tv BBC World News America PBS February 22, 2021 2:30pm-3:01pm PST
katty: this is bbc world news america. violence on the rise, afghanistan's president tells the bbc about his hopes for peace. >> it is time that the telegram and their supporters show the same will for peace as they have demonstrated in conflict. katty: hundreds of thousands of people protest across myanmar, despite threats of the military that they could be killed. and, a one-way road to freedom. the u.k. prime minister outlined his lockdown exit plan for england morning, it is not very quick. ♪ katty: welcome to world news america on pbs and around the globe.
in afghanistan, the telegram are making gain, seizing control of parts of the country. yet, afghanistan's president tells the bbc he still sees an opportunity for peace. his comments come as the white house is reviewing a deal between the trump admintration and the taliban, which would have u.s. troops in the country this may. that would and america's longest war. but, the buying administration is weighing whether to reverse that deal. reporter: frontline of this forever war. afghan soldiers in brutal battle against the taliban. a time of blistering violence. the calm of the commander-in-chief in couple. just days after his nato allies
confirmed they are not pulling out yet. >> the nato decision provides a window of opportunity. to shape an enduring and lasting peace. reporter: is it a question of months or years? >> it's depends on the intensity. my message is, those that provide sanctuary to the taliban should be talks to very strict. reporter: you said you hamany opportunities. we met a president clearly please there is a new partner in the white house. biden's is now reviewing the deal which shut out the afghan leader. >> i am delighted with the nature of conversation that is taking place between us. it is a conversation about mutual interest, mutual respect,
and mutual trust. there are going to be hard decisions, and one has to expect. the american war is over. reporter: this deal was meant to pave the way for foreign forces to leave by may, but the u.s. says the taliban have not kept their word, including cutting ties with al qaeda. >> it is time that the taliban and their supporters showed the same will for seeking peace as they have demonstrated in seeking conflict. reporter: the taliban say your insistence in completing your five-year term is an obstacle in this peace process. >> what is there alternative? reporter: elections? >> elections. the republic is a system that
runs by the will of the people. the source of legitimacy of the next government will be absolutely clear. it has to be the will of the people. reporter: does that have to come at the end of your five-year term? >> no. reporter: it could be earlier if the right conditions are in place? >> this is a premature discussion. reporter: but everyone is talking about. >> everyone is talking. this is a free country. reporter: it's been talked about our regional powers, opposition politicians. >> let them talk. reporter: washington does not want its forces here a day longer than necessary, it is stepping up pressure on all sides to end this war. this is the year the president agrees pce will be won or lost. katty: i have joined live now.
thank you for joining the program. how much difference to america's 2.5 thousand military troops make to the situation in afghanistan? reporter: as we were speaking to him, there are still warplanes in the sky at half past 2:00 in the morning. this is war, date and day out. even though the presence is down to 10,000 altogether, the first time since 2001 there are more non-american troops than american. the last 2500 make it critical, that air support, the difference between prudential capitals falling or staying in the hands of the afghan security forces. the intelligence that has helped them. sometimes it does not work, sometimes the attacks are sadly mistaken, but it has made a difference.
it is also above all, psychological. the taliban, having done this deal with united states last year, even though this is being reviewed and the taliban are angry, threatening attacks with the decision by the united states. we are not sure whether they will pull out, the first. the taliban are not going to destroy what was an absolutely extraordinary achievement for them. katty: there has not been a u.s. milita death in afghanistan for a year, and yet, it seems that a lot h beenained. standards of living seems to be rising. there have been protection for women and children's rights. thargument here is, from those who support keeping u.s. troops, why jeopardize all of those gains, for so few trips, we have not lost a troop for a year. do you think in the end that u.s. will decide that the gains they made are worth trying to keep?
reporter: the gains of the last 20 years have become a rather controversial phrase here. sometimes people paint a picture of afghanistan, which quite frankly depending on who is talking, is described from disneyland to a figment of the imagination. clearly, the afghanistan today is not the afghanistan of 2001. i remember back then, there was not a single international telephone line in this country. girls were not going to school. kabul was a >> place. -- kabul was a wrecked place. you still have millions of girls not going to school. a period in which there are these waves of targeted assassinations, afghans simply do not feel safe on the streets. one young afghan after another is leaving the country or
thinking of leaving. the press -- the question is, under this deal, the u.s. is supposed to pull out all of its are many forces. i heard this from senior american military officers. the taliban will countdown to zero. will they allow what joe biden as the candidate, the vice president has always consistently said, that he wanted not a big u.s. troop presence, but a counterterrorism force, say around 1500. you can reinforce your presence in neighboring countries as well when you need to intervene, either to fight against groups like al qaeda, islamic state, or indeed to tell about if there is not a peace deal. there is an agreement with the taliban. if the united states going to respect that? they have posted to their followers for years, we have defeated the american empire. the foreign forces are gone.
there is a sense in which people think, if there is a power-sharing agreement, maybe then they will say we are in power now, we will make an agreement with united states and nato. but that zero goal is still in play. katty: fascinating. thank you very much. myanmar's military are calling it anarchy, but demonstrators are turning out in ever bigger numbers to protest against the military coup a few weeks ago. it is a big risk for them, the military has issued a clear threat broadcast on tv, saying protesters could be killed. from neighboring thailand is our correspondent. reporter: there is no party or institution behind this movement. doesn't -- just hundreds of thousands of people, organize through communities, into a remarkably coordinated show of opposition.
the military government is trying to present these protests as the work of a few agitators, hood begin young people into joining. today's general strike set out to prove that wrong. the crowds were big. they fit a formidable wall of police, moving down the famously oversized highways. these rallies were replicated in every corner of myanmar. in the northern state. and, the ancient temples. in the south, the streets packed with people. in most places,he markets were closed. myanmar's economic life is being badly disrupted, a price many people say they are willing to pay.
>> today is a day for countrywide protests. we do not want to stay under control of the military dictatorship, so we came here to join the protest. nothing will happen to me if my salary is cut. but if we stay under the control of military dictatorship, we will have lesser lives. reporter: three weeks after the coup, public anger is still burning bright myanmar. the generals who seized power have little popular support, their authority is being challenged every day on the streets. all they have is their guns. at some point, they will have to decide how far they are prepared to use them against so many of their own people. katty: it does take a lot of courage.
as of tonight, have a million people have died from covid-19 in the united states. numbers that large can be hard to conceptualize, so think about it this way. 500,000 is the size of kansas city, missouri. more americans than those who died in the whole of world war i, world war ii, and the vietnam war combined. but, the news comes as countries around the world are seeing a drop in infections. prime minister boris johnson says there is no such thing as a covifree future, but that the end is finally coming to site. >> our extraordinary nhs has succeeded in vaccinating more than 17.7 million people across the u.k.. nearly a year after this pandemic began, this unparalleled national effort has decisively shifted the odds in
our favor. we no longer have to relicense the on lockdowns and restricting our behavior, but every day that goes by, this program of vaccination is grading a shield around the entire population. katty: restrictions and england will start to ease on the eighth of march. on that date, schools will reopen to all pupils, then about three weeks later, the stay-at-home order will and. then, by the middle of april, non-essential retail will be allowed to reopen. by mid may, limits on outdoor gatherings will be lifted. finally, the 21st of june, that is when the government hopes to remove all legal limits on social contacts, including large events and weddings. joining me now for more is our political correspondent.
what has the reaction been in the u.k. to the story concrete roadmap? reporter: boris johnson saying a one-way road to freedom. there is quite a big dispute over the speed at which he is traveling. there is a meeting tonightf conservative mps in his ow party, some of them are worried about the length of time it takes between each step to ease restrictions. they thinking it is far too long to get to june, when most restrictions would be lifd. they are saying there should be more flexibility in his plan if the data is good, vaccination is taking off, infections are falling. perhaps we should start to reopen the economy a bit sooner. i am told there was no backtracking from the prime mister. however, 40 mps from opposition parties were saying that they
still think it is moving too quickly. but they wanted to see is what is called a zero covid strategy to try and 11 antivirus entirely. he said there is no credible roots towards doing that. but when some cas the vast majority -- katty: good the dates change depending on circumstances? reporter: they could. they could be moved back. for example, talking about areas of concern, south african and could -- resilient variant -- variant. peaps evading vaccines more seriously, some of these meases could be put on hold. comparing the private meeting to
a motorway, you can pull off and hold progress if need be. what he is trying to do by moving cautiously is to make any changes reversible. katty: we have been hearing in the u.s. over the course of this weekend from dr. fauci that americans could be wearing masks into 2022, way into next year. some of the social distancing is going to have to be with us. is that something you think people in britain are prepared for? that there could be some measures we have to take individually into next year? reporter: i think that is the case. most people are quite prepared for. the optimistic tone of the prime minister, people who think my goodness the restrictions can end. it was interesting at his press conference that both his chief medical advisors were saying,
covid could continue to be with us. jane perhaps masks would have to go on in the winter if there is an uptick in infections. certainly the government has not ruled out some of that. including testing, self-isolation, and yes, face masks. katty: preparing to go to the nightclub on june the 21st. a quick look at other news. president joe biden's nominee to lead the justice department said today that fighting domestic extremism would be his first priority it confirmed as attorney general. judge merrick garland said the far extremism today was worse than when he investigated the 1995 oklahoma city bombing that left 168 people dead. mr. garland also pledged to keep the departnt free of politics. italy's ambassador in the democratic republic of congo has been killed in an attack in the east of the country.
he died along with an italian military policeman and one other person who wereraveling with him near the eastern city of burma. they were part of a u.n. convoy when they were attacked and shot. they were transported to hospital but were confirmed dead. you are watching bbc world news america. still to come on this program. 11,000 doses of ebola vaccines are now on their way to getting, as authorities there try to tackle a resurgence of the deadly disease. ♪ katty: for the past year, officials from the u.s. and china have clashed over the origins of the pandemic. now, chinese state media is citing u.s. death counts to criticize america's response. here's our rorter. reporter: they are saying this boosts the human rights very tell that the u.s. likes to propagate. it has been common for people in china to reap reports of the
millions of children alone who have been suffering from of the 19, and how this is going to have an impact on their physical and mental and social well-being. at the same time, chinese people have for a long time looked up to the u.s.. the state newspaper global times says since the 1980's it has been a place that chinese people have idolized, and have wants to go to. the pandemic have led them to do some self reflection. they have looked at the u.s. and its failures. they don't want to go to the states anymore. they see it as an area that is unsafe for chinese people, not only because of the pandemic, but xenophobic attitudes that have sprung up as a result. ♪ katty: in the midst of the battle against covid-19, one country has declared another outbreak of ebola, the person 2016. the disease has also been discovered in congo.
an effective vaccine and improves treatment could halt the spre of the virus. our africa correspondent reports now. reporter: before covid-19, there was another epidemic. guinea and its neighbors sierra leone and liberia battle the ebola virus. the outbreak in 2014 lasted two years, and 11,000 people died. >> [speaking foreign language] reporter: a new ebola outbreak declared on the 14th of february is bound to scare many. >> people remember the huge health and social and economic imct that this outbreak of 2014 to 2016 had. reporter: a lot has changed since 2014. doctors and nurses know how to fight the disease, and new
facilities have been set up. perhaps the biggest developments have been in t science. new vaccines and treatments have been developed, and there is that her public awareness. -- better public awareness. the democratic republic of congo has had the most ebola outbreaks. it was also announced this month in the east. vaccinations have already begun their. but, the science one be effective unless communities are brought on board. in the drc in 2019, ebola health workers and facility -- facilities were attacked because of mistrust from local populations. >> instead of doing it for them, we have to give them the means and resources. it means for example that we have to decentralize as much as
we can health care professionals. provide treatment. reporter: hope is certainly here for those at risk of being infected ebola but, this is still a deadly disease that needs to be tackled quickly and effectively. katty: ebola and africa as they also try and deal with the covid virus as well. this past thursday, the world marveled at nasa's latest incredible achievement of landin a new rover on the surface of mars. today, they have released remarkable new images of the final images of that tense dissent. if you ever wondered what it sounds like up on mars, they have recorded that to. take it wasn't. -- take a listen.
[wind blowing] katty: could be oklahoma. sound of a very windy day up on mars. reporter: from the release of a supersonic parachute, to the sheddingf a heatshield. and out of this worldview. mars has never seen before, as the rover nears the surface, the dust is kicked up. been a change of camera as perseverance is lowered on ropes, before touchdown. >> perseverance is safely on the surface of mars. [applause] reporter: the landing system is just underway. >> you can't tested on earth. this is the first time to see what we designed. it is hard for me to express just how emotional it was and how exciting it was. reporter: there are new still images to, a selfie of the
rover, and a vista of the alien world it down citizen, providing a clips of the terrain it is about to explore. >> radar lock on the ground. reporter: this footage is already providing crucial information to scientists, and they will continue to study it as perserance gets to work. it is just a taste of what is to come. katty: before we go, we have seen a lot of pictures of freezing scenes across the u.s. but take a look at this. this is what weeks of freezing temperatures have done to niagara falls. mountains of snow and ice have formed all along the banks. people visiting the new york side also caught a glance of this rainbow while snapping photographs. it looks like parts of the waterfall are present completely. narrator: funding for presentation of this program is provided by.. the freeman foundation.
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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: gd evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, half a million: the u.s. death toll from covid-19 reaches 500,000 as experts wa safety measures may remain foronger than anticipated. then, crisis in texas-- major questions about energy infrastructure and emergency response remain following a devastating winter storm. and, one on one-- we discuss the ongoing pandemic response and the dire consequences of inaction in the global fight against climate change with bill gates.