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tv   BBC News  BBC News  August 17, 2021 2:00am-2:31am BST

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welcome to bbc news, i'm david eades. our top stories. the defiance of an american president — joe biden stands by the us pullout from afghanistan, but accepts the speed of the taliban takeover caught them by surprise. 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 and chaotic scenes at kabul airport — people cling to moving planes in their attempt to flee the country. taliban militants patrol the streets of kabul — how repressive will they be as the regime takes root? more than 1,400 people are known to have died
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in haiti's earthquake — now a tropical storm is bearing down on the country. welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. we begin in washington, where president biden has sought to defend the manner of the us troop withdrawal from afghanistan. he was speaking after a day of chaos at kabul airport, as desperate afghans were prepared to cling onto aircraft as they took off, to escape the country.
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the taliban have taken control of most of afghanistan, encountering very little resistance on the way. but mr biden said he stood squarely behind his decision, and that there was never a good time to withdraw. our first report is from 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. i stand squarely behind my decision. after 20 years, i've
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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 send to fight the afghanistan civil war? the hurried evacuation of the us embassy caught everyone by surprise and has unleashed a torrent of criticism.
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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.- 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 as we were back in 2000. that's the reason we are here, we're here to speak up
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for the women who worked for the united states. today in herat 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. at kabul airport, 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 in the process of evacuating their citizens, while the international community tries to define its response to the taliban's very swift victory. here's our afghanistan correspondent secunder kermani. running for their lives, frantically trying to escape afghanistan on this
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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 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.
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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 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
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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. the future for its people is now deeply uncertain. secunder kermani, bbc news. ambassador douglas lute is a retired three—star general who focused on afghanistan in the george w bush and barack 0bama adminstrations and went on to become the us
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ambassador to nato in the final years of 0bama's tenure. he's in salt lake city, utah. thanks very much indeed for joining us. i wonder what you made alljoe biden�*s comments today. in spite of everything we have heard about the us being caught short on what has happened, there wasn't a lot of contrition and there was a lot of defiance. i contrition and there was a lot of defiance.— of defiance. i think the president _ of defiance. i think the president made - of defiance. i think the president made out. of defiance. i think the president made out a i of defiance. i think the - president made out a strong, compelling argument for the basis of his decision announced in april to the american people, to fully withdraw american forces. i did hear him take responsibility. he said, i take responsibility. he said, i take my share of the responsibility, with my predecessors, for the mistake and miscalculations. since he has only been in office for six months, he is talking mostly about the mistakes of the last weeks, with regard to
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afghanistan. so i do think he owns this in a very personal way. and i heard that as he spoke to the american people today. 50 spoke to the american people toda . spoke to the american people toda _ ., spoke to the american people toda . ., ., , today. so he owned it in as much as — today. so he owned it in as much as it _ today. so he owned it in as much as it could _ today. so he owned it in as much as it could have - today. so he owned it in asj much as it could have been handled over the last few weeks better, but clearly the message was that the afghan government, the politicians, the military have all simply failed to pick up have all simply failed to pick up the batten and run with it? for a long time, even our military leaders and nato military leaders and nato military leaders and nato military leaders have admitted there is no military solution to the conflict in afghanistan. and of course we imagine, conventionally, a diplomatic solution, perhaps around the table in doha town where the afghan taliban would talk to the afghan government and reach compromise and settlements. actually what happened in the last couple of weeks is a political solution, last couple of weeks is a politicalsolution, but last couple of weeks is a political solution, but one which took place in the street and across the territory of afghanistan. most of the city that failed to that alabama
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fell by weight or political bargaining and a deal, not by way of arms. bargaining and a deal, not by way of arms-— bargaining and a deal, not by way of arms. you talk about it as a political— way of arms. you talk about it as a political solution, - as a political solution, goodness me, we have seen the pictures at kabul airport, people trying to hang on to the views are large of an aeroplane and full to their death in a process, that's no solution of any sort, is it? it process, that's no solution of any sort, is it?— any sort, is it? it is a very afghan — any sort, is it? it is a very afghan solution, - any sort, is it? it is a very afghan solution, and - any sort, is it? it is a very afghan solution, and it's. any sort, is it? it is a very i afghan solution, and it's not to dismiss our shortcomings in the execution of the president's decision. and again, ithink president's decision. and again, i think you took responsibility for that. i also think in the face of this unexpected sweep of the taliban across the country, including now kabul itself, the capital city, which saw the president react quickly and strongly by spending several thousand american troops back to secure their lone point of exit, the kabul international airport. secure that, create a security perimeter, and then i think in the next day or so, the scenes of desperation and chaos that
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you so rightly mentioned, and we have seen the iconic photos, those scenes will change and we will begin to see a sense of order and discipline inside the perimeter at kabul international airport. perimeter at kabul internationalairort. ., . internationalairport. you have a real depth — internationalairport. you have a real depth of— internationalairport. you have a real depth of understanding i a real depth of understanding of the experience of the last 20 years with regard to afghanistan. is there a point at which, over that time, and joe biden has been a bit of a withdrawal man, hasn't he, really? should this have been done already, perhaps eight or ten years ago, when that alabama was in a different situation and perhaps the odds of getting some sort of reasonable solution, a managed solution, would have been far better? —— when the taliban was in a different situation. i think there were two critical points over the last 20 years. the first was in the weeks and
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months in late 2001 and early 2002, there was a decision to exclude the taliban who had been bumped from power, to exclude them from the political outline of the new afghanistan, the conference hosted by the un in bonn. from the outset we excluded them, and within five years they came back with a vengeance as an insurgency because they had been excluded. the other pivot point was almost exactly ten years ago, when the united states brought to justice but on the bin laden. based on a raid from afghan territory into pakistan. with that raid, the decimating of the al-qaeda network in afghanistan and pakistan, we had essentially accomplished our core objective that took us to afghanistan. that was another pivot point where we might have assessed that our vital national interest had
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been served and we would leave the future of afghanistan to the future of afghanistan to the afghans, which is essentially where it rests today. essentially where it rests toda . ~ . . ., , ., today. with much uncertainty to boot. ambassador, _ today. with much uncertainty to boot. ambassador, thank- today. with much uncertainty to boot. ambassador, thank you i boot. ambassador, thank you very much forjoining us. there are fears that a taliban government would severely restrict human rights — especially those of women and girls. malala yousafzai — the pakistani activist who was shot in the head by the taliban for publicly advocating education for women and girls — has told bbc newsnight that she's deeply concerned by the situation in afghanistan. my my hope is that we see stability and peace in afghanistan. i hope women and girls are living in a world where we are talking about advancement and equality, gender equality. we cannot see a country bringing decades and centuries back. we have to take some stands for the protection
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of women and girls, for the protection of minority groups, and for peace and stability in that region. so many people have become internally displaced in afghanistan, so many are becoming refugees. we actually need immediate help and assistance for them. there is so much to talk about right now, and a lot of us are deeply depressed about the situation there. we are seeing some shocking images on our screens right now. people are just escaping, finding a way to keep themselves safe. when you see that, you realise that this is actually an urgent humanitarian crisis right now. we actually an urgent humanitarian crisis right now.— crisis right now. we were reflected _ crisis right now. we were reflected in _ crisis right now. we were reflected in an _ crisis right now. we were reflected in an hour- crisis right now. we were reflected in an hour with | crisis right now. we were - reflected in an hour with david miliband, the former british foreign secretary on the humanitarian challenge.
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the misery continues for the people of haiti. after the latest devastating earthquake — now a tropical storm is bearing down on the country. 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 bbc news, the latest 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. 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. more than 1,400 people are known to have died after
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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 north of the path of the storm, and sent us 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 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
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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? 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.
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pierre honnorat is the world food programme's country directorfor haiti, and joins me now from the capital, port—au—prince. thanks for your time. can i start with the impending storm, as we keep hearing about? can you give us the latest? titers; you give us the latest? very wind , you give us the latest? very windy. a _ you give us the latest? very windy. a lot _ you give us the latest? very windy, a lot of _ you give us the latest? very windy, a lot of rain - you give us the latest? very windy, a lot of rain is - you give us the latest? very windy, a lot of rain is going | windy, a lot of rain is going to bring a lot of problems also for the people already sleeping outside, without horses. and fearing to go back in the houses which are very much damaged. so yes, itjust went through, we will have more updates tomorrow, the flooding most probably, but a terrible night for those people without a roof definitely. it night for those people without a roof definitely.— a roof definitely. it 'ust compounds * a roof definitely. it 'ust compounds the i a roof definitely. itjust compounds the awful l a roof definitely. itjust - compounds the awful situation that you are faced with, that the people are faced with. in terms of getting to them, how are you doing now? definitely,
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first of all it's _ are you doing now? definitely, first of all it's a _ are you doing now? definitely, first of all it's a health - first of all it's a health situation, a grave matter, and secondly the access and the logistic support we have to prioritise. this is where the world food programme is coming strong, trying to mobilize our assets and trucks and the logistics that we have, to help the local authority with civic protection. and you have seen the images on the hospitals, people are outside, coming with theirfamilies, ambulance, their families, ambulance, motor bikes. theirfamilies, ambulance, motor bikes. they are staying outside because they don't want to stay in the hospital. though they are there with their companions and they need food assistance as well. haifa companions and they need food assistance as well.— assistance as well. how do you mana . e assistance as well. how do you manage that? _ assistance as well. how do you manage that? are _ assistance as well. how do you manage that? are you - assistance as well. how do you manage that? are you going i manage that? are you going around, almost person by person, to leave them with a food parcel and some water? what are you doing?-
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what are you doing? what's amazin: what are you doing? what's amazing is _ what are you doing? what's amazing is the _ what are you doing? what's amazing is the people - what are you doing? what's amazing is the people of. what are you doing? what's i amazing is the people of haiti itself. you can see some local associations, and just the people around the hospital, bringing baskets with food, with soup, taking them to people one—to—one, you just want to help those people as well, and structure it of course. it's really amazing, the solidarity you can see in haiti. it's people who have nothing who are really helping the ones who are suffering. that is heart—warming in a tragic scenario. i appreciate yourjobis tragic scenario. i appreciate yourjob is not be hands rescue, as it were, but do you have a sense as to how much longer it can go on for? they have been able to pull out survivors from time to time... very difficult to say, i'm not in that area. search and rescue
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teams are working on the ground with civic protection. i know a lot of help organisations are mobilized. we are starting food distribution. it is an area which already has a lot of food insecure people. the food insecurity is going to last for months. those people cannot stand up like this, they need support. the health sector, this is really catastrophic, but we can see already a lot of movement, a lot of national ngos, international ones, working very, very hard. a big challenge indeed.— challenge indeed. thank you very much- _ the prime minister of malaysia, muhyiddin yassin, has resigned after losing his majority — but he will stay on as interim leader until a replacement can be found. mr yassin said he'd made enemies by pursuing corruption
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charges against some politicians. he had 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. 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
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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 dr mahathir mohamad. he's been pushing for a kind of national unity reconstruction council to run the country during this crisis.
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go to our website's live page with the latest on afghanistan. 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 sunshine here and there, 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 eastern 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 for wednesday, very little change — it looks similar, rather grey and breezy again, further patchy drizzle across 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
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direction. again, a lot of cloud around, showers pushing into england and wales — thanks to that weather front, some could be on the heavy side. a bit of sunshine again in the south—west 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 south—west. 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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this is bbc news — the headlines. president biden has strongly defended his decision to withdraw american troops from afghanistan — saying the goals of the us mission had been counter—terrorism, not nation—building. he also said he had made clear to the taliban that any attack on us personnel would be met with devastating force if necessary. the us and britain say they'll send more troops to the afghan capital to help the evacuation of hundreds of people — desperate to escape kabul after the taliban takeover. there have been chaotic scenes at the airport — with people clinging to, and then falling from, planes taking off. a tropical storm has made landfall in haiti — drenching the country with heavy rain as it deals with the aftermath of saturday's powerful earthquak. at least 1a hundred people were killed in the quake and almost 7000 injured.
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now on bbc news: ahead of cop 26, the un's flagship

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