tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN August 27, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
good evening. we begin tonight with a name. riley mc calla. the first of 13 names of 13 people that should never be forgotten. riley mccallum was a marine. he was just 20 years old. he was as old as the war he served and died in. his older sister tells us her brother wanted to be a marine his whole life. so much so even as a toddler, he walked around with a toy rifle in his diapers and cowboy boots. this was his first deployment. that he was sent to afghanistan when the evacuation began and had been manning the checkpoint when that suicide bomb was detonated yesterday. riley, she said, wanted to be a history teacher and a wrestling coach when he return today civilian life. he had a baby due in just three weeks. three weeks. she said he will be remembered by his family and friends and those who loved him, and there are many who loved him and knew
him. he will be remembered the way -- for the way he made those around him stronger and kinder, and able to love deeply. riley mccallum from wyoming in the eyes of the big sister who loved him so much. there are 12 other names, 12 other heroes whose stories are, sadly, yet to come. >> we still believe there are credible threats. in fact, i'd say, specific, credible threats. and we want to make sure we're prepared for those. >> specific, credible threats. that's pentagon spokesman john kirby preparing the public for possible new suicide attacks like yesterday's or other forms of attacks by isis-k fighters. it was a suicide bombing that killed 13 american service members, and at least 170 afghans outside kabul airport. today, in kabul, family members collected the remains of loved ones, many of whom died trying to get out of a country where they no longer felt safe. tonight, cnn's clarissa ward has
an exclusive interview with an isis-k commander which she did before she and her crew were evacuated. meantime, at the airport with thinner crowds outside, the airlift went on. another 12,500 people out. that includes about 300 americans with more still waiting to leave. >> there are approximately 500 american citizens we are currently working with who want to leave. that's the update from the state department. they may have more details given they have been overseeing the constant contact which we went and did another round of contacts via e-mail, text, whatsapp, phone, over the course of yesterday. >> she was also asked about the president -- >> would he be satisfied if they are captured and brought to trial? >> i think he made clear
yesterday that he does not want them to live on the earth anymore. >> ordinarily, such threats are conveyed using phrases such as brought to justice, and are rarely stated so plainly. then, there are the quieter words of condolence. we learned that planning is underway for calls to families of the 13 service members. riley mccallum's family among them, of course. white house official telling us they will come once next of kin notifications have taken place. we have a number of reports starting with cnn's alex marquardt at the pentagon. alex, the pentagon bracing for a likely second attack. what do we know about security measures to try to stop that from happening? >> yeah, anderson. the pentagon has said they are monitoring these very real threats in real-time. um, obviously, the focus is around the airport. one of the things that they had already been doing in the lead-up to the attack yesterday as we knew this threat stream was coming in was to secure the perimeter. make it much stronger. that, obviously, is continuing. but anderson, one of the major
things that they are doing is coordinating with the taliban. the taliban is, obviously, the most powerful force there on the ground outside the airport. um, the u.s. has asked the taliban to extend the perimeter farther away from the airport. they have asked them to shut down some of the roads to prevent things like -- they're called vb ieds, so vehicle-born ieds from getting closer to the airport to prevent those suicide bombers from preventing -- from getting closer to the airport. we know there's been some level of information sharing between the u.s. and the taliban about potential threats. of course, the -- this level of coordination is absolutely extraordinary. relying on an enemy for this kind of security. and of course, coming at the most dangerous time in this operation. we know that people, first, go through a level of taliban screening. but then, they are screened by the americans. um -- and the pentagon said, very clearly, that this is an intimate experience, if you
will. they are right up close to these people with their breath -- um -- feeling their breath. so that's as close as -- as they have to get. so the danger is still very real for these u.s. troops, anderson. >> we also heard white house press secretary jen psaki say about those responsible for yesterday's attack that president biden, quote, doesn't want them to live on earth anymore. um, i mean, is there an actual hunt to find them at this stage? do we know? because the president also previously had said that it will at a date and time of the u.s.'s choosing. >> yeah, and there is obviously a demand by the american people to go after these attackers from isis-k. the president named the group. he said that we will find you, we will hunt you down. we will not forgive. we will not forget. he did suggest, anderson, that they do have some information about who may be responsible, specifically. but there is no doubt that this a major test of what the military calls over-the-horizon capability. a test of whether and how the u.s. will be able to carry out strikes against terrorists when the u.s. forces are no longer
there. the pentagon would tell you now that they are fully able to, and plan to keep carrying out strikes against terrorists that for now at least they do have thousands troops on the ground. they do have apache helicopters. they have got other forces in the region. but of course, the capabilities have been diminished with these troops pulling out. with intelligence assets and officials pulling out. so this is going to be a major test while the u.s. is still, technically, in the country. of that over-the-horizon capability this targeting of those isis-k fighters in response to that suicide bombing yesterday. and the -- the white house is certainly feeling the political pressure to go after this group in response to this -- this horrible killing of 13 u.s. service members yesterday. >> and what do we know about how this is now -- the security situation is affecting the evacuation operation? >> well, those evacuations, as you did note, are still ongoing. we know that over the course of 12 hours today, that's kind of how they look at it, in these increments of 12 and then 24 hours. there were evacuations of -- of
4,200 people. um, that is down from the peak of around 20,000 people over 24 hours. but it is still well within the range that the pentagon was aiming for of around 5 to 9,000 every 24 hours. so, the -- the evacuations still are happening. in fact, they're -- the -- the numbers are -- are substantial and impressive. so far, we understand that 109,200 people have been pulled out in less than two weeks. so, this is -- this is a monumental task and -- and a very impressive logistical operation under the most difficult of circumstances. >> yeah. and it's extraordinary that even on the same day that there was this horrific suicide bombing. and the -- the death of 13 u.s. service members, more than 150 afghans, that the evacuations still continue. it shows the professionalism of -- of the forces on the ground there. alex, appreciate the reporting. want to go, next, to cnn's chief international correspondent, clarissa ward, in doha, qatar. clarissa, the white house said
today another terror attack in kabul is likely. i know you have got some sc exclusive reporting coming up tonight on isis-k. knowing what you know, how likely do you think it is that they will attempt more during this evacuation? >> reporter: well, it's not just the u.s. who is saying it, anderson. there are several western allied intelligence agencies, all, warning of the same thing. that now is the time for increased attacks because at this moment in the evacuation, the u.s. is essentially at its most vulnerable. this is the moment -- um -- where you are sort of finishing the evacuations of personnel. and you are beginning the sort of picking up of your own equipment and departing. and that leaves you very vulnerable to attacks. you heard alex describe there about how the taliban had been pushed back. setting up that perimeter further away. you know, when we went to the airport just a week ago, anderson, you could just get by
the taliban by waving your documents and saying we have authorization to get through to the next checkpoint which was manned by u.s. servicemen. and even for afghans, it -- there was not always a clear patdown. there was not a clear search for weapons. so clearly, a lot of things needed to change in order to improve the situation. but as i said before, u.s. forces and afghans who are trying to get to the airport, still very vulnerable. and from what we heard in our conversations with an isis-k commander from before this attack and, indeed, before kabul fell to the taliban. more broadly speaking, the country is still very vulnerable to attacks from this vicious terror group, anderson. >> also, obviously, there as much as possible have been changes in response to the attack, i assume. we don't know much exactly about that and -- and there's a reason for that. they obviously don't want a lot
of details out about any security changes they have made at the airport to their procedures. but at a certain point, it does come down to american personnel or afghan -- former afghan special forces personnel having to search people before they can get into -- into the perimeter. >> and -- and exactly, anderson. and as alex said, you know, we heard from cent-com yesterday. if you are going to do a proper search, you have to be close enough that you can feel the person's breath on your face. so there is very little way to mitigate this risk and this threat. and the reality is that, on the ground, ultimately this is really becoming the responsibility of the taliban. and this is a moment for the taliban to show can they thwart these kinds of attacks? can they stand up against the threat of isis-k? because even beyond the immediate threat to u.s. servicemen and innocent afghans,
there is the broader question going forward, anderson, of the whole premise of this withdrawal was predicated on the idea that the taliban could assure that afghanistan would never, again, become a safe haven for terrorists. and can the u.s. continue to take the taliban at its word on there -- this front? is the taliban able to successfully quash groups like isis-k, especially when the u.s. has left and doesn't have, as alex mentioned, eyes and ears on the ground to have a better sense of what these groups are doing. and some of their bases, as we know, anderson, are in very rural and remote areas. it's simply not possible, many fear, for the taliban to be across all these threats. >> also, as you know better than anybody, the idea that the taliban are going to be able to, you know, man checkpoints and, you know, operate in a manner which trained forces usually do. i mean, these are -- these are
thugs. these are, you know -- many of them have very little education at -- at all. they are used to just -- you know, they're -- they're fighters. they have been killing people for -- for years. bullying people. you know, doing horrific things all throughout afghanistan with impunity. the idea that they are going to be able to kind of, in an efficient manner, man checkpoints seems kind of just difficult to believe. >> i mean and that's the real fear here. up until a few weeks ago, the taliban was best known as being a vicious insurgency. a guerrilla warfare group and now they are in charge of governing an enormous country with a huge variety of complex threats that face it. and the reality is as they concentrate on one area, such as, you know, keeping the electricity going.
maintaining law and order on the streets of kabul. making sure that the ministries are operating. are they really having time, also, to focus on these kinds of militant jihadist groups, like isis-k, like al qaeda that some worry could pose maybe not in the near-term future but in five years or further along, a more broader global threat. and the answer to that is we just don't know. it is worth mentioning, though, anderson, because some people get confused about this that isis-k sees its primary enemy right now as being taliban forces, themselves. they believe the taliban is not implementing sharia law in the way it should. that it has become too pragmatic, too diplomatic in its approach, particularly towards international communities. and they want to see a much stricter and more brutal, if you can imagine that, interpretation of the islamic law introduced. so the taliban is going to have
to be putting out multiple fires. and as of yet, unclear if they have the wherewithal to do that, anderson. >> yeah. clarissa, we will see you a little late or nnt proin the pr for more of that exclusive interview. >> right now, we are joined by richard clark. he is currently chairman of the middle east institute. richard, thanks for being with us. if -- if intelligence suggests that another terrorist attack is, quote, likely what does one do? i mean, what tools do you have in a situation like this to keep afghans from dying? to keep u.s. service members from -- from dying? >> well, not enough. i -- i think it's pretty clear that the u.s. and its allies have some sort of intelligence stream coming from isis. they are somehow tapping into isis. they know what they're planning. they know what they're talking about. but that doesn't mean you can prevent it. you don't know what is going to
happen, you don't know when, you don't know how which is very frustrating. if you know who, you can try to track them down. now, the u.s. can't track them down very readily. but the taliban might be able to. and the bizarre thing, anderson, about the way the u.s. has chosen to leave afghanistan is that we have become dependent on the taliban. dependent on them to allow people into the airport. dependent on them, now, to help with our own security. and when that last plane takes off, when there are no u.s. troops on the ground, we are going to be dependent on the taliban to maintain security at the airport. >> with only a few days left before the u.s. withdrawals from afghanistan, i mean, what -- what concerns you most at -- at this point among the, you know, huge platter of things that could possibly go wrong? >> well, just talking about bombs at the airport. n
now, people wearing suicide vests. but what if they -- what if the isis people have mortars? what if they can stand off a ways from the airport and drop mortars onto the runway as our planes are trying to take off? that's a horrific scene but you can imagine it. so, we are very much dependent on the taliban to find these people. taliban want to, of course. but i still consider it rather bizarre that the way in which the biden administration has done this has meant that the united states is dependent on the taliban for our own security. for our own ability to extract our people. >> and not only dependent. it -- in some cases, it seems, giving information to the taliban such as, you know, we're concerned or we have information about, you know, a -- a -- a vehicle-born explosive device perhaps. so, you know, look at cars more. i mean, it -- it's -- it is just strange bedfellows, to say the
least. >> yeah. well, we were enemies last week and this week we are sharing intelligence. and we're giving them lists of americans who need to come through their checkpoints. it's -- it's -- it's very, very odd. but it could lead to a better outcome. it could lead to a situation where the taliban moderate their behavior. and the united states, in turn -- this is after we leave -- the united states and our allies, in turn, provide them access to afghanistan's money. provide them access to some of the technology they need to run the country. the country is in very bad economic shape, and will collapse economically unless we cooperate with the taliban. and bill burns, the cia director, said that to the taliban military leader. i think we both know we need them, and they need us. it's become a very strange k co-dependency. >> the taliban, though, it does not seem from everything i've
read and talked to people about it. it doesn't seem that it's just this monolithic organization. that there are, like with any organization, there are competing factions, different mafia bosses, you know, different ideological, you know, viewpoints or perspectives. >> that's true. but there -- there is a ruling -- which is probably monolithic. there is also pakistan. pakistan is behind the taliban to a very great degree. the taliban rely on pakistan. and we need to be putting pressure on pakistan and i'm sure we are to moderate the taliban's behavior, and to get taliban cooperation. right now, the taliban want to become part of the community of nations. they have said that. well, there is certain preconditions. even after the evacuation is over, they have to let people out. whether that's in buses over the pakistan border or up to uzbekistan. or whether the turkish military
come in which is a possibility and manage the airport on the behalf of the taliban. and then, we can continue to get people out. our precondition for any cooperation going forward has to be that people are allowed to continue to leave, even after the airlift. >> richard clark, i really appreciate you being with us tonight. thank you. >> thank you. coming up next. the latest on what the president's advisers are telling him as the brace for these -- as they brace for these dangerous final days. we are joined, as well, by republican lawmaker who saw action in afghanistan. and later, we go back to clarissa ward for her exclusive interview with an isis-k commander as this live two-hour edition of "360" continues.
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security team that another attack in kabul is, quote, likely. cnn's kaitlan collins is at the white house for us tonight. so, kaitlan, the -- the team apparently warned the president that another attack is likely. what more do you know about the situation room briefings? >> well, basically, their argument, anderson, is that these next few days of this evacuation mission even though there is only four days left could be the most dangerous of the entire time these troops have been on the ground in kabul trying to get these americans and these green card holders and legal-permanent residents and afghan allies out of there. and that's because of the nature of what's expected to happen over the next few days. where you are seeing fewer u.s. troops there. they are going to be taking their resources and their weaponry with them, when they go. and so, of course, a smaller presence according to the white house translates into a higher risk. and especially, given what happened yesterday, that is of high concern here at the white house. and so, this was a meeting that president biden had with his national security team this morning. he's had one every single day this week and we are told they are expected to continue throughout the weekend. but they are saying, yes, we do
expect another one of these is likely. and, anderson, we should note these were kind of similar warnings that we were hearing from officials before the attack happened this week. >> we are -- we're just starting to learn more about some of the 13 service members who were killed in this suicide attack. riley mccallum is the first name we have from his -- his family. he is 20 years old. has a baby due just three weeks from now. just devastating. do you have any updates on whether or not the president has made calls to some family members of -- of those? i know there was talk of -- of making sure everybody had been notified, first, obviously. >> yeah. it's a pretty delicate situation. and so, the white house says he does intend to get in touch with them. he hasn't called anyone, yet, as of what a senior official told me just a few moments ago, anderson. but i think a lot of that has to do with the next of kin notification process.
riley's father did earlier today telling "the new york times" it's the worst day of their life. finding out this news. and so, jen psaki was saying they are not always ready for a call from the president immediately. so, they do plan to facilitate those calls. of course, they may not happen immediately. we should expect some of them to happen throughout the weekend. and then, the next question is what happens with the dignified transfers at dover air force base? does the president go to those? of course, because this is the first time that troops have been killed since president biden took office, it is obviously a situation that is very close to him given he often pulls out that little card that he carries around in his pocket that notes the number of forces that have been killed. and of course, now there are, un unfortunately, more added to that list. >> kaitlan collins, thank you very much. joining us now, a republican lawmaker, illinois congressman adam kinzinger is, however, sharply critical on this episode, as well as the decisions leading up to it in the past administration. and as a veteran of the war, current national guard member,
he speaks from experience. quoting now from his piece today in foreign policy magazine, quote, the taliban cannot be trusted. not before, not now, not ever. it's shameful that our past president donald trump negotiated a deal with the terrorist organization. it's appalling that our current president, joe biden, underestimated the impact of his withdrawal announcement and the chaos that would ensue. the lack of strength being shown by our commander in chief is embarrassing. congressman kinzinger, thanks for being with us but before we get to the foreign policy what -- what you wrote. i just want to talk to you about this fallen u.s. marine we are learning about tonight. it's really the first person who -- whose name we know. his family spoke to -- to cnn. riley -- riley mccallum is his name. his wife has a baby due in just three weeks. wanted to be a marine his whole life. so much so that he carried around a toy rifle in his diaper and cowboy boots. this was his first deployment. when you -- you know, when you see it in black and white who this person was and the
devastation that, you know, his family will feel for the rest of their lives. it's just -- it's just another -- it's just horrific. >> it is. it's obviously incredibly sad and as we get the rest of the names, it's, you know, going to be repeated over and over and our sorrow will pail into comparison to the family's. you know, it is a reminder. i had heard somebody earlier mention, you know, while it's extremely tragic that these 13 people were killed. you know, what were they killed doing? they were killed saving lives. saving american lives. saving green card holders' lives. saving the lives of people that, you know, worked with us in afghanistan. and so, while of course we certainly wish this was far different, i think it's important to note that this was something that, you know, people often say is that death in vain. it's a death we certainly wish didn't happen but i think you can look at what we were accomplishing and say there are many lives that are going to be touched and generations because of this. >> also, i do think it's
important to point out, as well, that they were standing there exposed. knowing that there was a likely attack. i mean, knowing that there was very specific intelligence. in fact, the u.s. had warned for americans to get away from that area cause it was not safe. and yet, they were standing there. if the images from days past are any indication, shoulder to shoulder with their fellow marines and others. um, knowing what, you know, any second could happen in that crowd. um, the -- the white house is saying that president biden has been warned another attack is likely as the mission enters its most dangerous period. how concerned are you about that? and is there anything you think that can be done that may not be being done? >> i don't know if there's anything that we can do that we're not. um, kind of looking at where we are in this moment. um, you know, unfortunately, having to rely on the taliban, there's a series of bad choices that led us to this moment. but i -- it is a very real
threat. i -- i've heard from people on the ground there, as well as, of course, what's being reported in open source. and this is very reminiscent of what we were hearing a day or two prior. now, hopefully, with the -- with the knowledge of this, with a perimeter that's been extended a little more. you know, and with knowing how it happened last time we may be better prepared. but this is certainly probably as you have been saying here, one of the more dangerous moments probably in the entire afghanistan war in the next few days. >> um, after this attack, some people in your party have called for president biden to be paefrpa impeached or resign. most of those people never spoke up when president trump made the deal that president biden has been following through on. um but i do want to ask you something you said earlier today on cnn that some people on his national security team should resign. if they don't resign, should president biden fire them in your mind? >> yeah. i mean, look, i think there needs to be accountability and i think, frankly, president biden
needs to take better ownership of this. you know, people have used the -- the kennedy bay of pigs analogy. where he took full responsibility and actually his poll numbers recovered because that's what americans want. they want leaders who take responsibility. so a firing or removal or a resignation of a national security leader team should not be a -- a kind of a scapegoat. ultimately, president biden owns this but we need to know what happens and as far as my party's knee-jerk reaction, look, this is tragic. i agree that there was a ton of things done wrong. calling for the impeachment of a president is not in line with what the constitution prescribes. and secondarily, let's give it at least a potato or two, you know, before we start focusing on that only. i have been very krcritical of president biden in this moment because my hope is, through that criticism, we would be able to change kind of how we were doing things. i have been very critical of the prior president but this country really needs to get back to where we see ourselves as americans, before, you know,
party members. and unfortunately, i think that is flipped around at this moept. >> yeah. you are consistent in -- in your criticism and your praise which speaks to your favor. i do want to read something from your op-ed for foreign policy. you said we have the strength, power, and fortitude to stand up for freedom and we must take that stand now by pushing back on the arbitrary deadline set for withdrawal. and our afghan allies in danger. anything less is unacceptable and un-american. what would you do differently, at this point? i spoke to, you know, chairman -- former-chairman mike rogers yesterday who talked about expanding the perimeter. to me -- and i am certainly no expert -- but that only seems to -- i'm not sure what that actually does on a tactical level. it seems to just expo -- first of all, you would need more american troops there. you would expose them to just a greater number of people over a greater mass of area. what -- what do you think should
be done? >> yeah. i mean, look, you are exactly right in that all you are doing is basically pushing out the potential where -- where people gather. look. i mean, if i could go back, you know, two weeks, i would have basically secured the city of kabul. and told the taliban not to come in. they weren't going to come in until the government collapsed, until we had everybody out. but given where we are now and given that there is already a wind down detonation of american equipment, we are running out of options but i think the bottom line is as -- as botched as this has been, the one way we can redeem a really bad situation -- not redeem it. but i guess, try to -- try to do something good is to say every american that needs to get out can get out. and every afghanistan siv. look. i may be wrong here. but the indications we're getting on the ground have been very different than what the administration is briefing. they keep talking about we're still letting afghan sivs in. what we're hearing from people on the ground is that afghan sivs are being kicked out of the airport and they actually are
planes sometimes with open seats. so, look. we'll be able to -- to figure out what's going on in a few weeks when we have hearings and stuff. but i certainly hope i am wrong and that they are still allowing these folks in the airport to leave as long as we have time to do that. >> yeah. congressman kinzinger, i appreciate your time. thank you. >> any time. up next, from cnn's clarissa ward, her exclusive interview w with an isis-k commander.
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we heard from cnn's clarissa ward earlier with the latest on the situation in afghanistan. before she left kabul, she had an exclusive interview with an isis-k commander. this was before the city fell to the taliban. it is an off chute of isis which follow a few days ago, most americans had never heard about. here is clarissa's report. >> reporter: two weeks before the attack, just days before kabul fell to the taliban, we were in touch with a senior isis-k commander who said the group was lying low, and waiting for its moment to strike. words that turned out to be eerily prophetic. >> so this commander has said that he will do an interview with us at a hotel here in kabul. and he says it's no problem for him to get through checkpoints and come right into the capital.
>> reporter: to prove his point, he let us film his arrival into the city. abdul manir, as he asks to be called, is an isis-k commander from kunar, the heart of the terrorist group's operations. he agreed to talk on the condition that we disguise his identity. in a kabul hotel, he told us he's had to up 600 men under his command. among them, indians, pakistanis, and central asians. like many of his foot soldiers, he used to fight with the taliban. but says they have fallen under the influence of foreign powers. >> translator: we were operating in taliban's ranks, however, these people were not aligned with us in terms of belief. so we went to isis. >> do you think they're not strict enough with their implementation of sharia? >> translator: you see, one example where they have enforced fixed islamic law punishments, where they have cut off a
thief's hand, have stoned to death a murderer. they cannot enforce punishments because they are under other people's control and they implement their plans so we do not want to implement someone else's plans. if anyone gets along with us on this, he is our brother. otherwise, we declare war with them whether he is talib or anyone else. >> so have you carried out public executions, suicide bombings, things of this nature? >> translator: yes, i have too many memories where i was present, myself, at these scenes. one memory is that the pakistan in taliban had come to the district and during the fighting, we captured five people. our fighters became overexcited and we struck them with axes. >> reporter: it's that chilling brutality that made isis-k a primary target for u.s. forces. in recent years, air strikes and special forces operations have ruthlessly targeted the group in kunar and nangahar. >> has your group engaged in any fighting with u.s. special forces? >> translator: yes, we have
faced them on many occasions. we had close combat with them, too. in kunar, they carried out air strikes. we have faced them a lot in firefights. >> are you interested, ultimately, in carrying out international attacks? >> translator: this point is higher than my level. i can only give you information about afghanistan. >> reporter: with u.s. forces out of the country and the taliban potentially in control, do you think that will make it easier for you to expand? >> translator: yes, this exists in our plan. instead of currently operating, we have turned to recruiting only to utilize the opportunity and to do our recruitment. but when the foreigners and people of the world leave afghanistan, we can restart our operations. >> reporter: that moment has now come as the world saw all too clearly on thursday. a brutal attack on an already-battered country. and a threat that is not going away as u.s. forces complete their withdrawal. >> clarissa, i mean, considering
his main issue with the taliban seems to be they're not strict enough in what they call their interpretation of sharia law. why did a commander of isis-k agree to sit down and speak with a woman? >> well, i think first of all, anderson, it's important for our viewers to understand that there is always a lot of hypocrisy with these jihadist groups. i have experienced it many times before. what they say and what they do are very different. the irony here is that this commander's group, this isis-k branch, actually released a propaganda video today in which it was specifically chastising the taliban for doing interviews with women and for having conversations with women. and yet, as you saw, he was willing to meet with me privately in a room. there were very few of us in that room. i was not completely covered because it was a secure location in kabul, and this was before the fall of the city. i think it's fair to say that he agreed to meet with us because
he had a very specific message that he wanted delivered. at the time, i don't think we quite understood the gravity of that message and the seriousness of it. but given what we now know about how closely u.s. intelligence has been tracking that threat, it's clear that the isis-k danger is very real. and we saw that yesterday in -- in such an ugly and brutal fashion. and the fear now becomes are we going to see more of it? terror analysts say, anderson, you know, he wouldn't be drawn on the subject of transnational attacks. they say, you know, we are five years away from potentially having to worry about a group like isis-k carrying out some kind of an international attack. but the threat for the people in afghanistan remains. and the question of whether the taliban can counter these groups, or whether afghanistan becomes a safe haven for terrorists, again. these are all very pressing questions that are now rising, again, to the fore, anderson. >> has -- has isis-k really been
able to hold territory at -- at any point so far? >> reporter: i mean, we know that they have a base in the valley in kunar province. kunar and nangahar are their kind of strongholds but up until now, they basically have been lying pretty low and their focus is less on holding territory and governing. and it's more on staging these incredibly bloody, gruesome attacks that send a very strong message that frighten people. and now, their primary focus, anderson, is on undermining the taliban at every single chance they have. they know that the taliban's main calling card or its main source of popularity with certain swaths of the population is the fact that it can provide some degree of law and order where we haven't really seen that in a coherent way over the past couple of decades. so what they want to do now is
show that the taliban can't provide law and order and we can continue to create chaotic situations with these flashy, hideous attacks in cities like kabul. we have seen them in cities like jalalabad. and no sense now, anderson, that they are going away anytime soon. >> yeah. clarissa ward, thanks so much. as we reported earlier, we now know the name of one of the u.s. servicemen killed in the suicide bombing thursday. riley mccallum. this video taken from near the spot of that attack just a few days earlier. ahead, we are going to talk to the reporter for pbs who shot the video about what that scene was like several days before the attack and how difficult it was for the u.s. service members there. and later, an update on hurricane ida expected to be a dangerous category 4 storm when it gets to the gulf coast. trading isn't just a hobby. it's your future. so you don't lose sight of the big picture, even when you're focused on what's happening right now. and thinkorswim trading™ is right there with you. to help you become a smarter investor.
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occurred. it was taken before the blast to show you the kind of mission that mccollum and other u.s. service members are engaged on, the difficulty of it, the closed quarters. this comes from pbs news correspondent jane ferguson who recorded it in the days before the attack. she says it is the entrance point to abbey gate and she says taliban are in the front trying to sort through the crowd. u.s. also has troops there totally exposed obviously, risking their lives for this mission. very little separating them and afghans from potential terrorists. our correspondent who shot that footage joins us tonight. also with us is a former assistant secretary of state for political military affairs. jane, i appreciate you being with us. the video you took, it is so important to see this. it really gives you a sense of
just the close quarters, the sheer number of people, and the lack of any real safety for u.s. troops there. can you just explain? i mean, was there actual screening being done by the taliban? because i can't imagine that folks who are walking around with, you know, pieces of pipe to beat people with are necessarily great at screening people. >> anderson, it wasn't really a screening or any kind of security screening by the taliban. what we really were watching was crowd control, and a deeply crass, violent kind of crowd control where they were beating people with sticks. they were firing guns in the air very often whenever the crowds would get too intense and too pannished and push towards them. but in all my years i have never seen anything like it. u.s. forces just standing essentially in the street surrounded by civilians and of course with the taliban just down the street supposedly controlling the flow of those civilians.
they were hugely exposed. it is worth pointing out that it would have been impossible to screen these people. this was a mass crush of panicked civilians. i mean, at this point people were just trying to keep them alive. it was incredibly hot. it is august in afghanistan and you saw people fainting every day. seven people last weekend died in the crushes, who were basically crushed to death or crushed under foot by panicked crowds. at this point it is a case of worrying about the safety of the crowds themselves of the women and children especially in there. so the soldiers were absolutely at the forefront face to face with people who were extremely stressed and traumatized and desperate to get into the airport. i also interviewed the chaplain for the 82nd airborne who was there. she said she had never ever been as busy and overworked on an assignment. she was getting three hours of
sleep a night because so many people needed to talk to her. it wasn't just physically dangerous. it was emotionally deeply grueling for those soldiers. >> in watching that video and u.s. marines and troopers from the 82nd airborne and others shoulder to shoulder trying to figure out who's who and trying to get through. is there a better way to do that? or is that what it takes? >> no, listen, you've been in baghdad. you've been in war zones before, anderson. you know how the checkpoints are set up. these had to be set up differently. rather than having two or three men at the outer perimeter because of the crowd control responsibilities, you saw a lot of marines on the ground that frankly were there for no other reason than crowd control. the taliban let those huge number of people through. unfortunately the people were rushing through and pressing
towards the gate. because we told everybody when we're leaving so they know they only have a few days left to get through those barriers. and because we had so many people out there doing both security and crowd control, that is what led to the target being so dreadfully high in terms of how many troopers we lost. i hate to say it the wrong way, but we'd normally lose two or three during one of these ied attacks, but that's not when you're doing crowd control as well as security. >> and what is -- the pentagon now says that they're taking maximum force protection measures. obviously there's stuff that probably shouldn't be said publicly and use your judgment on that, general. but i mean, what more can they do at this stage? >> well, the most important thing to do is they need to push the perimeter out so they have as few people exposed as possible. you're right. there's other tactics and procedures we don't want to be
talking about, but what you want to do is have the minimum number of people at the explosion site if there's an ied going to come. but i'd also remind your viewers that this is what our soldiers and marines have been doing for 20 years. >> yeah. >> they've been in a target rich environment for terrorists for decades. and this is what our soldiers are exposed to almost every day they've operated in iraq and afghanistan. >> it's one of things i think it's such an important point and we said this earlier but it bears repeating, those who died that day, yesterday, they knew that there was a very real threat. in fact, americans had been warned to leave the area, and yet, i mean, it just shows the -- you know, the dedication that they have and the, you know, the sense of mission that they were still there exposed knowing full well there's a very likely chance of there being an
attack and that there were still people trying to get out and they were going to continue the mission. >> absolutely. you have to remember that these soldiers weren't just trying to find and save their countrymen and women from afghanistan and get american citizens out, but it was also very deeply important to many soldiers and veterans' groups that their partners on the battlefield were brought in, that promises were kept, the special immigrant visas essentially that were promised to interpreters and those who worked with the u.s. military, that, you know, people waited years for those. and suddenly an announcement that america is evacuating people but will be gone in days led to so many people who were somewhere along the way in that process. whether they had the visa or some sort of paperwork. they had an acknowledgement of the application, but, it was, quote, in process. for the american soldiers there they understand that they don't want to leave behind those who
really did risk their lives and will continue to take even more risk in their life if they have to live under the taliban. so i spoke with a veteran today who had done several tours in afghanistan. and many veterans of course in the wake of afghanistan struggle with the idea of, what was it worth, what did we achieve? but he said, you know, part of the sort of way to cope with that for many veterans has been to make sure they don't leave these people behind, that they bring their battlefield partners with them. so for every young soldier standing at the gate they're aware they could be surrounded by people who have made sacrifices for the united states and they do want to bring them across and put them on flights. >> jean, general, i appreciate your time. thank you so much. now to another emerging threat in the united states. hurricane ida headed toward the u.s. gulf coast, where mandatory as well as voluntary evacuations along the gulf are in effect. a spokesman for the national
weather service said this will be a life-changing storm for many people. for more than the trajectory and impact let's go to meteorologist allison chinchar. where's the storm now and where's it headed? >> it's made its second landfall over cuba just recently. still kind of crossing over the island as we speak. sustained winds over 80 miles per hour, gusting up to 100 miles per hour. now, we have hurricane warnings and even tropical storm warnings in effect along the gulf coast here in anticipation of this storm in the coming days. here's a look at the track. we anticipate that this is going to strengthen even further really once it gets over the very warm waters of the gulf of mexico. it's expected to get not only major hurricane status but category 4 hurricane strength. it's expected to make landfall as a category 4 storm sometime sunday afternoon in louisiana. from there it'll continue to push farther inland and that's where we'll start to see heavy rainfall.
here along the coast the biggest concern is going to be the storm surge, the pink color, there 10 to 15 feet, the purple color, 7 to 11 feet on the eastern side, very gusty winds. even far inland jackson, mississippi, likely looking at 60 mile per hour gusts, obviously higher along the coast itself. but that's why power outages are really going to be concern. and even the yellow still look at some pretty decent amounts of power outages expected as well as some trees down. rainfall, however, that's going to be the biggest widespread concern just because of how far that reach of impacts will be. heaviest rain will be closer to the coast where 6 to 10 inches are not out of the question and even areas of kentucky or even southern ohio, anderson, likely to pick up several inches of rain. >> and sunday is the anniversary of hurricane katrina. it made landfall 16 years ago this sunday.
do we know how similar the path this storm may take is to what happened with katrina? >> right, there's some similarities but there's also a few things that really separate these two storms. for starters, katrina started well out over the open atlantic. just to the east of florida. ida really coming up from the gulf of mexico. both are anticipated to hit louisiana, but katrina was a category 3 at landfall sustained winds about 125 miles per hour. ida is expected to make landfall as a category 4, winds in excess of 140 miles per hour possibly. so with ida the winds are expected to be much stronger. but the real question for so many people who lived through katrina is the flooding. that's what a lot of people want to know. and the one thing we'll have to keep a close eye on, anderson, specifically is the forward speed. the slower this storm is at landfall the more likely it is to produce tremendous amounts of rainfall because it can sit over that area for much longer periods of time.