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tv   The Beat With Ari Melber  MSNBC  August 26, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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can't operate in the same way and the afghans they worked with is not assessable. and now to try to find the people responsible for this attack or future attacks is a much more different position. >> to our viewers just as i took the baton from alicia mendez, i am going to pass it to ari melber. we thank our guests, peter baker and greg mire. we'll be going live to jen psaki as the president departures from the east room heading back to the oval office. jen psaki will take many, many questions, the press corp will have for her. with that, our forecast with ari
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melber. >> thank you, we are giving you this continuous coverage on a difficult day in afghanistan as brian williams just mentioned we are here awaiting this briefing from the white house's press secretary. many questions there. you can see reporters already getting into position. we'll bring it to you live. here is the latest on what we know tonight. two suicidal bombers detonated themselves in kabul. the death toll is high. 12 u.s. service members and 15 other americans wounded according to the information we have at this hour. many afghans were killed but based on a security situation, we don't have an exact number on that at this moment. the first explosion was outside the airport in kabul and followed a gunman opening fire by civilians and military targets. isis claimed responsibility. thousands of people had been gathering in these areas so it was well-known on the ground
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about these points and many people were seeking any type of evacuation, getting any flight out of the country. the second blast was walking distance from this airport that also is becoming a key gathering place for evacuees. now, the president just spoke out in emotional terms and dark. here ace little bit of what the president just said. >> for those who carried out this adak, as well as anyone who wishes america harm, know this. we'll not forgive. we'll not forget. we'll hunt you down and make you pay. >> the president making his view on this clear and really trying to cover two basis as brian was covering in that address because president biden was honoring the
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heroes who just died trying to saver other people's lives while also standing resolute on his withdrawal policy. this danger and death is part of at least the possible risk equation of the united states under taken. the hospitals in kabul reported 60 people injured. including children. the reporting here had been fluent in what has been a terrible situation on the ground. >> the pentagon referred to this as a complex attack. they do believe it is carried out by isis. something the president also mentioned his remarks. officials are working on a full attribution. i say continue the evacuation mission, august 31st, self-imposed deadline is closing in. we bring in our experts now. ash carter as well as our long time correspondent, katty kay.
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>> excuse me, i would say mr. jacobson, your view of what it means this is a security situation on the ground zz what if anything you make of the president's remark tonight saying? >> thank you, ari. what's happening is a complicated situation and getting everyone more complicated. with the president's pot si that we are going to be do this evacuation and be out july 31st. you have to balance security. with the need to bring in thousands more afghans who served tide by side with american troops and literally sitting outside the gates now awaiting to get in and they have have not yet. i am concerned that the taliban had been slowing their process down. we still have american passport
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holder on the ground. i don't see how we do this for the 31st. the dilemma for the president is this. if he's going to be committed of getting americans out, or afghan out who served with us and he promised they would have a home in america. they're going to have to be an ex technician or we'll have to change the way with do things down there. we can't have days where humanitarian charter flights going out empty. we can't have situations where american families are split up. they have to come home and come home. there was a bit of false choice i think he presented by saying, if american citizens that they are going to stay back because their family can't come and they're somebody that chose to stay. that's not right. >> and katty, i want to draw a little attention of what the
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president just laid out. it was a tough time to address the nation. we are waiting for the briefing from the white house when it happens. president biden talked about getting others out of harm's way. >> these american service members who gave us our lives. they the most capable and most selfless military on the face of the earth. they are the backbone of america. >> katty, your view of what we heard from the president? >> i mean in that respect, the president is speaking from personal experience. he mentioned his son who served in iraq and how he has that capacity as the father of a u.s. service member to empathize in a
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way that many presidents have not with the famiies of those service members died tragically. the president and as mark point out, facing a real dilemma. do you carry onto try to get people out? >> given the security situation, the country looked very precarious. >> he referred to those nationals. his understanding was what he was implying is that most americans do not leave because they don't want to leave. >> they are choosing to stay. >> katty, i am going to interject. let's listen to the white house's briefing. >> the united states flag will be flown at half staff at the white house and on all public
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buildings and grounds, and all military post and stations and the district of columbia and throughout the united states. possession until sunset, 2021. in in order of the senseless act of violence in afghanistan. >> if the president says getting every single person out -- >> was he lowering expectations for smaller population that's trying to get out is still there? >> that was not his intention. he was conveying as that at a time where the taliban is taking over the country, certainly not auer preference as you all noel. it is not going to be possible for every single afghan,
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millions potentially who wants to leave afghanistan to be evacuated. you also heard the president made clear. there is not an end to our commitment and getting american citizens out. who are not right to leave and get partners out and those served alongside the united states the last 20 years. >> the taliban. they are in charge of the suicide bombers. why is the taliban responsible for what happened today? >> general milley addressed this. he made clear. i think it is important to repeat. we don't have any information at this point of time. >> obviously what happened today
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and the loss of lives of service members that afghan is a tragedy and horrific, but, again we don't have any different add assessment at this time. >> go ahead. >> just a few things. >> you talked about the mission to get people out after the 21st. is it still the plan to get all u.s. forces out by august 31st. nothing has change in that timeline. did the ps see this coming from? >> i think what you have seen the president says and many members of our military and national security say. and that we have had increaing
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concern about that threat. this has been a concern we have been watching. we saw the tragic event happening today. >> what does today intact say the u.s. ability to -- this is something he talked about it over the lie when he reiterate the the plan. >> i think it is important question. the threat that's posed to have thousands of military still on the ground, implementing a commission as you heard general mckenzie and the president also say that's a threat. that i are a target. people gathering around the airport. that's a threat. isis' ability to target individuals on are on the ground in. we'll maintain and helicopter over the horizon capacity with present and partnership with
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country in the region to done sure that they don't develop that. >> i certainly the president will do everything he can to honor the sacrifice or the service of the lives loss today. you didn't didn't ask this question, let me provide you an update, someone asked about whether he called the family members. >> fwor those of you who are watching at home, the process would first go through the ben ben -- the president would not make a call because that's the first step in the process. >> in terms of difficult staps, he would consider.
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>> general mckenny describes this as pun of the explosions happening at a point someone had been searched fie the taliban. how is united states still going to work but the taliban, the high the president is zriebing to get american citizen after zban allies out. >> i am not trying to sugar coat what we think of the taliban. >> they're not as group of people who we trust. >> ast we have been able to evacuate more than 140,000 people. that order nation is necessary in order to continue our vak vaccination meters. >> the questions of others on what they know or their hol it.
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this is no assessment at this time. if that changes, i will let you know. >> i think there is going to be rehighable partner that are 12, this is not about yus, this is in the we lying on the taliban as in equal partner. because they control large s.w.a.t. of the country including a lot of the security, we'll have to coop date with
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thm. >> a now that relates to correlation to continue to get. >> explosions happening throughout the afternoon. some reporting that this is beginning after a process of the u.s. military getting industried on the equipment chl. >> i would refer to the pesk stets soft their bray process. >> in terms o f what we heard from the president and the president articulated which is his competence. having troops o the groupd at this point, wow dan that we the workplace given what we saw today. does it call for addition kneel true lefrl we need to put ren forcement to the ground.
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>> what are the concern sns. >> there is not ongoing threat. >> everyday thoops are on the ground is brief. >> this were attacks that we had intelligence in terms of over the last several days of our rising concerns. i will tell you as it relates to your first question. i have been sitting in these meetings as well. >> every single president, the president ask ed the pentagon everything. do you need troops or presources. >> he asksed them that had tord as to relate completing their mission and doing after the terrorists who killed service. >> was there a point that the president is reconsidering this
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and having the force on military 3rd. >> they continued to believe it is essential to take troops by january 3 railroad. >> the best way to do it is stay on this timeline. >> do the white house those -- i don't expect the department of defense will do that either. we'll let you know as we have twice a day and alternative numbers. >> one more question. >> how to get these people to the airport and potentially at the all have the windows lifted. >> there are military on the ground have been utilizing over
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the course of seven-day forecast. i am not going to layout it here, that's whee they are in kuch touch with american citizens and get them to evacuate at the hospital time. >> is it your opinion that the president has the authority he needs from congress or whether ever else to continue operations beyond the 31st? he kind of talked about pursing isis-k. is there any ex peck police station? i don't believe. >> what about organizations around? >> do they need to come back? >> ass the president jst said a little while ago. the president could not have
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been so o clear that we'll not fert and hunt down these paris. >> he's asking them to draw a plan. whatever he needs on the flan. >> is it possible to do that with no phone services. >> srevor. i am not going to outline what their approach b.b. for the military. i will leave it for them to stake. >> you mentioned here about the paris threat, each day of our operations bring added risks to our troops. >> if the risk grows tomorrow. and keep growing the next guy. >> how should americans feel about the operation continuing right now. >> i would say first, you heard general mckenzie conveyed
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clearly that we had every attention continuing this evacuation mission over the coming days. they plan for incidents of these kind. to the diarrhea they can. they have every attention to continue. the president has regular confrontation. >> multiple times a day on days like this about how they knee the circumstance on the ground. >> thst our expectations. it will bont in the coming days. >> can you give us details of how -- >> walk us through what he did over the coming hours behind the scene today. >> sure. for people who are watch, color means additional details of what he was up to. i will say that the initial reports of the attacks came in as members of his national security team were gathering in the situation room for a
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regular meeting with the president. those gathered in the room, those initial reports came in at that time. as the president arrived in the situation room, one of the first updates was of course about the attacks on the ground, kabul. this was a developing situation as it happens throughout the day. his commanders on the ground also and in the region gave regular updates as they learn more information. once he left the situation room, those updates proceeded threw through the course of the day. herself been in contact of his secretary of defense and agents and we are seeking what happens throughout the day. >> this was regular ongoing contact with his regular team
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through the course of the day. >> how was he, dealing with the in coming information and how was he asking questions to the military members? >> i would say everyone who watched the president up close and most of you knows that the putting the lives of servicemen and women at risk and those decisions that you have to make as commander of chief weighs heavily on him. any day where you lose service members is maybe the worse day of your presidency and hopefully not more. we are early in his presidency. he was somber and as he said today outraged. these terrorists taking the lives of service members. he wanted to make clear to the public. he wanted to have all the information that he could before he spoke to the american people so he can convey exactly what we
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knew at the point where we are addressing the public. he wants detailed updates of what we know of what is happening on the ground. that's why he's been in contact members of the national security team. >> jen, can you confirm your report that now it is 13 u.s. service member haves died. >> i will leave it with department of defense to confirm casualties. >> we heard from general mckenzie talking about this extremely threat, how would you sum up of the level of confidence, there will be another attack of this before the completion of this evacuation. >> i can't give you that assessment. as i think our members of national security team have said, these are ongoing threats. i can give you that assessment from here. go ahead. >> the u.s. and coalition
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flights of this attack has slowed some of the coalition party and other countries are out. >> fewer americans and allies are going to get out because of this attack? >> it is a good question, josh. >> one of the reasons we put out the numbers twice a day because we want you to have an understanding how many people gotten out. those include members from coalition partners and we are working now and this is one of the piece the president is working on as getting people out onto these plans as possible. but, i don't want to give you a prediction because our u.s. military is incredible and they are working even while they are facing security threats to security the evacuation mission. >> can americans go or should
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americans go? are they getting through check points through the airport. what's the situation? >> we are given specific directions to individuals. when they should come to the airport and where they should meet. we are not going to detail it here or any public manner. pay attention to security alerts and contacts receiving from us or our coalition partners. >> there had been warnings of this. specific indications of this being planned -- >> i am not going to get into specific intelligence and i will tell you and reconfirm that the threat is ongoing.
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>> thank you, jen. how do you add war of afghanistan if the united states is still continuing to attack isis. >> this is a specific case today where twelve individual service members and 15 were wounded today. certainly i would expect any president of the united states would be clear that he'll avenge those deaths and the acts of terrorists. i don't think that came as a surprise to anyone. the president stands by as he outlined to all of you in the last hour, his commitment to put an end to this war. what we are talking about here is avenging these deaths from terrorists. we are not talking about sending tens of thousands of troops back to an endless war that we have been fighting the past 20 years. >> when the obama administration
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bringing in syrian refugees, there was a lot of push back from various states. about refugees coming into their community, how do you see that situation this time around? is this going to be different? are you anticipating those saying those kind of push backs and hard feelings? >> we'll see. but, i will tell you that what we have been working to do is to work closely with governors with localiies and local leaders to give them detailed briefings on what are vetting process looks like and what the background checks process looks like before any individuals coming into the united states. that's a background check process before they are allowed to come into u.s. soils. there are some people in this country and some in congress who may not want to have people in another country, that's a reality. we can't stop or prevent that on our own.
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we are going to continue to communicate intensive vetting process and we have been working hard to do that behind the scene and convey clearly this is part of who we are and part of the fabric of the united states and not back away from that. >> there is americans detained by the taliban, i am wondering if the administration have that information to release him as a priority? >> we raise his case in every opportunity but i don't have any update on that case. >> you said there is a threat of the remaining days that u.s. troops are in kabul. are there additional precautions to protect the troops? >> i don't think i am going to get into operational details of what's happening on the ground. there are steps taken to protect our troops who are leading the
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efforts on the ground. >> just last week, the president have -- was this an attack? was our forces targeted? was our operation interrupted? would this qualify as a swift and forceful response? >> i think the president addressed that when he says he'll not forgive and he'll hunt you down. he was referring to the attack of terrorist from isis-k. i don't think he could have been more clear. >> go ahead. >> at least 67 house democrats have signed onto a letter asking the president to raise the refugee gap in fiscal year 2022 to at least to 200,000.
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i think you are looking at 125,000 right now. is that something that the white house is willing to accept? >> i have not talked to the president about this specific question. we are trying to do is getting our muscles working again both in our system and the incredible refugee groups that are working on welcoming refugees from around the country and working on getting our vetting process and systems around the world that needs to be in good shape in order to welcome refugees to get as many as we can. i have not had a conversation with him about raising the cap beyond the 125. go ahead eli. >> i wonder if the administration knows how many of the american citizens that are still in the country or outside of kabul or if there had been and maybe in the future efforts
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rescuing those people? >> yes on your latter question. on your former question, the vast majority are within the kabul vicinity. the state department provided an update a little earlier today but i know there is been a lot happening today. let me reiterate a couple of these numbers. of the 1500 they briefed on yesterday, roughly 500 have been evacuated. we are talking additional thousand remaining in afghanistan. over two-thirds informed us they are taking steps to leave and we are in touch with. that's what we are working through and focused on every single day. >> you said those missions even if you have to be vague about it, they have taken place in time. >> i am going to convey and leave it to the department of defense. we are committed to getting american citizens home and out of afghanistan, should they want
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to leave. that includes people around the country. >> thank you, jen. >> general mckenzie says they are focusing on other active threats there on the ground. are threats the u.s. is facing are from isis and there are groups of bad actors? >> i am not going to detail ongoing information of live threats. >> do we know the president still feel as though the chaos and the violence we see on the ground or kabul was unavoidable, even at this point? >> you mean from 11 days ago? >> well, i would say i have spoken about this a few times. if we go back to 11 days ago, we certainly didn't anticipate the leadership, the afghan government would leave in the
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manner and the timeline they did or the afghan national security forces seize to protect the airport and parts of kabul. that's not what is we anticipated inside that timeline. that's true on what i will say and reiterate again. we had secured the airport and since then we evacuated more than 124,000 people. >> how do you describe the relationship with the taliban with the attack, are they still helping out? what's their relationship right now? >> this is not friendship or a relationship that's based on trust. we continue to coordinate to move american citizens and partners and allies out. the fact that we evacuated 7,000 people the last 12 or 13 hours now is everyday. two republican senators have called on the president to resign over the attacks in
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afghanistan. what's your response for that? >> this is a day of 12 service members lost their lives in the hands of terrorists. it is not as day for politics. we would sect any americans whether they are elected or not would stand with us and our commitment going after fighting and honoring the memory of service members. >> thank you. >> yesterday when i was levering the white house, i spoke to a group at men at the white house gate. who said they were service members here in america. they had their photos on postteres, they are seeking help for their families. >> they are currently in the military but they are not people who fit the description for the criteria for getting assistance.
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however, in our interview, they told me they are getting assistance. can you speak to this prioritization. can you discover down a little bit to make sure people know who are allowed in this country. >> i am not sure if i understand your question. let me do my best. >> they serve here in our country, they're from afghanistan and they have family members there. they said they went to the state department and the state department was helping them get their family members and they wanted to get attention so that others in their situation could get the members going. i am just asking you to clarify. >> are you concerned that we are helping the family members of people who are flocking by our
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sides for 20 years. >> what's the root of your question? >> the root of my question is consistent information for those who need help? >> i have been doing some reporting around people getting correct information about the process so i want to b be able to say in my reporting, if you need this qualification, you are the folks that can come in >> i think we can clear it out. u.s. citizens and family members. some of them may have lived their whole life until afghanistan. >> the immediate family members, that means spouses and children. it also means others who are eligible for a range of programs that we have. >> already a lot of people who are vulnerable in photography stan, we are going to work as many of people at it as we can. >> information is available on
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the state viable. thank you. >> over 656 democrats in congress are calling on biden to raise cap to 200,000. >> i think i just answered this question. >> the president cited isis-k, he was trying to get everyone evacuated by august 31st. why the administration made the decision in late july to not do more of it on early evacuation. >> first, i would say we had over the course of the course 11 days evacuated more than 100,000 people. that's a credit to the u.s. military and the men and women who are serving and done it at great risk. that was an operation that began again just two weeks ago. before that time we also evacuated a number of people.
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i can't speak to what the difference of the isis threat would have been but it is obviously increasing overtime as we have spoken quite publicly about. >> despite the lack of truth and trust that you and the president and everyone is highlighting. >> give them that, after the 31st, could there be a longer term relationship on the mutual interests that the president talks about, security and financial aid -- >> well, i would say first that we will continue to work to get people out of afghanistan even after the 31st. we'll need to coordinate with
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the taliban in order to do that. i am not going to label that partnership or anything other than continuing coordination. we again believer we have a great deal of leverage in order to implement that commitment. >> on other issue, there is going to be security and terrorism. could you see this kind of mutual interests agenda continuing with that? >> i don't want to get ahead of where we are. we are committed to continue to deliver humanitarian assistance of the people of afghanistan. there are a range of our international partners who are committed to do the right thing. and i would just reiterate again. we would need to have continued
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coordination in order to get people out as we are planning to do after the 31st. >> i have two for you. the evacuation operation won't be wrapping up within 36 hours. they'll be evacuating as many people as they can. what is your mission defiing the end of the mission as, the 31st or once we evacuate everyone. >> the end of this mission, yes, the 31st. but our commitment to getting american citizens out, who may not be ready to depart continues. there is no dead line, the timeline i should say. i think he put out the tweet, john kirby is the pentagon's experience. that's not accurate. >> the president promised earlier that he'll continue to get any americans who wishes to get out of afghanistan even after the 31st.
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how is the administration going to ensure safe evacuation without troop president when -- >>over the last 11 days, we have evacuated people and including our afghans. our commitment does not end. we'll continue to get to every citizens. we'll need to continue to coordinate with the taliban in order to get people to the airport and out from the airport. those operational details and discussions are ongoing. as we have more to report, we'll provide that information. >> the president says we are going to get as many people out
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as we can. is he trying to prepare the american public for a sort of harsh reality that some americans may still be left on the ground there a few weeks? >> there are some americans who may not decided to leave by the 31st. that's possible. >> many of these americans will remain are duo citizens. they may have extented family members and others they want to bring it with them. our commitment to them does not end. we'll continue to work to get them out. his objective and laser focus is getting every american who wants to leave out now in the next few days. what's what our u.s. military is working to deliver on. >> we have been reaching out and in touch with every single americans who have reached out to us and we have contact for them via phone, e-mail and text.
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that'll continue. >> but, our focus right now is on getting every single american who wants to lever out in advance of the 31st. >> given you have the intelligence of the attack. what hope do you have, the decision to say it is potentially the wrong one is my first question. >> i would say general mckenzie spoke to this earlier today. our version of this question which is very good. >> what he conveyed clearly that there is commitment committed. despite the fact they are daily risks. diets --
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>> anything the national security team need, our military commander on the ground need to prevent these attacks and go after terrorists, they'll be granted but i am not going to get more details into that. >> you mentioned earlier there were other operations getting americans to the vehicle. what happened today? >> well, we are finding it impossible to get to the airport prior to the attack. now, it is presumably even more confusion as the house, how they are getting out. what do you say to them? >> we are in touch to many, many of them. >> we are giving them clear instructions. how they can get out and evacuated the country. we are also mindful and providing security threats when warranted as we did last night
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to prevent a large gathering. that's a greater attraction to terrorist threats. >> for individuals who are eligible for the program, others vulnerable afghan, we are continuing to work to get as many out as we can. >> we continue to work with our partners and allies to get them out. >> it seems like right now americans and afghan allies are facing two choices. either they stay where they have and risk being blown by isis. >> we are incorrect contact with every american citizens, we have contact information for. >> e-mail, phone, text, and what's up. we are working with each of them on an individual basis. that's the process i am not
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going to get into more details. >> it is go ahead all the way in the back. >> today i will have to check that for you. that's a great question. i am not sure if he has it today. >> he'll be meeting with the prime minister of israel tomorrow. thank you everyone. >> we have been listening to press secretary jen psaki. this was the bombing that killed 12 americans. our special coverage continues. this was a detailed briefing from the white house press secretary. katty kay and mark jacobson.
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>> viewers know her style. it is a somber day. what stood out to you in the message that she continued in the president's formal address on this horrific bombings. >> his relationship with the taliban, the moment in the short term up until the deadline of 31st of august and what happens to the relationship afterward sns. >> i think in a way that's the most interesting kind of analysis in terms of how do they use the taliban without trusting them to try to get people out now and then what kind of leverage do they have after august 31st, once american forces are withdrawn to carry onto try to get american citizens and american partners out. she said at one point they believe they have a lot of leverage over the taliban. she pointed to the taliban's desire of the aid commitment and the economic needs that the
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taliban had some 80% of the afghan budget comes from foreign aide. the economy is frozen at the moment since the taliban took over the country like organization. she pointed to the economic aspect of this. i think the interesting and complicated things, we are in this extraordinary position where the u.s. is relying on the taliban for full cooperation. >> the white house is keen to say we are not trusting them, they're not friends. we need that cooperation trying to get people out. >> mark, the president, he has one of the toughest day in the united states in the long run. >> if viewers haves not heard this, this is one of the deadliest days in afghanistan, period. >> the president also try to
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emphasize that in misview part of the danger he insists of the right policy and not something that'll change the policy. the public until the carnalities was clearly there. because there were new polling of disturbing images of the official withdrawal. whether that subject will change, we'll follow the evidence and debates throughout the country. let's listen to your reaction. we can and we must complete this mission and we will. we'll not detiered deter our te. >> three points of the evacuation. 100,000, that's really misleading. maybe about 10,000 or probably a little less. 10,000 americans and several
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thousand afghans. the he's of those numbers, every country has our citizens there. it is not americans. the air lift is not moving along as so again as i keep saying, that means you have to do something to dramatically change it. >> just to be clear on the data, you're arguing that the way they're pointing to that progress, you argue that's overinclusive. you've not suggesting the overall number itself is off. >> no, no. what they're doing is saying, well, since the department of defense provides security at the airport, we can take credit for all those people coming out. all right, yes, it's accurate technically but it's very misleading. i think what this is setting up. again, we've talked about this dilemma. how do you get everybody out if you can't change the flow of afghans coming in. maybe you move all the screening somewhere else. just get them on a plane. i've just been texting in the break here with a gentleman
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who's a high value. he and his family have been on kabul airfield for a day and a half and they're trying to figure out his immigration status. he's an siv. get him out of there and figure it out later. the other point i'd make -- >> you're running so fast i want to make sure we're digesting each point. that point you're making which is the intersection of the emergency physical security on the ground and some level of homeland security visa screening, et cetera, your point is that you could move that while protecting the u.s. homeland by having that process and checkpoint basically occur somewhere other than kabul. do you view that as a problem in the original military planning or something that was a biden administration policy choice? >> this is interagency planning. the military is told what the requirements are and they'll set it up. i think this is why a lot of people are going after the national security advisor. one place they could fix is by
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working with the u.n. and secretary general to start setting up with the taliban a humanitarian corridor. i hear from some people that the united nations has been quietly negotiating with the taliban to get this set up. that's going to be another way for people to get out even after the united states leaves. >> yeah. our two experts are going to stay with us but we'll bring into the conversation someone who can shed light on another piece of this we haven't gotten into as in depth this hour, evan kohlmann, he tracks a lot of this information including throughout the year when it might not make the headlines or the nightly news. i know our team has been speaking with you. just walk us through for viewers what people should understand about this isis subgroup. >> yeah, sure. i think a lot of people have been hearing this isis-k stuff and thinking it's a different group than isis. there is only one isis. isis-k is a name that we've come up with to refer to
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isis-affiliated fighters in afghanistan and pakistan. the group itself that claimed responsibility today was issued by isis main media unit. isis fighters in afghanistan don't have any way of releasing their own -- their own propaganda, their own messaging. they don't have the freedom to issue their own opinions. everything that they issue, everything that they say is issued through the main isis central media unit and main isis spokesman. so, you know, there isn't as much independence here as i think some people think. this is isis. this is the islamic state that did this, right? and i think it kind of brings us back to something, which is a bit sad, which is that this group, isis affiliated fighters in afghanistan, they were basically dead. two years ago they were dead. there was no attacks being committed by them. they were gone. all of a sudden in the past year and a half, two years, out of nowhere, they have come back and made a tremendous resurgence. and again, you were right, not
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everyone has been paying attention. but just in the past couple of months there have been some devastating bombings in afghanistan targeting buses, civilians. this wasn't the taliban. this was isis. they were deliberately murdering shiites. they're looking to create chaos. that's what they believe in. >> so when you talk about that being their objective, what does that mean for the remainder of this emergency mission when we just heard the president say they're going to try to get out by this deadline? what is your understanding based on the information you have of the threat assessment of this group going forward? >> well, look, they're not battlefield fighters. they're assassins. they're saboteurs. they're suicide bombers. that's what they do. in afghanistan, they don't carry out battlefield victories. so if you're asking is there a possibility these folks will carry out more suicide bombings, more attacks just like this? they will do whatever they can to disrupt this, to make the u.s. look bad, to make the taliban look bad.
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they will do whatever they need to do. it's very likely they will try to carry out more attacks, yes. >> and, mark, this is one of those evenings that matters to so many americans, including, of course, the families of what president biden dubbed the heroes who lost their lives in this attack. we're looking now 6:54 p.m. in washington at the flag of the united states there flying now lowered to half mast over the white house. given your service and your work on these issues, i'm curious if you want to tell us what this means. we've talked a lot about the news and the policy. i wonder if we could reflect for a moment with you on what this means to the military community and other americans around the country who are grieving today? >> it hurts. it hurts deeply. i think the president's remarks really reflected how much he's hurting personally as well. but also i think there's a point to be made that those who volunteer for service, whether they're in the u.s. military or don't forget there have been
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foreign service officers and u.s. aid officials who have been killed as well over in afghanistan. they do this because it's a calling, because they want to help the afghan people. that is why you're seeing the reaction of so many thousands of veterans who are saying, well, wait, hold on here. if you're going to pull out, got it, but you have to do it right and orderly. and don't leave the people who sacrificed for us, who protected us, who saved our lives. you can't leave them behind. and i think that says something about the dedication and the understanding of those who served in uniform and those who are front line civilians. >> evan, a similar question to you. again, the context in a time when america has been going through so many problems. we've had more death from the pandemic than from many wars combined and yet this is again why we talk about war tolls as we look at the flags half mast now for the first time tonight on one of what is now the deadliest days in this 20-year
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war for american casualties. evan. >> look, every action has a consequence. there are some people that thought that we could just withdraw from afghanistan and hiccup and everything would be totally fine and other people would have to pick up the pieces. this is a reminder that no matter what decisions we make, there are consequences. there are going to be issues with refugee flows in europe. there are going to be issues with terrorism. nothing comes without consequences. every decision we make has consequences. so, you know, simply withdrawing our troops without stabilizing the afghan government, this was going to happen. this was inevitable. you know, it's very sad to see this, but it was inevitable. >> katty, the same question to you. the president has spoken so much about losing his son. it's well known to the public. it's something that of course is a rare part of his biography that obviously transcends even the polarized environment we're in. it was striking to me that he
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was in that role again as i mentioned, because it's been a time of many deaths. in america, he's invoked that loss in the context of grieving families through the covid crisis and here he was doing it today through the brave men and women who serve in the military. >> yeah, he's the commander in chief and he's the griever in commander in chief for this country as well and he has that background that does give him that empathy, sadly. he mentioned his own son in that context today. this is a really, really hard day for american service members. this has been a very hard week. i think mark is exactly right. the calling that you are seeing amongst thousands of american veterans to do right by the people who helped them in afghanistan has been really striking over the last week or two. this is a mission that has ended and it has not ended in success for the united states or for the western allies, but there will be some sense of moral dignity for american service members if they know that everything is being done to get out those people who helped them.
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>> yeah. as several of our experts, including military experts have said tonight, it is part of what they do. they take these risks going in, they take these risks going out until the job is done and that was one thing the president emphasized in those somber remarks on a very tough time. i want to thank katty kay, mark jacobson and evan kohlmann. i want to thank you for spending the time with us here on "the beat." as mentioned, we've been covering what was a very deadly day in afghanistan. these two blasts in kabul taking the lives of 12 u.s. service members, injuring 15 more according to the latest counts we have and injuring essentially scores of other afghans. that number has been pinned somewhere north of 50. but as we emphasized in our reporting, the total afghan death count was not widely available. it's a story we'll continue to cover here on msnbc. that does it for "the beat with ari melber." our special coverage continues right now with "the reidout" with joy reid up next. good evening, joy.
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>> good evening, ari. this has been a really tough news day so thank you very much. we appreciate all of your coverage and we'll try to keep it going and make some sense of what's going on. thank you. all right, we begin "the reidout" with the two deadly explosions near the kabul airport. the pentagon confirmed 12 u.s. service members were killed and 15 wounded. these are the first u.s. casualties since the evacuations from afghanistan began in july. according to the taliban, at least 60 afghans, including children, were also killed and more than 65 were injured. one of the explosions occurred outside the airport at the southeastern abbey gate where thousands of people had been waiting to gain entry, hoping to get out from under the taliban's control following that attack. gunmen opened fire on civilians and military forces there. the second explosion was at the nearby baron hotel, a gathering point for many evacuees, including americans, before making their way to the airport. isis-k, a


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