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tv   BBC News  BBC News  August 16, 2021 4:00am-4:31am BST

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it was horrific, something i have never seen before. this is bbc news. welcome if you're watching here in the uk or around the globe. i'm david eades. our top stories: taliban fighters enter the presidential palace in kabul as they retake the afghan capital, 20 years after being forced from power. their arrival has sparked an exodus from the city, as afghans try to board flights out of the country and president ghani flees. embassies are closing, diplomats are flying out, leaving afghan civilians and former top officials fearing what lies ahead. imight i might face consequences that i might face consequences that i never even dreamt of, and i
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guess that's the price that we pay for trying to make this world a little better. and in haiti, the search for survivors, as the death toll from a huge earthquake rises to nearly 1,300. the taliban's extrarodinary sweep across afghanistan has now extended into the capital kabul, which it has seized with precious little resistance. taliban commanders have been photographed in the president's palace, while president ashraf ghani has taken flight to uzbekistan. it is nigh on 20 years since the taliban fled the capital. today as they reassert their authority they have urged calm, but the city is said to be in chaos. the us state department says american troops are now taking steps to secure the airport. our first report is from our diplomatic correspondent paul adams.
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afghanistan has new masters. 20 years after their first experiment in power came to a shattering end, the taliban are back. hours after arriving in kabul, sitting at the president's desk. earlier at the same desk, president ashraf ghani clinging to the last fragments of power. but the man gazing down on kabul�*s streets has gone, fleeing to neighboring uzbekistan. in a facebook post, he said he left to avoid bloodshed. as the taliban moves in, the west moves out. american helicopters busy over kabul all day today, ferrying diplomats from the us embassy to the airport. this disorderly end was not the plan. hundreds of british troops have now arrived in kabul to help with the evacuation of thousands of british
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and afghan civilians. the operation is well under way, these trips may not be on the ground for long. kabul is in chaos, people desperate to leave, taking what they can, fearing a bloody assault. there is little violence so far but a lot of panic. crowds descended on banks trying to take out their savings. as police officers and security officials abandoned their positions, the taliban urged people to stay calm. you wanted to avoid bloodshed and destruction, to properties of the people and not to give a chance to plunderers, looters who are waiting for such moments to loot or plunder the properties of the people. but the streets are full of dread. tens of thousands of civilians displaced by fighting elsewhere living out in the open, telling stories of abuses at the hands of the taliban.
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translation: the taliban came into our village in the night. - after a few days we managed to escape as they were murdering the men and boys. they accused them of being in the army or police. they were taken out of their homes and murdered because they worked for the government. outside the capital, the taliban are consolidating their grip on afghanistan's major cities like herat. unfazed by their headlong success which has government ministers reeling. the saddest part is that i didn't expect this, that now i might, i might face consequences that i never even dreamt of, and i guess that's the price that we pay for trying to make this world a little better. at the border with pakistan, afghans are leaving. with or without fighting, the taliban's takeover looks set to trigger yet another wave of refugees. tonight at kabul airport,
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military and civilian planes offer the only way out. at the gates, chaotic scenes. who will leave and who will be left behind? is this how the west's 20—year adventure in afghanistan will be remembered? thousands of american troops are assisting with the evacuation of us embassy staff, citizens, and some afghan nationals from kabul. the state department has confirmed the us flag has been lowered there, and almost all personnel are now at the airport. the pentagon has authorized the deployment of another thousand troops to help the mission. 0ur north america editor, jon sopel, has been looking what the latest events mean for the biden administration. 0ver many years and at a cost of tens of billions of dollars, the us trained and equipped afghan forces to be ready to take back control
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of their country. but they collapsed like a house of cards — one of many miscalculations made by the biden administration over these dizzying few weeks. and today america's most senior diplomat was trying to put a brave face on events. what we're focused on now is making sure that we can get our people to a safe and secure place, that we can do right by the people who stood with us in afghanistan all these years, including afghans who worked for the embassy, worked for our military. we have a massive effort under way to bring afghans at risk out of the country, if that's what they so desire. america's attempt to export liberal democracy to
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afghanistan is well and truly over. america's effort to build a civil society in kabul and beyond also in tatters. and joe biden's prediction from five weeks ago that everything would be just fine has not worn well. first of all, the mission hasn't failed , yet. so the question now is, where do they go from here? that, the jury is still out, but the likelihood there's going to be the taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely. the taliban wants to make a deal. the withdrawal policy was framed during the trump administration and embraced byjoe biden, who is at camp david and today was being briefed by his officials. he believes passionately that america can't stay in afghanistan indefinitely. but foreign—policy hawks are rounding on both men. what we are watching now in afghanistan is what happens when america withdraws from the world, so everybody who has been saying america needs to withdraw, america needs to retreat, we are getting a devastating,
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catastrophic, real—time lesson in what that means. archive: the us embassy helicopters flew from roof| to roof. america's most scarring military defeat was summed up in the images of the last helicopter flying off the roof of the us embassy in saigon at the end of the vietnam war. today's scramble to get out of kabul may not be that, but it's not far short. jon sopel, bbc news, washington. here in the uk the prime minister, borisjohnson, has called on other like—minded nations not to "prematurely" recognise the taliban. he said his immediate priority is to evacuate british citizens, and afghans who've worked with the uk. mps have been recalled to parliament to discuss the situation on wednesday. here's our political correspondent ben wright. for 20 years, the uk has committed its military, money and lives to afghanistan.
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some of the fiercest fighting was here in helmand. the effort ends with a frantic scramble to get out. the situation in afghanistan continues to be extremely difficult, getting more difficult, i would say. and our priority is to make sure that we deliver on our obligations to uk nationals in afghanistan, to all those who have helped the british effort in afghanistan over 20 years, and to get them out as fast as we can. uk troops first went to afghanistan in october 2001 after the 9/11 attacks, joining us—led action against al-qaeda and the taliban. by the time combat operations ended in 2014, a54 uk soldiers and military personnel had died. successive prime ministers stressed their commitment to the country and protecting the progress made. today, cross—party fear that progress could vanish. the real danger is that we're going to see every female mp murdered. we're going to see ministers strung up on street lamps, and this is the decision that i'm afraid has been taken. we haven't heard from the foreign secretary in about a week, despite this being the biggest single foreign policy department, disaster, sorry, since suez.
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it has been a catastrophic miscalculation, that is absolutely clear. the uk and the united states both overestimated the capacity of the afghan government to hold off the taliban and underestimated the capacity of the taliban to advance throughout the country, and that has been clear, actually, for days. the uk says its mission in afghanistan had to end once the us announced its decision to leave, despite the consequences. it's a mark of the crisis that mps and peers will be brought back from their summer break on wednesday for a day's debate. many are livid about the way afghanistan is being left. but talking here won't stop the taliban and all mp5 can do is ask ministers how a humanitarian and security disaster might be avoided. forjames kyle, today is difficult he served in afghanistan in 2007 and 2009, the year the regiment lost six of its soldiers.
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is incredibly sad seeing the change happened so quickly after years and years of incredibly hard work from remarkable armed services in the country. i don't know how i could ever, ever look the parents of fallen soldiers in the eye and say that what they did was worth it. the situation in afghanistan will be deeply felt by many families closer to home, reflecting on a mission that wasn't meant to end like this. ben wright, bbc news. earlier i spoke to the bbc�*s azaday moshiri, who had the latest international reaction. in the last hour, about 60 countries havejoined a —— signed a joint statement. it calls on all parties to respect
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and facilitate the safe and orderly departure of foreign nationals and afghans who wish to leave the country. it also adds those in a position of power and authority across afghanistan, their responsibility and accountability for the protection of human life and property. so the us embassy has also said that all its staff is now safe at the airport, and that is really the priority right now, making sure that foreign nationals and embassy staff can leave safely, but also that all the afghans who have been there supporting the troops, supporting the embassies, supporting these countries in their missions, can also get out of the country safely. for all this talk of orderly evacuation, it is difficult to get away from the talk that this has been an unholy mess, particularly for the americans. what is the response you are picking up? unsurprisingly, political infighting. former president donald trump has come out of the woodwork and said he believes president biden should resign in disgrace. he argues that had he been president right now, things would be quite different. the biden administration has responded
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pretty quickly, saying that the us taliban exit deal was actually negotiated during the trump administration. we also have pictures from outside the white house, where earlier some afghans gathered to protest the us pullout. it is worth mentioning that president biden isn't actually there, he has encountered david. and of course, the veterans, they are the ones who were there, it is after all america's longest war, and many are dismayed at what they are seeing. they have been speaking out to the press. a former army staff sergeant said "a complete pullout is not only unnecessary, it is sabotaged. so there is really a mix of political infighting, pointing fingers, but also just people looking on in dismay at what is going on in afghanistan and how quickly it has fallen. very briefly on that point, i wasjust reading the human rights watch quote, 37% of afghan girls are now able to read. that is one of the huge success stories of the last couple of decades, in the transformation of society. these other we lose.
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absolutely, and one of the most foremost female advocates from afghanistan is malala, who was shot by the taliban, shutting the head. she tweeted, and we can pull that up as well, "i'm deeply worried about women, minorities and human rights advocates. global, regional and local powers must call for an immediate ceasefire, provide urgent humanitarian aid and protect refugees and civilians. and she is really touching upon the fact that all this progress, all these gains made, all that is what is at risk right now. well, for more on what went wrong in afghanistan for the us and its western allies, i've been speaking to michael pregent, a former us intelligence officer who served as a company commander in afghanistan in 2002. he's now a senior fellow at the hudson institute in washington. over the last 20 years,
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we fielded 20 different strategies against a very strategic enemy that simply developed a playbook. every year we gave the taliban the ability to reset, rearm, refocus, and pakistan, and ally. the taliban was able to go into pakistan, refit, rearm and refocus, and get ready for the spring offensive. the first year the united states allowed that to happen sent the message to the taliban that every year, during the wintertime, the united states would leave them alone, and they could regroup, refit, and come back into afghanistan and start dismantling and targeting everything that we had built during that year. the afghan commandos that went after al-qaeda and caliban leadership, those soldiers are now being rounded up and executed in their villages and towns as the first appraisal attacks against afghans by the taliban.
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i think many people would recognise the, as you put it, the safe haven that always provided that opportunity for the taliban to regroup as you put it, but was it wrong, completely misplaced, to believe that the nature of a military force in afghanistan, the designer structure, frankly on the entire society couldn't be changed because we were just talking about some of the extraordinary steps forward, the progress made within afghanistan, at least in the way that we might in the west consider a proper way to go. women being able to work, young girls being able to be educated, these have been positive things that have been promoted and brought on largely by us support. those are the benefits of the 20 years, but they quickly are starting to evaporate. is the taliban moves into areas and cities they are demanding that young women, girls and women that are able to have babies, be wed to taliban
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fighters as the spoils of victory so that progress only holds of the united states and the international community remain in afghanistan and keep afghan officials from leaving afghanistan. we've all warned — within the intelligence community — that as soon as the us left those in government would leave also. they have been able to line their pockets, prepare for the exit from the united states by preparing their exit financially. (crosstalk). i'm sorry to interrupt you but i'll wonder if i could ask you, we have an increase in the number of trips going back and, essentially for evacuation purposes. given the awful mess this looks like and i think from a pr point of view, a bit of a disaster for a relatively new president, is there a chance that many of them will stay longer than
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had been expected ? well, we are sending 6,000 troops to protect the 2,500 troops that were ready to leave afghanistan under this hasty withdrawal. i argue that we will continue to send americans into afghanistan, much like iraq, to deal with the new existential threat. in iraq it was isis, and afghanistan it will be al-qaeda and isis and a potential new threat. this doesn't end the forever war in afghanistan, this guarantees that americans and american allies will take on the next existential threat that will be allowed to plan the next attack on the west and that is another unfortunate way. that is a former army commander who served in afghanistan. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: hospitals in haiti struggle to cope
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with the number of injured from the earthquake, as the figure passes 6,000. the big crowds became bigger as the time of the funeral approached. as the lines of fans became longer, the police prepared for a huge job of crowd control. idi amin, uganda's brutal former dictator has died at the age of 80. he's been buried in saudi arabia where he lived in exile since being overthrown in 1979. two billion people around the world have seen - the last total- eclipse of the sun to take place - in this millennium. it began itsjourney off the coast of canada, . ending three hours later
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when the sun set - over the bay of bengal. this is bbc world news. the latest headlines: the taliban's lightning offensive across afghanistan has culminated in the seizure of kabul, 20 years after they last held power. the taliban have urged calm, but kabul is in chaos. people are desperate to leave, fearing a bloody assault. there's little violence so far — but plenty of panic. let us get another perspective on the withdrawal itself.
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bradley bowman is a senior director at the foundation for defense of democracies in washington. he also spent nearly nine years as an advisor to the us senate, and served more than 15 years on active duty as a us army officer, including time in afghanistan. he gave me his reaction to the views of some us veterans that the withdrawal has been a form of sabotage. to my colleagues in the us military who have served in afghanistan and our many nato allies who served bravely there, more than 1000 of our european allies who never returned home to their families, i say thanks to your service and that your service did great good. we prevented another 9/11 attack for 20 years, we allowed afghan women and girls to make gains that they had not seen in the history of that country, so there is much to be proud of. but unfortunately what we have seen here, the world is witnessing a vivid and painful display of what happens when leaders in washington, frankly, delude themselves regarding the persistent threats we confront, the nature of our enemies and our ability
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to end wars by simply going home. president biden has implemented explicitly conditions ignoring withdrawal, he said so on april 1a, that it ignores what is actually happening on the ground, repeating the mistake of the 0bama administration. that is supported in a rock in 2011. they had to send back troops because of isis, and this time troops are having to go back much sooner. we have to wait and see. trips are going back right now but for very specific reasons. nonetheless, there is a point here about public opinion in the us —— troops. have long been sick and tired of the american presidents in afghanistan —— presence. and we might not like the way this is panned out at all. it has been disastrous, many would say, but the idea of getting out is something many in america was still support. find something many in america was still smart-— still support. and that is because _ still support. and that is because there _ still support. and that is because there has - still support. and that is because there has been | still support. and that is l because there has been a bipartisan failure of leaders in washington to explain our
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persistent interest and the threats of those interests. there are 2a designated terrorist organisation still in the afghanistan— pakistan the afg hanistan— pakistan region the afghanistan— pakistan region and most of them still want to kill americans and our allies. this defeat we have seen of the afghan government was done in part with the help of al-qaeda, particularly in the north. so we now have an al-qaeda safe haven again in afghanistan. and, by the way, this is going to be a shot in the arm for terrorist recruitment and radicalisation around the world. they is concerned about that is what i'm seeing in afghanistan as well. �* ., , i'm seeing in afghanistan as well. �* . , . in other news, there's been a sharp rise in the death toll from the devastating earthquake that hit haiti on saturday. almost 1,300 people are now known to have died. many more are feared to be trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. the epicentre of the 7.2 magnitude quake was 150km south—west of the capital, port au prince. hospitals in the area are inundated and struggling to cope with the number of injured, which has almost doubled to around 6,000 people. medical teams are being despatched from cuba
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and ecuador amid concerns about the approach of a tropical storm. the last thing a country in political turmoil needed was this. friends and family searching the rubble for loved ones — looking, praying, for any signs of life. the morning earthquake brought buildings tumbling down — buildings made of heavy cinder blocks and cement. many people didn't have a chance. translation: the quake killed her. this death hurt us a lot because she is a street seller like us. this church was one of many structures that succumbed. the scenes eerily reminiscent of haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake. this area is remote, and many of the injured
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are being tended to in makeshift emergency treatment centres. translation: we cannot | provide an assessment yet, because the situation is very critical. we have to mobilise and divide the resources of the hospital. the president has declared a state of emergency. however, the previous president was assassinated only last month, and some worry that haiti's turbulent political situation makes the country poorly placed to handle a humanitarian disaster on this scale. james clayton, bbc news. just want to bring you a latest development with regard to afghanistan, because new zealand has a response as well. the prime minister, jacinda ardern, has said they will be sending in a military plane and some personnel to help get a new zealand citizens out, as well as some afghan nationals who have worked with new zealand agencies, around 37
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afghan nationals are said to have been identified as having worked alongside the new zealand defence force's. and thatis zealand defence force's. and that is bbc news. thanks for watching. hello there. cloud features quite prominently in our forecast for this week. and with the grey skies come some relatively cool conditions for the time of year. northwesterly winds bringing all that cloud and some rather coolair, particularly at the start of the week, but it will often, if not always, be dry. just a bit of light and patchy rain here and there. this is the earlier satellite picture. you can see various areas of cloud. we've got low pressure up to the northeast, weak frontal systems which have been bringing cloud and some showery rain. there's quite a lot of low cloud waiting out to the west. and this is the set—up to start the week, with high pressure to the west, low pressure to the east, and that is what's driving this northwesterly wind. quite a brisk wind first thing, especially for north sea coasts. as we go through monday, we will see some sunshine developing, the best of that across northern and eastern scotland, the eastern side of england, whereas further west, we will keep more in the way of cloud, perhaps some spots of light
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rain and drizzle at times, and some slightly heavier rain approaching northwest scotland and northern ireland later in the day. those winds only slowly easing. it stays quite breezy for all of us through the day and temperatures a bit below par, generally speaking — 17,18,19, maybe heading 20 degrees in parts of southern and eastern england. and then as we head through monday night, we will see this area of wet weather pushing its way southeastwards. the rain mostly quite light and patchy, but i think there will be the odd heavy burst. but with that, we're going to feed in an awful lot of low cloud, mist and murk, and that sets the scene for the middle part of the week. we still have this northwesterly wind, with high pressure and low pressure trapping us between the two, essentially, but that northwesterly wind picking up an awful lot of moisture, an awful lot of cloud and depositing it on top of the uk. so largely cloudy conditions on tuesday, a little bit of patchy rain and drizzle here and there. equally, that cloud breaking to give some sunny spells, especially to the south and the southeast of high ground. temperatures, at best, 18, 19, 20 degrees — still a little disappointing. and then into wednesday, more of the same, really, more mist and murk and cloud,
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the odd spot of drizzle. best of any brightness to the east and southeast of any hills and mountains. and temperatures, well, maybe just creeping up a touch, 21 degrees there in london, 17 in aberdeen. and then as we look towards the end of the week, a quiet sort of day on thursday. by friday, well, there is the chance that we will see some rain pushing in from the west.
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this is bbc news. the headlines: taliban commanders have been photographed in the president's palace in kabul, as they retook the afghan capital, 20 years after being forced from power. president ashraf ghani has left the country, taking a flight to uzbekistan. the taliban arrival has sparked an exodus from the city with afghans trying to board flights out of the country. the us state department says american troops are now taking steps to secure the airport. thousands of us troops are assisting with the evacuation of embassy staff, citizens, and some afghan nationals from kabul. there's been a sharp rise in the death toll from the earthquake that hit haiti on saturday — almost 1300 people are now known to have died, many more are feared to be trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. hospitals are struggling to cope with the injured.
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now on bbc news it's hardtalk with stephen sackur.


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