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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  August 12, 2022 9:30pm-10:01pm BST

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this is bbc world news. the headlines: a usjudge has ordered the unsealing of the search warrant for donald trump's florida home — it's reported it involved the seizure of top secret documents. reports also say the justice department believes mr trump may have violated the espionage act. the author salman rushdie, who's been the target of islamist death threats since the 1980s, has been stabbed at the start of a lecture in the united states. his agent says he's undergoing surgery. firefighters from seven different european countries have come to france's rescue as it battles a massive wildfire in the southwest. successive heatwaves on the continent have renewed the focus on climate change risks. 11 people have been killed in a mass shooting in montenegro. at least ten people.
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reports suggest a man opened fire during a family dispute. at 10pm, tina deheley will be here with a full round—up of the day's news. but before that, a bracing dose of hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur. a year on from the re—imposition of taliban rule, afghanistan is facing a humanitarian calamity. half the population is facing serious food insecurity, more than 1 million children are at risk from acute malnutrition. as for the taliban, well, they seem focused on snuffing out opposition and imposing strict controls on women and girls. my guest is former first vice president of afghanistan, now a seniorfigure
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in the national resistance front, amrullah saleh. is internal resistance viable when afghans are starving? amrullah saleh, welcome to hardtalk. thank you. it is a year, mr saleh, since the taliban swept into kabul and toppled the government of which you were a part. would you acknowledge that this past year has been a year of failure from your point of view?
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for the taliban, it has been not only a year of failure but it has exposed their real intentions and face to the afghan people. they have brought disaster, starvation, displacement and they have basically pushed women into shadows. and all those people who were architect of the handover of afghanistan to the taliban, justifying that they have changed, are responsible for this catastrophe. you have chosen, in that answer, to focus on what you call the taliban's failings. i was actually thinking more about your own situation, because when you were forced to flee from kabul, you took to your panjshir valley home region, you told the people of afghanistan that you would build a resistance and that, from there, you would topple the taliban but obviously, one year on, you have failed.
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no, we have not failed. we did build the resistance, we did not give up, we did not surrender, we did not change out narrative and we are still fighting. we brought down one their mi—17 helicopters, we have taliban prisoners in our custody and, as i said, it was a massive conspiracy to handover afghanistan to the taliban. the very fact that we are still fighting and we have not given up is a magnificent hope for the afghan people. we cannot disclose your location for security reasons but we do know, from reading reports from inside of the country, that, yes, there are national resistance fighters in the mountains, particularly in and around the panjshir valley, but what we also know
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is that the taliban has sent thousands of reinforcements to confront your resistance fighters and, as far as we can understand it, and you do not have the supply lines nor the numbers to truly threaten the taliban's grip on power? well, as you know, in this type of situation, the character of the struggle we have put is a partisan struggle, it is a guerilla warfare and in the guerilla warfare, the first and foremost important factor you need is motivation of the people to assist the freedom fighters. that we have got. we also have massive assistance provided to us by the afghan diaspora, and we have managed to create underground supply lines. we have weapons and we have ammunition and we have challenged the taliban takeover of afghanistan. you are right, we have not been able to capture a province
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but in this type of battle, there is a very old notion and saying, "if the enemy cannot crush you, you emerge stronger". we have emerged stronger. it is a matter of time. insurgency is like a drop of oil put on a page, on a piece of paper. it starts from a small area and within a matter of time, the whole place is gripped. we are seeing protraction of insurgency against the cruel taliban regime and it is giving hope to the people. to what extent is this personalfor you, mr saleh? i'm aware that you've been confronting or fighting the taliban, in different ways, for most of your adult life. you have lost friends, associates, and family members. indeed, i think i'm right in saying, your brother was killed by the taliban after the takeover,
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just last september. so, are you motivated by personal reasons as much as anything right now? absolutely, you are right. it is for me personal, ethnic, national, subnational, and political all combined. and i think, in the circumstances, i am the embodiment of what most of those who are opposing the taliban are. they have various layers of motivation to stand against this very cruel dictatorship, which the afghan history has not seen its precedent in the past. the country cannot stand a war right now, can it? obviously the country has been at war in one form or another for many decades but right now you are living with the world's biggest humanitarian catastrophe.
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more than half of the a0 million or so people inside afghanistan appear to be in some way or other threatened by starvation, either acute or longer term, and, in that context, continuing to fight does not really seem viable? that is a very narrow definition of the situation. the country also cannot live in indignity. allow its soul to be crushed day and night by are very repressive, clerical dictatorship, who were preaching nothing but death and afterlife. so, therefore, i do not know — if you look at it from a materialistic point of view, your argument is valid but, as human beings, do not live just for food. there is the factor
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of dignity, our souls... well, i do not know where you are speaking from, clearly, but what i do know is that ordinary afghans inside the country are facing the most terrible choices on a daily basis. to quote the country director of save the children, chris nyamandi, he says, "parents right now are having to make impossible decisions, which of their children do they feed ? do they send their children to work, if they are lucky? or do they let them starve?" now, in that context, how can you say to these people that they should be taking up arms and fighting? perhaps the director of that un agency is absolutely right but what the report should not forget is the matter of all this evil is something called the taliban and terrorism, and the death and destruction they have brought to our nation. if they had agreed to a peace process, afghanistan would not have been abandoned. if they had agreed to a peace process, there would have
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been no grain drain. if they had agreed to a peace process, the bureaucracy had not fallen. if they had agreed to a peace process, we would have had the small middle—class still staying in afghanistan and the flow of money would have continued. so, the disaster today in my country is not my guilt or the guilt of the resistance, it is the guilt of the taliban whose leaders are on the terror list of the un and the western world. so we should not forget the big picture. these people are responsible for the catastrophe and the tragedy that afghanistan is undergoing. after the august 15th taliban takeover, many countries, including the united states, cut financial assistance to afghanistan, froze afghanistan's reserves in us financial institutions, and a whole lot of other things which have contributed to the collapse of the afghan economy. the message now from agencies
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like the world food programme is that the world needs to put huge amounts of funding into afghanistan to avert catastrophe. do you support international assistance now going into afghanistan? first of all, i do not buy the argument that the west is pressuring the taliban. they are namely pressuring the taliban but, on the other hand, they have provided $1.1 billion in the name of humanitarian assistance, which has assisted the taliban to consolidate and there is zero western supervision of how this assistance is being distributed or spent... forgive me for interrupting, but the message from the world food programme and other un agencies is that the $1.1 billion that you refer to is nowhere near enough. at least $2 billion more needs to be given to afghanistan now to stop people dying.
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are you telling me you do not want that money to be delivered because you do not want the taliban to be involved in receiving it? when they were giving money to the republic, they had a systems to also have scrutiny over our own income. but today, they are sending that money to the taliban, without asking the taliban what they do with the income they have from the customs revenue. which is in a way, in a very discrete way, in an intelligent way, is consolidating the taliban rule. the west has to put tough conditions for supervision, monitoring and also accountability. what we see this so—called humanitarian assistance is helping the taliban to consolidate. i am not saying the afghanistan people should be left to die, i am saying the west is guilty, it is sinful, and what they are doing is wrong. they are sending $40 million a week without knowing where does it goes... to be clear then... crosstalk
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hang on, do you want that flow of international assistance money to stop? i want that flow of the international money to be supervised by impartial bodies, but today, the taliban governors, they choose who to receive the assistance. for example, in the parwan province, north of kabul, there is a small district which was pro—taliban — that district has received 18 rounds of assistance, the rest of the province, which is an anti—taliban constituency, has only received 2—3 rounds of assistance. there is not much scrutiny and supervision. it is consolidating the taliban rule. is it time, mr saleh, for you to think about putting down your guns, stop talking of armed resistance and actually find ways in engaging in a dialogue, building some bridges to the taliban, particularly in the context of a national catastrophe, that we have just been discussing?
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as you know, we have been proposing peace talks and political settlement for over a decade, and what we got was roadside bombs, urban bombings, massacres, assassinations, sticky bombs, lies, and false hope in the name of the peace process, forceful takeover of the country. so ,you are asking this from the wrong person. so, you are asking this from the wrong person. you have to ask this from the clerics who, with the support of the pakistani army and intelligence, have taken my country. of course, we seek interviews with the taliban and ask them tough and challenging questions as well. but there's a challenging question for you, and in a sense it's raised by amin karim, of the hezb—e islamic party, who says, "all sides need to find a way to sit down." he is promoting a compromise plan
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that would involve the taliban, yes, the taliban cutting ties with what he calls "terrorist allies", committing to long—term political processing, including elections, guaranteeing rights, including rights for women. yes, the taliban would have to do that but in return, he says, the international community should remove the taliban from various blacklists, should recognise the taliban government, and you should agree to sit down with the taliban and recognise that they are in power today. are you ready to do that? if the taliban agree to put a timetable for a referendum or for elections so that the people can choose the character — determine the character of the state, we will sit with the taliban. but if the peace process is actually inviting us for allegiance or for accepting this illegitimate, criminal syndicate called the taliban, we will never bow.
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we are ready to give more sacrifices and i think if the international community recognises this cruel, inhumane regime, it will further reinforce the conspiracy theories that the handover of afghanistan was an international — a western conspiracy to prepare for the new cold war and the collateral was afghanistan and victimised the republic and the population of afghanistan. the west owes us, the west is guilty, and they have to help the afghans create a legitimate state. recognition of the taliban will intensify the civil war, it will lead to massacre, and it will lead to unprecedented level of violence the country has not seen. we are ready to stop armed resistance, provided there is a mechanism
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which will ensure referendum or an election is held. if the taliban win, for sure, we will accept that legitimacy, but we will not surrender to a group which has come to power through a conspiracy. it's interesting to me that your narrative is still based upon afghanistan being betrayed by some sort of western conspiracy. a year on from the taliban takeover, you and ashraf ghani fleeing kabul, it seems you accept no culpability, no responsibility at all? no, i do accept a lot of responsibilities. the time of your programme is very short so i'm not going to go into nuances and details of where we are responsible and where we are accountable to our people. but if you look at the macro
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picture, in the peace process, the americans sought a regime change, and when they took their citizens to the kabul airport, they stopped supporting the afghan state and that tipped the balance of power in favour of the taliban. you seem to ignore a basic truth — in over two decades, the americans ploughed tens of billions, maybe $80 billion or $90 billion into afghanistan, they hoped they were building a credible, coherent government, but after what happened in august last year, it was clear that you and ashraf ghani and others had built no meaningful loyalty to the armed forces of afg ha nista n. between the public and government, there was nothing but mistrust about the levels of corruption, and you surely have to take the blame for that?
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i do take the blame where it is my responsibility but those billions of dollars of american or western money, they never came through the afghan government and institutions. they came through private security companies, ngos, contractors, and they created a logistical system which completely made afghan institutions dependent on their own presence. you hear it from the mouth of general petraeus, who was cia director, and he served in afghanistan, and said what the west did was criminal and the reason, the macro reason for the collapse of the afghan republic was the lack of commitment, lack of unified narrative and a lack of solid commitment and narrative from the west, particularly the united states. we were lied to and we were lied to all the way to 1a august.
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i visited washington injune with president ashraf ghani. we met president biden. everything he said to us proved to be a lie. what's your attitude to the americans now? i don't know where you sit but you see it — claiming yourself to be the legitimate leader of afghanistan, but clearly, that is theoretical, certainly not practical. if you don't get support from the outside, it's hard to see how your armed resistance is ever going to threaten the taliban. you need, do you not, the united states, and other allies, to provide you with support? the way you are talking, there is not a hope on earth that the united states is going to offer your support. the united states is not god, it's not the only country in the world. hope is not related to what washington thinks, so, therefore, our definition of hope today is different.
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we are not seeking western assistance. are you talking, sorry to interrupt, but we don't have much time, are you in contact with the americans today? the last time i contacted the americans was a couple of, a few days after the collapse of kabul and their message was very clear to me, that their decision is to completely go out. today it's very clear, it's much cheaper for them to allow this pit cancer called the taliban, designed by pakistanis, to run my country. the slogan that the non—governed space after 9/11 will not be existent, those slogans proved to be shallow. there is an ungoverned terrorist—governed space in the name of afghanistan. everything you are saying contradicts what one of your colleagues in the resistance front, ali nazary, said last month.
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he said it's very crucial for the international community to support our efforts in any way that is possible to contain what he calls terrorism inside afghanistan. he says, "we need assistance." you say, "forget about assistance, that's not our future?" no. i'm not saying we don't need assistance. i'm saying we're not wasting our time to go to western capitals who have, based on geopolitical calculations, taken their decision to outsource afghanistan to pakistanis and allow pakistani—created cancer named taliban to run afghanistan. we should not waste our time trying to convince them to assist us. what we are struggling is to create a bigger relevance for ourselves, become an actuality, and become relevant. whether the west likes it or not, they will have to engage with us
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sometime in the future. as i said, they knowingly allowed the taliban to take over and the peace process was not a peace process. it was a process for regime change. a few days ago, we saw the us launch a strike inside kabul which killed ayman al—zawahiri, the leader of al-qaeda. i'm interested, for you as an afghan, and you claim to still have support inside the country, are you supportive of the so—called over—the—horizon us military strikes inside afghanistan or not? i would offer support for that if they were not hypocrites. they are allowing ten people in the taliban cabinet, on whose head there is bounty, to go around, and they selectively come and kill one terrorist, which means washington, unlike what they were saying, for washington, there are good terrorists and bad terrorists.
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it is very clear they have come to some type of secret agreement with some terrorists and they have cleansed them of their past sins, and they are selectively killing others. if i may say so, you sound extremely resigned and weary right now. you've written off american assistance. you acknowledge that your fighters in the panjshir valley have only a limited capacity to resist. it seems in the long struggle you've had with the taliban, you have lost. no, i have not lost. the west lost, the republic lost. we are a constituency, we will never lose. we stand — ourfoundation, the will of our people, to put a resistance. am i weary? am i angry?
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yes. i am notjesus. we're very angry at what happened. we have paid a heavy price. but we have not lost. we are regaining. i didn't say we have limited capability. we are building a capability and i can't call it limited. insurgency starts from a place and it protracts. six months ago it was one valley, today it is six valleys, and i hope next year it will be 60 valleys and we will defend our dignity, our land, our homes, and we will regain our country. all right, amrullah saleh, i'm sorry to say we have to end it there but thank you forjoining me on hardtalk. thanks very much.
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hello there. it's been very dry across the uk recently. some spots in southern england have seen no rain in southern england for over a0 days. also the isle of wight, no rain here for 39 days. we don't have any rain in the forecast of these areas over the weekend, but there will be some wet weather next week or the chance of it in the form of heavy, thundery showers. the showers, as with all showers, will be fairly hit—or—miss. they won't be everywhere, but they will be somewhere and we'll also introduce some fresher—feeling conditions. the heatwave certainly continues as we head through the weekend. there is that met office weather warning in force for extreme heat until the end of the day on sunday across much of england, as far north as the pennines and into eastern areas of wales. the heat is uncomfortable for many and of course dangerous for some.
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hasn't been hot everywhere, these weather fronts running through the northwest of scotland, and overnight tonight we will see more cloud feed in from the north sea into eastern coastal areas. elsewhere, lots of clear skies. a warmer night to follow, very warm start to the day tomorrow. some temperatures, particularly towards coastal areas, perhaps the isle of wight again, may not see temperatures drop below 19 or 20 celsius. already a head start on those temperatures for tomorrow. still some cloud towards north sea—facing coasts that could lap on shore at the time, but elsewhere lots of blue sky and sunshine. more sunshine tomorrow from mainland scotland, temperatures will rise steadily across england and wales to the low to mid 30s, possibly peaking across central and southern england at 36 or maybe even 37 celsius. but it's all to change on sunday. the high pressure moves away to the east, low pressure will send some rather unstable, moist, humid—feeling air further northwards. this will help to spark off some
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thunderstorms. if we move back to sunday, we may well see some thunderstorms towards the northwest of the uk, but further south, it's more likely to stay dry and that heat still hangs on here. by the time we get into the start of next week, those thunderstorms will become more widespread across the uk, they won't be everywhere, as they do fall on very dry high ground. if we do see high rainfall totals, they could possibly cause some flash flooding. there are local warnings in place.
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sir salman rushdie — author of the controverisal book the satanic verses — has been stabbed during a literary event in america. he was attacked on stage before being rushed to hospital and is tonight undergoing surgery. he is an individual who has spent decades speaking truth to power,
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someone who has been out there, unafraid,

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