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tv   Ayman Mohyeldin Reports  MSNBC  August 24, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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the u.s. will stick with the plan to complete the withdrawal from afghanistan by august 31st. this decision comes as thousands are still waiting to be evacuated from the kabul airport. one day after william burns made a secret visit to kabul to meet with taliban leaders. also that hour, new york governor hochul is giving her inaugural address 15 hours after she was sworn in as the first female chief executive. we'll bring you more on what she has to say. we are also keeping a very close eye on what is happening on capitol hill right now. the house about to take a final vote on a budget resolution that provides that blueprint for the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. this follows a standoff with the group of ten moderate democrats who wanted to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill first. one of them florida democratic congresswoman stepanie murphy
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will join us later this hour. let's gun with afghanistan. here to start us off with the latest, nbc news white house reporter and nbc national security and intelligence correspondent and nbc news pentagon correspondent courtney kube and lieutenant jern and deputy security adviser for iraq and afghanistan. thank you all for being here. we'll start with you, mike, outside the white house. talk about this decision to stick with that august 31st deadline. what led to that decision? >> well, aaron, i want to start by noting that president's scheduled remarks that we were expecting initially at noon and then 2:00 p.m. have just been postponed yet again. we now expect to hear from the president sometime after 4:30 this afternoon. if the president is watching as i hope he sometimes does, i say this not as a criticism but as the data point to really speak to what white house officials have been a dynamic situation. we do expect as white house
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officials and other administration officials have been telling us that the president is proceeding with that august 31st deadline as planned for the withdraw of the remaining u.s. troops. but significantly that we're also understanding that he has asked the team to have contingency plans should there need to be a possible extension. and the reason for that could be several fold. one is we know that real increase that we've seen over the pace of evacuations over the course of the especially last few days is the cooperation we've been seeing from the taliban on the ground, allowing more individuals to get through the checkpoints at the airport on to u.s. military but also civilian aircraft. and obviously if the president were to come out and make a declaration that we were going to be staying beyond august 31st, that would put that continued cooperation at risk. and congressional leaders who were briefed on capitol hill this afternoon made it clear from the administration official who spoke to them that those
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contingencies were also of concern to them and administration officials assured them that they do exist. so when we do hear from the president, expect him much as he has throughout this process to both update us on the details of the evacuations as they continue but also speak to the diplomatic efforts that will proceed even after our military presence is there is no longer there because as he has reinforced throughout, he insists this is the right decision to end our 20-year involvement in afghanistan. and now the pressure from the international community and from the g-7 leaders especially that he spoke with earlier today will be on insuring that the taliban does abide by specific norms and did provide additional cooperation in the future with potential evacuations as needed. but obviously we'll wait and hear from the president later this afternoon. >> so, ken, a couple questions for you. you've been working your sources. did the c.i.a.'s meeting with the taliban play a key role here? and is sending the top spy for
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the united states of america, not a diplomat, not a general, the top spy on a secret meeting, is that sign of a shift in the tone here when it comes to the severity of the relations and the association with the taliban? >> i think it's a sign that the biden administration wanted to send a senior emissary who wasn't from the state department. because they don't want to signal any diplomatic recognition of the taliban. but nonetheless, bill burns is a former diplomat. he was representing the interest of the biden administration. it is also a stark illustration of how dramatically things have changed in the power dynamic between the united states and taliban. here was the de facto taliban leader once captured and imprisoned by the cia now negotiating with the cia director over the issue of whether the u.s. presence at the airport could be extended by a few days and the taliban was unwilling to budge. as a result, the biden administration backed down. as a result of that, thousands
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of our afghan allies will not be able to be evacuated, aaron. we shouldn't lose sight of that. this decision, even though biden was in really a no-win situation militarily, the result of this is going to be many afghans will be stranded. the they're not able to get to the airport. we're going to leave without getting everyone out, aaron. >> i want to bring you in on this, general. we talk about dead line and such. at the end of the day, what will define the u.s. operation as finished there? and what option zz the military have if it's not finished by the 31st? >> most of the options remain. once military troops withdraw, they're not military. most of the options then revert to diplomacy and here we have some leverage. but not a lot. i this i it's important that cia director burns represented the president's views. yes, because he's the cia director but he's also the
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senior most experienced diplomat in the cabinet. he could send no stronger emissary to talk to them than bill burns. but our leverage here is limited. they have tactical advantage. they own the immediate surroundings of kabul airport. they're controlling the access to kabul airport. and they own the hills around kabul. we're in a precarious position and we have limited diplomatic wrench. leverage. >> what happens to happen in the next week? do we know how long this drawdown is going to take and what the u.s. military is prepared to do to hit that deadline? >> so what needs to happen is the kind of output or the kind of what the military calls through put of people being evacuated over the last 48 hours, they need to maintain the numbers until the end of this week. and so what we've seen is about a one u.s. military flight going out of kabul airport every 45 minutes in the last 24 hours.
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so they're getting literally tens of thousands of people out every single day. if they can maintain that pace, until the end of this week, they will get a lot of people, many americans and afghans and third country nationals out before they have to start pulling the u.s. military out. now there are about 6,000 u.s. military at that airport. there is also some other u.s. embassy and staff that need to be taken out as part of the withdraw. that could take three to four days. will they try to take equipment with them when they try to leave? if it means making additional room for people to get people on the flights, we'll leave the equipment behind. they will blow it up in place. the u.s. has things like the big vehicles. they even have aircraft. there are artillery. there is counter drone equipment there called crams. defense officials have said if it means making more room for people, they will prioritize
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lives over that equipment. but they still do have a time line that if you backtrack from three or four days from the 31st, you're talking the end of this week when they have to start pulling u.s. military out as part of this withdraw. so we can assume, you know, that as the military presence goes down there, the number of people who can -- they can evacuate, those numbers will also start to go down. but what we should expect to see is as we get close to the deadline, we'll start to see more flights that have both troops and evacuees leaving kabul. >> mike, very quickly here. we know matt zeller, afghanistan veteran said earlier today on this network that president will be judged not by how many people he gets out but how many people are left behind. is that something that the white house is hearing, something they're concerned about, the numbers that may be left behind? >> i think it's notable given what we heard from the president just last friday when this issue was raised to him. he did say the number one
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priority was getting all americans who want to be evacuated evacuated from this country. and he was careful when he said especially the afghan partners who have been alongside fighting with us, he said are almost as critical. clearly not at the same level. i think the white house understands the obligation we have. and they do feel that they're making every best effort to get as many p out as possible. but the numbers here are so difficult as one member of congress said today, the best estimates for how many have at least applied for this siv application process is in the tens of thousands. you need to multiply that really by 3 1/2 times to get the true figure. especially given the speed we saw the afghan government collapse and the processing delays. the there is a real blame game among all entities of the federal government about who bears obligation here. but doing so in such a tight time line is really, really difficult and that is something that the administration understands is going to have to
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explain really for foreseeable future. >> yeah. all right. mike and ken and courtney and general, thank you all. >> it was a nightmare. it was really horrible. it was very scary seeing, trying to escape from the taliban. from the terrorists. we got the news. they just told us to get out of our house. we just put on some clothes and ran. we came to the airport. >> that was a 14-year-old girl. she was just evacuated from kabul as a u.s. citizen and daughter of an interpreter. joining me now is someone who is working as a volunteer translator for refugees coming into the u.s. the girl we just heard from is a u.s. citizen. she speaks english. she said this process was a nightmare. what about the people that doesn't have the level of
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permission she has, the people that don't speak english. what does this process look like for them? >> thank you for having me. it is extremely chaotic. i'm in touch with people inside of afghanistan for those that are not able to get away. and would like to get away. it is getting darker and darker. and for those that don't speak english, usually you have somebody in the family. but what i work, what i volunteer, none of them spoke english. they happened to make it to the airport. i'm sure you saw the chaotic videos. those people came to the usa as well. it's not easy for them. >> can you help us understand where all these refugees go next from here? especially the people that don't have that preset visa permission.
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[ inaudible ] the u.s. government decided to put them on the planes and bring them to the usa. the first group arrived in virginia. i think everybody went to the airport. and from here they go to different places. i ended up at nova college. i wanted to speak with the groups as social activists and community organizer. i started speaking with these people. there are sad stories. i'll mention something dramatic as well. so since we didn't know what is going on, our committee came together and everybody brought food, clothes, toiletries and we didn't know if they were going to be there for a month or two. two hours later they all got passed to a place in northern virginia. and the group i met with, they were going to texas.
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they are going to go to sent to texas. i think every state has expressed interest in giving refugees families. they'll get their share. for right now, we only know -- i only know that the first group went to texas. >> we appreciate you sharing that with us. what is your reaction to the news that president biden is not going to extend with the draw deadline past august 31st? >> i don't think at this point president biden has an option to extend or not extend. all the power has been given to taliban. they are the decision makers at this point. they will make the decision. even if president biden said yes, i don't think he has a choice. we're in a very bad place with all the decisions that were made without giving it too much talk. so i honestly, i can't say if he -- what i think is the same. at this point i don't think it's
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a decision. >> we appreciate you sharing your perspective. i know the folks who -- that you're helping there in northern virginia are appreciative too of the work you're doing. we appreciate your time. thanks. >> my pleasure. thank you. vice president kamala harris trip to vietnam was delayed after an unexplained health incident. and it could be related to the misteara havana syndrome. and to end the standoff over infrastructure. we'll talk to one of the moderate democrats at the center of it. you're watching msnbc reports. tr of it. you're watching msnbc reports. d] welcome to allstate. ♪ [band plays] ♪ a place where everyone lives life well-protected. ♪♪ and even when things go a bit wrong, we've got your back. here, things work the way you wish they would. and better protection costs a whole lot less.
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breaking news out of new york state. governor kathy hochul wrapped up a virtual address. she was sworn in a special ceremony. joining me now is the albany bureau chief. talk about what the new governor kathy hochul is trying to do to move on from the cuomo era and that toxic work environment that we heard so much about avs late. >> right. well, one thing that the new governor governor said she wants to do is really increase
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transparency. the cuomo administration was one of the biggest problems they had getting out information and sharing that with the public. another thing she is prioritizing is getting excitement back with state workers. and the value of employees in state government. as we know, the governor resigned as effective midnight or early this morning. and he resigned in disgrace because of a bombshell report released by the state attorney general that listed a toxic work environment, allegations of sexual harassment against him by several former and current employees. and that's something the new governor wants to change. she wants to instill this message of hope and to also just to gain confidence in state government and workers. >> and covid-19 is going to be her biggest responsibility here out of the gate. how prepared does the governor's office feel it is to lead the response now that this pandemic in new york, 17 months into this? >> right. well, that's another big
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priority for her. she said combatting the delta variant is a massive priority. she is trying to instill mask mandates and increasing the state's vaccination rate. she has a lot on her plate. a lot of challenges going forward for the new governor. but it's something she says she is up to the task. she travels all across the state from buffalo to albany to new york city. oftentimes having six or seven appearances in one day. so she really has boots on the ground. even this weekend, she was on the ground in long island. it is something that she says she's prepared to do and we'll see. the next 45 days is really going to be a tell for her. that's been her launch pad, i suppose, for cleaning up state government as she said and taking a path forward. >> i do want to ask before i let you go about his close aide said
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that cuomo has no interest in running for office again. we know he left office with $18 million in his campaign account. are we going to see andrew cuomo run for office again? >> well, like you said, i had top aid said he has no interest in running for governor. however, he is 63 years old. he comes from a background in politics. he could change his mind. there is -- he hasn't said whether or not he wants to run or not. and, of course, it's still appreciate. he's only been out of office a couple hours. he still has as melissa said, many options that he could explore. we have to figure out where he is going to be living. he's at his sisters at the time being. >> thank you for joining us today. >> thank you. >> overseas now.
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we have some more breaking news. vice president kamala harris' visit to vietnam delayed by three hours because of concerns about what the embassy called a health incident. has what they call havana syndrome. it's a spate of health issues that have hit officials. one or more diplomats had to be medically evacuated after reporting symptoms over the weekend. joining me now is nbc news chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. what more can you tell us about these incidents in vietnam? >> well, the fact that kamala harris, the vice president, did arrive in hanoi. you saw the pictures of her arriving there, ka it this he do not feel there is any cause for concern. they did delay for three hours after checking out the reports. there was a cable sent out from
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embassy hanoi that two and then found out it is one, there is confusion over that but at least one or more of the embassy staff had been flown out and we should point out that they were not in the embassy. they were working from home because of covid-19. there is no cause of concern should she be in the embassy. that said, her schedule in flux. there are some events taking place elsewhere outside the nbc. don't know if there is any connection. now havana syndrome started in the case of the embassy in havana back in 2017. a number of state department and other agencies, cia people who were posted there had these acoustic problems, disneyness, vertigo, fatigue and hearing strange noises.
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at that point the trump administration pulled our people out of havana and also sent packing all of the cuban diplomats in washington downgrading both embassies which hasn't has been restored. we've seen this cropping up in 200 places around the world. so what we now see, aaron, is that it has nothing to do with cuba. now they're looking at this and they have not done a good job of finding out what went wrong, what was the medical cause? and taking care of these people now, of course, bill burns who said the cia director in kabul yesterday meeting with the top taliban leader, he's been in charge of this whole operation reporting to the white house and trying to coordinate better care for everyone. they still do not know the cause. >> all right. andrea mitchell for us in washington.
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we know you'll stay on top of this and let us know if more information comes out. thank you. still ahead, a new time line on vaccines for kids under 12. we're going to talk to a doctor about that am coming up next. you're watching msnbc reports. you're watching msnbc reports. i was diagnosed with parkinson's. i had to retire from law enforcement. it was devastating. one of my medications is three thousand dollars per month. prescription drugs do not work if you cannot afford them. aarp is fighting for americans like larry, and we won't stop. that's why we're calling on congress to let medicare negotiate lower prescription drug prices. (upbeat pop music in background throughout)
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life before cerebral was, was pretty taxing. i was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. and, uh, i found cerebral. cerebral is an app that combines medication management and behavioral care, all in one nice package. i signed up. i got the video call. i got the pills shipped to me. normal therapy costs about 3 times as much as cerebral. getting this type of care online, it really is a lifesaver. join today for just $30 at we turn to the top story, the evolving coronavirus pandemic. the latest at this hour. this afternoon top health officials gave an update on the
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national fight against the virus. in that briefing, white house covid-19 response coordinator touted the recent increase in vaccinations. in the last week, more than six million shots have been administered. the highest seven day total in a month and a half. in chicago, mayor lori lightfoot will require city workers to get a vaccine. the mayor says the city is working with labor unions to lay out the plans for a mandate. and hawaii's governor has a new message for hopeful tourists. stay home. on monday the governor said now is not a good time to travel to the islands. citing a recent surge of covid-19 patients putting a strain on the state's health care centers. for more on this i want to bring in now mercedes karnathon, epidemiologist, professor and vice chair of preventative medicine at northwestern university. i want to ask you first what do you make of the increase in vaccinations that the white house mentioned today in that briefing? what do you think may be behind the numbers going up in this
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window of time? >> you know, i'm very pleased about the increase in vaccinations with eligible individuals choosing to be vaccinated because of their own choice or because of workplace mandates that are already in place. i think that the fda authorization will also yield more individuals choosing vaccination possibly because their workplaces require it as we are seeing in some cities and areas and industries. obviously, you know, we wish it hadn't come to this fourth surge to motivate people to vaccinate themselves. but at least we are seeing movement as people hear more and more about the devastation that is being caused by this continuing pandemic. >> let's talk about kids. this morning my colleague asked dr. anthony fauci about the possibility of having kids under the age of 12 be eligible at least for vaccines by the winter, right? take a listen to what he had to
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say. >> i think there is a reasonable chance that that will be the case. what's going on right now is that companies both pfizer and moderna at least two of them as well as working with the nih are working very hard to get data on both the safety, the correct dose as well as the predictability that these vaccines will be effective. >> so how reasonable is that time line in your opinion? this idea of having kids under 12 be eligible for vaccines by the time we get to christmas? >> you know, as a parent of two children under age 12, i know that i am certainly holding my breath that is the case. as i know many other parents are. part of the longer time line that emerged is that the fda required longer follow up data in children than they did for adults. so they required follow up data of four to seven months which i have heard is pending to come
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sometime during the fall. after which time the fda will review the data and make a decision about granting emergency use authorization for younger children. part of the reason for the additional scrutiny has to do with the population and the very many unique factors related to rapidly growing children and how the vaccine may affect them. but this is a really wonderful thing and a wonderful piece of news, particularly as we press to get back to normal, to be able to put children in school and activities and keep them there. >> you know, there was another interview that dr. fauci did where he sort of indicated that this pandemic is probably not going to be over or under control until spring of next year. do you have any concerns about that, about public fatigue surrounding the pandemic and people just sort of deciding pandemic, you know, i know there is a very specific definition and public health circles for
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the word pandemic. do you think people are going to be over it and say, you know, i'm ending the pandemic for myself before we get to the spring of next year? >> you know, i have a great concern that is going to be the case. you know, we have hit pandemic fatigue. we have, you know, led individuals to become frustrated both by our ability to open up and followed by our need to rapidly reclose. i think you're very right. there is a very real risk that people will get tired. already we're seeing lack of sympathy coming from individuals who are suffering some of the covid 19 symptoms and hospitalizations and death particularly those who chose not to vaccinate. so i think collectively as a society we are running into a point where people are tired and ready to move on. however, we have to act collectively to make a decision
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to move on. we can only do that if people vaccinate and adhere to public health mitigation strategies so we can return to normal. holding out hope for april means that between now -- spring of next year means that between now and then we need to make a commitment to remain vigilant for this much much longer. >> it's an and for all the things that we know can help the situation. mercedes, we appreciate your time today. thank you. >> thank you very much. >> an investigation is underway into disturbing allegations that native-american boarding school. coming up, we'll hear from surviveors say they suffered extreme abuse. you're watching msnbc reports. p. . the journey is why they ride. when the road is all you need, there is no destination. uh, i-i'm actually just going to get an iced coffee. well, she may have a destination this one time, but usually --
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house press briefing to start any second now. of course, we're going to be waiting for remarks from president biden as well at 4:30 today. we'll bring you any news that comes out of the press briefing to day as it happens. >> we turn now to our special series the vanished. for more than 150 years, the u.s. government sought to assimilate native-american children as the country expanded into their land. hundreds of government funded boreding schools were set up all over the country. there tribes were separated, native-american traditions were erased and survivors of those schools say they were physically, emotionally and sexually abused. i know you spoke with some of the survivors, folks who were in some of these. one of the longest running boarding schools of its kind. what do they tell you about their experiences? >> that's right. so this was a boarding school in northern michigan in the area called harbor springs. what i learned from tribal
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leaders and members there and from survivors who are still living after experiencing years in that school system, is that survivors have been trying to tell the stories for decades. and they experienced extreme physical abuse, mental abuse and even sexual abuse in the school there run by the catholic church. and although they tried to raise voices and talk about this only now, do they feel with the new investigation laws by the federal government that people are listening to them. take a look at what we learned. when this woman steps foot on what was once holy childhood of jesus boarding school, painful memories come flooding back. >> everything that was native-american, they tried to destroy it. >> she was one of thousands of native-american kids, many of them children sent to this catholic boarding school between 1829 and 1983. students couldn't speak their language or hold on to their traditions. >> every time they beat me up, it got harder to learn. she would take my -- grab me by
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my hair and use me for an eraser, drag me back and forth across the blackboard until she erased the numbers. >> in the 19th and 20th centuries, the united states funded more than 350 boarding schools, the goal of assimilating and separating the tribes. holy childhood is one of the longest running. they describe themselves as survivors of physical and sexual abuse. then a terrifying discovery. more than 1,000 bodies found in mass graves at similar schools in canada. in june the u.s. government announced a national investigation. this is the archaeologist. he is uncover school records and artifacts for decades. >> this one, a 4-year-old. >> to what extent do you think the federal government was successful in the mission? >> it was successful. in that many of us don't speak our native language. but in a sense they're not successful because i'm striving to learn.
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that the elements of us are still out there. the language and the customs, traditions. >> holy childhood has not responded to requests for comment. fred is marine corps veteran and he says memories from holy childhood still haunt hum. getting locked in a freezing closet, a nun forced him to eat vomit in front of his brother. >> that was 55, 57 years ago. and i can remember the expressions, his tone, and how small i felt. >> survivors say the first step of healing is acknowledgement. >> what do you think we're going to find out in this investigation? the federal investigation? >> i would hope that they find the truth. but you got to admit that it happened and that's where i you this people are so afraid of. because it tarnishes them. it tarnishes a religion. it tarnishes their town. their school, whatever. but it shouldn't be that way.
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>> you can see how much these experiences have stuck with survivors and what they tell me is that they have been able to find healing and hope by creating community, by archiving and collecting all of these records and making sure that within their tribes, within their communities people never forget and that the u.s. now enters this reckonning. and answers for what happened to thousands of children. >> so important to be able to tell the stories to collect that history and for the rest of us to hear the stories and to know what happened and to do our part to make sure it doesn't happen agai we appreciate. this thank you. >> thank you. >> almost 60,000 people have been evacuated from afghanistan and thousands are still scrambling to get out. coming up, we'll talk to a gold star wife and get her reaction to the situation on the ground. you're watching msnbc reports. you're watching msnbc reports. new dove men, plant based body wash is different. with plant based cleansers. and moisturizers
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facing leaks takes strength. so here's to the strong, who trust in our performance and comfortable long-lasting protection. because your strength is supported by ours. depend. the only thing stronger than us, is you. with president biden expected to announce he'll not extend the august 31st deadline to withdraw all u.s. troops from afghanistan, thousands of april ganz will only have a few more days to evacuate before the u.s. leaves. the u.s. helped evacuate 59,000 people out of kabul with more than 21,000 taken out on monday. joining me now from ramstein air base in germany is our nbc news correspondent. he's been on the ground there for several days now.
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matt, i know flights carrying afghan and u.s. evacuees have been landing there at ramstein for a couple of days here. set the scene for us. what is the latest that you've been able to observe. >> this is one of several bottle necks in this entire process. it's a logistical nightmare. lots of people are staying here and they have to get processed in ways they're not normally processed like they are in qatar which is between kabul and here in germany. what we're hearing and give you a sense of that bottle neck, aaron, we're hearing about 36 to 39 flights so far the last couple of days have landed here at ramstein air base. that's only a couple miles from where i'm standing right now. only four have taken off and gone on to the united states or other third country locations.
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they're all being held up by bureaucracy. even though some of them are u.s. passport holders or green card holders, they're not able to just move on to their next destination. so we were able to walk around inside ramstein air base and, you know, the accommodations, they are not terrible. they're certainly not nearly as bad as the situation at kabul airport. they're better than what is going on in doja, there is also a very bad situation. but at the same time, there is just no information. and that is what the afghan evacuees hear in ramstein are really desperate for. aaron? >> matt bradley for us in germany today. matt, thank you for your reporting. let's head back to the white house now. the press briefing is underway. here is jen psaki. >> the third, of course, is ensuring that we have contingency should they be needed. i think those are pretty
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important caveats in the reporting. >> if do you have a suggested time line, how long you are talking about? >> i'm not going to get ahead of any contingency plans drawn up by the defense department. the president has been meeting and being -- attended anddepart. the president has attended and participated in briefings with his national security team. >> when do you need to start pulling troops out of the kabul airport to meet the august 31 target? >> it's a great question, steve. i just don't want to get under operational details but there will have to be time in advance of the 31st or time in advance of whatever the date is in order to do that but they can give you the operational details. go ahead. >> so does that mean that the evacuations will stop before the actual 31st so there is time to get the troops and their machinery and weaponry out of there?
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>> that would be correct, yes, that there would be time to wind down their presence. the purpose of the statement is to provide additional context of what the president conveyed to the g-7 which includes a number of key components as he assesses day by day, which includes the threat of isis, which is of great concern to the president given the threat it poses to our military serving proudly and bravely on the ground. it also includes the essential aspect of having the taliban's coordination continue over the coming days so we can facilitate as many people as we've been getting out. >> from what i read from this statement he has not ruled out extending the deadline, is that right? >> he asked for contingency plans but believes we'll be on track to continue our mission. >> does this mean if he does stand by this august 31st deadline, every single u.s. troop will be out of afghanistan by august 31st. >> again, i will leave it to the department of defense to get into operational details.
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as you know and as i've noted, he is meeting with his national security team every single day, often more than once a day to continue to discuss. as i noted also in this statement, he's asked for contingency plans. >> just to follow up, are you saying despite this threat by the taliban to stop afghans from boarding planes, you're not seeing any slowdown in afghans being able to get to the airport if they need to? >> i'm conveying that what we have articulated is that afghans -- there are millions of afghans, as we know, who want to leave the country or a large number of afghans who want to leave the country. i think that's safe to say. what i'm talking about is the individuals we have prioritized, those who have fought alongside us who are eligible for special immigrant visas. otherwise we are facilitating their departure and our expectation is that they will be able to reach the airport. >> i'm just trying to figure out if the taliban has made good on this threat yet. it sounds like you're saying they haven't. >> i don't have an update on
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that. i'm just conveying what our expectation is and what we are continuing to communicate directly. >> the cia director now is the chief negotiatener kabul? how long does he plan to stay there? >> i refer you to the cia on any specific questions about his location or specific role. go ahead. >> for a little clarity because minutes and hours matter here, when we talk about august 31st, is the understanding between the u.s. and the taliban that that ends at midnight at the end of august 31st afghan time, american time, is it the end of the 31st when exactly is the deadline as it currently exists. >> that's really a great question and i want to give you a clear and articulate answer from the team on the ground so i'll have to get back to you on that. >> i know that you will continue to do this actively. there's going to be time needed to get out the american troops and others who are helping for
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facilitate this process. what is the last call for americans to come to the airport in kabul? >> we are in touch with americans directly and i can give you an overall assessment of where we stand with that if that's helpful as well but i'm not going to give you more of an articulation of that from here. >> are there any active threats? you talked about the threat posed by isis-k but are there any active threats to kabul right now? >> i'm not going to give you an intelligence assessment but we have increasing concerns about the threats and that is part of the president's decision-making. >> is there any concern that trying to reach this deadline and get everybody out, mistakes are being made now that there is a report that at least one of the afghans evacuated to qatar has suspected isis ties? >> well, first i would say we have a stringent vetting process which includes background checks before any individual comes to the united states. so i can't speak to one individual. but i can tell you and confirm for you that we take the vetting of any individual who comes to
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the united states and comes out incredibly seriously. it's an extensive process. i would say that this is now on track, peter, to be the largest airlift in u.s. history so -- and that is bringing american citizens out, it is bringing our afghan partners out, it is bringing allies out. so no, i would not say that is anything but a success. >> i know that you said yesterday it's irresponsible to say that americans are stranded in afghanistan right now. what do you say to the american citizens in kabul that i spoke to this morning, she is going by fatima, she said we are stranded at home. for four days, three days we didn't hear anything from anywhere and we're not being given clear guidance. our emails are getting ignored. >> why don't i convey what we are doing and i think i also said in the full context of my answer which i put out today is that we are committed to bringing americans home who want to leave and that is the
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president's commitment. so let me explain to you how our process works and there have been some questions including from you and from others about this. one, as we've said, this is a dynamic number. we're working hour by hour to refine and make it precise. i understand your desire and interest in having exact number of american citizens on the ground and the state department i expect will have an exact update on that tomorrow. just to remind you, the u.s. government does not track our citizens when they travel around the world. we rely on self-reporting. not just in afghanistan, anywhere in the world. people have to decide to register or not. it's up to them. individuals, whether they decide to register or not wherever they may be. and if you register when you're in a country like afghanistan, you aren't required to deregister. the state department issues alerts. they have phone number, email if you're in afghanistan and want assistance to leave. for months the department has been telling americans to leave afghanistan for their own safety. it is our responsibility and our role to work with and help
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american citizens who want to leave. let me finish, i'm almost done and then you can ask a follow-up question. in recent days, they have reached out to every american citizen registered in afghanistan directly multiple times. this is a 24/7 operation. embassies all over the world are supporting phone banking, text banking and email efforts. if we are not in touch with this individual give me their contact information. if any of you are hearing from american citizens, give me their contact information and we'll get in contact with them. our estimate of the overall number of american citizens who are there can increase because folks are just now responding to our outreach who may not have registered. it can also decrease because people leave, they don't tell us they leave or individuals who may reach out and convey they have the documentation needed don't. so there are a range of factors here and it's our responsibility to give you accurate information. that's what our focus is on. >> you're saying no americans is stranded. this is someone in kabul who
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says i am stranded. is there a better word for somebody who can't leave the house to get to the airport because jake sullivan says isis is outside the airport? >> i would welcome you providing their phone number and we will reach out to them today. >> the final question, if the taliban said that staying past the 31st was going to provoke a reaction and then president biden decides, okay, we won't stay. do they have the same kind of influence over military planning as the commander in chief? >> well, first of all, peter, the taliban's deadline was may 1st struck on a deal with the prior administration. the president's timeline was august 31st. that's the timeline he set. a period of time he needed in order to operationalize our departure from afghanistan. i'd also note that as i said and we conveyed in the statement that our objective and our focus and the focus of the commander in chief is always going to be on the safety and security of the men and women who are serving our country and the military.
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that has to be a factor here and that certainly is a factor for him as he thinks about the timeline. go ahead. >> can president biden assure that afghan allies that helped the military be able to get out? will he extend the deadline to help those people get out? >> i will say that we will certainly have additional folks eligible to come to the united states after august 31st that we will help relocate. but i would also note that we have now evacuated 58,700 people in the last nine days and we are continuing to be in direct contact with eligible special immigrant visa applicants, of course with american citizens and with individuals who we are working to facilitate their departure. so our focus is on getting the job done by august 31st and that's what we're doing day to day at this point. >> that's press secretary jen psaki continuing to take questions. our nbc news white house team still there asking questions. they will be reporting out information through the evening.
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that wraps it up for me this hour. i'll see you tomorrow on nbc news now starting at noon eastern and right back here at 3:00 p.m. eastern. "deadline white house" starts right now. hi, everyone, it is 4:00 in the east. i'm alicia menendez in for nicolle wallace. the mission in afghanistan now a race against the clock. at least 21,000 people have been flown out in the past 24 hours. that's more than at any point in the mission. in total, 58,700 americans and afghans have been evacuated since august 14th. this hour the president will announce that the united states is sticking to its deadline of withdrawing all forces from afghanistan by august 31st. we're going to bring you his remarks live when they happen. one official telling nbc news that the situation is fluid and things could still change. quote,


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