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Afghan Negotiator Worried About Potential Civil War; George W. Bush: U.S. Troop Withdrawal is a Mistake; U.S. to Relocate Thousands of Afghan Translators; Anger at Post-Apartheid Inequalities Underpins Riots in South Africa; China's Economy Grows 7.9 Percent In Second Quarter; EU Presents Bold Plan to Reduce Emissions by 55 Percent by 2030; Athletes Arriving in Tokyo with One Week Until Games. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 15, 2021 - 04:30   ET




FATIMA GAILANI, AFGHAN PEACE NEGOTIATOR: What we are worried about is this negotiation which started here in Doha, it hasn't come to a state that would help the country not go into a chaos. Taliban are the reality of the country. Yes, it was a mistake that they were not part of the conference. And yes, we will have to live together, but not like that, not push the country into a civil war. I think if we don't come to a political understanding at the negotiation table, it is very difficult to avoid a very, very bitter civil war.


ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. president who launched the war in Afghanistan predicts the U.S. troop pullout will have dire consequences for Afghan women and girls. George W. Bush sent American forces into Afghanistan after the September 11th terror attacks. A reporter for the German news outlet DW asked him if the U.S. withdrawal is a mistake.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it is, Yes. Because I think the consequences are going to be unbelievably bad. And I'm sad. I spent -- Laura and I spent a lot of time with Afghan women and they're scared. And I think about all the interpreters and people that helped, not only U.S. troops but NATO troops. And it seems like they're just going be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people. And it breaks my heart.


CHURCH: But the Biden administration says that it has a plan to get those interpreters out of Afghanistan. It's called "Operation Allies Refuge." The details are being kept under wraps. CNN's Oren Liebermann has our report.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For General Scott Miller, the commander for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the war is over. But for thousands of others, the fight to follow him is just beginning. On Wednesday, the White House finally announced its plan to evacuate Afghan interpreters and their families who helped the U.S. during 20 years of war calling it "Operation Allies Refuge."

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Our objective is to get individuals who are eligible relocated out of the country in advance of the withdrawal of troops at the end of August.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The flights are set to begin next week but the White House won't say exactly when or where the flights will go for security reasons. President Joe Biden last week promised a safe haven, a place in the U.S. for the Afghans who wanted to come.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we'll stand with you just as you stood with us.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): But the U.S. has processed only 2,035 special immigrant visa applications since the start of the year, less than Biden's claim of 2,500 and there are still more 15,000 Afghans whose applications are still being processed. Something that typically takes two years. Complicating matters, some of the applicants are in remote areas of the country, not in Kabul.

KIM STAFFIEN, CO-FOUNDER, ASSOCIATION OF WARTIME ALLIES: All the major highways and all the checkpoints have been taken over by the Taliban. Many of the airports have already shut down.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The Association Of Wartime Allies spoke with one man trying to get his visa as the Taliban closes in on his home.

WARDAK, AFGHAN WHO SERVED WITH U.S. FORCES: I'm very, very worried about myself. They're gonna cut my head off. And they're gonna kill me.

LIEBERMANN rare (voice-over): The Biden administration has faced criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for its lack of a plan to evacuate Afghans and their families who helped the U.S.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): As the Taliban moves toward threatening Kabul, the Biden administration seems to have no plan to efficiently process special visas for the Afghans who helped us.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The entire process is under pressure. The withdrawal of U.S. forces will be finished at the end of August. It's already more than 95 percent complete and that leaves little time and protection for the thousands of Afghans and their families who also want out.


CHURCH: CNN's Oren Liebermann reporting from the Pentagon. Well there is growing concern about how the Taliban will treat women

in Afghanistan as they recapture large parts of the country. And I spoke earlier with human rights lawyer Azadah Raz Mohammad and asked I asked her if the return of Taliban repression is inevitable.


AZADAH RAZ MOHAMMAD, INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN AND HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: In the past 20 years we've seen that as you mentioned, we had a hard gain achievement. Today we have women parliamentarian, ambassadors, and also women in security forces. So it's extremely concerning that we actually will lose all this achievement for the sake of Taliban regaining the country.

And we have unconfirmed reports from the Taliban-controlled territories in the north of the country specifically, the Taliban has actually reimposes their aggressive and extremely discriminatory laws against women. And they have banned women from going to work, they have banned women from education as well as leaving the house for just basic commodities and basic needs. So, it's extremely concerning that we will lose all these achievements once if the Taliban, they manage to actually capture the biggest cities in Kabul.



CHURCH: And the U.N. says hundreds of thousands of a Afghans have been forced from their homes this year alone as Taliban forces now control about 200 districts across the country.

Well the mystery surrounding the horrifying assassination of Haiti's president is growing. The head of security of the presidential residence is now in police custody. An associate of Dimitri Herard told CNN police told Herard the order to hold him came from above.

A concession from Cuba in the wake of unprecedented protests, restrictions on travelers bringing in food, medicine and hygiene products will be lifted and custom duties waived for the rest of the year. On Sunday Cubans packed the streets in protests frustrated by the economic crisis and a lack of food and medicine. Cuba's president has cracked down on protestors but has also said the government needs to improve conditions in poor neighborhoods.

Well after days of looting and arson, South Africa's national defense force is calling all reserve members to report for duty Thursday to help quell the violence. Although the protests were triggered by the jailing of ex-president Jacob Zuma last week, they've evolved into an outpouring of anger over the economic inequality in the country 27 years after the end of apartheid. Warehouses and shopping malls are being ransacked but in a sign of public backlash, residents are now arming themselves to protect their property as the violence continues. CNN's David McKenzie has more now from Soweto.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the end, after the mayhem, there is nothing left for the looters to take.

MCKENZIE: It's almost incomprehensible what happened here. The alarms are still going off. This was the center of life in the Soweto. It's like a bomb went off here. Everything is destroyed. Everything is taken, and it took just a few hours.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): The president vowed to arrest and prosecute those responsible. He called for calm, but few listened. In Durban, a city center left gutted. Aerial footage shows the sheer scale of destruction. In this food line, they are only allowed to buy 15 items each, because there just isn't enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our president, Cyril Ramaphosa has failed the people, and all these government workers that contol the army and the police, have really failed us. It's so sad to see this in communities that protect themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We say no to looting of our own establishments.


MCKENZIE: Just describe what it has been like to try and defend this mall?

NHLANHLA LUX, SOWETO COMMUNITY LEADER: It's been hell. These guys that had been shooting at us for the last 48 hours --

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Vigilantes did what the police did not. Nhlanhla Lux says they battled armed attackers through the night to save Maponya Mall, the pride of Soweto.

LUX: We said the men in Soweto will rise, will unite, will come together, and make sure that the business, the communities, the women and children are protected.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Protected, but now Petronella is forced to buy bread from a truck.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going to end up or telling me, are going to end not having food for the next coming days and weeks.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Dudowin Kowsi (Ph) forced to pick through the debris and ruin to salvage anything from a pharmacy, but there was nothing left to save.

David McKenzie, CNN, South Africa.


CHURCH: Well China's economy is growing but not as much as expected. We will look at the troubling signs off recent months. Plus the European Union gets serious about climate change. But turning

that bold vision into concrete action won't be easy. We're back in just a moment.



CHURCH: The numbers are out. China's economy grew almost 8 percent in the second quarter compared to a year earlier. That is a lot less than what China reported in the first quarter, a sign that its economic recovery from the coronavirus is losing steam. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is in Hong Kong. She joins us now live. Great to see you Kristie. So what are the experts saying about why China's growth is slower than expected?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, amid the pandemic China is maintaining economic growth but the rate of that growth, the rate of its recovery, is slowing down. Earlier today China announced that its economy had grown 7.9 percent in the April to June quarter compared to the same period one year ago. And yes, that is much less than the 18.3 percent year on year increase it posted for the first quarter. That was when China bounced back from the initial shock of the coronavirus pandemic.

Economists point out that second quarter growth is being fueled by primarily two things, strong exports as well as a strong revival in the services sector inside China. But they also point out this -- that the Chinese economic growth story is slowing down. Take a listen.


JULIAN EVANS-PRITCHARD, SENIOR CHINESE ECONOMISTS, CAPITAL ASIA: I think really the story here is that actually because the Chinese economy recovered very rapidly from the COVID-19 downturn, it's basically fully recovered. In fact it is above it pre-virus trend. There's just a lot less room for it to continue to grow rapidly so it is hitting against those constraints and that is why we're starting to see those growth rates weaken quite considerably.


STOUT (on camera): China's economic growth is facing a number of speed bumps including surging commodity prices, supply chain disruption, tension with the United States, the trade war, the tech war, sanctions on Chinese companies, as well as COVID-19. There have been a number of COVID-19 infections, flare-ups inside mainland China, most recently at the border with Myanmar, also at a port city in the southern Guangdong province. And as a result economists point out that really weighs on household confidence in China, that weighs on domestic consumption. It also is a global supply chain disrupter. That being said, economists do point out that China will be on track to meet or exceed that 6 percent growth target for the year -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Great to see you Kristie Lu Stout with that live report, appreciate it. Well the European Union has unveiled an ambitious and detailed plan to

cut emissions on the continent by half by the end of the decade. With the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. But getting all 27 member states on board will be a huge challenge. CNN's Anna Stewart has more now from London.



ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: If Europe is to become the first climate neutral continent in the world by 2050, a massive overhaul on climate policy is needed. And the E.U. Commission is proposing this. They're calling it the European Green Deal. It is a package of policies that would have huge implications for industries right across the block. The cost of using nonrenewable fuel could soar for businesses in the E.U. due to higher taxes and also lower caps on carbon emissions.

To assure that those businesses aren't going to be made less competitive than their non-E.U. rivals, the commission actually proposes some tariffs on certain imported goods. They are calling for a carbon border. There's a big focus on transport here. That accounts for over a fifth of the E.U.'s emissions. So, no surprise there.

Cars and vans are to be emission free by 2035 which effectively means banning combustion engines and actually even putting hybrid cars on the endangered list. Aviation and shipping are set to be taxed for using polluting fuels for the very first time. And IATA which is the association representing airlines have told us that actually taxation they say is counterproductive. They say it could destroy jobs.

So, there's likely to be pushback, also politically. Officials have told CNN that actually getting the E.U. Commission is to agree to the deal was a struggle. And this will need approval from the E.U.'s council and parliament to become law. Decarbonization is going to be more costly for some member states, they could oppose the plans at the E.U. leader level.

And then in the E.U. parliament there are some MEPs who say it goes too far. This would make the E.U. uncompetitive. There are others who say the proposals don't go far enough. Of course, any vote in the E.U. can also become a proxy for other divisive issues from human rights to migration to the rule of law.

So, this is an ambitious plan. It is one that is time sensitive, if Europe is to become climate neutral by 2050. But this plan could take years to be negotiated.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


CHURCH: The Olympic Village is beginning to fill up. Athletes from around the world are arriving in Tokyo for the summer games hoping a spike in new cases doesn't impact their chance to compete. We'll take a look. [04:50:00]


CHURCH: A scathing new report is blasting the FBI's handling of sexual abuse allegations against former USA gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar, who is serving decades in prison for criminal sexual conduct and child pornography. The Justice Department's inspector general found FBI officials made false statements, failed to properly document complaints by Nassar's accusers and didn't respond with seriousness and urgency. The bureau says those responsible no longer handle FBI matters. The attorney representing dozens of victims believes the FBI agents involved should be charged.

Saying, quote: The FBI betrayed generations of Olympic champions. It betrayed the hundreds of children Nassar savaged, and it betrayed the American people's trust. Those responsible need to be held to account with all the force the law can provide.

Well Olympic hopefuls are making their way to Tokyo for the summer games which kick off in just a week. One group that's not there though is the Olympic team of refugees from different countries. The IOC announced the team would not arrive this week after an official tested positive for COVID-19 at a welcome event in Qatar.

Meanwhile, Tokyo on Wednesday reported its highest number of new daily COVID cases since May.

CNN's Will Ripley joins me now live from Tokyo. Good to see you, Will. So just over a week away, what is the latest on arrivals and preparations?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far according to the latest numbers, and this was yesterday so it might have changed, Rosemary, but around 8,000 foreigners which includes athletes, journalists, official delegations. 8,000 people have arrived in Japan for the Olympics so far, and just three of them have had a positive COVID test.

Now I've taken seven or eight COVID tests since I've been on the ground and I'm fully vaccinated just like all the members of my team. And yet we are still under quarantine if we want to leave our hotel like we did earlier today for an interview. We had to actually get that travel plan approved on paper, our driver had to actually submit his own separate paperwork just so that we could take a private car -- because we can't take private transportation to go to the location, keep our masks on at all times.

But in reality the number of people who are testing positive from the foreign delegations is relatively low, but the numbers in Tokyo continue to be at the highest levels they have seen in more than two months. And the numbers have been climbing consistently over the last three weeks. So the big risk here might actually be to the athletes coming in if they have contact with unvaccinated Japanese. Because the statistics provided by the IOC are that around 80 percent of the athletes are believed to be vaccinated.

But at the hotel where the Brazilian judo team is staying, we have confirmed that eight hotel staff members before the athletes even arrived tested positive for COVID. So they are testing not even the people arriving but also the staff members who are going to have direct contact with these foreign visitors. Nonetheless the IOC President Thomas Bach is focusing on the history of this event.


THOMAS BACH, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: They will be historic for the way how the Japanese people overcame so many challenges in the last couple of years. The great Japan earthquake and now the coronavirus pandemic.


RIPLEY (on camera): So of course the IOC wants that to be the legacy of these games, Rosemary, and not that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics turned into some sort of a super spreader event with a new even more dangerous variant in the delta variant that's currently spreading around the world right now.

CHURCH: All right, Will Ripley joining us live from Tokyo. Many thanks.

It was a pivotal game four in the NBA finals. And now the series is truly up for grabs. Here is Patrick Snell with our minute in sports -- Patrick.



PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORTS: Rosemary, thanks so much. Yes, we're going to start with the NBA finals as Greek superstar Giannis and his Milwaukee Bucks look to level the best-of-seven series with the Phoenix Suns. The 26-year-old from Athens, 26 points on the night and with just over a minute left, how about this, Giannis' outstanding crucial block. Bucks go on to win it, series level at two apiece, game five on Saturday.

Two the fallout now from the online racist abuse three England footballers received. This is in the aftermath of their country's Euro 2020 final defeat. Italy won and one of those three, Jadon Sancho speaking out saying hate will never win. To all the young people who've receive similar abuse, hold your heads up high and keep chasing the dream.

And some football transfer news to bring you. The hero for Italy in that final Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma heading to Paris Saint-Germain on a free from in Milan, a five year deal agreed.

And in Cape Town, it was a strong set up. South Africa "A" handing out a first toll off to the British and Irish Lions in a thrilling contest, the host 17 points to 13 winners. Springboks Lions series starting July 24th. And with that, Rosemary, it is right back to you this Thursday.


CHURCH: Thank you, Patrick.

And thank you for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Be sure to connect with me on Twitter @rosemaryCNN. "EARLY START" is next. This is CNN, have yourselves a wonderful day.