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tv   Washington Journal Open Phones  CSPAN  July 9, 2021 12:25pm-12:51pm EDT

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prohibition is causing more harm and legalization would be a remedy. host: the executive director is joining us this >> a couple of lm the white house today. press secretary jen psaki will be holding a news conference this afternoon. we will have live coverage. a little later, president biden signs a bill promoting economic competition in the u.s.. that is available on c-span.org or listen in with the free radio app. this week marked the six month anniversary of the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. each night, we have been showing congressional hearings that occurred in the aftermath of the attack.
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tonight, we conclude with former trump administration officials and the d.c. police chief. they testified on their actions in response to the capital security breach. watch that hearing tonight starting at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> joining us now to give us more in light of the president announcements, laura from politico. she serves as their defense reporter. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. yours takes a look at the efforts going out of afghanistan. you make the case that this was pre-much already completed even before yesterday's announcement. can you give us context? guest: scheuer, one of the news items from the president's speech was that he moved up the deadline. previously it was september 11. now it's august 31. but my sources are telling me that the drawdown is effectively done. we currently have just 600 troops in afghanistan.
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just about all of them were always expected to stay past the official withdrawal date to provide security at the u.s. embassy in kabul and at the kabul international airport. the only personnel left to withdrawal is general scott miller, and a handful of his staff. there is a handful more of security and logistics forces that the pentagon sent in temporarily to aid in the withdrawal. they will also depart. but out of the 2500 or so that president biden started out with, all but a handful are gone. host: when it comes to the decision, did the tell leaders at the pentagon support this position? guest: in the beginning of present biden's term, when it was not clear if he was going to pull out of afghanistan are not come i think that top generals saw them disagree with the logic behind withdrawing troops.
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i think we saw the market that there was a lot of evidence that the country will now collapse and the afghan security forces are not strong enough to hold off the out -- the taliban. so they wanted to keep a couple thousand special operators to keep fighting terrorists as well as some military trainers to help the afghan secure forces. but now that the president's decision has been made, to come as no surprise to anyone, least of all the generals, that this was ultimately the general he was going to make. i think the generals have gotten on board and said ok mr. president, we are in eerie let's get this done quickly. -- we are in. let's get this done quickly. host: we have several maps of areas under taliban control. as far as the president's decision, especially making this decision is it's going on in the country, how did he account? guest: you are right. the taliban has been making huge gains in the past 18 months
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since president trump's agreement. and has intensified. the taliban has gained 10% of the country, making -- they now control 180 of the 407 districts. these gains are primarily in the north and in critical areas. what we are seeing is the af my assessment is if that
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happens, the u.s. response would still be limited. president biden has been clear that he wants to get out of afghanistan no matter what. host: he said he was confident going forward to tackle anything that might happen, that the u.s. is adapting. can you elaborate the plan or design considering the state of the country currently? guest: after the americans leave, they will continue operations to keep an eye on the taliban and continue hunting terrorists from outside of afghanistan. currently, the plan is to conduct the operations from qatar, a nine-hour flight from afghanistan. this to some experts is not very feasible when you have aircraft involved that have to be refueled multiple times along the way.
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when idea is to base u.s. troops in nearby countries to more easily conduct these operations inside afghanistan. it is not clear yet whether that plan will come to fruition. right now, it is bases in the middle east, that is how we will continue operations in afghanistan. host: stories coming out saying afghan officials, particularly when the u.s. pulled out of bagram, said they were caught by surprise. can you elaborate on what happened when it comes to the amount of information the afghan government received? guest: there were stories, you are right, that the afghan leaders had no warning the u.s. was going to depart. that the u.s. military leaders left in the middle of the night with no warning. they turned off the water and electricity and the commander
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that was to take over the base did not turn up until two hours after the americans left. the pentagon contests this characterization. they say we told the afghans everything they needed to know 48 hours ahead of time. they just left out the exact moment the americans would depart for security reasons. you can see why the afghans would be a little upset about this and how this would add to the optics they were abandoned. the pentagon says this was for operational security reasons and they had all the knowledge of everything they needed to upgrade the base after they left. host: you can see her latest story on politico. she covers the defense side of issues for politico. thanks for your time this morning. guest: thanks so much for having me.
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host: we will start with rachel from florida on our support line. go ahead. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i support withdrawing our troops. i feel we should not have been there to begin with. they knew ahead of time we were going to leave. they knew that when president trump was talking about it when he was president. i commend president biden for doing that. i do not support him, but this is the first thing i think he has done that is right. host: you heard our guest talk about the taliban in country. those concerns for you in light of the announcement? caller: yes and no. everyone knew that would happen.
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the afghans should defend themselves. we have been there for years defending them. i think that was wrong. they should have been given training that our troops were given and then they would be able to defend themselves. they have everything they need that we supplied to them. why can't they defend themselves? host: renata, you are next. good morning. caller: good morning, pedro. i oppose. i don't know if this woman has said anything about it, but i heard general keene say defense sources were going to be leaving before all of our troops were out. that is frightening. we need to have them overhead protecting all of our forces before they leave. i don't understand that logic whatsoever. host: the ultimate pullout, do
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you agree with that were would you prefer to see some contingent stay in afghanistan? caller: i really want to see an ultimate pullout. but i want to see our forces overhead protecting all of our men. host: philadelphia, pennsylvania, on our support line. milton, good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. i support president biden for pulling our troops out. we have been in afghanistan for 20 years. we could stay there the next 100 years. it still won't change anything. the afghans have to step up to the plate and fight for their own country. as soon as they engage the taliban, they give their weapons over. if they are not willing to fight for their country, why should our servicemen and women die for them if they are not willing to fight for their own country? all of those republicans criticizing president biden,
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remember, trump set up the withdrawal. he would have had us out of afghanistan inmate. you did not hear the right criticize president trump. now all of a sudden, they are against it. host: criticizing this was mitch mcconnell, talking about the plans of withdrawing. here he is from the senate floor. >> the president's plan to retreat is not clear-eyed or strategic. it is dangerous wishful thinking. as discussions with the administration are making clear, this discussion is not underpinned by a coherent plan to mitigate the geopolitical and humanitarian risks that our departure will create. when we are gone, after we leave, there is every reason to believe al qaeda will regroup in
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this historic safe haven. giving up the high ground while the enemy is still in the battlefield is not a strategic move. neither is banking on so-called "over the horizon" counterterrorism missions without a presence on the ground. if we have learned anything in the fight against terrorists, it is the importance of reliable access and local partnerships. give up the former, and we likely lose the latter. the military currently supplies both reconnaissance and strike missions against terrorists from within afghanistan. the country is not easy to get to. it's immediate neighbors are iran, pakistan, and russian-influenced central asian nations. they are not exactly likely to let a space significant counterterrorism units in their countries.
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so, where will we be basing its forces? how will we maintain sorties from thousands of miles away? how many forces will be required to secure our embassy? if a pro taliban mob threatens to overrun it, what will we do to protect it? where will a quick reaction force be based not in afghanistan? will it be quick if its response time goes from minutes to hours? we learned from benghazi the so-called tyranny of distance. if the taliban takes kabal, will the biden administration recognize it as the legitimate government of afghanistan? will we shudder our embassy and aid programs? the reality is they do not know. they cannot say.
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there is no plan. it is not courageous to abandon our allies. that is a view many democrats said they held when the last president considered withdrawing from syria and afghanistan. host: senator mcconnell from late may on the senate floor about plans for getting out of afghanistan. this is off of twitter. a viewer says as a veteran, i understand the toll but there is a way to draw down. there is a chaotic approach. it should have been more gradual. maybe september 1 of next year. this is bob from missouri supporting withdrawal. from j.t. in kentucky, also supporting the president's pullout of troops.
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trillions of dollars wasted, thousands of americans dead, 20,000 wounded. those are some of the thoughts off our social media sites, particularly amongst veterans of the afghanistan war. if you want to comment, call and let us know your thoughts. a supporter of the president's decision, let's go to mike in ohio, and opposer of the president's decision. your next. -- you are next. caller: thanks for taking my call. laura, why was she able to give out intimate information about our military as far as how many troops we would have left? i thought that was very personal and confidential information.
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it should have never been released to the media. i do not understand. host: hold on. your thoughts on opposing the president's pullout, why is that? caller: well, you know. we did this in vietnam. and how many other conflicts with other countries? we would leave them abandoned for them to be at the mercy of the enemy. i would like to know why lara was allowed to get on your program and start -- host: she is a reporter. let's go to virginia on the support line. caller: good morning. glad to be on cable again. i agree that the --
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host: you agree with the pullout? caller: a waste of money and our troops' lives. just a waste of time. host: as far as the future impact in the country, does that concern you as well? caller: yes, i do. the young people, the future, and so forth. my landlord has property. his daughter is taking care of it. host: ok. that is dawn in virginia. this is from the bbc world news saying when it comes to the impacts of taliban in country, it has captured a key border crossing. it is followed up by a story in routers saying a key district in western afghanistan includes a major border crossing with iran. in the last week, they have
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overrun areas bordering five countries. battles between the taliban fighters and afghan government forces were also underway in the province bordering uzbekistan according to senior officials telling them the iran border has fallen to the taliban and customs officials fled across the border. if you go to the france 24 website, various sources look at coverage in afghanistan. it is currently controlled by the taliban. the areas in gray contested control. the areas in blue under government control. france 24 is where you can pull that up.
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the taliban said friday it now controls 85% of afghanistan territory as militants mount an offensive amid the u.s. withdrawal. the claims cannot be independently verified. mark in kentucky supporting the decision by the president, go ahead. caller: i could not be happier with this decision. i don't much care for any of joe biden's administration policy, but this i am very happy with and i support that he has done this. i think it is worth noting joe biden's son bo served in afghanistan as an actual combat troop. he is one of the only people i can think of that has been one of these people in power that vote for these wars and plan these war that has a child that has served. host: why do you support the decision in itself? caller: well, because for us to
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be there, it is an unethical thing and discredits us on the world stage. it is not a right thing should be involved in. besides that, when we went 20 years ago, afghanistan was one of the poorest countries in the world and one of the most illiterate countries in the world. it is no better now. it was after 9/11. 15 of the hijackers we know where they were from. we are giving arms deals to those countries still. it is sad for afghanistan. if america can get out, that his group. thanks to the troops. host: that is mark in kentucky. dennis also supporting the decision by president biden. go ahead. caller: good morning. thank you very much. yes, i support president biden.
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we should have never gone to afghanistan. we got into a civil war. our country should never get into a civil war because you cannot win either way. also, it was president trump that started this. i did not hear mitch mcconnell or anybody on that side of the fence raise one complaint. now all of a sudden because it is joe biden, it is a terrible thing. so, that is my comment. host: when you say president trump started this, what do you mean? caller: he is the one that came up with the withdrawal plan. host: ok. let's hear from raymond in georgia. good morning on our "oppose" line. you are next. caller: yes, sir. i oppose it because the president should listen to the generals and people in the
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military because they are the ones that know the ground rules more than anybody. and also, you have to think either you get involved in these conflicts to keep them from being over here flying airplanes into our buildings and hold them at bay over there. that is my opinion. host: when you hear the president and others make the case as far as the time spent in afghanistan, the money spent, the lives lost, those impacted in other ways, what you think about those in justifying the decision to pull out? caller: i understand. but you have got to also remember what did it cost america when they flew the
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planes into the towers in new york city? how many died there? you know, you give people like that a place to live, sooner or later, they will be here. you have got to look at it all the way around the block. and you know, to me, it is sad when you stand for somebody and then you just up and leave them for the dogs to eat. that is how i feel. host: an afghanistan veteran we will hear from. we have set aside a line for you to give input. this is daniel from alexandria, virginia. caller: good morning. i think we are completely focused on the wrong theater. we really should be focused on china. i am a veteran of afghanistan.
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it is the wrong theater. for the military-industrial complex to continue to grow, you have got to focus on the right theater. host: we will focus on afghanistan since that's what we are talking about. what you think about the decision by the president? caller: i think that is the right decision. host: why is that? caller: it is a civil war. you don't win. how do you define success? you just don't. host: if i may ask, what role did you serve in afghanistan? caller: what role? i was in kabul, in the u.s. army in kabul. in that region. host: ok. alicia from columbia, maryland,
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on the support line. caller: hello, pedro. i have not spoken with you in a long, long time. i am for withdrawal. we have been there too long. they were very smart to use us and get money out of us. i think that was money we could have used here, so i'm glad president biden has done this. thank you very much. host: from twitter, this viewer says, "three cheers for joe biden." jen psaki: first, we welcome the unanimous adoption of the u.n. security council to extend the humanitarian lifeline to syria. this agreement will directly impact the lives of millions of syrians.

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