tv The Story With Martha Mac Callum FOX News August 12, 2021 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
applicants. sounds like you're building -- >> when i say engineers, we're talking about a small number of engineers and largely for electrical power to make sure that we have power to do the processing of applicants. by engineers, i didn't mean construction and that kind of thing. >> so the kuwait is 3,000 to 3,500 people total, right? >> infantry, combat brigade. >> so 3,000 people coming right away. then another 3,500 that will be there on stand by for security. i'm unclear what they're doing. if the 3,000 -- it's like a couple miles from the embassy. what are 3,000 people doing? securing the airport? >> they'll be there to provide safety and in a secure movement
of the reduction of civilian personnel out of the embassy to help facilitate their departure from the country, to also help with the process of moving special immigrant visa applicants out of the country and provide additional security at the airport. we believe this is a prudent measure given the security situation. >> you're moving a lot of people. what is -- can you give any better sense of day-to-day, what are they doing? sounds like they're -- that number of people, they must be responsible for getting people -- sounds like they're taking over security at the airport. >> i wouldn't go that far, courtney. the turkish forces are still at the airport. they're still in the lead of security. we already have some security forces, united states security forces at the airport including aviation elements.
these 3,000 are there to bolster it and the airport can facilitate the movement of people, this is about prudent preparation. we want to make sure that we have enough on hand to adapt to any contingencies. so i -- your question about the numbers being too high. we believe it's appropriate to the security situation that we see now and that we can anticipate possibly in the future, which is again why we're going to flow a brigade combat team in case we need more. hopefully, courtney, this will be a permissive environment and we won't need these additional capabilities. but the secretary believes the safety and security of our people, not just american troops, but our allies and partners and state department colleagues is of paramount concern. he's not going to add additional risk to that safe movement.
>> very quickly. kandahar, can you record that the taliban have taken it? >> i can't. i'm not going to do battlement assessments from the pentagon podium. let's go to the phones. a lot to get to. tara cuff. >> thanks for doing this. the infantry battalion, where are they coming from? >> the three infantry battalions are coming from inside the central command area of responsibility. i think i'd rather leave it at that for now. they're already in theater. >> okay. thank you. is the intent that they will stay in qatar or will they be flying in to kabul to provide additional support if needed? >> as i mentioned to david, the plan is to get them to qatar. again, we were looking at regional sites for processing of siv applicants.
qatar is one of those sites that we're looking at potentially being able to use, if they need to move in part or in whole elsewhere, to do this job, to help with the application process, we'll deal with that at the right time. right now in the coming days, they'll be heading to qatar. >> besides the increase in troops, it becomes a logistics issue if you don't have enough i guess airlift support. is the u.s. also going to send additional plans or get additional contracted air to i guess increase the input of people that can leave kabul? >> as i said earlier, we anticipate an increased need for u.s. airlift. the secretary has had conversations with the chairman and transportation command about these needs. we expect there will be additional airlift required. we don't have the details, how
many tails and what the sortees will look like. we have more in the airlift element of this mission. >> what about support? are you going to increase the number of drones or fighter jets to protect the troops? >> yesterday we have and today we have the authority and the capable tips in the region to conduct air strikes if needed. that's not going to change as a result of these new mission sets. >> does this mean the u.s. military withdrawal won't be complete by august 31? >> what i said is we're aiming to facilitate the reduction of these civilian personnel by august 31. so it's all lining up on the same timeline. i won't speculate about what the footprint will look like post all 31. there's this additional mission set of helping process special immigrants. so we'll have to wait and see. the draw down itself is still on track to be complete by august 31. >> that makes no sense.
>> i know. 3,000 troops coming in -- >> i know what you're saying. of the original footprint plans, that's still continuing. yes, we're adding additional troops for this narrow focus. >> you hope to have them all out by the end of the month? >> i'm not going to speculate beyond august 31. our job right now is to help facilitate the safe movement of civilian personnel out of afghanistan. the president has been clear that he wants that reduction complete by the end of august. that's what we're focused on. >> have you spoken to the taliban? they know you're doing this and you have some assurances or guarantees that they will not attack the additional forces? >> the defense department has not spoken to the taliban about this. >> so are you concerned they'll be under attack? >> as i said, we made it clear as we did a few minutes ago, as in all cases, our commanders will have the right of self-defense. any attack will be met with a swift and appropriate response.
>> you consider this a combat mission? >> this is a narrowly focused mission of safeguarding the orderly reduction of civilian personnel out of afghanistan. that's what we're focused on. >> it's not a combat mission? >> lucas, i'm described this mission three times. we're mindful that the security situation continues to deteriorate in afghanistan. as i said before, our troops will have the right of self-defense, this is a narrowly focussed mission to help safeguard civilian personnel. jeff. >> thanks very much. if i could follow up on lucas' question. we have all of these new troops, resources going into kabul. is there any consideration of using the kabul airport as a staging point for what had been the over the horizon capabilities and has there been
any progress on securing anything closer to afghanistan in terms of staging or basing for the over the horizon air strikes? secondly, how worrisome that a city like kandahar where u.s. air power has been focused in attempts to assist the afghan security forces are falling or have fallen to the taliban despite the additional u.s. support? >> i'm sorry. i didn't get what the question was on your second question. >> sorry. over the last couple week or so, the u.s. we're told has focused some of its air strike capability on cities like harat, kandahar in an effort to bolster the efforts of afghan security forces there. how worrisome is it that those cities appear to have fallen in
taliban hands despite the security focus on the areas? >> no one is pleased to see that the security situation in afghanistan continues to deteriorate and the taliban continues to act as if they believe the only path to governance is through violence and brutality and oppression and force. contrary to what they have said previously at the negotiating table. so of course, nobody is happy to see that. as we have said before, jeff, with these air strikes, we would provide support to the afghan national security defense forces where and when feasible with the expectation and knowledge that it's not always feasible. as your first question about the airport, there is no planning and no discussion of using karzai international airport as a base for conducting air strikes in an around afghanistan. there's a small aviation element
at the airport that is rotary based. it's for the facilitation and logistics and movement and that kind of thing. mike? >> i have been at the airport, the brigade in can you wayne. who is in charge of this? what is the chain of command? do they report -- is there somebody in charge of the collective military effort? do they report to the embassy security officer or the rso? >> we have the admiral in kabul and placed in charge by general mackenzie to be the commander of u.s. forces in afghanistan forward. >> okay. ashley? >> just to follow up on one of the other questions. in addition to any additional aircraft, are there additional equipment that they will need? can you walk us through how you
arrived at the need for 3,000 additional troops. >> i'm not going to get into the deliberations over exactly how these particular units were chosen. this was based on consultation by the secretary with the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. general mackenzie. based on the mission set and again, a narrowly defined mission to safeguard the movement of civilian personnel and to help process at an accelerated space special immigrant visas. so based on the mission, we sourced the mission. based on consultations with top military leaders, the secretary decided this is the appropriate amount right now and to have additional forces available closer in to theater if that was required. i missed your other questions. >> in addition to potential aircraft being sent into the country to help with the evacuation, is there additional equipment being sent to help with transportation or anything else at this point in time?
>> we anticipate the use of additional military airlift as required and we're working through the requirements for that right now. these infantry battalions come with some measure of self-defense equipment. mortars, machine guns and of course personally carried weaponry. they have self-defense capability. i won't detail what each battalion will be carrying with them. they will obviously have the capabilities to defend themselves. one term that we've heard is noncombatant operations. sending 3,000 personnel, another 1,000 into the country, another 3,000 to -- that's a significant number.
>> we're not classifying this as a neo. this is a narrowly focused mission to evacuate civilian personnel from the state department. and to help accelerate -- to help the state department colleagues accelerate the processing of siv applicants. we're not classifying this as a neo at this time. >> there's a certain irony here that the draw down was for 2,500 troops and you're sending in an additional 3,000 to get out civilians. ramping it up super quick. on top of that, another 3,500 in kuwait. what is the irony here for people that may be asking, is it -- literally, isn't it ironic in order to get out 2,500, you have to ramp up significantly. >> i don't share your view of the irony, louis. this is a very temporary mission
for a very specific purpose. that's a big difference than saying you're deploying for eight, nine, 12 months, forces to stabilize and secure afghanistan, which we've been doing the last 20 years. this is a very narrowly defined temporary mission. >> so once this mission is over, there's only going to be 650 troops to protect the airport and embassy staff? >> once this mission is over, i won't get into specific numbers here. we anticipate having less than 1,000 u.s. troops on the ground to support the diplomatic presence in kabul, which we all agree we still want to be able to have. >> i'll defer to my colleague. >> after three questions. >> yes. >> are you considering the need for more troops if the situation continues to deteriorate. if there wasn't one event that led to this, what changed in the last 24 to 48 hours which clears
to be an acceleration of getting civilians out? >> to your first question, no. i think we laid out clearly three infantry battalions on the way now and a brigade combat team being brought over into the region as a reserve. so there's no plans right now for additional forces. i can only the say what i said before to david. there was one precipitating event in the last couple days that led the president and the secretary to make this decision. it's a confluence of events. as i have been saying for now for several weeks, we've been watching closely with concerns the security situation on the ground. far better to be prudent about it and be responsible and watching the trends to make the best decisions you can for safety and security of our people than to wait until it's too late. so we believe that this is not only the right thing to do but
it's the right time to do it. >> at what point is the fall of kabul inevitable? >> i wouldn't speculate. i'm not going to speculate about hypothetical situations in the future and i'm certainly not going to get into intelligence assessment. >> obviously you think it's close or you wouldn't evacuate these americans. >> i'm not going to speculate and i'm not going to talk about intelligence assessments. we believe this is the right thing to do and the right time to do it. as my state department colleague said earlier today, there's still a diplomatic presence in kabul and the intention is to maintain a diplomatic presence in kabul. >> are there any diplomats -- >> we have a special envoy who routinely talks to leaders of the taliban in terms of the pursuit of a diplomatic negotiated settlement. i would refer you to my state
department colleagues -- >> why don't you call this a combat deployment? it's insulting for americans -- >> i don't think it's insulting. i'm not sure i share -- >> this is a deployment. you're telling me the marines are strapping it on and this is not combat? >> i'm telling you and's said it before, they have the ability to defend themselves. they'll be armed. of course, they're going for a security mission. they're going for a narrowly defined mission and help safeguard the movement of the personnel and special immigrants there, men and women and their families applying under that process. that's the goal. >> it's not a combat mission? >> i'm being clear here. i'm responding to e-mails i'm getting from people in afghanistan. this is a narrowly defined mission as you said for our diplomatic personnel and those in the siv program. it's not for any other individuals who are not afghans
in kabul who may work -- have worked for u.s. aggies or who work for other governments and the follow up question is, at some point without you speculating, this is a nato mission. is it possible the u.s. could work with other nato allies to evacuate other personnel? >> on your first question, i think i've characterized this mission. i'm going to leave it at that. this is a u.s. decision by the u.s. commander-in-chief to reduce civilian personnel and to have u.s. military personnel flow in to help with that reduction. so it's not a nato mission. that said, we fully anticipate to be in close consultation with allies and partners going forward. if we can be of assistance to them if they desire to make changes in their footprint, then the secretary fully intends to
make it clear to them that we'll be ready to help as needed. >> thank you. >> let's see. dan. >> thank you. can you clarify how this doesn't classify as a neo and regardless of that, can you at least make it clear that if a neo is needed because the -- it speeds up, you have everything in place? >> the purpose is to help with the reduction of the civilian out of the embassy. that's not the same thing as a neo. you're moving a massive amount of people who, you know, aren't necessarily u.s. government employees. it's a different operation altogether. we're not there. the other thing that we're going to be doing is helping the state department accelerate the
process for special immigrants, visa applicants. jeff. >> thank you very much. i know you're telling us as much as you can. i know the pentagon is committed to transparency. it's in that spirit that i ask can you say where these infantry battalions are coming from? "the new york times" say the marines are coming from a marine unit. can you say which meu? >> i'm going to leave it -- they're coming from within inside central command area of responsibility. i'm just going to leave it at that for right now. >> thank you. which brigade from bragg is go something. >> i'm not going to detail it. it's a brigade from the 82nd airport. megan, did you have a question?
sylvee. one more after that. >> you say you talked to the speaker about intelligence, which i understand. but you can speak about image. what do you think the evacuation of civilians by the military will look like and how do you -- how are you going to avoid the parallel with the fall of saigon? >> what this is going to look like is what it is. that's the united states government looking after the safety and security of our people. first and foremost. making sure the military supporting the movement of the individuals out of afghanistan, which we believe is a prudent step. we're not walking away from our commitments to the forces. we're not eliminating our presence on the ground.
we'll still have diplomats there and still doing work as ned price said earlier. and the military will still remain committed to helping protect the diplomatic presence that remains inside afghanistan. nobody is abandoning afghanistan, not walking away from it. it's doing the right thing at the right time to protect our people. one more. anything here? jim. >> does this operation have a name? >> no, it does not. >> is the u.k. going to help evacuate their people? >> you know more than me. no, i wasn't aware of that. >> are you worrying about this triggering panic in the population in kabul? >> again, this is about the safe movement of our people in afghanistan. we obviously -- >> referring to civilians that live there, they're going to see
large number of americans being whisked as way as they're stuck there with the taliban -- >> what i'll say is what i've been saying. the afghan forces have advantages. they have capability to protect their territory and their people. they have the capacity to do that. what the afghan people want to see and deserve to see is the leadership to use that to their benefit. thanks. have to go now. >> 3,000 in to the airport. 1,000 going to qatar and then to afghan or staying in qatar. >> the 1,000 will go to qatar for now. >> and 3,500 -- >> for help progress says. and 3,000 to the airport in the next few days. and then a reserve force out of bragg that will stage out of
kuwait. that's roughly 3,500 to 4,000. >> that's in addition to the 650 there. >> that's correct. thanks, everybody. >> is that just transportation or -- >> martha: breaking news as we have watched this on "the story." we just learned that the rapid deceleration and disintegration of the security situation in afghanistan where the taliban has taken over 2/3s of the country and a lot of questions about whether or not kabul and kandahar can hold at this point. so now we see we'll be sending 3,000 more -- more than 3,000 additional troops to afghanistan in order to security the draw down of the u.s. embassy in kabul. we've been hearing the past 24 hours, there's indications that
they want those people to leave right away. we know some people helped the united states and the afghanistan have been trying to get out of the country, this is a very large operation being sent there to facilitate that. john kirby, the spokesman at the pentagon saying time and time again that this is a temporary, very temporary he called it operation and mission. i want to brett in bret baier, anchor of "special report." he interviewed john kirby. bret, a big change of approach here since you spoke with him. compare what he said to you to what he's saying today. thanks for being here. >> good afternoon. it's night and day in less than 24 hours. the administration went from going to say that the taliban needs to understand that if they want to be welcomed into the international community, they need to do x, y and z. i pressed him saying you have u.n. people on the ground, human rights watch people saying there's beheadings and
executions as they're taking over the big cities. he said we understand that. they had a different talking point. today after a briefing with the president and the defense secretary, they're deciding that more troops need to be put in. three battalions of marines and other soldiers to evacuate american citizens there. you heard those last questions, martha, about the images of saigon and marines going in to rescue americans at the embassy in vietnam that is where we are after almost 20 years on the ground in afghanistan. there's a lot of soldiers and marines that have fought there that are dejected and feel that this is a horrible end to what had been 20 years of protecting america by keeping afghanistan safe. >> yeah, it's impossible not to compare those images of the helicopter landing on the u.s.
embassy in saigon and people getting in that last wave out. we know there's a lot of people desperate to leave afghanistan at this point. it's astonishing to me. i don't know the numbers that were sent in for that mission. this is a large group, a large mission. plus, they will have 3,000 in qatar just in case. i guess the question that comes to mind, bret, at what point do they decide, is it clean? right? you get the 2,500 people out and wheels up and out of there or is there -- does this snow ball into something else? >> it raises all kinds of questions, martha. the answer yesterday from admiral kirby and others is that the over the horizon force was going to take care of any issues with the taliban and al-quaida if they resurfaced to protect america. now we're essentially saying we can't even get our people out of there safely. the third largest city in
afghanistan has fallen to the taliban and horrible stories out of there. there's information that kandahar has fallen. we can't confirm that. we don't have people on the ground. we have oversight flight. i've been to all of those places. i think that you're going to see this go fast. this hope that the taliban is somehow going to be enlightened in the world stage and they're going to be engaged in the u.n. or anything else is just rose-colored glasses to the x degree. >> martha: preposterous given what's going on and the reports of what is coming out of afghanistan in terms of the torture reports, a short while ago, ned price talking about the taliban will want the international community to recognize them. that's what we can hold over them at this point. it feels so impossible given
this massive acceleration that nobody anticipated in terms of how quickly afghanistan has fallen to the taliban. kandahar is a question mark. kabul is still being held. if you can stay with us. lucas tomlinson is with us. he was just in the room. he was pressing john kirby on a number of issues including is this a combat mission? what do you do when you get these folks out if the airport, if the designated 600 or so people to keep the airport security is not enough? how much backup will you provide? lucas, your thoughts. >> mark that, there's some questions that john kirby would not call this a combat mission when i pressed him. just to go over what is happening here. 3,000 troops are going to kabul, going to karzai international airport to help evacuate
hundreds and thousands of americans and almost afghan interpreters. three infantry battalions, two from the marine corps on warships right now steaming to the area and also an army infantry battalion. there's the alert battalion from fort bragg flying to kuwait. that will be a stand-by force being deployed to kuwait just in case more assets are needed. and then enablers, electricians, different folks going to qatar to be able to help evacuate the interpreters. certainly as brett mentioned, 24 hours ago, there were no plans to deploy this many people. now today you can't -- the pentagon press secretary can't even call it combat. i said isn't this insulting to the americans watching it, insulting to the marines and the soldiers strapping it on, checking their weapons about to
deploy to afghanistan? ten days ago, the taliban didn't hold any capitols. now they hold 11. they hold all the major cities except for kabul. >> martha: as you pointed out, he said they will defend themselves if they are attacked. so the combat mission definition -- >> when i asked kirby, has nobody spoken to the taliban saying hey, the americans are coming. are you going to attack them. nobody from the defense department has spoke them. and you'd think that that conversation is happening right now. >> martha: lucas, thanks very much, a couple of questions questions for k.t. mcfarland. want to ask bret to stick around. k.t. mcfarland, former national security adviser for the trump administration.
k.t., the trump administration wanted to leave afghanistan. how would it have been done differently? >> i don't think -- rip the band aid off. would have happened more quickly and before the taliban really could have gotten to where they are now. once you announce that we're going to get out by a certain date, of course -- i was in afghanistan 15 years ago and met a tribal leader. they said you american have the watches, we have the time. we'll wait you out. we'll be here when you go. it was always going to end badly for the united states. by stringing it out and stringing it out for 15 years where our political leaders, republican and democrat and the military leaders say victory is around the corner. a few bill more dollars a few thousand more troops. a couple more months. it was never going to end any differently than this. this is vietnam all over again. the tragedy is that we're going to have to evacuate americans and hope that we don't lose people on the way out of there. >> martha: so you think if this was playing out and the taliban
were retaking the cities, what would you have advised? is there anything that can be done? would you send the troops in to security their exit? >> no. here's the problem. we have american forces there where there's no way of getting them out. we should have gotten them out a long time ago before the taliban was in this position. the trump administration, we got some kind of a deal with the taliban we would have gotten out more quickly. biden comes in and say we're going to do september 11th. by september 11th, afghanistan will be in taliban control. it will be an end to our experience in afghanistan. i just cannot express my anger having been in the white house situation room, april of 1975 while we evacuated american personnel, american military personnel, american translators, vietnamese translators. we took them off of the grounds
of the american embassy in a makeshift helicopter landing zone to get them out as the communist north vietnamese was surrounding the embassy. we're in the same position now. >> martha: k.t., thanks very much. we're also working to get secretary of state mike pompeo on the phone. big picture, difficult week for the biden white house. you have covid, inflation, what's going on at the border, the department of security head is there right now and now this to pile on. they have a lot on their plate. >> they do. the politics of this are not good for any administration. it's the administration that is dealing with the exit that will feel the brunt right now. these images will come out now. it is the direction of this president and this defense department about how this is wrapping up. you make the right question there to k.t., martha. that is what would the trump
administration have done differently, if anything and how would it have looked different. there was still this impetus by president trump back then to get troops out of there. politically, that is attractive for americans. we've been fighting there for 19 1/2 years. kwha it means strategically, how to do it is a small footprint worth while, a lot of people on capitol hill would say it was. and they're making that clear tonight. some of them are saying this is what losing looks like. >> martha: thanks very much. we'll have continuing coverage of this huge development, what's going on in afghanistan and we'll watch for "special report" tonight. as i said, mike pompeo will be here soon. and breaking moments ago, a bomb shell in the world health organizations inconclusive investigation into covid
origins. the scientist leading that investigation said china did pressure their organization to leave out the lab leak theory and discuss basically the phraseology that they were comfortable with and not comfortable with in that regard. the state department, our state department's former lead investigator in to covid origins under secretary pompeo, dr. david asher responds to what we're now learning about this huge story and to the shocking prediction as well from robert redfield who we spoke with here on "the story" who believes that because it's an engineered virus in the first place, the variants are super charged. >> sadly i'm going to predict in two, three, four months, we'll have another variant and that variant will be more infectious than the delta variant. that's how this evolution is taking place. this virus got a jump start by being one of the most infectious in humans.
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>> martha: this just coming in. the scientist that led the w.h.o.'s organization in the investigation of covid said he was pressured by his chinese counter parts to leave out any mention of a lab leak from wuhan and also patient 0 could have been infected with covid-19. first, rich edson is here. >> good afternoon, martha. the world health organization official said it's probable covid-19 began in that lap. scientist peter embrick said it's possible that an employee working in the field was infected. in mash, a who team said a lab
leak was unlikely. but embrick knows that investigation. scientists were denied access to books and document. the who team only received a presentation. and embrick knows there's no direct evidence that the outbreak is related to the research at the wuhan lab. the who called on countries to accelerate the investigation of covid-19 and adds "china and a number of other member states have written to the w.h.o. regarding the basis for further studies of sars covid 2 lab hypothesis. they also suggested the origin study has been politicized or w.h.o. has acted due to political pressure." it's unclear if china in writing the who has in any way reversed it's refusal to allow a further investigation into the wuhan
institute of virology. china has denied that covid began in a lab. earlier this month, republicans on the house foreign affairs committee released a report claiming the preponderance of evidence that the virus was released from a lab. a report is due the week after next. >> martha: thanks. we're going to bring in david asher. he led the state department investigation under secretary of state mike pompeo into the origins of this virus when president trump's administration was in office. that probe was halted. dr. asher, all the good to have you. thank you for being here. what do you make of what this scientist said at the w.h.o. and the chinese in the group saying we're not going to sign off on this if you say it came from the lab? >> yeah.
the chinese cess pool of lies that they've told since day one, rather than looking for a virus and its or gins, they seem to know where it came from from day one and they propagated a cover story, this is a further extension of the cover story. now they're creating a plausible natural origin where a lab worker get out of a cave and spread it innocently in a lab. the chinese are trying to create a situation to back down of this cage they're in, this communist are just not particularly good at hiding their tracks. >> martha: so the wording use n it, it was extremely unlikely that the lab leak theory is what happened. we also heard that same wording from dr. fauci. we heard it from other people here when it was being discussed, that any sort of unnatural origin was extremely
unlikely. is there any meaning to that for you? >> the thing that is extremely suspicious is how all of these scientists like dr. fauci on down haven't looked at the oddities and the sequence itself that the scientists that worked for me at the state department pointed out. you have a bat coronavirus, which dr. shi said came out of yunan, obvious predecessors genetically to sars bats for gain of function research and then you have a mixture of a bizarre animal binder domain and hooked in with a human. john stewart doesn't have to
make jokes about this. they're probably doing research on all of those species and the blood tweep them in the wuhan institute and funded by the united states government and we haven't began to look at our own contracts. >> martha: to my next question which is this report. president biden said we're going to look into it, dig into the covid origins that report is due in 12 days. what to you expect? >> not a lot. there's no sign that the eco health alliance that received 98% of the funding, according to the 990 declaration that was just released from the u.s. government, has ever been told by the u.s. government to surrender all files. we may know the answer right now within the cdc's e-mails, state department messages. putting aside all the intelligence community, this is not been conducted as an investigation. it's been sort of an intel
project. an investigation would assume that we have a crime scene, a crime was committed, cover-up has happened and we try to explain are the conditions that it be genetic sequence be presence in that laboratory. were they working on bats, humanized mice, monkeys. if they were and involved manipulating the genetics to make them more dangerous, we could answer the question right now. >> martha: and we have to leave it there. i know you feel that a raid or an investigation of the eco health alliance under peter daszek would be due. dr. david asher. thanks. joining me now, after the announcement of the pentagon, 3,000 additional troops will be sent to afghanistan to help security the draw down of the
u.s. embassy personnel. mike pompeo joins me by phone. good to have you here. so you listened to that. your reaction. what do you think about this move? >> well, looks like this was poor planning, poor leadership. the model of deterrence that the trump administration had in place as we prepared to bring soldiers, sailors, marines on the ground now, looks like they have not been able to execute this. big strategy depends on planning and execution. looks like there's panic. i hope that they have the right number of folks and get them there quickly. i hope we can protect americans as the way the trump administration had every intention of doing. >> martha: how would you have done it differently? >> i don't know exactly what they're doing. we had conditions attached to how we were thinking about this withdrawal. i was part of those negotiations. i was also in the room when president trump made very clear to the senior taliban negotiators that if you threaten
an american, if you scared an american or hurt an american, we would bring all american power to bear to make sure that we went to your house. we were very clear about the things that we were prepared to do to protect american lives. there wasn't a single american killed by the taliban when that was doing on. we had established a deterrence model. i hope we haven't lost that. we had began the reduction the operations in hour embassy. i ordered a draw down that took place. we were continuing to reduce our risk and our footprint there. hope that they continue down that path. i hope we're in a place to get our folks out that is rationale and consistent and making sure that this ungoverned space doesn't become another hot bed for al-quaida or isis or some other radical islamic terrorist group. >> martha: talking about leaving 600 people there ultimately if
this temporary removal of the remaining personnel works. what if that is not enough to protect that area from the taliban? if they're sending in 3,000 people to get out 2,500, is 600 enough? >> i'm confident our military understand the missions that protect the homeland from an attack emanating out of afghanistan. the precise number of people on the ground is something that we focused on. the threat is not from the taliban. it's from the fact that the taliban will play footsies with terrorists like al-quaida. fewer than 20 al-quaida remaining in afghanistan. that's the target to protect america. we're goodness, three weeks out, four weeks out from the 20th anniversary from an athat can that came from that place. president trump made very to me, the state department that our mission set was clear. we wanted to make sure that we always had the conditions based analysis that would protect america, at least reduce the
risk that there could be an attack from that place. >> martha: secretary pompeo, thank you. >> thank you. so long. >> martha: also breaking today, new numbers in from customs and border protection point to a ballooning crisis at the border. the numbers tell the story on their own.we'll be right back. is the lowest rate in newday's history. two and a quarter percent. just 2.48 apr. just one call, and you can save thousands every year. there's no money out of pocket and no up front fees. the newday two and a quarter refi. at these rates, you may never need to refinance again.
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>> martha: the homeland security secretary, alejandro mayorkas that has said that the border is closed has announced that 212 people have come across that border and apprehended in the month of july. he's at the southern border in brownsville, texas. mollie hemmingway is here with us. first we want the report from there from our correspondent jonathan hurt. >> martha, as you know, the incoming new chief of the border patrol told us yesterday the official numbers would be coming
today. they would be north of 210,000 apprehensions in july. when homeland security secretary alejandro mayorkas arrived here, he did indeed make it official. the actual number, 212,672 apprehensions in july. that is a 13% increase from june but perhaps more significantly, it's a five fold increase over the number last july. july 2020. the secretary admitted he's facing a uniquely difficult situation. listen here. >> the situation at the border is one of the toughest challenges we face. it's complicated, changing and involves vulnerable people at a time of a global pandemic. >> now, before coming here to brownsville, the secretary was in mcallen texas, the epicenter
of the migrant surge where our pictures have shown you all week and for many weeks before that the surge of migrants coming across daily and night. he met with local leaders including henry cuellar and pete sykes made it very clear. >> they're strained, they're overworked. they don't need a pat on the back. they need resources. whatever season they're using is broken and needs fixing. >> whatever system they're using is broken and needs fixing. that was the message that the secretary received from local law enforcement and local political leaders here today, martha. we just spoke again to the incoming chief, raul ortiz. he described the situation as a
good visit and he said i'm fired up and ready to go. he officially takes over this weekend. martha? >> martha: interesting interviews. thanks, jonathan, from the border in brownsville. mollie hemmingway. your take on the border visit by secretary mayorkas today. >> we're dealing with not just a political crisis for the biden administration but a humanitarian crisis. we're busting through 20-year-old numbers. there's a record number of unaccompanied minors, the largest drug bust at the border that agents had dealt with. this is nor all intents and purpose as completely open border by the desire of the biden administration. biden did announce that he sought to have these types of crossings when he was running for office. one thing to have this type of situation happen through neglect.
it seems to be the actual policy goal of the biden administration to have these types of crossings and all the humanitarian problems that come with it. the media, which were hysterical during the trump administration which dealt with their own border problems, seemingly less interested in the humanitarian problems, whether it's human trafficking, drug trafficking or all of the problems that are associated with these -- this situation that we're dealing with. >> martha: yeah, president biden said you should come in a debate. and look at the latest fox polling. independents, 39% approved of president trump's handling of immigration. 31% approved of the way president biden is handling immigration. this promises to be a severe situation going forward in politics for 2022. >> americans have repeatedly asked for their leaders to do a better job of handling the
border situation. president trump could have done better but he did a lot to improve the situation. it will be a live issue going forward. >> thanks, molly. that is "the story" of thursday, august 12,2021. "your world" starts right now. have a great afternoon, everybody. >> neil: all right. about the plans to return to work, a statement from facebook. put it back, a lot. not a week, not two weeks, not a month. not even this year. facebook announcing a short time ago that they're going to delay their in-person return till at least january of next year. following the likes of amazon. that is just for those looking to start next year. there's scores of companies that