tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN August 20, 2021 1:00am-2:00am PDT
in the weawake of the talib rapid takeover, the u.s. remains in talks with the taliban as evacuations continue. and as covid cases rise, the pressure to introduce more vaccine and mask mandates is mounting. after an earthquake and storm, haiti desperately needs help. hello, i'm kim brunhuber. welcome to our viers viewers in united states, canada and around the world. this is "cnn newsroom."
it is now 12:30, friday afternoon in kabul where chaotic rush to evacuate thousands of afghans, americans and others is growing more desperate by the hour. at times the crush of afghans outside the kabul airport grew so big and unpredictable that soldiers fired weapons in to the air to push the crowds back. u.s. president biden is expected to address the deepening crisis in the coming hours. this is a sign of just how bad things got on thursday, a soldier lifting a child over the airport wall. the pentagon says it is in daily communication with the taliban about letting people with proper documentation through the gates, but for now, many who helped the u.s. and coalition forces are
blocked from any hope of getting on a plane. thursday was also the country's traditional end independence dad some chose to defy the taliban by flying the international flag. the taliban reportedly reacted with whips and gunfire to disperse the crowds. in places under firm taliban control, only the group's flag was to be seen on the streets. for countless, the airport is their only life line out. the u.s. says it has evacuated about 9,000 people this recent days including 350 americans on thursday, but that is nothing compared to the thousands of afghans now clamoring to get into the airport and the tens of thousands more who can't even get to the airport. cnn's nick paton walsh has the latest. >> reporter: it is america's final act in afghanistan. and it involves getting many americans and afghans loyal to
america to run a gount launtlet the center of kabul up to the main airport where they hope to get flights to the united states, maybe elsewhere, and start a new life in safety. but for that they must go through an extraordinary challenge. what should be the easiest drive in kabul is the reason the city is on edge. head up the main airport road since monday when i drove it and you run into the taliban. then they were beating people back, perhaps to clear the civilian runway crowded with desperate people then. by wednesday, it had gotten worse when they were clearly stopping people from using their escape to america and accosting cnn. taliban controlled that road, the entrance at the end of it and the road to the left, now many are trying to get in from the authority road. but that has led to devastating scenes at the north gate. when i was there, the crush was dangerous, but the number ofs have grown further still. at night stun grenades have been thrown when huge crowds still
brave roaming taliban in the dark in the hope the numbers at the gate have dropped. and in the day, it got nastier still. there were moments of hope, but they carry risk. when people see one success, they might want to try the same thing en masse. later in the day the u.s. troops had to repel the crowd. at other gates what seemed to be british soldiers struggled to push back crowds and huge queues have formed. america has a numbers problem, getting enough people on, but also claiming huge progress while not really knowing how many priority cases they are really seeking. >> how many american citizens remain in afghanistan? >> i don't know. what we do know is that 6,000 people are now at the airport, 6,000 people have been able to make it through the processing and as of a couple hours ago we had received only a handful of
reports otherwise from american citizens. >> reporter: inside, it is messy, but there are flights often many of them where lives are walked on to c-17s and changed forever when the doors close. the story of the airport the last place america controls in afghanistan with the chaos outside the wire means the promises inside fall pshort. and they claim that they have now on that airport 6,000 people processed and ready to get on aircraft. that will be extraordinary if that had indeed occurred. but they do also admit as you heard there that they don't know how many americans are out there in afghanistan hoping to get out. extraordinary not to have that basic number there to quantify how big a task is ahead. and so for the days ahead there are concerns, but once again in
afghanistan the reality on the ground, terrifying scenes outside the airport even today are simply not matched or recognized by the statements from american officials. nick paton walsh, cnn, doha. the u.s. has one more card to play as it tries to maintain security around the airport and provide safety and access to those who want to leave. as oren liebermann reports, u.s. officials are talking to the taliban. >> reporter: there is direct and daily communication between representatives of the taliban near kabul international airport and the commanders of u.s. forces on the ground at the airport. that is a way for them to talk, a way to, first of all, resolve if there are any issues there, but also a way of avoiding and preventing a breakout of hostilities. so far the situation has held. u.s. forces hold and control the airport, a situation that has stabilized, but the taliban pretty much right outside the
airport. john kirby says that he has no reports that american citizens have been harassed on their way to the airport but he acknowledges that his information is not perfect. there have been reports of afghan interpreters and their families, those who should be able to get on these flights, being harassed and beaten by the taliban. they say that they are trying to address shows issues with the taliban. meanwhile the big bottleneck here is the ability to process these afghans as quickly as possible through the airport and to get them on these flights. that ability is ramping up and increasing. still not yet at the 5,000 to 9,000 a day that would be the maximum capacity, but that is where the goal is, that is what the military is trying to achieve. and the pentagon acknowledges that there are fighter jets overflying kabul overseeing what is happening on the ground as the withdrawal continues. oren liebermann, cnn, the
pentagon. let's take a closer look at the fate of afghan translators who worked with u.s. troops. as you heard there, some are being blocked from getting to the airport and some aren't even in kabul, they are making desperate pleas to the biden administration to honor the pledge to leave no one behind. and here is a message from a translator shared by a human rights attorney. >> why are the american soldiers for getting about us after everything we did? [ crying ] the sacrifices we made. why are they leaving us behind? i don't want to be killed by the taliban. they are going to cut our heads off if they find my location. please help. and cnn's jomana karedsheh is joining us.
as we heard in that hea heartbreaking plea, so many are getting increasingly panicked about their situation, desperate to leave. >> reporter: absolutely heartbreaking, kim. you just letteheard it there. this is how a lot of these people estimated tens of thousands who worked with the u.s. government, worked with the u.s. military, who risked their lives, the lives of their family members to be associated with foreign forces, they are really terrified of what is going to happen to them right now. you've got the horror stories that we are hearing on a daily basis of people who are trying to get to the airport, that dangerous journey of physically getting to the airport. we've heard stories of people who were employed by the u.s. getting to their evacuation flights covered in blood, they lost their belongings, traumatized by what they have
gone through. and on top of that, you have this chaotic messy slow process also dealing with the paperwork of getting people on the list, approving them to travel, giving them the special immigrant visa. the u.s. has been really criticized for how disorganized and how slow and bureaucratic this process has been. this is something that is a life or death matter for people like you heard there from that interpreter. they feel that they are right now being left behind. they feel that every single day that window to try to get out of the country, to try to escape, that window is closing and it is closing fast. and despite all the assurances that they are hearing from u.s. officials in washington, that messaging that they are going to ramp up the operations at the airport, whether it is the evacuation flights or the processing, it is a very different reality on the ground. and the message they have gotten from what they have seen play
out over the past few days in kabul is that they are not the priority, they feel that it is u.s. citizens who are the priority. a real fear right now that they are being the ones left behind. >> yeah, absolutely. and now so many countries are talking about how to take in those afghans as well what do about the influx of refugees. but in turkey where you are, the president saying basically they don't want to get suck stuck with all of them, is that right? >> reporter: well, as the world has been watching these images played out at kabul airport, a lot of governments are watching this with a lot of concern, they are worried about another refugee crisis. whether the government here in turkey or european governments, we're still dealing with the political fallout from the syrian refugee crisis in 2015. and they are watching it and really worried about a new refugee crisis. so president erdogan, his country has hosted nearly 4
million refugees. this country is the biggest host of refugees worldwide. but they are worried about the influx of afghan refugees. he is faced with a population a large part of it that doesn't want to see more refugees coming in because of the economic situation. he is under a of opposition is from opposition parties and saying that they have been dealing with the irregular migrants coming from afghanistan, and they are trying to stem any possible flow of migrants through iran. but he says it is europe's turn right now to live up to its obligations, he says turkey is not obliged to be, quote, a warehouse for refugees. >> all right. thanks so much, jomana karedsheh in istanbul. still ahead, haiti is still reeling following an earthquake and tropical storm. we'll explain why it is taking
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more cities across the u.s. are tightening covid restrictions as cases surge. starting today, anyone over the age of 12 in san francisco will have to show proof of vaccination before entering restaurants, bars and gyms. and in chicago, they are reinstating its indoor mask mandate for all residents regardless of their vaccination status. this comes as a surge of covid patients is pushing many hospitals to the brink. athena jones has more. >> reporter: as covid cases and hospitalizations rise across the country, pressure to introduce more vaccine and mask mandates is mounting. more than 91,000 people now hospitalized nationwide. >> i watched a 22-year-old previously healthy unvaccinated patient die from covid
compl complications. and while we value every life, that one was tough because it could have been prevented. >> reporter: hospitalization rates for children and adults under 50 setting new records. the biggest jump coming among adults ages 30 to 39 and children under 18. climbing more than 30% higher than their previous peak in early january according to the cdc. in the two least vaccinated states in the country, alabama and mississippi, where just 36% are fully vaccinated, hospitals are strained. hospitalizations in mississippi setting a pandemic record as the state reports the highest 7 day average of new covid cases per capita in the country. the surge in cases leaving governor jay inslee requiring all teachers and staff in public and private schools to be vaccinated. >> we're well past the point where testing is enough to keep
people safe. >> reporter: near los angeles, culver city will now require all students 12 and older to get vaccinated by mid november. teachers and staff must also get the shots. but battles over masks requirements in schools continue. with kids stuck in the middle. >> the masks are like uncomfortable, but it is for safety. if i wear my mask, that means that i get to see my friends, i'll just wear a mask. >> reporter: in florida, some 4600 students and 1500 employees across the 15 largest school districts have tested positive for covid. and another 19,000 students and staff have been quarantined or isolated. defying governor ron desantis, school boards voted to mandate masks in three additional counties. miami-dade and palm beach and in hillsborough where quarantining students is becoming a new focus of outrage. some parents are arguing it should be up to them whether they keep their child home from school after covid exposure. the governor deggoes.
>> i think quarantining deprives them of an ability to get an education. now maybe a parent would want a healthy kid to be quarantined if there is an exposure, but that should be the choice of the parent. >> reporter: an approach that flies in the face of public health guidance. >> we have a horl ob moral oblio keep children staff. >> reporter: and in oregon, all teachers, staff and volunteers have to be fully vaccinated. governor kate brown saying that children need to be in the classroom five days a week and in order to do that, masks need to be worn and adults around th children need to be vaccinated. athena jones, cnn, new york. here in georgia, hundreds of doctors are asking for mask mandates in schools where many children aren't eligible for the vaccine. the state's larsecond largest
school system met and ryan young was at the meeting. >> reporter: a lot of passion behind this debate here, whether or not kids would wear a mask in school. cal be coubb county is one of te largest and you had passions on display as hundreds of parents showed up to let their voices be heard. and you can see some parents wearing masks, others not. and that is how they think the school system should be. parents said over and over they are concerned about their kids going to school with kids who don't have masks on. let's not forget they already had to remove several students from school just last week over 500 covid positive cases have been counted in the last week and a half in the cobb county schools. take a listen to parents from both sides. >> i'm not worried and i'm not surprised. this is the south where the worst vaccinated area in the
whole of the usa. but i feel like i've got to stand up for my children who cannot be vaccinated. they are 10 years old. >> my husband was in the hospital with covid. i get covid is real. vaccines don't work, these don't work and we need to listen to people. it is my body, my choice. i have choices. i live in a free country. >> reporter: passion from parents continues. not all the parents could even fit inside during the board meeting. the cobb county board of education didn't take up this subject, they did not change anything yet when it comes to the mask mandate. some parents say they have to see change and they want to see something happen to protect those kids. back to you. >> and cnn has learned the cobb county school district decided to keep its mask optional policy but saying in a statement after the meeting that masks are strongly encouraged. new zealand and parts of australia are tightening covid restrictions as the delta variant fuels a rise in cases around the world.
sydney is extending its lockdown through september, the state of new south wales reported nearly 650 new infections friday, but most in sydney. and the nationwide lockdown in new zealand will be extended until next week, the country's prime minister says its timeree. hong kong continuing to tighten its covid restrictions but actress nicole kidman has managed to avoid the mandatory quarantine. will ripley is in quarantine position in hong kong. so you can understand why kidman might want to avoid the quarantine restrictions. you've gone through it yourself. and i understand it is quite hectic. >> reporter:arrived at the hong airport last night as well as many others who had to try to get here before a change in the rules requiring people in certain countries including the one that i happen to be
vacationing in, i would have had to quarantine in this hotel room for three week. but because i cut my vacation short by two weeks and rebooked everything, i'm only in quarantine for 14 days. and it was a very long line, five hours at the airport, multiple covid tests between now and the time that i'm released. you can't leave the hotel room. you can't send your laundry out, so you have to wash your clothes in the shower. if you run out of clean ones. it is not the most pleasant experience for people who arrive in hong kong and for a lot of people it is just financially not viable because the hotel quarantine, whether it is two weeks or three weeks, is self paid. so people who can't afford do that, can't afford to leave the city to go visit their families. and that is certainly mentally trying for them. >> yeah, and so speak to the controversy around kidman and members of her crew being exempted from this. how did that come about? >> reporter: nicole kidman's
experience very different. she flew by private jet from sydney and is not staying in a quarantine hotel, is not self-isolating. in fact she's been spotted out and about around the city just a couple of days after she landed. she and four members of her team while they are apparently engaging only in essential work-related travel, they have been in areas of hong kong shooting their series about wealthy american expats who do live in a bubble and a series being criticized as tone deaf given the turmoil that people in hong kong have experienced both because of the pandemic and also because of the drastic changes in the city under beijing's national security law. and so to have hollywood star come in, not be subjected to the same quarantine rules, shooting a show that some are accusing of being tone definite owing, certdeaf, certainly a lot of outrage here. >> wishing you the best in quarantine there. will ripley, thanks so much. hurricane warnings are up
for parts of mexico's gulf coast as tropical storm grace takes aim at the country for a second time. tourists were forced to evacuate hotels near cancun after it hit the yucatan peninsula with heavy rain. it had weakened to a tropical storm but now it is over the water and strengthening with winds up to 70 plmiles per hour. it is expected to make landfall again friday or early saturday. and grace slammed into haiti just days after a devastating earthquake there. hospitals in the worst hit areas have been overwhelmed with far more patients than they can treat. aid has been slow to arrive partly because of the storm. the u.s. reportedly sending a warship, the uss arlington to help, but matt rivers reports that is far from enough. >> reporter: unfortunately one of the themes of our reporting
here has been this idea that it is not easy for the people who want to be giving out aid to the people who need it most to get to those places. a lot of places that were really affected by this earthquake are more remote parts of haiti, it is not easy to get to them, and we showed you one of those places recently, aish iffingviif fishingville lindsey graham, a lot of people needing help. and a little bit of good news, we were told by a coast guard official that at least one helicopter on the day thursday was able to make it there. they took out four patients, brought them back here to port-au-prince for medical treatment. we also know that they were able to drop off supplies, relatively limited number of supplies, but still anything helps at this point. they were able to send out a number of successful convoys to different parts of the country, that is also good news. we heard from the u.s. coast guard as well that they were able to go to a remote village
called annette here in haiti, they medevacked out 20 patients from that village. all of that is good news. but it is not enough. these are areas that need much more help than that. they need the kind of substantive resources, substantive supplies that will truly make a difference not only in the cleanup efforts but also in the recovery efforts and the treatment efforts of those people who were injured. and that is what we'll be looking for going into the weekend. how many more supplies, forces, troops can be mobilized not only by the haitian government but also from outside governments, charity groups, to continue to reach those places to make the kind of impact that is needed at this point. it is an open question, but something that we'll be following very closely. matt rivers, cnn, port-au-prince. we're learning american diplomats sent a cable warning to the united states of a potential catastrophe in afghanistan. we'll have the latest after a quick break.
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the u.s. is ramping inits efforts to get people out of afghanistan. the white house says 3,000 were evacuated from the kabul airport on thursday alone, that figure includes american citizens, vulnerable afghans and those applying for special immigrant visas. 14,000 people have been flown out of afghanistan since the end of july, 9,000 since saturday. u.s. military says it has been in constant communication with the taliban over airport security and president biden is scheduled to speak about the evacuation efforts in the coming
hours. cla vasrissa ward has been repog all week and she gave michael holmes this update. >> reporter: we're on the airfield where some of the lucky ones will soon be leaving afghanistan on one of these military carriers. they are very noisy, so my apologies if you can't hear me very well. but our journey took roughly 7 hours. the vast majority of people we've spoken to know, it has been one or two days to try to get in. and i have to tell you, that initial part to get in the first gate was unlike anything i've ever experienced. pushing, crushing, people screaming, we were all holding on to each other's hands desperately trying to get in a
small door. we were lucky because we were american citizens. but so many others are not. having said that, we have seen many afghans inside at various checkpoints moving through the very slow system that is here to try to advantage ate pet evacua. some standing out in the blazing hot sun for eight hours, screaming babies. at one stage we saw a newborn baby brought through on a military vehicle at high speed because the baby had dehydrated and had heat stroke. and one soldier told me that yesterday people were actually throwing babies at these u.s. soldiers because they were so desperate to get their children out to a better future. one of these men actually caught one of the babies and later found the family and returned the child to the family. but michael, if that doesn't speak to unimaginable
desperation, then i don't know what does. one of the soldiers here said that they have evacuated 13,000 people since last friday, the largest airlift evacuation in u.s. history according to him. but my god, there is still a lot of work to do, a lot more people to save. the crowds outside the airport do not get any smaller, they seem to get bigger if anything every day, michael. >> an extraordinary situation. just heartbreaking the people who won't be able to get out. if you had 30 seconds to wrap this up, what impressions as you leave? >> reporter: my impressions is that we're witnessing an astounding moment in history. there is a lot of pain. there is a lot desperation. there is a lot of heartache and rage and birthness and a lot of
people counting on america right now do the right thing by its allies and get these people out safely before it is too late. one group of american diplomats told the u.s. secretary of state weeks ago that catastrophe exactly what we're seeing now could happen in afghanistan. cnn's kylie atwood has the story. >> reporter: u.s. diplomats in cab bill wrote secretary of state antony blinken a memo in mid-july urging the state department to take more action to both process and evacuate those afghans who had worked alongside u.s. troops and u.s. diplomats particularly given what they were seeing unfolding on the ground. taliban gains happening and what they predicted to be an afghan government fall by the time they pulled out in august. they wanted to take action to mitigate against a scenario where there was a complete amount of chaos which is exactly what we are seeing unfold right
now. the deputy national security adviser said that this cable did predict that there would be the fall of the afghan government by the time of theist wit u.s. wit, but it didn't predict that it would happen as quickly as it did. and there were certain things that they suggested in the memo that the department actually implemented quickly there after. but i'm told there are parts of that weren't implemented quickly enough and that is frustrating to the diplomats watching it unfold right now. ned price, spokesperson, said that secretary of state antony blinken reviews all the sent memos. so these receipt technically he would have reviewed this one and he reviews all of the responses to these memos. and that they value the dissent memo channel. but the fact that there was even a dissent memo is noteworthy in and of itself. it demonstrates that these diplomats were so frustrated
that their voices weren't being heard that they had to make their voice heard to the secretary of state in the form of dissent. and we should also note that this comes as the president, president biden himself, has not taken any responsibility for how this all unfolded even when asked in that abc interview if there were problems in the process and planning leading up to the u.s. troop withdrawal, he basically said, no, this chaos was inevitable. these diplomats are saying however there was more that could be done to prevent against the situation we're seeing unfold right now. kylie atwood, cnn, the state department. the u.s. defense department says it is in direct communication with the taliban. admiral peter vassley is leading the effort to ensure securities at the airport. and meanwhile a former top trump security official spoke with cnn about the agreement governing america's withdrawal and she suggested the u.s. should have pulled out of the deal her own
administration negotiated. here she is. >> there were several people who thought the agreement should have been tougher, that we should have extracted more concessions from the taliban and not pulled the rug out from under the ghani government the way it was done. but unfortunately, those voices didn't carry the day in the end. but i also want to say this, the biden administration had an opportunity to withdraw from the agreement. they could have re-evaluated it, renegotiated it, taken a different path on afghanistan. but the biden administration chose to stick with it. nato has blamed the afghan leadership for the tragedy the country is experiencing today. and in a few hour, foreign ministers will meet to discuss the allegiances next steps. we'll have more ahead and china has been building an alliance with the taliban in recent months. we'll take a look at what we know about their relationship, next.
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an emergency meeting of nato foreign ministers is set to begin a few hours from now with the fate of afghan refugees at the top of the agenda. melissa bell is following this from paris. so the nato foreign ministers meeting virtually here. what is on the table, what options do they actually have here? >> reporter: well, we know that antony blinken spoke to the secretary-general of nato and the idea is to talk about what happens next in afghanistan and how best to deal both with repatriation efforts but also with long term stability and efforts to get the situation under control and peacefully so. but of course underpinning the meeting is going to be a great deal of frustration on the part of europeans about the manner in which the united states withdrew from afghanistan.
bear in mind that it was the first time back in 2001 that article 5 of nato was invoked and used to bring in all of these countries alongside the united states, that is the idea that when one nato member is under attack, it is an attack on all and therefore they act together. they went in together, the fact of the withdrawal should have been decided in the way that many europeans feel was unilateral on the part of the united states and has led to so much of the chaos that we've seen the last few days has led to a great deal of frustration that hasn't just gunbegun this t week, it goes back into the trump administration. you remember in 2019, emmanuel macron has described nato as brain dead after the unilateral withdraw from syria and ever since we've seen this debate in europe led really by the french president to say look, the world has changed and it doesn't really matter who is in the white house, what we need to do is organize to have our own strategic independence, be less dependent on the united states
after all our objectives and strategies may not align and it is time to think again about beefing up european security outside of nato with either own strategic objectives. and i think what we've seen the last few days has really added to that case. and you will hear from europeans around the table i think when they get there virtually ask the question of what really nato is for that the stage and what it can be counted on to do even now takes looks ahead to the specific question of what needs to happen in afghanistan and how. >> all right. thanks so much, melissa bell live from paris. and it is not just the u.s. and its allies who are concerned by the taliban's takeover of afghanistan. china is keeping a close eye on how events are unfolding on its far western border. david culver reports beijing is likely to take a very different approach from the west. >> reporter: just weeks before the taliban seized power in afghanistan, china made a very public display of growing closer to the group's leadership.
chinese foreign minister meeting a taliban delegation in northern china in july giving legitimacy and perhaps confidence to the militant group long regarded with fear and suspicion by the rest of the world. as many global powers now rush to escape afghanistan, china claims it remains one of the few to retain its embassy in the capital but china's support for the taliban comes with strings attached. china's help with reconstruction in exchange for the taliban assuring regional stability. >> translator: they will never allow any forces to use afghan territory to enter into china. >> reporter: a deal brokered between awkward allies, a militant group representing hard line islam and a chinese government accused of cultural again size against and mass containment of muslim minorities at home. but china's relationship with the taliban goes back a long way. >> it established relations in
1999 at the encouragement of pakistan which is one of china's closest allies. >> reporter: the relationship was seen to manage a potential threat. as china share as small border with afghanistan. and chooe china's multibillion-dollar investments are at stake. >> i think that they are wary to get involved militarily. and so at this stage i think trying to cultivate it into investments, it is the least worst option. >> reporter: the taliban for its part has not spoken out publicly against china's crackdown on its weaker muslim population. a silence replicated by many other muslim-majority countries such as iran and saudi arabia. the chinese government defends its policy and says that it is trying to stamp out terrorism. after several attacks which it blamed on a group called the e etim, a tiny fringe group that
began to evolve when its leader was killed. sean roberts, author of "the war on the uighurs." says it used the war on terror to justify its harsh policies targeting muslim minorities. >> i think it shielded china from a lot of criticism for some of the dra tonian policies it carried out against uighurs. >> reporter: but other groups who could use the plight of the weeker cause to recruit gentleman hadis gentleman hadi tries to navigate the new reality. coming up, we've all seen the patients of afghans climbing on planes and begging soldiers to choose them, but not every afghan who wants to go can leave. it all depends on which countries are willing to take them in. we'll have reaction to the refugee crisis, next.
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republican and democratic leaders say they are eager to welcome evacuees although will is fearmongering from some on the far right. here is brian todd. >> reporter: some afghan evacuees who have been granted the special immigrant visas or sivs arriving in the united states and some governors have stepped up to say they are welcome in their states. >> we have open arms here in wisconsin. >> reporter: governor evers is a democrat and nine republican governors say that they will also welcome the refugees. so far 2,000 have been relocated to the united states during the current crisis but could potentially bring in up to 30,000. some have landed near washington, others housed temporarily at ft. lee, virginia. pentagon officials say military bases in texas and wednesday which is may also house some. but long term -- >> for some they may have a family tie. for others they may want to go where other afghans have gone
before. so as a result, we see particular con send straegss in te texas, california, maryland and virginia and pennsylvania. >> reporter: but there is now pushback from some conservative political figures on the plan to bring afghan evacuees to america. stephen miller former top adviser to president trump went on fox news to say that resettling afghans is little more than a costly political move. >> those who are advocating masks, afghan resettlement in this country are doing so for political and not humanitarian reasons. it is extraordinarily expensive to resettle a refugee in the united states. they get free health care, they get free education, they get free housing, get free food. >> reporter: plus miller suggested without evidence that afghans who have been granted those visas could pose security threats. >> we know longer are in control of the central apparatus in afghanistan to be able to vet
anybody. >> reporter: advocates are pushing back hard on miller saying it is unconscionable for him to reject those who helped u.s. forces in afghanistan and in some cases saved american lives. >> there is no us and them, there is just an us. and stephen miller never worn a uniform a day in his life. >> reporter: and this man's group has helped resettle thousands of refugees and points out that in the past those like those from vietnam by and large made their american communities stronger. as for any possible security risks among these arriving afghans -- >> that couldn't be farther from the truth. these are individuals who went through a 14 part process in order to enter the u.s. it went through by metric checks, they went through cia and interpol databases, in-person enter sues. medical examinations. >> reporter: and the afghans are arriving with valuable skills.s. medical examinations. >> reporter: and the afghans are arriving with valuable skills.
they worked as people who are especially needed in the united states right now given the labor shortage caused by the pandemic. brian todd, cnn, washington. and if you are interested in helping afghan refugees or if you are a veteran troubled by events in afghanistan, we can connect you with organizations offering help by visiting cnn.com/impact. i'm kim brunhuber. thanks so much for watching "cnn newsroom." "early start" is next.
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it is friday, august 20th. happy friday, everybody. it is 5:00 a.m. in new york. thanks for getting an early start with us. i'm christine romans. >> and i'm laura jarrett. we have reports this morning from kabul, state department, doha, hong kong, capitol hill, and beijing as only "early start" can. but we begin with the u.s. struggling to speed up evacuations in afghanistan. the white house says about 3,000 people were airlifted from kabul thursday, nearly 350 of them were american citizens. the u.s. has said it should be able