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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  August 16, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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this is "andrew mitchell reports" in washington, as we await president biden's anticipated remarks at 3:45 eastern this afternoon. his first comments on the fall of kabul and the chaotic efforts to evacuate americans and endangered afghans who have worked with the u.s. military. today the pentagon announced it is sending 1,000 new troops for a deteriorating situation. the taliban takeover is now a foreign policy nightmare for president biden and his top advisers. earlier on today, nbc's savannah guthrie pressing national security adviser jake sullivan on comments made by the president in recent days and weeks, saying the u.s. departure from afghanistan would not echo america's chaotic exit from
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saigon in 1975. >> how do you explain getting this so wrong? >> first, savannah, to be fair, the helicopter has been the mode of transport from our embassy to the airport for the last 20 years. >> but you know it's not the helicopter. it's not the mechanism. no, no, it's the last-minute scramble. you know that. it's the last-minute scramble when the assurances from the president himself were this is not what we were going to see. >> it is certainly the case that the speed with which cities fell was much greater than anyone anticipated, including the afghans, including many of the analysts who looked hard at this problem. and part of the reason for that, is because at the end of the day, despite the fact that we spent 20 years and tens of billions of dollars to give the best equipment, the best training and the best capacity to the afghan national security forces, we could not give them the will. >> the scenes at the city's airport today are staggering.
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thousands of afghans desperate to flee as thousands of american troops hold a perimeter to make sure all u.s. diplomats and embassy personnel get out first. in the last 24 hours, initial reports indicate armed assailants firing into the airport crowd. and the u.s. forces returning fire, killinging some gunmen. >> afghans are desperate to get on planes and leave the country at any cost. they're scaling the airport's walls this morning, rushing in. there's no screening, no security checks, just force of numbers. when they do manage to push aboard planes, they're so crowded, pilots won't take off. no one agrees to disem park. it's all happening just a few hundred yards from the military side of kabul airport, now separated by a row of barbed wire from the civilian side in chaos. the military side is where the u.s. is staging an elaborate
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evacuation of american diplomats from the embassy. but even here, afghans managed to push through, willing to cling onto an aircraft as it took off rather than stay in afghanistan. >> that, of course, was nbc chief foreign correspondent richard engel, who joins us from kabul, along with our panel, nbc national and military correspondent, courtney kube and white house correspondent peter alexander, and general barry mcgaffe ree, an msnbc military analyst. richard, the images you're describing in kabul, what you've experienced in these days throughout the day today have been stunning, and according to jake sullivan, the extraction of u.s. personnel at that airport could go on for days. is that even going to be possible? >> reporter: well, it's going to be very difficult, and i was listening to that interview with the national security adviser, and it seems that he wants to
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blame everything on the afghans, that they lacked the will to fight, that they were not willing to do the job that the u.s. asked them and, therefore, we were right to leave. well, they didn't lack the will to climb over the walls, to climb onto aircraft. they are trying to escape with their lives. so to say that these people have no courage, no determination is a misreading of the situation. they are running because the afghan government completely collapsed, the taliban have taken over and the people here in kabul who are leaving are the new generation, the people who think they can have a future, who think that -- well, who have enough money to buy planes, air tickets, so they can establish a new life in another country. the afghans who benefitted for the last 20 years of the u.s. presence here. it is an emptying out of afghan
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society, and i think that is really the message of today. the u.s. is leaving behind a country that afghans are too frightened to live in, a failed state that is run by extremists. for the last several hours, as far as i could hear, and we're very close to the airport, there have been no more planes taking off, but we're also not hearing any gunfire at the moment. we've been hearing a great deal of gunfire, things seem to have quieted down in the airport right now, and that is what the u.s. has been trying to do all day, to push the people out of the airport perimeter, to get them off of the runways so that they can resume this evacuation process. but the evacuation process has left many afghans imbitered, they're watching them load up personnel from the civilian side as they are clinging onto planes that aren't going anywhere.
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they're watching americans load their belongings onto the plane, load guard dogs. some afghans were putting on social media today that they were especially offended that the americans were leaving with their dogs and leaving the afghan people behind. and also leaving afghan interpreters behind. there are many thousands, tens of thousands of afghan interpreters. we're in touch with a few, unfortunately, who we have been in touch with, we're no longer able to reach them because they're in hiding. we don't know exactly what happened to them. there are disturbing reports in northern afghanistan that interpreters have been rounded up and executed. they are still here, they are still under taliban control, hiding from the taliban. so to say that the afghans lacked spirit, lacked will, that is why we left and that this was a victory for the united states and a failure for afghanistan, i think that is not the picture that we saw unfolding today. >> and, richard, i appreciate your passion on this, because
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what i'm hearing from afghan women and girls throughout the country is something horrific, and they feel abandoned, as do all of those others who you were just talking about, including many, many women. courtney kube, the latest from the pentagon, the update on the number of troops and the fact that general mckenzie did meet face to face with the taliban trying to get some assurances, i imagine, from that branch of the taliban, but we don't know how monolithic the taliban is because the intelligence is there are a lot of different forces and we don't know who is on the ground in various places in coordination with whoever this was. >> yeah, and that situation has only become more cloudy and muddied over the course of the last couple of weeks as the taliban have been rolling through various areas, they're gathering up for fighters, from the prisons they're emptying out and people they are forcing, or encouraging to join them as they move through various areas.
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so the situation has only become more and more con fused. i'll say from a u.s. military perspective, there are a couple of developments we're watching right at this hour. one of them is, you've already mentioned, we now have confirmation, the pentagon press secretary john kirby confirmed that, in fact, u.s. military, there was some sort of engagement, there were two separate security incidents that he spoke about, and in those incidents u.s. troops fired on and killed at least two armed individuals. we don't know more than that. we don't know if they were taliban. we know very little detail other than there were these incidents that occurred at hamid karzai international airport in kabul. the second thing we know is that we have another authorization for more u.s. troops to head into kabul. it seems every single day we get another authorization for more troops. so this is the third battalion of the 82nd airborne division. this was the brigade combat team
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that was planned to move into kuwait as a quick reaction force, so if things went badly, if the security situation deteriorated, they were going to move those troops in. now all three battalions have been diverted from their planned trip to kuwait and sent directly into kabul. that now means that in addition to this brigade combat team there's three other battalions that are supposed to be making their way, plus existing troops. it's now thousands of u.s. troops that are assigned to the mission, but we should point out only about 2,300 to 3,000 are on the ground now. part of the reason there aren't more is because of the situation at the airport that you and richard were just discussing, and that is the chaos has caused a major disruption in the flights on the military side where these troops were supposed to be coming in. >> peter alexander, there's so much going on on all of these front and the president is hearing it from all sides,
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including criticism from democrats. jackie speier, the congresswoman from california and others, who say that the refugee situation, the siv situation is intal rabl and the other afghans who have not been included. i was just hearing on the 11:00 show, an american journalist who all know who had been held hostage, the afghan who helped him escape from taliban captivity is pleading with him to help him and his eight children to get out and they're getting no help. so these are people who have demonstrably helped americans, not just the american military. the jake sullivan interview in particular with savannah, let me play a little more of that. >> that's the critical question facing the president. why did he assume that there would be this will to fight? why was he telling reporters how better equipped the afghan
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forces were if, in the end, they had no will to fight? shouldn't we have known that? >> what the president kept saying over and over again was that it was not inevitable that kabul would fall. there was the capacity to stand up and resist. that capacity didn't happen. the president had bad choices, and the choice he made, which was to bring u.s. forces home to get us out of that civil war, to get our diplomats out of the embassy, and to ultimately ask the afghans to step up and fight for themselves, it is heartbreaking to see what's happening in kabul. but the president had to make the best possible choice he could and he stands by that decision. >> so, peter, you know so well, the white house and this president, some people are saying it's because he always, going back to the obama years as vice president, resisted the surge, stood by that opinion, didn't really want to listen to the military advice or the intelligence advice that saw this coming, and the congressional members of his own
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party pleading with him to do something months ago for those sivs, refugees, in getting them out first. >> you're exactly right. you can support the u.s. leaving afghanistan, but also be furious as many of the president's own allies are about the catastrophic failure in the way that it has been executed. the president when he speaks at 3:45 today, we expect him to arrive back here at the white house likely within the next hour, he's going to have to try to explain why the security situation there unravelled so quickly and also as it relates to the time line, there had been very few american casualties over the course of the last several months, and having spoken to service members and other lawmakers, they're asking why the president couldn't have extended the period of time past the 9/11 deadline. would couldn't the president have set the date further into the winter season when fighting is normally minimal for the taliban in that region. those are among the questions the president is being pressed
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on today and the image that we have seen of him to this point really is the one we saw yesterday, the president effectively isolated, appearing alone, speaking via videoconference with some of his top advisers at camp david. he was seated at that big table by himself and it shows the position where he is effectively alone on this. this has been the president's position all along, that he wanted the u.s. out, he did not want to send any additional troops to that region and did not want to pass on this war to a fifth president. nonetheless, the situation that he faces right now, obviously there is really urgency about how the u.s. is going to be able to get out some of those afghan interpreters, those translators, those fixers, and those others, speaking to a former afghan veteran just moments ago, this individual was really angry at the president and the white house for what they described as afghan victim shaming, effectively blaming the afghans at this point and saying that much more should have been done over the last several months to help initiate the process of
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getting those sivs, those immigrants who have helped the u.s. in the past, out of that country. >> and general mccaffrey, let me show everyone the picture of the president isolated at camp david and briefing by videoconference his team, which would normally be face to face in the situation room. now, i know that we've all seen the difference between zooms and in-person meetings, but it conveys an isolation of this president, going to camp david this weekend and not being surrounded by his team and perhaps hearing more interaction and more pushback, as well as their insistence that they needed the element of surprise to get u.s. troops out safely. you can speak to this in particular. and that's why they could not bring out some of these refugees and get the sivs going and getting that whole process until the very last minute. can you speak to both of those points? >> yeah, well, the photo of mr. biden sitting there alone
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was really bizarre. he should have gone back to the white house and should have been engaged with his entire staff. that is very odd, bad political optics. none of that is important. the only thing that's going on right now of any interest to the american policy apparatus is how do we get the remaining americans through a taliban perimeter into kabul and out, and then withdraw the u.s. forces after them. it will all be done only at the permission and the tolerance of the taliban. they can affect the air space probably in the next 48 hours and close down the airport. they're not going to allow sivs and afghan cia operatives through the perimeter and into the air field to fly to freedom. that's all nonsense. so it's hard to imagine what we're doing. in the short run, we're in a
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perilous position militarily, and if the taliban elect to obstruct the evacuation and claim the airspace, the only option we'll have is to escalate militarily in a massive way. that's what we do rather than leave people on the ground in afghanistan. it's a tricky situation and we should have seen this coming. this is crazy and the interpreters and the women and children, those decisions are done. they're not coming out. >> i just want to add that i've been given permission to publicize this from the "washington post." the publisher of the "washington post" speaking on behalf of the "washington post," the "wall street journal," and "the new york times," has written to jake sullivan, the national security adviser, asking for help in getting 204 american journalists from those three news
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organizations from the civilian side of the airport to the military side of the airport. so that's an email that i just received from fred ryan, publisher of the "washington post," requesting that from jake sullivan. pressure clearly on the white house for that. so the desperation of people to get out of there, it's americans, it's afghans, and the people who are finally trying to get out and trying to get across the border include many, thousands and thousands over the last year, in fact, to iran. that's where we find ali joining our conversation. tell me about the situation of the refugees. what happens to them once they do get across the border? the pakistan border has been on and off open and closed and very difficult for them to get through. what about the iranian border and what help can they get on the other side? >> reporter: andrea, the iranian
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border is open and they've set up makeshift refugee camps along the border, but any afghans coming in across the border, and there are a lot of them coming in right now, have to stay in the refugee camps until they can decide what to do with them. but on the broader picture of afghans in iran, there's about 2.5 million of them, most of them are undocumented, and it's a tough life for them. they have to do menial jobs, dangerous jobs for little pay. they don't get any insurance or medical benefits. their children are not allowed to attend schools. but it's still a lot better option for them than staying in afghanistan. i've been speaking to many that are in iran right now and they have a sense of hopelessness. one man i've known for many years says he's been working hard to save up his money to go back to afghanistan, to buy a home and live with his family.
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those hopes have all just disappeared and now he's stuck in limbo with iran not knowing what to do with his life. that's the story of so many afghans here. another woman i spoke to this morning who said she'll never go back to afghanistan because she said it's a virtual prison for women again. it's back to what it was in the '90s, 20 years ago, and it's just a horrifying existence for most people under the tyranny of the taliban there. >> thank you, ali. richard, we should also point out that afghan's outgoing government, we don't know what government this would be, but the former government, the ambassador at the united nations pleading to let refugees in. but the problem returns to what you've been talking about, just getting to a border and getting to kabul and what happens when they get to kabul, the desperation there. i don't know what we're going to hear from the president today, but if it's a repeat of saying that it's the afghan army's fault and that we couldn't do
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any better and we would have been there stuck for years, i'm not sure that's going to satisfy anyone. >> reporter: i think that is probably what we're going to hear. that is what president biden has said time and time again, that it wasn't our fault, it was their fault. and that we did the best we could, but we weren't going to stay in a civil war forever. but for the last several years afghanistan has been relatively stable. there hasn't been many american casualties here. it's been over a year and a half, nearly two years since the last u.s. troops were killed in combat. this was much more of a support mission. there were only about 2,500, 3,500 troops here and they were able to stabilize the afghan army, keep some of the divisions united. when they left and when they left so dramatically and emptied out the bases, the morale of the army collapsed. and i'm still struck by that email you read about the
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"washington post," that they're appealing, a group of newspapers, to get the journalists out. those are the kind of people who i've been talking to were near the airport and we've seen some of the families here. these are the elite, the elite who are in kabul, who are afraid that this city, this country has no future for them, people who helped bring the news to americans and bring the news about afghanistan around the world. they are so ones so desperate that they are clinging to the undercarriages of planes, and sometimes getting shot by u.s. troops as they are trying to evacuate. then, of course, there are the refugees who are running to any border that they can find in the rural provinces. so you have the elite in kabul trying to come to the airport, even though it's shut down, and people spilling out into iran and pakistan, when possible. >> thank you very much. richard engel, courtney kube, peter alexander, and general
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mccaffrey. as the chaotic situation in afghanistan deteriorates, big questions of how and where the system failed and where the u.s. got caught off guard about the country's rapid collapse to taliban rule. this as we're seeing images of people desperate to leave the country, climbing onto planes like this one in the hopes of getting on board. joining me is peter baker, chief white house correspondent for "the new york times," who is the first american journalist in american after 9/11, and john brannen, former director of the cia and obama administration. director brannen, was there an intelligence failure here, military intelligence? does it appear that the biden administration was caught off guard? were they listening and was the president determined to follow his game plan of withdrawing? >> well, they clearly were caught off guard by the events over the last 72 hours and the resurgence of u.s. military forces into the airport to secure the evacuation of our military and civilian personnel. the u.s. military, along with
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the u.s. contractors and american intelligence officers, have been the bloodstream that have sustained the afghan military and security forces for many, many years. with the abrupt severing of that bloodstream, it's clear that the afghan forces were not up to the task and then compounded by, i think, the psycholithdraw in a rapid way. so i don't know what the intelligence assessments were that went to the white house in terms of how quickly things could unravel, but clearly they have, and it's because of the tremendous dependency that the afghans are on the u.s. system of support. and clearly that was underestimated on the part of the administration. >> and just to follow up, that leads us to a question about how blind we're going to be without contractors and intelligence on the ground. i'm sure there's some left, but without the bloodstream to us as well, how do we know what al
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qaeda prisoners have been released? is there a sense of that, the worst of the worst as they've been described? how do we know which taliban are doing what, since that is not necessarily a monolithic leadership group? >> that was one of the principal reasons why we kept u.s. military forces there for so many years. we wanted to have those forward-operating bases in different parts of the country that served as america's eyes and ears to keep tabs on the terrorism front and see what the afghan forces were doing. so by pulling those bases out and the capabilities, it really is very difficult for the administration to understand what's going on throughout the country. and so, therefore, i think what we're seeing, unfortunately, are the consequences of those many years of dependency that never really then transferred into the afghan's ability to sustain these capabilities on their own and to be able to take the fight to the taliban in a meaningful
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way. >> i wanted to show another part of what jake sullivan told savannah guthrie today. >> now, the president prepared for every possible contingency, including this one. the reason that there are u.s. forces at the airport effectuating a successful draw-down of our embassy is because the president pre-positioned those forces, thousands of them in the gulf so they could be moved in rapidly in the event that there was a rapid collapse. >> peter, just today they're moving in more, the final brigade from the pre-positioned forces, so they clearly did not anticipate the chaos at the airport. >> no, that's right, exactly. they want credit for the fact that they're responding, you know, to a crisis that they, themselves, seem to not really anticipate, because they would, in fact, have gotten not just the americans out by now, but all of the afghan allies who were sitting there, as you showed on those pictures,
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clutching onto planes, the idea that here they are now at the very last minute trying to get them out rather than have some sort of an orderly process is sort of unfathomable. the fact is, i'm not an intelligence expert, but certainly enough people have told the white house over the months that this was almost an inevitable outcome, whether it happened today, tomorrow or months from now. almost everybody understood this is what was going to happen. so knowing that was the case and knowing that it could happen quickly given the history in afghanistan, clearly they didn't move fast enough or orderly enough to avoid the exact kind of chaos we're seeing right now. and i think it's an extraordinary situation that the administration has to deal with at this point. >> peter, it's a desperate situation and we need to get people out, but there is a lot of political fallout. you were the first american
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journalist in afghanistan after 9/11. i was there in 1998 after the taliban and it was rubble after the russians had left. so now we're marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and the taliban are back in control. the propaganda value for them around the world is enormous. >> it's a huge black eye for the united states, because obviously things have not gone the way we wanted them to go for 20 years. but nobody, i think, 20 years ago, when i showed up there as a reporter with the afghan rebels, imagined that 20 years later when we would come to the anniversary of 9/11 that the country would be turned back over in effect to the taliban. and you saw it in 1998, and i saw it in 2001, these are not -- you know, these are brutal, vicious, blood-thirsty regime. we're already hearing reports of atrocities and terror in places around the country that they've taken control of, and what we're
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going to see, unfortunately, in the days and weeks to come is the re-installation of one of the most repressive governments or movements or whatever we want to call it, the modern world has seen. and it is a black eye to america around the world, whether or not it's the right policy or not. a lot of people around the world will look at this and draw conclusions about the united states that will not be flattering. >> and director brennan, the president has repeatedly said that our mission was accomplish, it was accomplished ten years ago with the elimination of osama bin ladin, that the mission was to make sure that afghanistan could not again become a haven for terrorists, for al qaeda. what is the likelihood, especially with u.s. intelligence being blind on the ground, what is the likelihood that terror groups like al qaeda can reformulate under the taliban leadership? >> there certainly is that potential because there are very extremists and hard-line elements of the taliban that
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would give support to terrorist organizations like al qaeda, and so the fact that along the afghan/pak border, which is the traditional home for these types of groups because they can burrow in and do platting and planning. now, looking over the last 20 years, our investment did prevent recurrence of 9/11 attacks, but that area of afghanistan, if it is going to be protected by these extremist taliban elements, is a potential wellspring for future terrorist operations, opportunities and attacks, including here in the homeland. >> john brennan, formerering director of the cia, and peter baker, just so experienced "new york times" colleague, thank you. up next, the search for survivors. nearly 1,300 people dead in haiti. thousands more missing after that powerful earthquake.
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haiti is reeling today after a massive earthquake this weekend rocked the southwestern part of the country saturday, killing nearly 1,300 people. now tropical depression grace is threatening the rescue effort. nbc news correspondent gabe gutierrez has the latest.
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>> reporter: the u.s. coast guard is on the ground bringing medical supplies and personnel to some of the hardest-hit regions, then they're expected to transport critically wounded patients to port o prince. haiti's prime minister has declared a state of emergency after one of the most powerful earthquakes this country has ever seen. this morning, a country in crisis. people tearing through rubble to find any signs of life, after a monstrous 7.2 magnitude earthquake on saturday devastated southwest haiti. the death toll now soaring to nearly 1,300, with more than 5,000 people hurt, many seriously. >> people just started screaming everywhere, on the streets and just out of, you know, panic and fear. >> reporter: the massive quake
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flapping buildings across haiti's southern peninsula, triggering landslides that cut off access to some smaller communities. families who lost their homes are now sleeping on nearby soccer fields. hospitals, already pushed to the brink by the covid pandemic, forced a setup triage centers outside, people in desperate need of aid, evacuated by air. an international effort to help is now under way, the u.s. sending a 65-person search and rescue team from virginia at the request of the haitian government and the u.s. coast guard is helping air-lift the injured. >> how is the damage on that side of the island? >> it's substantial. >> the country has never fully recovered from an earthquake in 2010. haiti is also already dealing with political chaos, sparked by the brazen assassination of its
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president last month, and now tropical storm grace is forecast to hit haiti by tomorrow, bringing punishing rain that could lead to flash flooding and new mudslides. another blow to a country in crisis. this latest earthquake was actually more powerful than the one in 2010, but the difference is that the epicenter was in the southwestern part of the country, which is much more rural, but there are new concerns about tropical depression grace which could potentially bring torrential rain and mudslides to a region that is still struggling to continue these rescue efforts. andrea? >> thanks to gabe. it's just a disaster there. a disaster upon disaster. thanks to gabe gutierrez. and we have breaking news that pfizer just announced that they have submitted covid-19 third dose data to the fda. new vaccine mandates are taking effect across the country today. joining us now, dr. kavita
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patel, a physician, former obama white house policy director and msnbc medical contributor. kavita, let's talk about this, because what i understand is it's not that pfizer is submitting new authorization requests for a third dose, but they are submitting the first data from the first study for a third dose and that it does improve efficacy of antibodies against both the beta, the original virus, the second virus, and the delta variant. >> yeah, you framed it exactly right, andrea. and it's very confusing when we're talking about boosters and doses, et cetera. this batch of data, though, is exactly, as you said, for people who do not have those specific immunocompromised conditions, which is the majority of americans who have received the first and second doses of pfizer, and this is the data that supports using what i would
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call a booster dose to kind of raise, exactly as you've predicted, antibody levels, against the variants that we know of, and then the hope is that it helps boost any response to variants we have yet to identify or that are threats kind of in the near future. so the administration has already signaled that they want to start thinking about how to roll this out, which you know from the first rollout, it's no easy effort. so that's the kind of activity we're going to see. on top, andrea, what i expect to see, full approval coming in the next weeks for pfizer, followed by moderna. so a lot of good vaccine opportunities, we just need people to get them. >> and just to also clarify, i know that pfizer, moderna, are working on specific boosters that were being reengineered to attack the delta variant. but this is encouraging because it's saying that their original vaccine is effective against both beta and delta and the
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third dose could be used in effect as a booster. >> that's right, and it's easier to remember, probably, that the tailored vaccine, think of it as almost like a new vaccine series, the cdc is kind of calling or referring to it as the next generation vaccine. it's a different formulation and that's what they're working on, trial data, not what they submitted today. but as you point out, a third dose that could boost most americans' response. it can't come soon enough given what we're seeing around the world. >> particularly a lot of elderly people and other people who have less than full vigorous antibody response. thank you very much. and saying that he has blood on his hands, well, the top republican on the house foreign affairs committee, that's what he said about the president, calling what's happening in afghanistan a stain on president biden's presidency. congressman michael mccall joining me ahead from texas.
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news from affidavit and the political fallout from the withdraw of american troops as the country falls to the taliban. joining me, the top republican on the house foreign affairs committee, congress michael mccaul of texas. thank you very much. it's great to see you. and you said some tough stuff this weekend, that the president has blood on his hands, calling the collapse of the afghan government after u.s. withdraw an unmitigated disaster. president trump had agreed to this may 1st withdraw, which set up a timetable that president biden stretched out, but he had no alternative except to stretch it out by a few months. what's your answer to that? >> well, look, i think this president, the commander in chief today, he made the decision to pull out, to blame this on the prior
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administration, i think, is ill-conceived because, the fact is, this was a conditions-based agreement. and the conditions were not being followed by the taliban. they violated it in many respects in terms of not breaking their ties with al qaeda. they have now attacked the capitals. i don't see president trump as one who would sit back and allow defeat on this magnitude. when i talked to his national security adviser, o'brien, he told me that the president told him he would never allow for saigon to happen under his watch, and that was during his administration. i don't think you would see the same result, but i also think, as president truman said, the buck stops here. this president can't blame the prior administration. he has to take responsibility, accountability, for his own actions, which have led to this unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. it is an absolute disaster. i want to commend you, andrea, and the press for asking the
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tough questions. i've asked this administration for months, when are you going to get the interpreters out, when are you going to get our afghan partners out of there, when are you going to have isr intelligence capability out of the country? they have done none of this and now it's a scramble to the airport and none of the planes are flying out right now, it's essentially closed down. i think this could be worse than saigon itself. >> now, they are saying that if there had been a residual force left there, 2,500, 3,500, that would have meant eventually tens of thousands more because the u.s. troops would have become engaged in the civil war. do you want to respond to that? >> well, i do think that 2,500 is a very light footprint to stabilize that country. it was working for several years. it did stabilize. it kept the taliban in place. remember, once we pull out, once we pulled out of bagram and once our embassy shuts down, we're going dark.
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we have no intelligence on the ground. we can't help them with air support. i think the afghan army got caught flat-footed because they're used to our air cover coming in and bombing the taliban. the taliban knew that so they stayed behind in their caves. they didn't come out. because they knew and it was telegraphed we were going to leave on september the 11th, by the way, which is very ironic, because it was telegraphed that way, they knew this is their fighting time, by the way, as well. and they came out very fiercely, as you've seen. and the intelligence community called this from day one. >> let me follow up on that, because some people are saying was this an intelligence failure, military intelligence or other intelligence. but was it? >> this was a political failure, the intelligence community got this right. i got the briefings. i can't go into detail, but they predicted within six months, then three months, actually, the taliban worked even faster.
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but their assessments, andrea, were always very, very grim. it was a state department in the politicos and the white house that painted this rosy picture that somehow these deals, these talks with the taliban were going to bear fruit at some point in time. and they held onto that sort of myth, if you will, almost to the bitter end. and we have seen -- i've always said you can't really negotiate with the taliban. i do think they would have to be part of the transitional government. but to turn over the entire country now to the taliban, and what i worry about the most, andrea, are the women left behind and the girls and how they're going to be treated like they were before 2001. >> and to that point, what should we do now? is there anything we can do now to stretch this evacuation so we can start getting some of these non-military civilians out? >> it's one of the saddest things i've seen. i just got a briefing that they've shut down flights.
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their first priority are american citizens, and then maybe afghan partners. that would mean leaving behind all those afghans that worked with us in battle and the phrase no one left behind now will mean nothing to future partners that we may have. i think our standing globally has been tremendously diminished because of this disaster, and i really worry about those left behind and i don't know if we're going to be able to do it. i don't know for the life of me why they waited until the very last week or days to do this, when we were calling upon them for months to get them out of that country. >> mike mccaul, congressman, thank you very much. taliban child brides is what we're going to be talking about next, disturbing reports of young girls being ripped from their mothers' arms and taken as slaves. one activist says what the taliban is doing now is even worse than 20 years ago. you're watching "andrew mitchell reports." stay with us on msnbc.
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terrifying reporting coming out of afghanistan as the country's outgoing u.n. ambassador says that the taliban has started house to house searches registering names and looking for people on their target list. the u.n. secretary general has asked countries to accept afghan refugees and now is the time for the world to stand as one. what does the future hold for afghan women and girls under taliban rule. joining me now is kimberly who has worked with girls. i understand you just got a voicemail from a woman you know. >> yes. >> let's play it. >> okay, i'll play it. >> there is thousands of them.
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there is thousands of them and they're coming from everywhere. i see them right now, can you please help us. >> so i heard her say help us, there's not just hundreds there are thousands coming for us. >> yeah, it is armageddon. this is a dire and a human rights problem. and the world has the responsibility to help these women, these afghans, because we sold them this dream of democracy and freedom, and rule of law, and they are suffering so much in ways that doesn't make sense, it didn't make sense that we left in the way that we did. it didn't make sense that we had no plan. frankly i still don't see a plan for how they get out women that supported the u.s. government.
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military members that supported the u.s. government. women entrepreneurs, women activists. there are nearly 20 million women in afghanistan. and they're all screwed simply because we were trying to get out of afghanistan for some arbitrary september 11th date because i said so. it's ridiculous. it's a human rights abomination and we need to do something about it. >> what do you think they should do about it? >> i think first instance, what they need to do is make sure they can negotiate a safe passage for those that are trying to leave afghanistan. particularly the afghans. there are afghans there that are journalists, human rights activists. people at the embassies. people that worked alongside our military members. people that just want to get out and they should have freedom of movement to be able to get out to be able to flyout if that is their choice.
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if they want to flyout, open the borders for those that want to leave on land. because if the new government wants any legitimacy they need to act like a government. and confining your country and turning it into an open air prison, especially for women, is not going to be, you know, anything that should happen. i'm just trying to adjust to this new normal to be honest. it's unbelievable that what the taliban has done in such a fast amount of time, they have dismantled 20 years of capacity building of girls going to school, of women working, of, you know, infant mortality rate decreasing. seven million girls going to school, you know, it is just atrocious. and we can and we should do something. but we should start off with allowing people to freely move in afghanistan right now.
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those that want to leave the country, those that want to leave by land or by air, period. and we can let all of the people that want to come in, too, some people want to come in, but that needs to happen. that has to happen immediately. because what happened yesterday with people trying to leave, people dieing trying to leave. people clinging to airplanes while they're flying off of the tarmac, on the outside of the plane and falling off to their death because they believe in freedom? that is on us. that is a dream that we sold to them. and we have a responsibility to make sure there is freedom of movement at first instance for everyone in afghanistan right now that wants to leave. and for those that are in this siv bottleneck bureaucracy in the u.s. embassy. we need to figure it out immediately. there is many people that are --
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over 50,000 people. siv applicants that we need to do something about immediately that deserve to come to the u.s. that is a contact we made for them. this is what we told them that we would give them if they worked with us. >> kimberly motley, thank you for your urgent appeal, we will broadcast that far and wide. that does it for us for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." garrett haake will be up next on "mtp daily." ly." they drove to safelite for a same-day repair. and with their insurance, it was no cost to them. >> woman: really? >> tech: that's service you can trust. >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪ [♪♪] if you have diabetes, it's important to have confidence in the nutritional drink you choose. try boost glucose control. it's clinically shown to help manage blood sugar levels
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if it is monday, a catastrophic collapse. americans now from a country that is now once again controlled by the taliban. president biden saying there is growing pressure as the white house's failure to predict the speed of the taliban takeover and the scramble that echos the last days of vietnam. and the humanitarian crisis playing out in haiti. the frantic serve for survivors after a massive earthquake kills more than 1,000. thousand they're bracing for a tropical storm.


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