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tv   KPIX 5 News at Noon  CBS  August 26, 2021 12:00pm-12:30pm PDT

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breaking news and streaming on cbsn bay area, american forces are among the casualties in multiple explosions in afghanistan. new details is coming in. we are expecting an update from the pentagon any minute now let's go to cbs news right now with the latest on afghanistan. >> reporter: this is a cbs news special report. terror is gripping afghanistan now has a number of u.s. service members have been killed. let's go live to the pentagon for the very latest.
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>> over to you, sir. >> john, thanks for it is a hard day today. as you know, two suicide bombers assessed to isis fighters detonated in the center of the navigate and there international airport the attack was followed by a number of isis gunmen who opened fire on civilians and forces. at this time, we know that 12 ra u.s. serviclie membermis have b killed in the attack and 50 more service members have been injured. and never a number of afghan civilians were killed in the attack. many others have been taken out of hospitals in town. we are still working to calculate the total losses. we just don't know what that is right now. the law flees heavy only on us all and we will talk more about
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that. let me be clear, while we are saddened by the loss of life both u.s. and afghan we are continuing to execute the mission and our mission is to evacuate u.s. citizens, third country nationals, special immigrant visa holders, u.s. embassy staff and afghans at risk. is by this attack, we are continuing the mission. the evaluation and as of today we have approximately 5000 evacuees awaiting the left we've evacuated more than 104,000 civilians. over 66,000 by the united states and over 37,000 by our allies and partners and that includes bringing out about 5000 americans. as the secretary of state of sagacity, we believe there are about 1000, probably a little more than 1000 american citizens left in afghanistan at
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this point. we are doing everything we can in concert with the department state partners to reach out to them and to help them leave if they want to leave and remember, not everybody wants to leave. yesterday, we brought in over 500 american citizens. it would be difficult to overestimate the number of unusual challenges and competing competing demands better forces on the ground have based. that that to ouweve seen today. the professional way that our forces have overcome the challenges and to deliver the results that we talked about in my opening remarks to the number of people we have been able to extract from afghanistan. it also be remiss of me not to mention the tremendous contributions of our coalition partners and they stood with us on the ground and also the international partners who supported the evacuation and many soldiers, sailors marine and coast guardsmen who supported the downrange.
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moreover, this evacuation could simply not have been done without the amazing flex ability of the transportation command and the airlift provided by the u.s. air force. no other military in the world has anything like it. i would also like to think the host nations that generously provided access to the facilities for processing, the care and the feeding of our evacuees. i also need to acknowledge the temporary suffering that some of our evacuees have had to endure. please know that we continue to execute our number one mission, which is to get as many american citizens and other evacuees as possible out of afghanistan. we also continue to expand the capacity at our intermediate facilities to ensure a safe, sanitary and humane conditions for our evacuees while continuing to look for ultimate ways to expedite their processing and ultimate transfer to the united states or other destinations. i would like to close out my remarks today by just taking a moment to describe the heroism
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that our marines, soldiers and sailors are exhibiting as they screen the people who are coming out of the airfield. this is close-up work. the breath of the person you are searching is upon you. while we have overwatch in place, we still have to touch the clothes of the person that is coming in. i think you all can appreciate the courage and the dedication that is necessary to do this job and to do it time after time. please remember that we have screened over 104,000 people. finally, i would like to offer my profound condolences to the families of our servicemen and women and afghan civilians who lost their lives today. we put more than 5000 u.s. service members at risk to save as many civilians as we can. it is a noble mission and today, we have seen firsthand, how dangerous that mission is. isis will not deter us from a composting the mission, i can assure you of that. all-americans can and should be proud of the men and women of the armed forces who are facing these dangerous head on with the international partners and
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all of our other friends that are with us. and we appreciate your thoughts and prayers for all of our service members to the carrying on the mission today and john i am now ready to take questions. >> thank you. >> thank you, general. thank you for taking the time to do this. can you give us your assessment of the isis threat going forward? what are you seeing on the ground now? does this cut the evacuation short you believe? and are people able to get onto the airport now and then finally the president has warned that any attacks against the u.s. would be answered. will this attack be answered militarily by the u.s.? >> let me try to take the questions in order. first of all, the threat for misys is extremely well. we've been talking about this for several days. we saw it minutes is manifest
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itself with an actual attack. we believe it is there later to continue the attacks and we expect those attacks to continue and we are doing everything we can to be prepared for those attacks. that includes reaching out to the taliban who are actually providing the outer security corner on the airfield to make sure they know what we expect them to do to protect us and we will continue to grenade with them as they go forward. we are continuing to bring people onto the airfield, we just brought a number of buses aboard the airfield over the last couple of hours so we continue to process, we will continue to float people out. the plan is designed to operate while under stress and under attack and we will continue to do that. we will corneille very carefully to make sure that it is safe for american citizens to come to the airfield. of it is not, we will tell them to hold and then we will work other ways to try to get them to the airfield but i think our mission remains we are still committed up until we terminate operations at some point toward the end of the month and i think we have the ability, actually, to do all of those
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things as we go forward. let me just come back one moment. talked about going after isisnd associated with this, we will go after them. we have been clear all along that we will retain the right to operate against isis and afghanistan and we are working very hard right now to determine attribution to determine who is associated with this cowardly attack and we are prepared to take action against them. 24 seven, we are looking for them. >> general david with cbs. 27 casualties is a terrible number. 12 dead. could you explain the circumstances of these attacks which resulted in such high casualties of the u.s.? >> sure. so, first of all you understand that we are still investigating the exact circumstances but what i can tell you is this. the attack occurred at a gate.
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we have to check people before they get onto the airfield we have to ensure they are not carrying a bomb or any other kind of weapon that could ultimately make its way onat re straining. you have to ultimately get very close to that person to allow the airbase itself to be bunkered in. we've done a variety of things to protect ourselves at these interface points, these gates where people actually come on the airfield, there is no substitute for a young man or woman, young united states man or woman standing up conducting a search of that person. that p telemann have conducted searches before they get to that point and sometimes though searches have been good and sometimes not. i will someday note that the before this attack we had passed 104,000 people through so this attack is one too many, but, we will evaluate what happened. we will find ways to always get better but the key thing is you don't want to let somebody on an airplane carrying a bomb because that could represent even massive loss of life if
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anything were to be destroyed so you got to do the searches. we work with our partners on the ground to conduct those searches but ultimately americans have got to be in danger to those searches. there's really no other way to do it and again, i cannot tell you how impressed i am with the daily heroism of the men and women that are out there doing this work typically soldiers and sailors and marines that are doing that work and they are right up close to thousands of people that are flowing through the airfield. vaulting the images. and to be able to it up and do it day after day is remarkable and this time, it looks like somebody got close to us. we will find out why and try to improve our procedures. it is 12:12. 12 service members dying and nobody feel that more than me we need to continue to be back evaluate our procedures as we go forward. we have to continue to let people only airfield because that is why we are there. we are not there to defend ourselves. we are there to defend ourselves multiprocess american
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citizens first, but also the other categories of people that i mentioned and get them to a place where we can fly them out into a safer, better future. images to be clear, this suicide bomber was going through the gate being search checked by u.s. service members when he detonated? >> that would be my working assumption. i know he did not get inside. he did not get on the insulation it was at the interface point where they try to come along with this attack and we just don't know more right now, we are gathering that information because you will understand we have is to getting that but right now our focus, really, we have other active threats, extremely active threats against the airfield. we want to make sure that we've taken the steps we need to to protect ourselves. the focus is on that over the next few hours in a day or two we will know a lot more about what happened here and i'm sure we will be able to share that with you. right now our focus is actually
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going forward, ensuring that another attack of this nature does not occur because as you know, typically the pattern is multiple attacks and we want to be prepared and ready to defend against that. >> can you tell us a little bit more about these extremely real additional threats from isis? is it a concern about more suicide attacks? and also about some of the steps that you may be taking to mitigate future attacks? would include putting u.s. troops or marines outside the gates or outside of the airport for additional perimeter security? and finally, with all of this, is there any discussion about sending any additional u.s. troops to the airport for additional measures? >> let me answer the last part first. i'm always in a constant dialogue with the secretary. if i needed anything else i would be talking to him and immediately i think we have what we need to protect ourselves. let's talk a little bit about the threat streams.
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so, very, very real threats the streams. very, very what we would call tactical. that means imminent, could occur at any moment and they range from lock attacks. we know they would like to lobby rocket in there if they could be a we actually have a good protection against that. we have our anti-rocket and mortar system, the done systems for those that have been out there that you are very familiar with bayer very effective against those attacks. we feel that we would be in good shape for that kind of attack if it should occur. we also know that they aim to get a suicide vehicle borne suicide attack in if they can from a small vehicle to a large vehicle they are working all of those options and then we just seen their ability to have a suicide attacker. all of those things we look at. now, the other thing we do is we share versions of this information with the attalla man so that they can actually do some searching out there and we believe that some attacks have been thwarted by them. again, we've been doing it for
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a while, since the 14th. this is an attack that has been carried out. we believe it is possible that others have been thwarted. we've been cutting down the information that we give the telegram. we give them enough to act in time and space and try to prevent these attacks. the other thing we try to do is try to present the boundary even further so that we don't get large crowds at the gate. clearly today we had a larger crowd that we would like which goes to show you that the system is not perfect but we have gained large elements of standoff at other gates and we want to keep that kind of standoff in place. as you know, standoff or attacks like this is always the best defense. unfortunately we just don't have the best opportunity given the geography of the ground we are on to always the gain that kind of standoff. so let me close up your question by saying we take the threat of these attacks very seriously. with them very hard, we are doing a variety of things. as you know, we had 64 attack helicopters on the ground that
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were flying to take a look we had very good thermal and optical imaging sessions. we've got aircraft overhead also had very good imaging systems. we have unmanned aircraft and denies that have the ability to look. all of these systems are being applied in defense of the airfield. all on a continual basis and all by the intelligence that we received and we also use the taliban as a true to protect us as much as possible. >> i'm going to go to the phones here. alex first. this is alex with the washington post, thank you for doing this. can you give us a sense of where you are in casualty notification for the folks on the ground? no, how long you expect it to take given the large number? also, can you tell us a little bit about, you know, how the forces have reacted? you said you introduced probably more standoff evidence
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but whatever measures are you taking to increase security after the attack? >> sure. i would actually refer you for the notification of casualty. and i believe that process is ongoing but i just do not have visibility on it. my visibility of is fully forward against the practical threat but there are other people that can probably answer that question for you. i'm just not that person. so, in terms of practical things that we are doing, okay, again, we've reached out to the taliban. we told them you need to continue to push out the security perimeter. we've identified some roads that we would like for them to close and ativan identify they would be willing to close those roads because we assess the threat of the suicide vehicle threat is high right now so we want to reduce the possibility of those vehicles getting close so we are so we are actually moving very aggressively to do that. we talked a little bit about the overwatch that we have in place but i will review it again. we have our unmanned aircraft,
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r and q9 and other unmanned drone systems that have very good optical and other names of looking down. so we look at what is happening around the gate we try to identify patterns and we've got highly trained people to take a look at that. we also have our aircraft that we fly locally at the age 64 is that i mentioned a few moments ago as well is that america aircraft that come off the carrier off the coast as well as u.s. air force aircraft that we bring up from out of afghanistan. anything ranging from f-15s and did you know that has a very highly capable targeting system? is also a very visible platform and we know from long experience that the visible demonstration of these kinds tends to dissuade the attacker because they know that if we can see them do it it we will strike them immediately so we will be prepared to do that should become necessary to defend the base. we are looking very hard, we assess a period of heightened warning right now and we are
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working through that as aggressively as we can. over. >> yeah, can you tell us if you think that your recommendation for staying potentially after august 31st would change because of the threat? or are you concerned about the threat stream? also, you know, the military and the taliban have been correlating very closely on various things. do you still trust the taliban? and is it possible that they let this happen? >> so, i don't know, i don't think there is anything to convince me that they let it happen. as to whether or not i trust them, that is not necessarily a word -- that is a word i use very carefully. it is not what they say, is what they do. they have a practical reason for wanting us to get out of here by the 31st of august but they want to reclaim the airfield. we want to get out by that date
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too if it is going to be possible to do so so we share a common purpose. so as long as we kept that common purpose aligned, they have been useful to work with. they've cut some of our security concerns down and they have been useful to work with going forward. now, long term, i don't know what that is going to be i will tell you this, any time you build an evacuation plan like this and you bring in forces, you expect to be attacks. so, we expect, we thought this would happen sooner or later. it is tragic it happened today, it is tragic there was this much loss of life. we were prepared to continue the mission. i had a great opportunity with my chain of command and i'm not going to be able to share with you what my advice has been as you know and understand but i think we can continue to conduct our mission even while we are receiving a tax like this. >> even before today's attack, you were just four days or so from us, from leaving. how soon will you have to start
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diminishing the evacuation flights if indeed those continue to make space and time for the military retrograde that has resolved with many of the troops and the equipment? >> without getting into the system specific i would say it is plan to maximize the evacuees, even as we begin to prepare to drawdown the force on the ground. so we recognize it as a need to balance the two so we will not get to a point where suddenly we turn that off it will drawdown as we get closer to the end date. it is not useful for me to share that date with you right now when we will begin to drawdown those flights, but, we will do it at some point at the same time, i want to emphasize again, the plan is designed to maximize pushing people out, even as we have reconfigured the force, continued to defend ourselves and get ready to bring out our own equipment and ultimately our own military personnel. >> if i can just follow up on that, will you have to also develop alternative routes beyond those that you already had to get the remaining americans who want to leave safely to the airport?
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>> so, i would tell you that we have worked over the last week, we have brought in hundreds of americans by working alternate routes to get them in. by establishing contact with them, by directing them down a steady and different way to get to the airport. our task force does that on the ground very effectively and in coordination with the overall commander so we continue to do that. that is not something that we are beginning now. we have done that all along and we will continue to do that up until the last moment. >> jennifer griffin, foxnews. can you say, was there one or two suicide bombers at the gate? and can you say for certain that it was a male bomber? and can you give us any more details about the second explosion that occurred at the hotel? was that a car l'amour also a suicide bomber? and finally, there are state department employees who are side-by-side with u.s. marines
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at that gate. were there any other u.s. citizens killed in the attack? and why were the marines so close together that so many were killed in one-strike? >> so, we think one suicide bomb at every gate. don't know if it was male or female. just don't have that information. don't know much about the second bomb except that one went off in the vicinity of the hotel which is usually a deeply bunkered structure and as far as i know, there were no uk military casualties as a result of that. there may have been afghan casualties and i'm sure there were afghan casualties but it will take us a little bit of time to actually learn how many afghan casualties. we took some of them on board the insulation. many of them were taken to hospital that in town so what i see is what i get on open source reporting about the nature of those casualties. but we are trying to gather more information about it. so the last point, i would tell you, i don't know the size of
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the bomb and the size of the bomb is directly related to how many people are going to be affected by the blast radius of the weapon. and so you will investigate that. as i've noted before, you are at the interface point at these gates. somebody has actually got to look somewhere and decide that they are ready to come in. and so, we will find out exactly what happened beyond that, i would not want to speculate at this time. thank you. >> any other american citizens from the state department who were killed? >> none that i'm aware of now. >> okay, i need to go back to the phones. >> chickie so much for doing this. i have a couple questions. first of all, can you tell me, we've heard reports of a third and possibly a fourth attack today. can you confirm those? and then also, can you tell us, how exactly are you still conducting these evacuations? are you concerned about other threats to the airport aircraft?
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>> indications of other attacks but we have not been able to run that information so, we do the open source reporting on it but i can't confirm that there have been other attacks in kabul away today. we continue to take a look at that very hard. i will tell you the safety of our aircraft coming in and out is a paramount importance. because obviously you have the opportunity there for 450 or more people to die if you have a significant mishap with the aircraft. we know that isis would like to get after those aircraft if they can. we don't know we don't believe they have the manpower capable of doing it. they have taken shots at our aircraft on occasion without effect. we think that is going to continue. but as you know, military aircraft have a variety of the systems which are more vulnerable for the charter aircraft another aircraft that have come in that do not have those systems. so, with our isr, we look very carefully at the approach, pattern and the departure pattern off that runway to see
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if we see any sign of something that might pose a threat to aircraft. that is one of the things we look at religiously throughout the day and throughout the night as we conduct operations. because really the aircraft the only way we will get people out of there so we are keenly sensitive to our aircraft. >> we are going to take one more question. >> sorry guys have got to keep moving got to take one more question and give the general a chance to close out. >> at this moment in time, how do you believe the suicide bombers made it through several checkpoints whether it was talib and or afghan forces to the marines? was it failure or were they able to send that out and make it to the marines? >> well, clearly if they were able to get out to the marines and the entry point it was a failure somewhere. it was a failure by, you know, tell them to operate with the confidence. some of them are very scrupulously good. some of them are not. i just don't know the answer to
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that question. but you can be assured we are going to continue to take a look at it and try to make all of our practices better as we go forward. >> general, we are going to let the general closeout. any closing thoughts you might have? >> thanks. again i would just like to say today is a hard day. but the thing i come back to is a remarkable professionalism that the force on the ground is showing as i've noted before ultimately the streaming points in particular you've got to get very up close and personal to the people hat ou are bringing out. there is no way to do that safely from a distance and we should all just bear in mind that we have been doing it for well over a week. we have 104,000 people out. that is a tremendous number of contacts that every individual marine, soldier or sailor has had to have as we bring people aboard the airfield. it is a very heavy heart, you know, that i do this conversation with you today. nobody fielded more than me or the other members of the chain of command.
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we will do everything we can to improve our practices there to make sure it is as safe as possible for our folks on the ground that are doing this dirty, dangerous work. thank you very much. >> thank you. appreciated. >> and that concludes the briefing by the pentagon and general mckenzie who is the head of u.s. central command, telling us that there have been 27 u.s. casualties as a result of the suicide bomb this morning. 12 u.s. service members dead. another 15 wounded. some of them being treated now. this happened at the interface point where evacuees try to come on the airport base through the advocate. they are searched by marines and there was a suicide bomber there. he also mentioned gunmen demises gunmen involved in this vicious attack this morning. also telling us that we expect these attacks to continue. a lot of interesting detail that we have learned this morning let's bring in our senior koren for respondent --
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foreign correspondent. you spent an enormous amount of time in afghanistan. i know you've been to that airpr diyou learfrom ththcurity of ou u.s. troops and ans mention that in the past few moments, isis has claimed responsibility for the attack, showing the alleged bomber on their website. there were two things that the general said that really struck me. one of them, the taliban is providing the outer security field. the outer security field and the taliban has been conducting sturges. i know from our colleagues on the ground, they say nobody is getting searched as they get to the airport. and it points out two things. the suggestion, first of all, that u.s. forces are reliant on the taliban who are known enemies to the united states in order to protect u.s. forces and u.s. citizens within that perimeter.
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and also, deciding that the taliban are conducting the search is. as you said, i've been in and out of this airport dozens of times under afghan government control, it is ob20curity isbeyou get to the perimeter. as far as i know, all of that has been wiped out. there are none of these checkpoints and you've seen for yourself, your audience has seen for itself, the chaos around the airport. people had been stampeding abound that airport. it is essentially lawless and you cannot depend on the taliban to provide security. >> you have entire families that have been waiting for days. we told their stories. have malnourished children waiting outside. it is a grim picture and then you have u.s. marines, of course, doing these essentially and searches of those who want to come onto the base. the other thing that i want to touch on is the extremely
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active threat stream against the airfield that the general mentioned. what does that mean going forward? >> well, there are any number of militants who are focusing on that airfield and we have to remember and i think this is very important to point out, there was credible evidence that an attack was going to be happening today, so, there should've been reinforcements. there should've been even more around the threat of that airfield. but, for isis and others, it is an irresistible target. have u.s. and foreign forces. got american citizens. have a chance to destabilize the taliban and that is the reason that there are several threats pointed at that airport. >> all right charlie thank you. let's bring in the analyst, retire retired admiral. we want to look at the admiral. good to see you.
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