tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN August 16, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
afghanistan falls under taliban control. we'll bring you the president's remarks, live. this is video we're about stto show you from cnn's team in kabul of american fighters outside the embassy. the embassy has been evacuated. the u.s. sending back in thousands of troops to defend the airport now in kabul as civilians have been flooding the runways desperate for a flight out. some people, even shasing and clinging to the side of a moving u.s. military plane as you can see here. we have this very disturbing video to show you. it appears to show an object, it's possibly a person, falling from the aircraft just after take off. you can hear people gasp in horror. cnn has not been able to confirm that anyone was still clinging to the aircraft when it took off. let's start with nick payton wal walsh. he is live for us in kabul. we heard from pentagon officials
say their plan is to evacuate a thousands people a day from that kabul airport. from what you have seen and the chaos, will that be possible? >> reporter: it's difficult to imagine how they could achieve a goal like that without some sort of cooperation from the taliban, oddly, and some kind of agreement the taliban will allow the very people who have been assisting the afghan government. we saw today utter chaos. i think it will be hard to pull that operation off. when they first announced the idea of bringing tens of thousands of people out of the country seeing farfetched even if the afghan government in control because of chaos befall operations like that. if you look at what's happening today which was hundreds of people trying to climb over walls, rush gates, do whatever they could just to get inside
the airport compound, these are people who don't have a ticket on a civilian airline. yet alone the promise of a u.s. military seat out of here. it have utterly startling. it was sort of the crowd control between the front gates where they were and the large numbers of people moving up airport road and pushing them back. firing shots in the air, using u.s. hum vees and ranger trucks that have been given the afghan security forces. the notion of some sort of ten of thousands strong ability to take people from the center of the city and probably most vulnerable people, afterall because they assisted the u.s. presence here and bring them through those taliban into this airport where there are hundreds of people steaming around. even tonight, i can still hear the crackle of gunfire and what
sounds the direction of the airport pretty consistently. not entirely clear what is going on. the idea of that operation is quite startling. i'm not ruling out a slim possibility but i'd have to say it will be miraculous they able to achieve something like that in the current conditions. >> nick, from here, from the u.s., from where i sit, it has just been shocking to so many people. every one from u.s. affairs analysts to just regular people that after 20 years of blood and treasure, of all the lives lost, of all the servicemen and women wounded, of all the money the u.s. dollars spent that this is how it ends after 20 years. is this turn of events as shocking on the ground in kabul. >> reporter: this is what happened because america wasn't paying attention. some of the biden administration officials were conscious of the
fact the afghan war in its 20th year was not many the fore front of pandemic america. this is something, most people, thought should come to an end at some point. what does that end look like? it's this. we're seeing an indictment of a huge disparity from what joe biden even a few days talking about, afghan security forces, over a trillion dollars spent. the talking points of two decades of american application here. the ways they convinced themselves that they can leave and the taliban wouldn't come back foueto power and those com tumbling down in a matter of ten days in ways i never imagined. in covering this war, we have seen fights for weeks over vil an -- villages. massive campaigns over fights for toups. most staggeringly here walk into
the capitol. we don't know the full picture. there haven't been massive clashes in the streets. walking around where their flags in the center of the city. things may change moving forward but it's staggering indictments of this is difficult words to say how deceitful much of america's statements about how well their campaign here have been going actually were. it fell apart so fast. the afghan army wasn't there. the things that had been promised afghan officials here didn't stick around and the afghan government, itself, didn't stick around. the president in the white house only recently. now we don't know where he is. he left without telling anybody. we've had a statement on facebook from him. the key plans of america's policy here have really evaporated. what's coming in its place is taliban who i imagine are slightly surprised about how
easy to get into kabul as been. alison. >> it's so helpful to have you on the ground giving us this information. we'll see what president biden says at this hour about i'm sure he would object to the words deceitful. clueless. a lack of intelligence. we'll see wahat he has to say about how this surprised so many people. thank you for your reporting. president biden just returned to the white house from camp david to address the nation and the world really on the situation in afghanistan. we'll bring you that speech live as soon as it happens. cnn jeremy diamond joins us from the white house. do we have any sense of what president biden will say? >> reporter: this will be the first time that we hear from president biden since the stun e stunning fall of kabul and amid these images of these hur riied evacuations from that city. people clinging to u.s. air force planes. what we can expect to hear is he
will outline the rationale for ending this nearly two decades long conflict, withdrawing american troops from there before this fall of kabul that we saw here. you can expect him to go into his decision making here, expressing as officials have told us in recent days that the president is not experiencing any second thoughts, any regrets about his decision here. the real question is whether or not president biden will address the failure here. the failure to anticipate the speed of this taliban advance fp failure to anticipate how quickly these afghan government forces who have been backed with billions of dollars in funding and training and equipment over these last 20 years by the united states. how quickly they crumbled. that's a missed calculation we have heard the national security adviser, tony blinken, they have acknowledged that.
they haven't knowledge acknowle whether this was a failure for president biden to heed the intelligence. we'll be looking at that from the president. something else i think we should expect to hear from the president is looking forward at what it means when the u.s. doesn't have a presence anymore in afghanistan. we heard a lot from president biden that the u.s. will maintain a counter terrorist presence. maintain the ability to go out and take out of potential threats. if the u.s. wasn't able to see how quickly the taliban were able to rush through all these provincial capitals and into kabul, how would the u.s. have the eyes and the intelligence to see any potential threats to the united states without any u.s. presence in that country? alison.
>> thank you. the big question is how did this go wrong so fast. what's the explanation for officials there? >> i think folks are really looking at the here and now in this moment. that's the focus in this building. there's a lot of energy. there's a lot of frustration over the fact they are scrambling over this. the other thing to know that is important is that you heard from a lot of officials that they are watching extremely closely for what the taliban is going to do now that they have assumed control of afghanistan. we heard from the u.s. ambassador to the u.n. saying that human rights need to be respected. saying that the civilian population needs to be safe. clearly, clearly speaking to the taliban.
we have also heard from white house officials saying that if anyone interferes with afghans who are trying to get to the airport safely to get out, there will be severe consequences. they are laying down clear language there. the question is what are they going to do about it and how will they know what's happening on the ground because our dip emp diplomats have left. our intelligence presence is no longer there. as we talk about the biden administration and how they carried this out, how they really failed in their process to do this. they will also be questions for this building for the diplomats about how diplomacy so failed here. the taliban has those
conversations with officials and they did exactly the opposite on the ground in afghanistan. they continued with their military offenses. as you see they came into control with no negotiated political settlement in sight. >> it may have taken the biden administration by surprise. for months, even years many people warned that afghan allies who risked their lives to help americans would be in mortal danger when u.s. forces packed up and headed home. among those forces are kirk johnson. kirk, why wasn't the biden administration and the u.s. and other administrations more prepared to get these people, our friends, out? >> you know i've struggled for years to come up with a nicer
answer to that question, but i think the honest truth is we used these people when we needed them and once we left, they're on their own. these people have risked their lives. they have lost limbs. they lost family members. they've had their kids abducted. they are directly in the cross hairs and yet the minute they've asked us for our help, what they are given is a piece of paper and their told to wait for years and maybe we'll give them a visa at some point. for decades now, the united states has been making promises to these people both in iraq and in afghanistan that you come forward and you help us, you risk your lives to help these 18-year-old marines from ohio who don't speak the language and we got your back. guess what, we don't. i think the president, i think president biden has just, you
know what, on the way over here i had all these thoughts about what i wanted to say and i'm almost speechless at this moment. i think the president made this calculation that the american public doesn't care about this war. doesn't care about the afghans who are being killed in our name and that once ccnn pulls the nes crews out that he won't suffer any political consequences. this is one of these issues that it should not be left to the public opinion polls. this is just a fundamental question of do we help those who helped us. do we deliver on the promise we made to them? you said at top of the hour the pentagon made a new promise they will air lift 1,000 out day. they have been making these promises for years. a month ago, biden made a promise we would bring tens of thousands out. here is my advice for the
president if he's doing any last second adjustments to his address. stop making promises that you're not going to keep. how are ke going to get thousands out when we don't have any bases anymore. when the airport is under siege. you can't land an airplane there. this is so appalling and it was so preventible. i say this as something who voted for the president and somebody who was withdrawing f from afghanistan. we didn't have to do this any way. we have got afghans desperately clinging to our c-17s trying to get out. as if that was the only choice that biden had. it's appalling. his advisers knew this was going to happen. the intelligence community knew this was going to happen. we all knew this was going to happen. the first people the taliban would go after is the afghans that risked their lives to help
us. what did we do with all of that intelligence and certainty and the visa programs that bipartisan members of congress have delivered over to decades to give visas to these people. what did we do? we just waved and we boarded our planes and we left. biden said this wasn't going to be saigon. it's worse. this is far worse. the difference between vietnam and afghanistan was vietnam was not a land locked country. the people with abandoned there got on boats and fled. the afghans who are now in the asass sins crosshairs have nowhere to go. they are looking for somebody to help them. what are they getting? nothing. they are getting more empty promises from this white house. >> kirk johnson, for someone feeling speechless, you make a compelling case. we'll see if president biden addresses all of that this hour when he comes up to speak. thanks so much for being here. >> thanks for having me.
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nation on the taliban takeover of afghanistan. it's the president's first big test as commander in chief and he'll have to explain why things have gone so horribly wrong, so fast there. the plan to get american civilians still in kabul to safety as well as our afghan allies. joining me now cnn political dir director. david was a senior adviser to president obama. great to see both of you. david, what will president biden say today? what can he say today? what does the nation and the world want to hear from him? >> well, i think he will have to address two key things. one, he's going to have to address the immediate. these pictures we're seeing on the screens, how did it get to this? both his national security adviser and his secretary of state have said that this all happened, the fall of the country, far more quickly than anybody anticipated. if that's true, why is that?
was there a failure in the intelligence that these images that you're seeing were not presented to the president as a potential option that may occur here. that's first and foremost he's going to have to deal with. secondly, i do think he's going to have to look upon the sweeping history of this moment. this has been a 20-yearlong conflict where blood and treasure have been committed to this by the american people. the families of service members who sacrificed their lives, the injured, anybody who served in this and their families deserve to hear from their commander in chief why the last 20 years were not for naught. looking at how it's concluding, you can understand how some may come to that conclusion. i think this is a big first, real commander in chief moment for joe biden here to step up to the plate and try to address the
american people on that front and at least on those two thing, i think it's critical we hear from him. >> ax, you were in the room during the obama administration, i know, when some of these conversations were happening with president obama, then vice president biden. vice president biden was never fan of this or not for a long time. he's wanted to get out earlier than right now. what were those conversations? sgla well, alison, yeah, i remember them very vividly back in 2009. the afghanistan policy drifted for seven years because the united states turned its attention to iraq and president obama was interested in refocusing that strategy and seeing through to an end game here. he put together a series of meetings in "the situation room." the military had a plan they proposed to surge 40,000 troops to afghanistan.
in a counter insurgency program that was meant to prop up civil society, prop of the government, train military personnel and police. biden was very skeptical then and he was very vocal in the meetings about it. he felt we went to afghanistan to route al qaeda and bring to justice the people that attacked us on anything else and we shouldn't engage in mission and get mired in something we could never get out of. he wanted to have smaller counter terrorism force. president obama did send 30,000 u.s. troops no afghanistan in exchange for a timetable for ratcheting down that engage here. here we are 12 years later and it's biden that's commander in chief who has to deal with the aftermath of all of that i think
he has to do two things in the speech. was it the right decision to wind down our engagement in afghanistan. in that sense, i think he will say he had very little choice. to stay there against what was going to be an assault from the taliban would have required sending thousands and thousands of troops back and to reengage in afghanistan. that's not what the american people want and it would raise the question about when does this ever end 20 years into it. i think he has a very colorful case there. you cannot defend the execution here. this has been a disaster and everybody, anybody with a beating heart watching these scenes of people desperately swarming the airport trying to get out ahead of the slaughter
that they anticipate from the taliban, you know it's heartbreaking. it is depressing and it's a failure. he needs to own that failure. he's the commander in chief. it's fine to say the afghans didn't fight. that's true we invest ed $90 billion or so in the army and the police there folded immediately. that is true. you can blame the trump administration. he's the commander in chief now. he can pblame intelligence too and it's a huge intelligence failure. in these moments, i think people respect president who is say this is on me. this was on my watch. this was a failure. we're going to learn from it. we're going to do everything we can in the coming weeks and -- days and weeks and months to made good to our partners who
helped us during these 20 years to escape the wrath of the taliban. i think that's what he needs to do. i don't know what he will do, but that's what i would advise him if i was there. >> if he does that, does that spare him whatever political price might be paid for this. this is an unpopular war. it's impossible know if there's a political price. what do you think the consequences for president biden are? >> as david was just saying, the long term political consequences of this, you know, the american people don't want to stay engaged forever in afghanistan. the ultimate policy of withdrawing from there, joe biden is on the side of the american people with that. in this moment, with the failure in the execution that david is talking about, that's provided a political opening, perhaps, for republicans. it gets wider if joe biden doesn't accept responsibility. if the advice that david was just giving is not heeded, then
joe biden risks a credibility gap with the american people because of everything he said leading up to this that these images, these very images would not be possible. would not happen in the scenario and clearly that was wrong. owning that and explaining that could help. keep credibility with the american people which is krushl not just in this moment but for whatever may come next when millions of americans may be in imminent danger for something. >> david, you talked about how heartbreaking it is to see the scenes and one of the things that joe biden is known for and i think prides himself on is empathy and the idea we're leaving, americans promised that things would be different for the afghan people and for women and girls and our afghan allies and now we're high tailing it out of there. >> yeah. i think that's something he has to address. he does have this amazing sense
of empathy, but it can't end at the waters edge. he does need to express his concern for these people. more than his concern, the things that he intends to do within what is believable to try and help now. i don't think it's nenough to sy we were there long enough and we got out. i think he needs to do something more. >> thank you both very much. we'll see what he says and look forward to your analysis. right now we want to go to kabul. we want to bring in clarissa ward live in kabul. she's been reporting from there and watching the taliban takeo takeover. what are you looking to hear from president bide n in a few minutes? >> reporter: the question is what do people on the ground
expect. people want answers. they want to understand why this withdrawal was done in such a hastty and chaotic way. they want know what will be done to help the tens of thousands of people who have worked closely with the u.s. military, who have worked closely with the u.s. embassy, worked closely with journalistic organizations like our own, who have worked closely with american and european ngos. there's a lot of anger and resentment here from people who did work with the u.s. they felt the execution of this withdrawal was handled so poorly. they plooef that the u.s. team were hoodwinked by the taliban. they they were not able to extract real meaningful concessions from the taliban
side. it's a much more complex picture and it remains to be seen what leverage the u.s. has in talks and the afghan government plays a role in all of this as well. that's definitely the primary question that for many afghans will be on their lips listening to president biden tonight. they will want to know what are you going to do about this, if anything. i think many people have resigned themselves to fact that america has washed its hands of these people. >> i've been watching your reporting all day as have so many viewers and hanging on every word. i can't help but notice you're not in the head to toe covering now, the burrka. you were saying the taliban pushed you off to the side. what is happening on the street now? >> reporter: right now i'm in a private compounds which is why i'm not dressed in a full head scarf. even the taliban did tell me to
stand to the side. obviously, they are flum moxed by my presence but for the most part they have been very polite and cordial in terms of letting us go about our job. they are very keen to projection image now that they are a mature political force. they have learned from the mistakes of the past. now, very few -- there's a lot of people here who have trouble believing that. who do not have faith that the taliban has changed at all and desperately worried about what the future will hold under taliban rule. there's also people on the street who is welcome their presence and largely because they say they are so tired of war at this stage. they don't care who is in charge anymore. they want an end to the fighting. the one thing the taliban is able to deliver on in that sense because they are so ruthless in how they operate is a sort of
temp temporary, perhaps but spieling of security on the ground. it's largely calm and quiet tonight. we did have a few gunshots a few moments ago. other than the the street offense kabul, at least, have been pretty quiet tonight. that's because there's taliban fighters on every corner. in this moment they want to project this image they can main main security and keep law and order and can govern. a lot of people will have a hard time believing that and they are petrified and desperate as we saw in the gut wrenching pictures from the airport. this is the image that the taliban seeks to convey at the moment. >> thank you. it's so helpful to have you on the ground. president biden is expected to speak any moment now. what message this sends to america's other allies and their adversaries around the world?
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joins us. let me start with you. as we wait to hear from president biden, what will world leaders be listening for in his speech? >> a couple of things. primarily, i think all world leaders and their military forces are like everybody else, completely horrified by the fact that all of these ordinary afghan civilians who have for the last 20 years put their own selves at risk to help the international forces are desperately trying to get out of kabul and to get to safety. this, i believe, will be considered a moral imperative on behalf of the united states, britain and other nato countries to get those people out and plan to have you will extract them. it needs to be to laid out. that's the first of what the president will say going forward. he's obviously not going to
stand there and do a massive mea culpa. the idea he will say he was wrong is not kredcredible. he believes in this. all of them have laid out it was president biden, vice president, before that, senator, who spoke for the reduction of american forces in afghanistan for a long, long time. further more, i think what the international community is going to be digesting and consolidating is that biden is the latest since president obama to be enacting in realtime the essential withdrawal of america as a force on many, many of these important issues that america used to engage in as a matter of cause. america's been pulling back from
international commitments ever since the obama administration. i think it's too easy to say just the afghan forces and how corrupt they were and how bad the government was and blaming it all on them. i think that's not fair. i think the trump administration, which started the negotiation only with the taliban, cut out the afghan government when they started it. told the taliban, we're just negotiating with you. we're now giving you an agreement on paper that we are going to leave your country. the rest was just a waiting game. the taliban have been strategizing, doing what they do. that's part of the main reason this has happened so fast, so quickly. the people in afghanistan are scared and they don't believe in the taliban and their reassurances. >> colonel, give us the military perspective. what are you watsin waiting to ? >> i'm liking for an
acknowledgement of the sacrifice of american men and women. i want to say that it was something that was a worthy cause but that one part of the mission was very successful. that part was the elimination of the terrorist threat from afghan soil but the other parts of it were not successful and he needs to reiterate that point. make sure the american military forces that are deployed in afghanistan that they actually have a way out so they are reasonable to bring americans but the interpreters out of afghanistan and that they can then start new lives at that point. he has to assure us the military sacrifices are going to be honored and he has to sure us that he is the commander in chief. >> thank you both very much for
previewing what may be in what president biden's speech. our special coverage starts right now with jake tapper. welcome to the lead. i'm jake tapper. we start with breaking news in our world lead. any moment president biden will address the nation from the kwhous white house about the chaotic and rapidly deteriorating situation in afghanistan. nearly 1,000 additional forces heading into kabul. that makes more than 6,000 now in total. just to be clear, after ordering the withdrawal of most of the 2500 service members who were in afghanistan when president biden took office, mr. biden is now ordering more than double that to go back into the country to help americans and others escape. a clear indication of inept planning and a suggestion that president biden was perhaps not
heeding the advice of the national security intelligence experts who told him that the afghan government could fall quite quickly. as was predicted and as we covered months ago. many of the american troops will be there to help manage desperate scenes such as this one. thousands of afghans swarming the kabul airport in attempt to flee the country as the taliban take control of the u.s. u.s. forces shot and killed two armed afghan men who fired on them at the airport. videos show afghans running toward departing airport c-130s trying to grab hold of the airplane fuselage as the plane started taking off. desperate to escape before experiencing the wrath of the taliban. even more horrifying and graphic, are other video clips that appear to show bodies falling to the ground from a u.s. air force plane as the plane gains altitude. president biden told his
advisers he wanted to avoid tragic and humiliating images from fall of saigon after the withdrawal of vietnam. biden has images that are far worse. beyond the issue of the u.s. withdrawal is how the u.s. has withdrawn. ignoring those who have talked about getting american and allies out before leaving. yesterday secretary of state anthony blinken kept changing the subject to the larger issue of the continued u.s. presence refusing to engage with me in detail about how the withdrawal has been conducted. americans and u.s. allies fearing for their lives as afghanistan fell in just days. >> that status quo was not sustainable. like it or not, there was an agreement that the forces would come out on may 1st. the perspective around the world, there's nothing they would like more than to see us in afghanistan for another 5, 10, 20 years. it's not in the national interest. >> that may 1st deadline that
secretary blinken just referred to is a reference to fact that biden claims he had to work with the deal that the former president, mr. trump, made with the taliban. until a few days ago trump allies and the republican party were boasting about that deal and attacking biden for extending the u.s. troop presence beyond the may deadline. trump bragged about having boxed biden in. >> i started the process. all the troops are coming back home. they couldn't stop the process. 21 years is enough. don't we think. they couldn't stop the process. they wanted to but it was very tough to stop the process. >> beyond the face swap, trump allies blaming biden. biden allies blaming donald trump. one decades in the making. one that will have hideous consequences for afghan girls and women, boys and men who will be subject to a barbaric system
of taliban justice in society. clarissa ward is live for pus. we'll tart with kaitlyn collins at the white house. will the president take any ownership for this disaster? >> reporter: that remains to be seen. we will hear from the president. they just called reporters to gather to go into the room. president biden returned to the white house to give this speech. he had been at camp david monitoring the situation from there. the white house showing a lone president in the room being briefed virtually. there's mr. questions facing the white house over how this evacuation has proceeded. some of talking points they have circulated among their democratic ally on capitol hill said they plbelieve what you're seeing was a possibility but not inevitable. this president was confident six
weeks ago saying it was highly unlikely that the taliban would be running everything and we have now seen how they have over run afghanistan and afghanistan's former president has now fled the country within matter of hours of that happening. major questions are facing the president over how this was exe executed. we expect him to because we know this was a path he had been intent on pursuing ever since he took office. >> even before that he's never supported this war beyond the original mission of defeating al qaeda. kaitlan, i know you need to go into the room there for the president's address. let's bring in cnn chief international correspondent clarissa ward live for us in the afghan capital of kabul. clarissa, how rapidly is the situation deteriorating there? >> reporter: i mean, no one can quite keep things straight, jake. it's just devolving so quickly, changing so rapidly. the taliban does have a pretty strong grip on security in the
capital. they have fighters at every street corner. but for the majority of afghans who woke up this morning to a new chapter in the islamic emirate of afghanistan, there is a huge range of emotions. there is shock, there's horror, there's heartbreak, there's terror, there's desperation and even some jubilation. take a look. as soon as we leave our compound, it's clear who is now in charge. taliban fighters have flooded the capital, smiling and victorious they took the city of 6 million people in a matter of hours, barely firing a shot. this is a sight i honestly thought i would never see, scores of taliban fighters and just behind us the u.s. embassy compound. some carry american weapons. they tell us they are here to maintain law and order. >> translator: everything is under control, everything will be fine, nobody should worry.
>> reporter: what's your message to america right now? >> translator: america already spent enough time in afghanistan. they need to leave, he tells us. they already lost lots of lives and lots of money. people come up to them to pose for photographs. [ speaking foreign language ] they're just chanting "death to america." but they seem friendly at the same time. it's utterly bizarre. almost everywhere we go, it seems the taliban want to talk. a lot of people are very frightened that you might engage in revenge attacks against security forces. since yesterday we've proved that nothing will happen, and we give assurance to everyone that they will be safe, he tells us. and we follow our leaders once we make a promise we stick to it. maintaining law and order is top of that list of promises.
at the presidential palace, the taliban are now guarding the gate. they say they're here to fill the vacuum left when the government fled. my presence soon creates tension. they've just told me to stand to the side because i'm a woman. the taliban have yet to implement their draconian version of islamic law. but many are already preparing for it. you can see this beauty salon and many others have actually painted over images on their storefronts of uncovered women. taliban commander says islamic rule will happy birthday implemented gradually. how will you protect women? because many women are afraid they will not be allowed to go to school, they will not be allowed to work. >> the female, the woman can continue their life and we will not say anything for them. they can go to the school, they
can continue their education with islamic hijab. >> reporter: so like i'm wearing? >> not like you but covering their faces as well. >> reporter: cover the face? so you mean nikob? why do they have to cover their face? >> because it is in islam. >> reporter: is it in islam, though? >> of course it is in islam. >> reporter: most ordinary afghans we meet are in a state of shock struggling to process the last 24 hours. this man tells us his father was in the afghan army and was killed this summer. now he doesn't know what to do. >> yesterday i have lost everything. i don't feel secure here. >> reporter: you're afraid? >> yeah. i lost my dad.
i am afraid from everything. this is a big, big problem for us. >> reporter: it's a feeling shared by so many. walking along, one has a sense that the real story may be the people who are not on the streets. those too afraid to leave their homes, waiting to see what tomorrow will bring. and those people, jake, you know, those people who i talk about who are not on the streets who are hiding out, they're going to be listening one way or another to president biden's speech. and they will be wanting answers. they will be wanting to know why it had to be like this, what's being done to try to mitigate some of the suffering of all those people who worked closely with the americans over all these years. there's so much anger and resentment here. i can't even tell you. not that people expected america to keep fighting afghanistan's
war. not that afghans don't accept that it was their duty and responsibility to defend their own country. but so much frustration about the way this was all handled, the chaotic, hasty method of withdrawal, the fact that more sort of concrete concessions weren't extracted from the taliban before agreeing to a complete withdrawal. one woman called it rage and heartbreak, she says. that's what is consuming her now, jake, rage and heartbreak. >> with the worst yet to come in all likelihood, because, as you just noted, the taliban, they oppress women, they mistreat women. there are reports of taliban fighters kidnapping young girls essentially to be their slaves. it's referred to as forced marriages. but those aren't marriages. those are forced rapes. what are women there telling you? >> reporter: well, it depends which women you talk to. if you talk to women in urban centers, educated women, they're devastated. they're petrified.
and i definitely noticed a shift out on the streets today. i saw fewer women, the women i did see were more covered. you heard the man in my storytelling me it's not enough to be completely covered as i was. your face needs to be covered too. he also told me i should've been wearing gloves. so that gives you a sense of the kind of enforcement of uniform or attire for women that is likely to be seen. and more than that, there are so many women who have achieved great things in their careers in the last 20 years who have bought into this idea of the american dream. and that dream, jake, has been taken away from them now. and so quickly, almost overnight, frankly. i mean, it was a matter of hours that the taliban came in barely a shot fired, and it was all over. and the process now for these people to wrap their heads around their future just being plucked away. one can only really imagine, and that's why it's so important
however america has already kind of checked out of afghanistan that we take this moment just to process what's really happened here. >> all right, clarissa ward in kabul, we'll come back to you after the biden speech. but right now i want to bring in republican senator joni ernst of iowa. she deployed to kuwait in the u.s. army reserves in addition to being a u.s. senator from iowa. we're seeing these heartbreaking images of afghans desperate to escape, clinging to planes as they take off. what goes through your mind as a veteran as you watch this situation at the airport? >> well, jake, i am a veteran. i know you're a dad, and i'm a mom. and it is absolutely heartbreaking. there are thousands of afghans that wish to flee the country. and their only hope is to get on one of those flights so they're trying to get their children to the airport. they're trying to get on those planes. they are trying to get out of
the reach of the taliban. right now they are at the mercy of the taliban. and, as you mentioned for women and younger girls, this is also very devastating for them. the humiliation that they will endure at the hands of the taliban all around this is just a horrible, horrible mar on the united states under president joe biden. >> what do you want to hear prb say to the american people as somebody who -- i mean, to be frank, neither former president trump nor president biden, who was then vice president biden, there was no debate about keeping troops in afghanistan. both of them seem to be on the same page about ending the war as soon as possible. >> the first thing i want to hear from president joe biden is a thank you to the men and women that have served in the global war on terror. and he needs to be very clear
that they are the ones that have protected our nation for the past two decades by taking the fight to the terrorists in iraq and afghanistan, and not allowing them to attack our homeland. and, unfortunately, we see the resurgence of the taliban and the reconstitution of al qaeda in afghanistan. so i worry about the homeland. but that is the very first thing that our president needs to communicate is to these brave men and women, a heartfelt thank you. the second thing is how are we going to evacuate all of these americans, all these afghans, and then, third, how are we going to contain the terrorists in afghanistan, not having our personnel on the ground? >> and we only have a little bit left because we just got the two-minute warning from the white house. but, lastly, would you be in some support of some sort of bipartisan effort to grant and