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tv   Newsday  BBC News  August 17, 2021 1:00am-1:31am BST

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welcome to newsday, reporting live from singapore, i'm karishma vaswani. the headlines. biden defiant — the us president defends his decision to withdraw american troops from afghanistan following the swift taliban takeover. i stand squarely behind my decision. after 20 years, i've learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw us forces. desperate scenes at kabul airport, with people clinging to moving planes trying to flee the country. taliban militants patrol the streets of the capital — there's widespread fear the regime will bring repression. an uncertain future
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for afghanistan, and a momentous decision from president biden. our correspondent in washington will update us on the political fallout there. also on the programme: nearly 1,300 people are known to have died in a massive earthquake in haiti, and a tropical storm is now heading towards the devastated country. welcome to bbc news, broadcasting to viewers in the uk and around the world. we begin in washington, where president biden has sought to defend the manner of the us withdrawal from afghanistan. it comes after chaotic scenes at kabul airport, as desperate afghans try to flee the country
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following the taliban's takeover on sunday. people have crowded around departing aircraft, with some even clinging on as planes took off. mr biden said he stood squarely behind his decision, and that there was never a good time to withdraw. our first report is from washington, and our north america editorjon sopel. the sudden capture of the country's capital has shocked the world. whatever the political bent of the network... the taliban has taken over afghanistan, seizing control of kabul... ..the verdict today has been unanimous and brutal. the biden administration is redefining the word i "incompetent". an epic humiliation of us foreign policy, a woeful mishandling by president biden. just a month ago, the president said a taliban takeover of afghanistan was highly unlikely. and given this backdrop, joe biden had little choice but to cut short his vacation and return to washington by helicopter to answer his critics. he was unrepentant.
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i stand squarely behind my decision. after 20 years, i've learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw us forces. i always promised the american people i would be straight with you and truth is this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated. he shifted the blame firmly on the leaders of afghanistan and the military. we gave them every tool that they could need and paid their salaries, provided for the maintenance of their airforce. we gave them every chance to determine their own future. then he posed this question. i'm left again to ask of those who argue that we should stay, how many more generations of our daughters and sons would you have me sent to fight the afghanistan civil war? the hurried evacuation of the us embassy caught
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everyone by surprise and has unleashed a torrent of criticism. it seems again the biden administration has no plan and has created another crisis in afghanistan where it didn't need to be. this is about leadership and the way in which we are removing ourselves and withdrawing from afghanistan didn't need to occur. outside the white house, there have been protests from pro—afghan groups. this woman served two tours of duty in afghanistan with the us air force. today, i'm embarrassed to an american. - why? because we pretended to be allies with these people - and then we just left them | like lambs to the slaughter and it's immoral. america is better than this. the anguish is deep among former afghan nationals. they don't care any more about afghanistan. we are not as important
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as we were back in 2000. that's the reason we are here, we're here to speak up for the women who worked for the united states. today near the iranian border, life is carrying on with an air of normality, but what will the city and the country feel like in a few months with the taliban back in charge? will it be 2001 all over again? jon sopel, bbc news, washington. earlier i spoke to david willis and asked him what the reaction has been to president biden�*s speech. this was a very unrelenting speech, unapologetic speech from joe biden. very defiant, basically saying, the buck stops with me, but going on to blame others for the chaos that's currently erupting in afghanistan. in particular, the afghan army, which mr biden said had been trained and equipped to a high
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standard by the us and at great cost, but had simply lost the will to fight. mr biden also criticised the former afghanistan president ashraf ghani, who of course has gone into exile. he said the former president had promised him at a meeting at the white house, afghan forces would fight. mr biden said that was clearly not the case. he also blamed the trump administration for this agreement to withdraw forces from afghanistan this year. he said that left his administration with really no choice but to either go along with that or face the prospect of another civil war on the ground with the taliban. i think a lot of americans who have felt this is a good thing to do will, i think, be a little bit shocked by the pictures, in some
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cases, very shocked. recent polls show most are in favour of the withdrawal. whether they will still be is anybody�*s guess. for more reaction to president biden�*s speech, i've been speaking to kamran bokhari, director of analytical development at the newlines institute in washington. i began by asking him whether he thinks the president will regret his actions. if we look back at what happened in iraq, we pulled forces out when president biden was vice president in 2011, only to go back three years later, not at the same scale, but with 5,000 or so troops to fight isis. that may happen down the road in afghanistan because
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this country is far more shattered than iraq is. iraq at least has a state even if it is weak, and under the influence of the iranians. but here, we have anarchy as demonstrated by the utter collapse of the state. america's top military general already made comments that the return of the taliban and afghanistan could accelerate the potential threat from islamist terror groups. how worried are you? i am worried because it's notjust afghanistan, it's pakistan next door as well, which has a huge extremist current within society. the afghan taliban
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enjoys strategic depth, there are transnational jihadists inside pakistan, so this could become a sort of singular battle space in a worst—case scenario where the border between afghanistan and pakistan is disregarded. as was the case with isis, when they moved back and forth from syria and iraq. i'm not saying that will happen here with pakistan, even if it has its _ problems, but i can see large parts of pakistan's western flank becoming the scene of growing extremism and terrorism. more now on the day's events at kabul airport, where american forces fired into the air to disperse crowds attempting to force their way onto departing planes. several people are reported to have been killed. american and british troops are engaged in
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evacuating their citizens, while the international community tries to define its response to the taliban's lightning—speed victory. here's our afghanistan correspondent secunder kermani. running for their lives, frantically trying to escape afghanistan on this us military plane. this is how desperate some afghans are to leave the country. a handful tragically clinging on even after take—off, before falling to their deaths. foreign nationals — and some afghans — are being evacuated, but huge crowds gathered after rumours even those without visas could travel. gunfire. outside the airport, even more chaos. taliban members firing in the air to assert their authority, trying
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to keep control. despite the dangers, some residents still risking their lives to try and get inside. the group has promised an amnesty to those with links to the government, but many still fear they'll be targeted by the militants. inside the airport, american forces fired into the air too. us officials claimed two armed afghans were killed. an eyewitness told the bbc the victims were ordinary people. i just saw with my eyes three people, but there's more people, maybe. it's a very, very bad situation and people are in chaos. no—one is quite sure what comes next in afghanistan, though it's clear the taliban are in charge. their members are out in force, patrolling in vehicles seized from government security forces. "we're preventing looters and thieves from harming
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the people," says this fighter. the group has also reportedly been demanding all weapons are handed over to them. the unravelling of the state has come at a pace many are still struggling to comprehend. now it will be the taliban who decide what direction the country takes. we want an afghan inclusive islamic government. so, by that, we mean all other afghans have also participation in that government. so, of course, that needs a little bit of time and deliberation and talks. the terror and panic at the airport today an awful ending to two decades of international efforts to rebuild this country. for all its fractures and rampant corruption, afghanistan had also seen fragile progress.
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the future for its people is now deeply uncertain. secunder kermani, bbc news. more on afghanistan later. but first, aid workers in haiti are racing to provide food, water and shelter to survivors of saturday's earthquake, before a major tropical storm hits the country. hospitals are struggling to cope with thousands of injured survivors. nearly 1,300 people are known to have died after the quake struck on saturday. the problems are even more acute in remote areas. 0ur correspondent james clayton managed to travel to the town of les cayes to the south—west of the epicentre and sent this report. many of these people were asleep when the earthquake hit, their homes caving in. it's hard enough to treat survivors of any natural disaster, but when the hospitals themselves are under
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fear of collapse, it makes it all the more difficult. well, this hospital is simply too unsafe to have people stay inside. so they've brought everyone outside here and they've tried to place them under trees, under tents, to try and keep them a little bit cooler and out of the hot sun. but what you're seeing here is 48 hours after the quake, the doctors have run out of painkillers, they've run out of antibiotics, and there are major concerns about things like infection. elsie had just woken up when the earthquake hit. her son has a serious compound fracture and needs to be taken to the airport to be lifted out. seeing him in such pain is overwhelming. there simply aren't enough facilities to treat people in this remote part of the country. from the hospital, some of the injured are taken to this airport, waiting for a flight out to the capital, port—au—prince — like 19—year—old tanya, who's pregnant. so, you woke up and basically tried to run out, but then the house collapsed on top of her?
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she says her leg hurts and she has abdominal pain. most of the hospitals here are in need of the basics. iv solutions, bandages, medications, including antibiotics and pain management medications. they're in the same situation where they've run out. 0verall, it's dire. you know, sitting here with three hospitals that are moving patients to the airport for transportation out. there's no coordination. a tropical storm here is also preventing flights in and out of the capital. the people here need help, but at the moment, not enough is coming. if you want to get in touch with me, i'm on twitter — @bbckarishma. you're watching newsday on the bbc. still to come on the programme. a change at the top in malaysia — prime minister muhyiddin
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yassin resigns after losing his majority, but who will replace him? 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 take place in this millennium. it began itsjourney off
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the coast of canada, ending three hours later, when the sun set over the bay of bengal. this is newsday on the bbc. 0ur headlines. president biden has strongly defended his decision to withdraw american troops from afghanistan — saying the us goal had been counter—terrorism, not nation—building. with the taliban patrolling the streets of kabul, the un has urged maximum restraint to protect lives. it's 20 years since the taliban was toppled by the united states, who blamed them after 9/11 for harbouring 0sama bin laden and other al qaeda figures. the taliban say they have changed since last being in power.
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back then, they established sharia law and denied rights to women. 0ur chief international correspondent lyse doucet looks now at how the taliban is likely to govern this time — and how the world might engage with them. step—by—step, a return to rule. ever since the taliban signed a deal last year with the us, their old enemy, they've been emboldened. moments like this started to shift their international profile. recent months, had their flags hoisted on the ground. then suddenly this summer, district by district, district by district, they won the fight. in many places, theyjust walked in.
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not because they were strong, the government was weak. in many places, theyjust walked in. the corrupt government and the corrupt leaders, they were all pretty much responsible because they didn't stand up. they took the aid money and went away, and that's the reason so many people lost confidence in them. these scenes were recently filmed for us in wardak, a province at the gates of kabul. scenes of an orderly transition, the taliban taking over, taking care of the people. but more grisly videos have been surfacing too of alleged abuses and atrocities. what do you say now to those who fear the return of the taliban? they should not fear. because the government which will come after this, it will be acceptable to all afghans. but taliban rule returns to an afghanistan dramatically
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different from the one they governed so harshly in the late 1990s. we've reported on the change — however imperfect and incomplete — over the past two decades, no—one expecting their lives could be so suddenly shattered. afghans, especially women, now fearing they will lose everything they gained. i'm speaking for millions i of afghan girls and women. and afghanistan's neighbours are anxious, too. the fate of this landlocked country affects them all. to the north, central asian states know how easily extremism crosses borders, reaching russia too. iran knows afghans will flee its way, and any instability will spill into pakistan too
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and far beyond. so many people have become internally displaced in afghanistan, so many are becoming refugees, so we actually need immediate help and assistance for them. there is, you know, so much to talk about right now and a lot of us are just deeply, you know, deeply depressed about the situation there. a depressing, deeply uncertain and dangerous time. for now, most afghans are just trying to get through each day, before they confront fundamental questions about their future. lyse doucet, bbc news. let's take a look at some other stories in the headlines. protestors have attacked the home of lebanon's prime minister designate, najib mikati, calling for his resignation. the demonstrations follow a fuel tank explosion that
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killed at least 29 people in the northerm akkar region on sunday. the cause of the blast is unclear, but it occurred as soldiers handed out petrol to residents. a key opposition figure in venezuela has been released from prison two days after the government and opposition representatives met in mexico. freddy guevara was charged with treason and terrorism last month, accusations he denies. the release of political prisoners was one of the demands made by the opposition at the start of talks aimed at ending the country's political crisis. the us government has opened an investigation into tesla's self—driving system. federal regulators are looking into over a dozen crashes involing tesla cars colliding into emergency vehicles. the investigation will cover nearly 800,000 cars made since 2014. 17 people have been injured and one killed in the incidents.
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the prime minister of malaysia, muhyiddin yassin, has resigned after losing his majority but will stay on as interim leader until a replacement can be found. mr yassin said he'd made enemies by pursuing corruption charges against some politicians. he's also faced criticism for failing to control the latest surge in coronavirus cases. 0ur south east asia correspondentjonathan head has the latest from bangkok. many would argue that it's remarkable that prime minister muhyiddin lasted even this long, given the dubious way in which he got the job last year — in an internal coup that brought down the reformist coalition he was then part of, leaving bitterfeelings in malaysian politics — given the deep split in his former party, which has been a central part of his governing coalition, and given the herculean task facing any malaysian government in addressing the fast—growing covid epidemic.
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now the horse trading begins to choose mr muhyiddin�*s successor, and many malaysians fear that that will inevitably involve concessions to or compromises with some of those facing charges for the alleged involvement in the great 1mdb financial scandal, a scandal that the malaysian public by and large wants to see justice in. what about, though, opposition leader anwar ibrahim, a man who's been campaigning for the top job for more than 20 years, who spent two terms in prison in part because of his efforts? he's often claimed that he's got the numbers to form an alternative administration, but in truth, in part because of his divisive personality and the fact that he's in coalition with the mainly ethnic chinese democratic action party, he's unlikely to get the number of mps needed to form a government. and then, there's the great survivor of malaysian politics, 96—year—old doctor mahathir mohamad. he's been pushing for a kind of
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national unity reconstruction council to run the country during this crisis. but even dr mahathir probably doesn't have the support to push that idea forward. in reality, the country is likely to end up with a kind of compromised candidate as prime minister, perhaps not a very charismatic figure, to lead an interim government that holds the fort until such a time, as the country can hold a new general election safely. you have been watching newsday. a reminder of our top story. president biden has given a robust defence of his decision to withdraw us troops from afghanistan following the swift taliban takeover. mr biden said the clear goals of the us mission in afghanistan were focussed on counter—terrorism, not nation—building. he also said he had made it clear to the taliban that any attack on us personnel engaged in the withdrawal operation
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would be met with devastating force if necessary. that's all for now. hello there. we're looking at a pretty benign week of weather. we've got high—pressure fairly nearby, but a lot of cloud streaming in off the north atlantic, bringing us rather cool and cloudy conditions throughout the week. a little bit of sunshine here and there, but there will also be some patchy rain, too. these weather fronts bringing the patchy rain through this morning. generally, though, we've got this airflow coming in from the north atlantic, and it's moisture—laden air, hence all the cloud. so, rather grey skies this morning, that patchy rain eventually clearing away from the eastern side of england. there will be further patchy rain for northern and western hills, but many places will turn drier, and we could see some sunshine breaking through eastern scotland, eastern england, perhaps across south wales and the southwest. a breezy day to come, those winds quite fresh
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from the northwest, and temperatures pretty disappointing for mid—august, generally 15—21 degrees in the sunnier spots further south. and we hold onto the cloud and the breeze through tuesday night, as well. most places will be dry, further spots of drizzle, though, across some western hills, especially, especially northern and western scotland. but with all the cloud cover and the breeze, temperatures no lower than around 11—15 degrees. so then, for wednesday, very little change — it looks similar, rather grey and breezy once again, further patchy drizzle across some northern and western hills. but again, with some shelter from the breeze, from the higher ground further west, we should see some sunny spells, again, eastern england, perhaps across the south of wales and southwest. again, that pushes temperatures up to 21 degrees — otherwise for most, mid—to—high teens. into thursday, some subtle changes. this weather front�*s a bit more active, it'll start to wriggle into parts of england and wales. the winds will be lighter on thursday, too, coming in from a more west—southwest direction.
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again, a lot of cloud around, but we'll have these showers pushing into england and wales — thanks to that weather front, some of these could be on the heavy side. a bit of sunshine again towards the southwest, highs of 20—21 degrees, otherwise, again, mid—to—high teens. as we move out of thursday into friday, we start to see this more substantial area of low pressure sweeping up very slowly from the southwest. so, that'll change the wind direction to a south—westerly for many of us, it will be light with breeze. again, quite a bit of cloud around, a few sunny spells here and there, the more substantial rain pushing into northern ireland and later, western england and wales. and again, those temperatures range from 15—20 celsius.
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now on bbc news... the media show. hello. this week we are asking how hard is it to report on the ground in china and tell the story of that country to the wider world? journalists covering the fatal floods, which included those terrifying scenes from the underground train as it filled up with water, found that their presence was not always welcome. other major titles, including the new york times, increasingly have to rely on stringers as their own
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reporters are working outside china's borders.


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