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tv   BBC News at Six  BBC News  August 11, 2021 6:00pm-6:31pm BST

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today at 6pm... the taliban fighters determined to recreate their islamist state in afghanistan — a humanitarian crisis unfolding. civilians are paying the price — more than a thousand have been killed in recent months — now they're on the run, as taliban forces advance. many of those we've met here have run once, twice, multiple times, and now they've come here, to afghanistan's capital, kabul. from here, they say, there's nowhere else to go. the bbc has rare access to the taliban militants and their commanders — they know what they want and how they'll achieve it. so, if the taliban
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are on their way back, what's the last 20 years of international involvement achieved? also tonight... cash for secrets — a british embassy worker in berlin is arrested, suspected of spying for russia. learning the lessons of this year's a—level results — how universities are coping with record results. all the help they can get — we're with british firefighters supporting their greek counterparts. and coming up in sportsday later in the hour on the bbc news channel... lionel messi outlines his ambitions for paris saint—germain. the premier league chief executive says he is fully behind players taking the knee in the new season begins on friday.
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good evening and welcome to the bbc news at six. we begin tonight with a conflict happening thousands of miles away but one which has cost british lives and resources for the best part of the last 20 years. afghanistan is, once again, falling apart. and again it is the taliban, the hardline islamists that once harboured osama bin laden, that are gaining ground. a us—led military coalition to oust the taliban first began in 2001, following the 9/11 attacks, but now most of the foreign troops have pulled out. a54 british forces personnel or mod civilians lost their lives. nearly 2,300 us troops have been killed. and over 120,000 afghan military, police and civilians have died in the conflict. as the taliban continue to capture territory — more on that in a moment — the question's being asked — what did we achieve, and what now for ordinary afghans?
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0ur correspondent yogita limaye reports from the afghan capital, kabul. desperation on a scale not seen in decades. thousands have arrived in kabul... the past few days. people who had homes and jobs, who led dignified lives... ..forced to leave everything behind. angry that they have been left on their own — no government, no humanitarian agencies. this woman's sons are in the army. she says only the poor go to the battlefield, while politicians watch.
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we have seen this camp grow by the hour. people have been coming in from different parts of the country, as more and more provincial capitals, more and more cities are being taken over by the taliban. many of those we have met here have run once, twice, multiple times, and now they have come here to afghanistan's capital, kabul. from here, they say, there's nowhere else to go. to get here, they've survived dangerous journeys, past taliban checkpoints and active front lines. this woman says they moved from one place to another for three days before they got to kabul. she has four children — the youngest is two.
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many have seen their loved ones being killed. they've had to leave their dead behind to save their own lives. this man's parents died in the violence. many here have fled from kunduz in north afghanistan, which fell to the taliban on sunday. today in kabul, we bumped into these men, who we'd met four weeks ago in kunduz.
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then, the city was a refuge for tens of thousands of people who had fled fighting in villages. now, we learned that in recent days, mortar shells landed in these camps. we don't know what happened to the people we'd met there. most of the north of the country has been taken over by the taliban now. those who have escaped to kabul are staring at uncertainty. fears that the capital, too, could fall within weeks. yogita limaye, bbc news, kabul. what we are seeing unfolding in afghanistan is a new and urgent humanitarian disaster. the un says more than 1,000 civilians have already been killed in the most recent fighting between the taliban and government forces. injuly, the areas controlled by the taliban were these, shown here in red. with contested regions in yellow.
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now, even more territory has fallen to the taliban, including nine of the country's 3a provincial capitals. 0ur afghanistan correspondent, secunder kermani, has been given rare access to newly captured taliban territory and has sent us this report, which was filmed by fred scott. new territory. new weapons. all captured in this unprecedented taliban advance. caught in the middle, afghan families right across the country. how can you justify all this fighting when it's causing the deaths of thousands of ordinary afghans, thousands of ordinary muslims? you're the ones who started the fighting here, though.
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shortly after the interview ends, the sound of helicopters. the taliban are still vulnerable to government air strikes. this is balkh, a town with ancient roots — thought to be the birthplace of one of islam's best known mystic poets, rumi. now, it's under taliban control. we came through here a little earlier this year. back then, it was still under government control. now it's one of around 200 district centres taken by the taliban. schools are open here, though in other taliban areas, girls are reportedly prevented from attending. the market is still busy. women have apparently been allowed to come here without male
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companions if they need to. but elsewhere, taliban commanders have reportedly banned them. haji hekmat is a local taliban leader. despite what i'd been told, he insists they haven't made the burqa compulsory. you have also said that women have to wear the burqa, the chador, that's right, isn't it? what happens if someone doesn't want to wear it? i heard that members of the taliban here caught one man listening to music and to punish him, made him walk for two
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kilometres without any shoes on until he fainted as punishment. the next day, a young woman was killed close by, allegedly for wearing immodest clothing. the taliban denied involvement. they seem to want to play down their more hardline views internationally but at times are in tune with some conservative afghans. many here praise improved security. accompanied by taliban fighters at all times, it's hard to know what residents really think. having already captured many rural areas and some border crossings, the taliban are now pushing in on afghan cities. half an hour's drive away, in mazar—i—sharif, the government are still in control. there's a greater sense of personal freedom here that it's hard to imagine the taliban accepting. many fear the taliban want to resurrect their practice
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0n the steps of the government's old courthouse in balkh, the taliban's legal system is in force. thejudge he says he's never ordered serious corporal punishment and that there is a system of appeal courts but he defends stoning adulterers and cutting the hands of thieves. many people here in afghanistan and around the world would be horrified... the taliban are capturing new territory on an almost daily basis. they're still facing fierce resistance but they vow to install what they term an islamic government. if that doesn't come through the stalled peace process, they say, it will come through more violence. secunder kermani, bbc news, balkh.
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we can talk to yogita limaye now in kabul. the afghan president has been out rallying his troops today but, judging from your report on the other one, can there be any confidence he can do it? i other one, can there be any confidence he can do it? i think the ace at confidence he can do it? i think the pace at which _ confidence he can do it? i think the pace at which the _ confidence he can do it? i think the pace at which the taliban _ confidence he can do it? i think the pace at which the taliban have - pace at which the taliban have been moving forward in this country has taken most people by surprise, not least president ashraf ghani. we know that, in some areas, the taliban walked in and took over. there wasn't a fight put up. in some areas, afghan forces haven't been paid or given ammunition, sometimes not even something as basic as food supplies, so morale is low and president f ref donnie knows, if you want to stand a chance to take on the taliban, he needs to change that. that is what he went to mazar—i—sharif today, a hugely important city for afghanistan. if
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that were to fall, it would be a massive setback for the government here. president ghani will also be thinking about the fact that, up until now, they've had significant air support from the us, and it's unclear whether that will continue after the end of august, when all international troops will withdraw from this country, as announced by president biden. in the us media today, we've seen reports citing intelligence sources in washington, saying that there is anticipation that the capital, kabul, could fall as quickly as in 90 days, much faster than anybody expected. thank ou. a british man has been arrested in germany on suspicion of spying for russia. the man, named only as david s, worked at the british embassy in berlin and is accused of passing documents to russian intelligence in exchange for cash. 0ur correspondent gordon corera has this report.
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a berlin spy case involving british secret and russian spies. german prosecutors allege that a man who worked here at the british embassy in berlin passed on official documents in exchange for money. he's alleged to have been working for the russian intelligence service. their embassy is located not far away in berlin. the man, who worked as a security guard, was arrested yesterday in potsdam, southwest of berlin, and his apartment and office were searched today. translation: we take extremely seriously the indications _ that the detainee's secret service activity was done on behalf of the russian intelligence service, because spying on a close ally on german soil is absolutely unacceptable, and we stand in full solidarity with our british friends. so, what do we know about the suspect? he's been named simply as david s, his second name withheld under german privacy laws. he's a 57—year—old briton. he was employed locally
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by the embassy as a contractor, so not as a diplomat. and it's alleged he was working with the russians since at least november of last year. the arrest came after what i understand was an intelligence—led operation, run jointly by german and british authorities, including the security service m15 here and metropolitan police. once they felt they had enough evidence, a germanjudge issued an arrest warrant. cold war berlin was the espionage capital of the world. the glienicke bridge in the city was known as the bridge of spies because of the exchanges that took place here. spying has changed since then — secrets are often stolen remotely, over cyberspace — but that does not mean that old—fashioned human spying has gone away. in this latest case, the british contractor has now appeared in a closed court hearing, with more details expected to emerge of the allegations against him in the coming days. gordon corera, bbc news.
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the latest government coronavirus figures show there were 29,612 new infections recorded in the latest 24—hour period, which means on average there were a little over 28,000 new cases per day in the last week. nearly 6,000 people are in hospital with coronavirus. 104 deaths were recorded in the last 2a hours, which means an average of 87 deaths a day in the last week. 89% of adults in the uk have now had theirfirstjab and just short of a0 million people have had both jabs — 76% of adults. teaching unions are warning minisiters not to rush into an overhaul of the a—level exam system after a second year of teacher—assessed results showed another rise in the number of students getting the top grades. but with the results exposing
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differences between regions, between private and state schools, educational experts, including at universities, are looking at what needs to be done. here's our education editor, branwen jeffreys. at leeds, students were getting their first look around campus, tours for those starting this autumn. leeds isn't offering places in clearing and with lots of students with good grades, they're asking some in business and law to wait a year. we're going to make them an offer and to defer to next year, with an incentive of a cash payment of about £10,000 and our fee for their halls of residence in the first year being paid by the university if they choose to make the choice to defer. we're not putting pressure on anybody to make that choice — it's an entirely free choice. leeds is also offering to take extra medical students, after other universities were overfull. universities are working to make sure that students land in the right place this year.
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but the a—level results have thrown up a wider debate about what will happen when we go back to exams, how grades can be managed to make sure that students from every kind of background have a decent chance. labour says children in the north missed on average an extra week in class last year. in the north east, more families needed help from free school meals. a—level results rose least in this part of england. there are worries about the long—term impact of the pandemic. the lack of access to it, space to work, the impact of covid in terms of their attendance rates throughout the year, which has been horrendous. i think going forward, we very much need a proper education recovery plan. isabella was looking round to leeds with her family. she's starting here this autumn. her younger sister francesca will face gcse exams next summer. it matters to me that like everyone
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gets the grades that they really achieve and i feel like with teacher assessed grades, people have got the true grades they deserve. how do you feel about doing exams next year? i think, like, the content should be reduced. like, i think the government should consider reducing the content because we have missed a lot of year 9 and year 10. there will always be that... not cloud but thatl label, won't there? that actually those i were the children of the pandemic years or whatever. but they shouldn't be i viewed any differently. most students do get their first choice and there's still a chance to find places across the uk in clearing. branwenjeffreys, bbc news, leeds. the time is 6:19pm. our top story this evening... as taliban fighters advance, a humanitarian crisis unfolds in afghanistan. more than 1,000 civilians have been killed in recent months. and a hero's welcome for lionel messi as fans celebrate his arrival at paris saint—germain, after his departure from barcelona.
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coming up in sportsday in the next 15 minutes on the bbc news channel... injury worries for england, ahead of the second test against india at lords. stuart broad has been ruled out of the series and james anderson is also a doubt. for nine straight days, thousands of greek firefighters have struggled to contain the raging flames that have destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of land. the fires have been fanned by the country's most severe heatwave in decades. in the southern peloponnese region, fires overnight forced many villages to evacuate. crews from britain, france and the czech republic, have joined the efforts to try to tackle the flames. 0ur europe correspondent bethany bell reports. chainsaw whirs cutting away anything that can burn. these british firefighters have come
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to greece to help stop the catastrophic wildfires. as you can see behind us, just trying to open this road and help with the fallen tree, to get access to the community and the houses up here. olive groves have gone up in flames. what matters now is to stop new blazes from spreading, so the team is making fire breaks between the burnt areas and the trees which survived. the fire swept through here last night and some of the trees are still smouldering. the team is trying to draw a line in the sand between the green and the black, to prevent any more flare ups. it's hard work and it's punishingly hot. we lend the team our drone to give them an idea of the lay of the land. the extent of the destruction is huge. 27 years in the fire service, i've never seen a scale like this. i've seen flooding on this scale in europe but not... not wild land fires.
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so it's immense, the land is burned right across. another fire sparks in the undergrowth. the team's greek liaison officer rushes to put it out. a firefighting helicopter carrying water flies past the house where this couple live. their family has lost 700 olive trees. translation: others | have lost more than us. my main worry is about the environment. the trees that have been burned are more than 50 years old. the situation is volatile. when we drove down this road this morning, there was no smoke. now there's fire. with the wind rising, there are fears this will be a long and difficult night. bethany bell, bbc news, in the peloponnese.
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northern algeria is also battling wildfires which have killed at least 65 people — many of them soldiers who were sent in to tackle the blazes. the worst hit area has been the forested mountains of the kabylia region. an intense heatwave and high winds have led to their rapid spread, but officials believe arsonists may be responsible for some of the fires. an undercover police officer has described how he feared for his life when a convicted terrorist charged towards him wielding a knife, before he fatally shot him. sudesh amman stabbed two people, who survived, last february, ten days after he was released from prison. the united states has been given a boost in its bid to extraditejulian assange, who is in prison in the uk. injanuary, a court in london ruled the wikileaks founder could not be extradited because of concerns over his mental health and the risk of suicide. but now a judge has ruled the us government can be given more grounds
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to appeal against that decision. four men have been convicted of the murder of a 24—year—old nhs worker david gomoh, in what prosecutors described as a "frenzied attack". the court heard mr gomoh was randomly attacked by a gang as he walked to the shops in april last year. lebo diseko reports from the old bailey. a random murder of a young man with ambitions to make something of his life. police say nhs worker david gomoh was killed by four men connected with a gang from north newham simply because he lived in what they saw as enemy territory. 19—year—olds mohammad jalloh and david ture, 23—year—old vagnei colubali and a 17—year—old who can't be named for legal reasons were convicted after a six—week trial. david gomoh was a smart, hard—working and dedicated young man. he had graduated from university and worked at the nhs. david had no gang links
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and was loved by many. he was murdered at random during a frenzied attack during the first pandemic lockdown. he was on the phone to his girlfriend when he was approached by his killers, who were unknown to him. the case has highlighted the tragedy that comes from postcode wars and gang rivalries. david was stabbed at least nine times, then managed to stagger to his home but later died in hospital. the court was shown cctv of the men attempting to attack another man less than an hour before. the defendants were convicted of conspiracy to cause gbh with intent for that offence. among the evidence that convicted the killers were drawings by ture of the attack found at his home. david's mum marian said her son's murder was the hardest thing she and herfamily have been through, something no parent should have to go through. but, she said, she was grateful to god that today they have seen justice. sentencing for david's murder will take place in september.
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lebo diseko, bbc news. lionel messi — perhaps the greatest footballer of this generation — has said he's extremely happy to be a paris st—germain player and hopes to continue winning titles. the argentine striker signed a two year deal with psg, after his dramatic departure from barcelona at the weekend. 0ur sports correspondent laura scott has this report from paris. their life was in barcelona. now it's in paris. it's a move no—one, including the messi family, saw coming this time a week ago. behind the smiles, how's it been for the man at the centre of one of the biggest football transfers in history? translation: it was hard to sleep. it was hard to rest. these past days, i was anxious about the uncertainty, and the change for the family was complicated until we could get things going and make progress on the agreement with paris. from there, it was about thinking
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ahead — a new chapter, a new experience that will be really nice for my family — so now i'm looking forward for it to start. it helps that he's joining an already formidable psg squad — among them, his former barcelona team—mate neymar and world cup winner kylian mbappe. manager, mauricio pochettino a fellow argentinian, will know that with the addition of messi, the club has fewer excuses if they don't win the champions league, the prize the club owners and fans so badly crave. there's a lot of people wondering how you can afford to have such an amazing squad and stick within ffp. can you tell us, please? we follow the financial fair play regulation from day one that we started. if you see that we're signing leo, that means that we could have the capacity to sign him. messi has the world's attention on him today. what the fans want to know is when he'll make his first appearance for his new club,
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and when he does, the focus will be on whether he can translate the success and the trophies he achieved with barcelona to his new home here at the parc des princes. already, the fans are treating him like a club legend, many rushing to the shop to have his name on their backs. for me, it's the best player in the world. i always said that when he played for barca and i watched every game of him. so, yeah, for me, it's the biggest player in the world. translation: it's a crazy moment. it's incredible. it's a childhood dream. he's the best player in the whole world. the best, messi! what a difference a few days and a lucrative new contract makes. enjoying a kickabout with his children on this, his new lawn, messi already looks to be making himself at home. laura scott, bbc news, paris. the henly royal regatta has returned after a year's lay off because of the pandemic — and for the first time in 182 years, women are being allowed to wear trousers.
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the biggest event in british rowing updated its dress code for the steward's enclosure to state that women can wear "jackets or blazers with trousers, or trouser suits". time for a look at the weather here's louise lear. it looked nice enough in henley? it did and i will get onto thatjust a moment. ijust want did and i will get onto thatjust a moment. i just want to follow off that extreme heat and wildfires we have been seeing in the mediterranean is a step in the last hour or so, mediterranean is a step in the last hour orso, unconfirmed mediterranean is a step in the last hour or so, unconfirmed reports in sicily of temperatures peaking at 48.8. that is 120 fahrenheit. not only is that a record potentially in sicily but it may well be a provisional record for the highest temperature ever recorded. in europe. but as you can see, it was beautiful for some of us today and actually we have seen temperatures peaking in excess of 25 celsius in suffolk today, with hardly a cloud in the sky. that has not been the story for all of us, there has been
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quite a lot of cloud and some rain and some of the quite heavy at times across parts of scotland and north—west england and wales. behind it, somewhat brighter conditions into northern ireland. ahead of it, thatis into northern ireland. ahead of it, that is where we had the best of the sunshine. that weather front will continue to gradually drift south and east throughout the night, a weak affair by then, a blanket of cloud. that will keep it mild. clearer skies allow the temperatures to fall into single figures in scotland with those of 8 degrees. tomorrow, still that nuisance front, stilljust tomorrow, still that nuisance front, still just a tomorrow, still that nuisance front, stilljust a band of cloud but this area of low pressure will bring stronger winds and sharp showers as we go through the day. so it will be a dry start into much of scotland and eastern england. quite a lot of cloud in central and southern areas but hopefully the sunshine should brighten up into the south—east as we go through the day and there are those blustery showers into western scotland and northern ireland. temperature 16—18 in the north, highest values in the south—east of


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