tv BBC News BBC News August 28, 2021 12:00am-12:31am BST
this is bbc news. i'm nancy kacungira with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. the taliban say they've moved in to kabul airport and are ready to take control as soon as american forces leave. it's thought us and uk troops could end their operations within hours. this door is closing and closing loudly, but other windows are going to open. but will they be open enough? the us warns of another possible attack at the airport, as the death toll from thursday's suicide bombing climbs to 170. those killed in this awful attack were trying to escape years of violence in afghanistan. instead, they became the latest victims in a country torn apart by bloodshed. also, america publishes its assessment of the origins
of covid—19, but the results are inconclusive. hello and welcome. thank you forjoining us. senior taliban officials say they have taken up positions inside kabul airport and are ready to take control as soon as the americans leave. the us insists it will keep evacuating afghans until the last moment and that its forces are still in charge of the site. but it's thought they may be out in a matter of hours. reports now suggest as many as 170 people died in thursday's suicide bomb and gun attack on dense crowds at the airport gates. our correspondent in kabul, secunder kermani, has the latest, and a warning, his report contains distressing images.
distraught relatives search kabul�*s morgues, looking for their loved ones. this baby you managed to save? but there's another baby? amongst those killed, mohammed niazi, a taxi driver from london who had travelled to kabul to try and help his family get inside the airport. his eldest daughter and youngest child are still missing. his wife was also killed. his brother was at the airport alongside him. i saw some small children in the river. it was so bad. it was a dark day for us. many of those we meet say their relatives were not killed in the blast but by firing in the confusion afterwards, they believe by foreign soldiers. somehow, i saw an american soldier... and beside this there were turkish soldiers, so the fire comes from the bridges, the towers. from the soldiers? yes, from the soldiers.
america's department of defense didn't reply to our request for comment. the suicide bombing claimed by the islamic state group would have ripped through the densely packed crowd, causing panic. is has repeatedly launched devastating attacks in the city. the blast has left two—year—old mohammed reza fighting for his life. this looks set to be one of the deadliest incidents ever in this horrific conflict. so many of the victims those that had worked with the international community. noor muhammad had been employed alongside american forces. the guy has served us army for years. and the reason he lost his life... he wasn't killed by taliban, he wasn't killed by isis. us army started shelling. how can you be sure? because of the bullet. the bullet inside of his head, right here, near to his ear.
he didn't have, he doesn't have any injury. these are noor mohammed's eight children. he had hoped to give them a better life. instead, this afternoon, they said a final goodbye. those killed in this awful attack were trying to escape years of violence in afghanistan. instead, they became the latest victims in a country torn apart by bloodshed. tens of thousands of people have been flown out of the country but now only foreign nationals are being allowed inside the airport. the british government has acknowledged some of those who want to leave will be left behind, like this former interpreter. there is no place for us to stay and we are so worried about our future. i think it's not fair. it is like a betrayal of their own heroes. these are the last days
of a chaotic evacuation effort. for those who haven't made it out, a deeply uncertain future. secunder kermani, bbc news, kabul. let's get more on the reports that the taliban are preparing to take over kabul airport when us troops leave. our chief international correspondent lyse doucet is in kabul and sent this update. it seems in the same way the taliban fighters stole a march suddenly on kabul last week, they're doing the same tonight at the airport. for the past few hours, we've been watching on social media as senior officials among the taliban and their supporters are posting photographs with exclamations like, "the foreign occupation has ended," "the islamic emirate is entering the airport," pictures of luxury vehicles, their lights blaring, going into the airport ground. of course, we checked with the pentagon. they say, "we still control the gates, we still control the operation." the mod in london says the military flights are continuing, but it underlines again it is just a matter of time.
but such is the desperation of those who got so close and now feel they may lose out, i'm even receiving messages tonight. a friend said, "my sister got an e—mail tonight saying she can go to the airport. how can you get her there?" and people there showing passports, their afghan passports, saying, "how can we get there?" this door is closing and closing loudly, but other windows are going to open. but will they be open enough? lyse doucet. as the western military presence ends in afghanistan over the coming days, the focus will turn to how to engage with the taliban regime. our correspondent caroline hawley looks at the diplomatic challenges ahead. for two decades, the west fought these men. now they're calling the shots. and western leaders must work out the best way to deal with them so they cause
the least harm in power. i think there is absolutely no choice but to develop channels to communicate with them at senior level over how they are now going to run afghanistan. what leverage does the west, does the uk, have now? i think in reality, our leverage is very limited. we can withhold recognition. but i'm not sure how much the taliban care about that. we can, as the foreign secretary has hinted, withhold aid, and afghan military reserves are mostly held and frozen in american banks, so we can withhold money. but the risk with that is that it mainly impacts on the afghan people, who are facing a bleak future anyway. the un says millions of people were already on the brink of famine before the taliban takeover. the ousted government of president ghani was almost entirely dependent on foreign funding.
as much as 75% of state spending came from the outside world. that helped to pay for everything, from security forces to government officials to schools that offered girls and education for the first time and hospitals and health care. now the taliban are in charge, who's going to pay the bills? could western aid with strings attached moderate the militants or will they now look elsewhere for support? earlier this week, the taliban proudly tweeted a photo of themselves meeting the chinese ambassador. both china and russia have embassies in the capital. the difficulty with using economic leverage is that it only works if the target of your leverage has no other options, and in this case, the taliban does have the option of looking to the regional countries for support. and those countries — china, russia, iran, pakistan — are likely to be more flexible in their expectations of the taliban. terror of the taliban, fears for the future have prompted a desperate rush to escape.
the un warned today that half a million afghans could flee the country this year alone, and europe fears a repeat of the refugee crisis in the mediterranean in 2015. the west can leave afghanistan but can't walk away from its problems, and there are no easy options now for how to respond. caroline hawley, bbc news. the final british and afghan citizens being flown out by the uk are expected to leave in the coming hours. our defence correspondent jonathan beale reports now on the struggle to airlift thousands to safety. it's been the biggest airlift in recent history — a mammoth operation, overall more than 100,000 people evacuated in less than two weeks. more than 111,000 flown out by the raf, twice the number they originally planned. but the british effort is now over, with hundreds still left behind.
as we come now to the final hours of the operation, there will sadly be people who haven't got through, people who might qualify. and what i would say to them is that we will shift heaven and earth to help them get out, we will do whatever we can. the final phase of this operation is getting out the 1,000 british troops who've provided security. that is now under way. it's us troops who'll be the last to leave. drawing down forces in a hostile environment is already high risk, all the more so with the continuing threat of another terrorist attack. the dangers are the same — somebody will target the aeroplanes or the runway, or the aircraft as they leave or depart, or try to penetrate the perimeter of the airport in order to break in to the evacuation.
we have seen no sign of that happening so far, other than the terrible carnage of the bomb yesterday. the government has expressed deep regret it wasn't able to get everyone out. those left behind may now have to join the rush for the border. few of these were being allowed to cross into pakistan. around 1,000 afghans who worked for the british are still stranded, living in danger. so, how will they get out now? these are people that are eligible to come out because they've worked alongside us on the front line in afghanistan. some of those individuals haven't had their claims processed in time, some of them were not called forward, haven't managed to get through the barriers, and we need an urgent plan for them because they are very much at risk. it's notjust people left behind but the military hardware of an entire army,
trained and equipped by the us and its allies, now in the hands of the taliban, who will decide what happens next. the airlift will soon be over, but the inquest into how afghanistan fell apart so quickly has onlyjust begun. jonathan beale, bbc news. you're watching bbc news. do stay with us. he's the first african—american to win the presidential nomination of a major party, and he accepts exactly 45 years ago to the day that martin luther king declared, "i have a dream." as darkness falls tonight, an unfamiliar light will appear in the southeastern sky — an orange glowing disc that's brighter than anything save the moon — our neighbouring planet, mars. there is no doubt that this election is an important milestone in the birth of east timor as the world's newest nation.
it'll take months and billions of dollars to repair— what katrina achieved injust hours. - three weeks is the longest the great clock has been off—duty in 117 years, so it was with great satisfaction that clockmaker john vernon swung the pendulum to set the clock going again. big ben chimes this is bbc news. our main headline: the taliban say they've taken up positions inside kabul airport and are ready to take control as soon as american forces leave. the united states has published its assessment on the origins of covid—19.
its conclusion is that it's inconclusive — and intelligence officials are divided on how the pandemic began. they do say coronavirus likely wasn't genetically engineered or developed as a bio—weapon. but officials say china is withholding information, and that would need to change before the world gets any definitive answers on the origins of the virus. earlier, i wasjoined by our security correspondent gordon corera, who explained more about the report. it's an unclassified summary of a longer report. it came after president biden asked his intelligence community to go back again and look at this issue. and he gave them 90 days to do that, after they previously couldn't come to a conclusion. they've looked again, they've gone through the data and they still can't come to a conclusion. we get a bit more detail here. for instance, they say they think covid—19 really began spread in november in china — of 2019 — that it was not a biological weapon, they say. but on this crucial question, which is "was it naturally occurring? did it naturally transmit from animals to humans? or was it the result of a lab leak, an accident at a lab?", they cannot come to a conclusion still.
there's a division. four intelligence agencies lean one way, one the other. the analysts basically say they haven't got enough information. so, in a sense, we've not got any further despite this attempt to look again. and this issue, of course, has also been political in many ways. has president biden had anything to say about this report? you're absolutely right, and i think we will see what we hear from the us administration about it. it's been very political. the theory of a lab leak really was pushed by president trump, well over a year ago. that led many people to dismiss it, but actually, then, more evidence seems to occur which at least put it in the frame without dismissing it, which has led to this situation. one of the interesting last lines of this declassified report is to say china has not helped with the investigation. china's help would be required to go to an answer, but the report says china hasn't. maybe, it says, because china doesn't want to know where the investigation might lead. you get the sense from that accusation against china just how geopolitically sensitive
this has become. it's become a real source of friction between the us and china. and this report will not change that, essentially. it will remain a very divisive issue, with some in china suggesting, even, it leaked from an american lab, to try and deflect from the idea it could have leaked from a chinese lab. well, this is a question we've been asking since the very start of the pandemic, and now it looks like we're not any closer to the answer, as you say, with this inconclusive conclusion from this report. will we ever know? that's a really hard question. in previous cases, of some similar cases — nothing's obviously quite the same — it has taken years to get to an answer. and in some cases, it's been impossible, sometimes, to find what's called the intermediate host, the animal through which the transmission was finally made to humans. so it is possible we might not, it is possible the answer does lay out there somewhere and may be found, but it certainly does look like it's going to take a while longer. i was speaking there to our security correspondent gordon
corera. back now to our main story, and let's look at the growing humanitarian crisis in afghanistan. the un has told the bbc the country could fall into famine if it doesn't receive aid. the world food programme estimates that 1a million people are facing the threat of starvation. and medical supplies are running out, too. the bbc�*s south asia correspondent rajini vaidyanathan has more. in this hospital, now guarded by the taliban, lies 18—month—old abdul. malnourished, his mother can't afford to feed him. we were sent these pictures by a doctor in the north—east region of badakhshan, one of the country's poorest. there are, and across afghanistan, we've been told food and gas prices have risen since the taliban took charge. millions were already on the brink of starvation. now the un says it urgently needs more money — to avert a crisis. afghanistan stands on the brink of another humanitarian disaster.
without that money coming in, we will not be able to supply food to those 20 million people who are already poor. so there could be a famine? absolutely. that's what we will see if we can't get our food bundles to them. but because of the drought, because of the conflict, people can't feed themselves. all of them just leave their| homes and just want to go. this week in the northern city of mazar—i—sharif, dozens have been boarding buses to get to kabul. the un has said that the conflict has forced more than half a million afghans to flee their homes this year alone. there's a lot of problems. the taliban are here also and they don't want to i let the people go out of the country. - this man is just one of them. his mother lives in india.
she fled to delhi a decade ago after her husband was killed by the taliban. now she is terrified for her son. "he's really scared. the taliban are beating people up in front of him every day," she says. "they say they're not the same as before, but they are." the doctor i talked to in badakhshan agrees that words from the taliban in kabul don't reflect the reality beyond. we changed his voice. as i am talking to you right now, girls above class six are not allowed to go to school where i am. many women aren't allowed to work. even before the taliban took control, afghans were suffering. now, across the country, there are real fears for the future. the world may have left, but afghanistan needs help. rajini vaidyanathan, bbc news. afghans fleeing the crisis
are arriving in calais in northern france, joining those who fled the taliban in the past few months. france has now ended its evacuations from afghanistan. president macron says more than 2,000 afghans have been evacuated from kabul on military flights. 0ur paris correspondent lucy williamson has been speaking to afghans in calais. among the regulars lining up for lunch at a well—known migrant camp near calais, a new face. mohammed arrived here a week ago after getting on a french evacuation flight from kabul airport. i come airport, too many families, too many kids, too many child crying, "please, give me a way, i want to go out, any country." no england, no france, any country. mohammed tells me he worked for one of afghanistan's political parties, whose members were targeted by the taliban.
i tried there at the us army — he say, "no, ijust take family, child or family. without family, i can't take you." so the next day, i tried for the french... ..aeroplane. so... he accept me. this man fled the taliban six years ago after local leaders suspected him of passing information to the army. when they couldn't find him, they killed his father instead. he's speaking every day with the family he left behind. they are really afraid, really scared. they can't... theyjust stay in the house. and i was saying, "i will get you out, don't worry," but my brother say, "if you send visa, how will we go to airport? every area's now controlled by the taliban. they are checking everything." aid agencies say they're expecting a big influx of afghans here over the next few weeks.
calais has been home to those fleeing the taliban for years. they just don't arrive in france on a military plane. mohammed's journey is not over. like many here, he wants to get to the uk. his plan is to hide inside a refrigerated lorry. afghans in the camps here are telling us they believe more than 60 people have made it to the uk in refrigerated lorries through this ferry terminaljust in the past week. we've got no way of verifying these figures, but the picture that is emerging is of afghans who've escaped their country preparing to risk their lives again. with britain watching events in afghanistan, afghans here are watching the channel and asking themselves, what's one more risk? lucy williamson, bbc news, calais. a parole board in california has recommended that the man who assassinated robert f kennedy, the brother of presidentjohn f kennedy, should be released from
prison. sirhan sirhan has served more than 50 years injail for the killing in 1968, which was one of the defining events of 20th—century us politics. the recommendation does not mean sirhan will be freed automatically, however — it would have to be approved by the governor of california. one of the world's most successful footballers — cristiano ronaldo — has agreed new terms to return to his old club, manchester united. the fee is around £13 million. he first played for united back in 2003 when he was just 18 — and now he's leaving juventus in italy. jon donnison has the full story.
12 years after he wore a united shirt, guess who's back. most of the faces at old trafford might have changed but, speaking just before the signing was announced, the new boss clearly excited. cristiano is a legend of this club. he is the greatest player of if you ask me. i was fortunate enough to play with him. i coached him. the deal was confirmed in a short but sweet tweet, welcome home, cristiano. cue celebration outside the club's ground. it is superb! i cannot describe the feeling that we have. 0ur man is back, yes! all the talk this week, though, had been that ronaldo was heading to the other side of manchester. and this afternoon, city fans were putting on a brave face. thank goodness for that! what a waste of money he'd have been! way past his best. cristiano ronaldo was 18 when he first signed for united in 2003. now twice that age, at least one half of manchester will be hoping one of the greatest players of all—time still has more to give. jon donnison, bbc news.
the gun used to kill the wild west outlaw billy the kid 140 years ago has been sold at auction for $6 million. the colt single action gun belonged to sheriff pat garrett. he killed billy the kid in new mexico in 1881. the auction house called it a "relic of one of the most important and well known stories of the wild west." and before we go, let's update you on our top story. the us says it will keep evacuating americans and afghans from kabul airport until "the last moment", despite continuing concerns about further terror attacks. us officials warned that more attacks are "likely". that's it from me. don't forget, you can get in touch with me. i look forward to hearing from you. i'm @kacungira do stay with us here on bbc news. and of course you can find more on all the stories on
our website. find more on all the stories on ourwebsite. by find more on all the stories on our website. by now. find more on all the stories on ourwebsite. by now. —— goodbye for now. hello. the weather on the last weekend of august last year didn't cover itself in glory — a high ofjust 16 throughout the weekend in edinburgh, in birmingham and manchester. it is going to be warmer this weekend, at least to start with. it's going to be dry throughout the weekend with this area of high pressure that's going to last into next week as well, although as the weekend goes on, there will be more cloud and breeze, so it will start to feel a bit cooler once again. and actually quite chilly as the weekend begins in rural spots, with temperatures into single figures. but in the sunshine, we're all going to warm up really quite nicely
as the day goes on. there will be some areas of cloud in northwest scotland, some patches of cloud in eastern scotland and in england, though a lot of this will start to break up to allow some sunshine to come through, increasingly so in the afternoon. 0n the breeze, it's quite stiff in east anglia and southeast england. a stray shower can't be ruled out, and the breeze pushing into north sea coasts will keep temperatures right along the coast close to 16, 17 degrees. but for many, it's low 20s, and up to 23 in glasgow, so very pleasantly warm in some of that sunshine. and it will stay dry through saturday night, but notice how the cloud is increasing into scotland, northeast england and into northern ireland. here, temperatures will be hotting up compared with the night before. so, as we start sunday, there will be more cloud across scotland, northern ireland, northeast england, pushing in across more of eastern england during the day. the lion's share of sunday's sunny spells will be in wales, parts of the midlands and southern england. and this is where the temperatures will be highest. whereas elsewhere, it will feel a bit cooler and the breeze is starting to pick up more widely as well, coming in from the northeast. as this area of high pressure just backs a little bit more
towards the north—west of us, allowing more of us to feel that east or north—easterly breeze going through monday and into the week ahead. it may be a bank holiday where you are, there will be a lot of cloud around on monday, so only limited sunny spells. so you'll notice by then the temperatures have come down a few degrees. just towards the south—west of the uk, where we'll see most of the sunshine, breaking into the 20s. so, it will feel cooler next week. there will be a lot of cloud around, just occasional sunny spells coming through. and it's still dry, with that high pressure in control as we get into september.
positions inside kabul airport and are ready to take control as soon as the americans leave. sources have told the bbc that us and british troops are wrapping up their operations there. the pentagon says there are still credible threats against the airport. a us intelligence report has concluded that covid nineteen was not developed as a biological weapon by china. but officials were unable to provide a more definitive explanation for its origin, and blamed beijing for hindering the global investigation. manchester united have reached an agreement to re—sign cristiano ronaldo from juventus. the portugal star striker left the club for real madrid in two thousand and nine. the thirty—six year—old has won more than thirty major trophies. now on bbc news. nick miller and sarah keith lucas ask if recent environmental disasters could mark a turning point in the world's approach to climate change.
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