of good in terms of protecting the population if we can get to high numbers protected by the vaccination.


GORANI: Got it. Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, thank you so much for joining us, it's always great having you on the program. And coming up, a CNN exclusive,

training for civil war. We'll go deep into the jungles of Myanmar, where rebels are plotting to overthrow the military regime.

And then we're just minutes away from a major speech by U.S. President Joe Biden on Afghanistan. Critics say his determination to end America's

longest war could lead to civil war instead. We'll be right back.




GORANI: It's been five months since the coup in Myanmar, since the military there sacked the elected government. Rights groups say, since

then, hundreds of people have been killed in protests against the coup leaders.

But there is a growing rebel movement, with thousands of people training for an uprising against this military regime. Our Sam Kiley got access to a

rebel base in this exclusive report.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A grueling journey through jungle eventually revealing this: a rebel base in Myanmar,

Camp Victoria, a major headquarters in a nationwide uprising against the country's military junta.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forward, march.

KILEY (voice-over): Some 200 volunteers from around the country have come seeking the military skills that they want to fight a regime that seized

power in February and has brutally raised hopes of democracy here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

KILEY (voice-over): They're villagers, young workers and many are former students who protested the coup and now believe that they must take up arms

against it.


NAING HTOO LWIN, VOLUNTEER, CHIN NATIONAL FRONT: Sad, it's very sad. They killed many people of our country. This camp can give me the power to fight

the military junta.

KILEY (voice-over): The instructors are members of the Chin National Front, a longstanding separatist army that is now in alliance with many

others under Myanmar's national unity government in exile.

KILEY: These raw recruits are on day three of their training. They're only going to get 45 days' training. That includes drill, assault courses and

above all, weapons training before they're going to be thrown back into the fight.

DR. SUI KHAR, VICE CHAIRMAN, CHIN NATIONAL FRONT: They're equipped with local guns.

KILEY (voice-over): Rebel leaders know more blood will flow.

KHAR: There are more than 15,000 already and still coming. Still organizing. I mean mobilizing the armed fighters. And this is what the NUG

is trying to equip arms for them.

KILEY: So it really is a civil war, isn't it?

KHAR: Leading to a civil war, now we've seen the kind of urban guerrilla attack but within months it will transform into a conventional civil war.

KILEY (voice-over): Recent fighting with the junta forces has meant that reinforcements have been rushed to defensive lines. But the rush training

has dangerous consequences.

KILEY: This young man, his comrades have told me, was blown up by an improvised explosive device that he was trying to plant as part of the

defensive perimeter around this camp and around some of the villages that are threatened by the government army.

KILEY (voice-over): Already, refugees are on the move, leaving these idyllic villages for hillside camps.

Taosong (ph) told me that the women, children and elders fled their village when they heard through the sounds of fighting. Many men stayed behind but

everyone fears the military for its brutality.

The Chin National Front says it's trained 3,000 people at Camp Victoria. Those who've graduated have been immediately deployed.

Most of their weapons are bird-hunting homemade shotguns, stored with an open fire to keep the damp off. They believe that this is a just fight but

they're short of weapons and rushed through training. And it will take more than righteousness and shotguns to topple a military regime.

And as the conflict continues, the numbers of dead will rise to a level when eventually, people may start to lose count. -- Sam Kiley, Camp

Victoria, western Myanmar.


GORANI: We are awaiting what could be one of the most important foreign policy speeches of Joe Biden's presidency so far. In defense of his

decision to end America's longest war, even as the Taliban appear to be gaining ground by the hour in Afghanistan.

Mr. Biden is due to speak in just a few minutes at the White House. He's expected to say that, even after he withdraws the last remaining troops

from the country, the U.S. will still provide security and humanitarian assistance.

The U.S. is leaving Afghan forces at a critical time when they are battling to stave off major Taliban advances. Critics of the troop pullout fear the

country could slide into civil war. We're covering the story live from Kabul and Washington. We'll get to Jeff Zeleny at the White House in a

moment. First, let's go to Anna Coren at the capital.

What are they saying, as the last remaining American troops are about to depart in the next few weeks?

ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Hala, there is a deep sense of abandonment in this country, particularly by local Afghans. They say that

they knew America couldn't stay forever but that this is not the time to be leaving, with the security situation deteriorating as rapidly as what it


We know that the Taliban are now in control of more than 160 districts across the country; this translates to more than half of the territory. It

is mainly the rural areas, the countryside.

But just today the Taliban blew up a checkpoint in Gazzara, a district -- this is in Herat (ph) province, on the border with Iran. The fighting in

Badghis, the provincial capital, that they've been trying to claim in Qala- e-Naw, that has continued.

And then, of course, you have the ministry of defense, countering that propaganda war, if you like, this video that the Taliban has pretty much

releasing on a daily basis, with their own video.


COREN: The government saying that the Taliban were picking up their dead, that they killed more than 100 militants in airstrikes in a ground

operation. But you mentioned that President Biden is due to give a speech very shortly in relation to his policy in withdrawing from Afghanistan.

And we are expecting him to discuss providing a safe haven for the thousands of Afghan interpreters and translators, who worked with the

American military. We know that there are 18,000 special immigrant visa applications.

But we are learning that only 9,000 will actually be granted. President Biden, we understand, is wanting these people to be put in a safe place, in

a safe haven.

And, of course, his government has been talking to a number of the central Asian neighboring governments to see if they can put the translators there

temporarily before they are given safe passage to the United States.

But Hala, we spoke to a female government adviser here today, who just said these visas are causing panic within the local population. The reason being

is that, if America thinks that all these people need to get out, what does it say for everyday local Afghans?

And they will be taking, you know, the best and brightest as well. We know that women's rights groups are saying that the Biden administration needs

to provide 2,000 visas for women who are vulnerable.

We're talking about female journalists who have been targeted, judges, activists, politicians. There is this sense of fear and panic here that

people need to leave. And these are people, Hala, who were the future of this country, who feel they can't stay because the security situation is so


GORANI: Right. Anna, stand by. As you mentioned, we're expecting President Biden there to deliver remarks on his administration's decision to pull out

all American combat troops from Afghanistan. Jeff Zeleny is at the White House.

Even the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Jeff, is saying this isn't a great idea, this could lead to civil war. Afghans are saying, this

is precipitous; we weren't consulted. This is disrespectful. Americans came in without consulting us; they're leaving without consulting us.

How is the president going to defend this decision?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, this really is a decision that is certainly painful at any point that it would have

come. But it should come as no surprise; in fact, does not come as a surprise. This is one thing that President Biden campaigned on when he ran

for president.

It was his position largely, when he was vice president under Barack Obama. He was opposed to the surges of troops. And this is something that

President Biden has been telegraphing really for the last several months.

He gave a major speech in April, saying that, by September 11th, the 20th anniversary, of course, of the 9/11 attacks, which led to the war in

Afghanistan, he said, by September 11th, all U.S. combat troops will be gone.

So this is happening slightly sooner than that but certainly did not come as a surprise. That does not lessen the questions and the resistance among

military leaders and commanders and some controversy about, what was the -- was the cost of this war actually worth it, by pulling out so quickly?

Everything that we've just been talking about, the women leaders, the interpreters, what is going to come of some of even the modest gains that

were made there?

But President Biden believes -- and I'm told he will say that he does not believe it's worth another investment from the next generation of young

American men and women to fight an intractable civil war.

This is something that he has been concerned about and thinks has been the wrong direction for quite some time. It's one of the rare points of

agreement, actually, that he had with former president Donald Trump, who was also calling for a withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

But certainly, it marks a historic moment and a tragic moment for all the lives lost and what is the certain dangers that remain there when U.S.

troops pull out. So we'll hear the president explain it in his own words. Certainly this is not a moment for celebration, not a mission accomplished

moment at all; in fact, quite the opposite.

GORANI: All right, Jeff Zeleny at the White House and Anna Coren is live in Kabul, Afghanistan. Thank you to both of you.

So many lives lost, thousands on the American side and many on the Afghan side, with the Taliban making, once again, major gains. Ordinary Afghans as

well, those who were working, who were thriving in some cases, with -- under the American security umbrella, now that the Americans are leaving.


GORANI: They, too, feel that this has become too dangerous for them to stay and are hoping to be able to leave the country.

We will have a lot more on this when the president delivers his remarks from the White House in just a few minutes.

Still to come tonight, a little bit later in the program, an activist in China is speaking out after dozens of pro-LGBT and feminist accounts were

deleted from WeChat.

What's going on there?

We'll be right back.




GORANI: China is clamping down hard on LGBTQ content online. Dozens of student activists are being deplatformed on the popular social media app

WeChat. CNN's David Culver spoke with one member of the community, who was directly affected.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A sweeping crackdown on China's popular social media and messaging app, WeChat. The

target -- LGBTQ and feminist college groups.

Dozens of organizations say their public pages were banned Tuesday, now labeled as untitled accounts. An outcry online from some of those impacted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Am I living in 2021?


I just want to know, whom have I bothered for just living my life?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm shaking? Why did they do this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody is free until everybody is free.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sad.

CULVER (voice-over): CNN connected with one LGBTQ group member from a Beijing University, whose organization's WeChat page got banned, all its

past content erased.

"CATHY" (through translator): In recent years, our goal is to simply survive, to continue to be able to serve LGBT students and provide them

with warmth. We basically don't engage in any radical advocating anymore.

CULVER (voice-over): She asked we call her "Cathy" and not use her real name, fearful of facing retaliation for adding her voice to this story.

Online, a nationalistic narrative and backlash already surfacing. Some baselessly claiming that the group's pages got shut down because they were

infiltrated by foreign forces.

"CATHY" (through translator): The LGBT community has long existed in China, not because of any influence from so-called foreign forces. It's

completely ridiculous.

Those saying that do not understand the LGBT community at all. They have no intention to know about it.

CULVER (voice-over): Publicly, China has portrayed a tolerant image of LGBTQ rights, expressing to the United Nations an opposition to

discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity.


CULVER (voice-over): But at home, a different story

DARIUS LONGARINO, SENIOR FELLOW, PAUL TSAI CHINA CENTER, YALE LAW SCHOOL: What we have instead is an increasing tightening of the space for the LGBT

community and LGBT advocates.

CULVER (voice-over): CNN has reported on China's crackdown on LGBTQ rights in recent years, from censoring gay content, seen as abnormal sexual

relationships, and behaviors on streaming platforms and TV shows to bringing an abrupt end last year to the longest running annual celebration

of sexual minorities, Shanghai Pride, and now a closing of this social safe space in China's cyberspace.

LONGARINO: It is sad to see them deplatformed in that way, because they often can be a real lifeline to other LGBT students.

CULVER (voice-over): WeChat sent this message to those pages shut down. After receiving relevant complaints, all content has been blocked and the

account has been put out of service. But those impacted wanted more clarity on the exact violation.

CNN reached out to Tencent, WeChat's parent company. We've not yet heard back.

"Cathy" is still hopeful her organization's work can find a new way to reach young people.

"CATHY" (through translator): I think the future LGBT movement in colleges is very important. Many people may suffer depression because of their

gender identity confusion. So I always think to educate multi-gender identities in college is important.

CULVER: While same-sex marriage is not legal in China, there are no laws against homosexuality here. In 2001, authorities removed it from the list

of mental disorders.

But experts and activists say LGBTQ people still face persistent discrimination and prejudices here. It's yet another possible human rights

related issue that will haunt China, as they work to improve their international image and host another Olympics next year -- David Culver,

CNN, Shanghai.


GORANI: When we come back, euphoria in England -- and I mean euphoria. Football fans celebrate a historic game. The latest on the semifinal after

the break.




GORANI: The long wait is over for England's football fans. For the first time in 55 years, their team has reached a major men's tournament final

after beating Denmark in the semifinals.



GORANI (voice-over): So they climbed on top of buses and all the rest of it. They celebrated England's 2-1 victory and it was a gripping match, one

that went into extra time and was decided by a contentious penalty. Here are some of the fans and how they reacted.






GORANI: I have no idea what any of these people said. But I'm sure they were all delighted. I heard it from my living room with the windows closed.

Every time the ball went in, passed the Danish goalkeeper, I heard a roar over the city.

Fans are hoping football will be coming home. As they've been saying, on Sunday, England will host the final at Wembley Stadium, taking on Italy.

Another sports story that intersects with mental health, tennis star Naomi Osaka said she faced pressure to talk about her mental health struggles

when she withdrew from the French Open.

In a revealing new essay for "Time" magazine's Olympics issue, she said the media and tournament organizers didn't believe her reasons for dropping

out. And they scrutinized her personal medical history. The 23-year old compared tennis to any other job, asking, "Shouldn't athletes get sick

days, too?"

Osaka is set to play her first matches in months at the upcoming Olympic Games.

We are still waiting for the U.S. president, Joe Biden, to deliver some remarks on his decision to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by

September 11th. This is one week, of course, after that Bagram Air Base pullout.

The Pentagon says the U.S. pullout is 90 percent complete. The U.S. will only be leaving a few hundred troops for embassy security in Afghanistan. A

lot more after a quick break. We'll be right back.