‘The Five’ on terror threats amid Afghanistan collapse, Taliban takeover

This is a rush transcript from “The Five” August 31, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated. 


UNKNOWN: Should they try and head to the border? Should they try and book a flight out of there or should they remain in hiding? 


DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS HOST: The White House holding a briefing after the president’s speech on Afghanistan. Hello, everyone. I’m Dana Perino along with Katie Pavlich, Geraldo Rivera, Pete Hegseth and Greg Gutfeld. It’s 5:00 in New York City. This is THE FIVE. 

President Biden addressing Americans for the first time since pulling all troops out of Afghanistan. The president praising his efforts despite weeks of chaos, violence and the deaths of 13 American service members.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I believe this is the right decision, a wise decision, and the best decision for America. 

I was not going to extend this forever war. That assumption that the Afghan government would be able to hold on for a period of time beyond military draw down turned out not to be accurate. 

Let me be clear. Leaving August 31st is not due to an arbitrary deadline. It was designed to save American lives. 


PERINO: And President Biden making this bold declaration on how the 20- year war ended. 


BIDEN: Extraordinary success of this mission was due to the incredible skill, bravery, and selfless courage of the United States military and our diplomas and intelligence professionals. 


PERINO: Pete, let’s get your thoughts first. I know you were watching the speech upstairs. 

PETE HEGSETH, FOX NEWS HOST: You can hear me? (Inaudible) 

PERINO: A little bit. A little bit. 

HEGSETH: I will say, I’ll start where the speech ended. He started by — he ended by saying we have a future that is safer, which anyone who is looking what’s happening right now knows this is fundamentally not true. So everything you walk back from that was the last half of it was a straw man as if we were debating about whether we should get out of Afghanistan or not. 

That litigation has been done for quite some time. And he also presented a false choice of either you have to leave or you have to escalate and built around that straw man as well. So, for me, it was a lot of blaming. I mean, who did he blame? He spent a quarter of the speech blaming Donald Trump for where he is and then blaming U.S. citizens for not doing enough to get out of the country. 

I also go back to where he started. He talked about only the U.S. would have had the capacity to do something of this size and scale. And he emphasized the numbers time and time again although we’ll get to the number of U.S. citizens because there is something very revealing there. 

To which I think a lot of Americans looked into their television screen and said, only the United States would have had the capacity to not have to do it this way. There were so many decisions that led us to this point that we — decision points we could have made. 

And I keep going back to the consensus point that you made yesterday, Greg, as if this was a consensus for an extremely successful mission. White washing over the entire reality of how we got where we were to include the new revelation that the Taliban had offered us to secure Kabul. 

We had been given the opportunity to secure Kabul weeks ago before the Taliban entered and we declined. So there was no attrition — contrition, meaning. There was no recognition that mistakes were made. Instead, he doubled down on what I believe is a false narrative and a false choice. 

PERINO: There are a lot of straw men in there. This is also this (inaudible) number four, this is just about an observation, not just from here at this table, but from the White House briefing room about the tone of the president. Watch. Okay 


UNKNOWN: — of us observed he seemed angry at the beginning of his speech today. Who’s he mad at? 

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I would say — I’ll give you a different assessment of what I saw, which is that he gave a forceful assessment, laid out a forceful case to the American people as to why it was time to wind down a 20-year war that has led to the loss of thousands of lives. And in his view, and I think he made a firm case of this. It’s not in our national security interest to be on the ground anymore. 


PERINO: So, yes, there’s that and that might be true, hopefully, is the case. So that they don’t have the capacity to do that, but the tone was strange. It was like it started in — really came in hot initially. 

GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS HOST: So it’s — I don’t — you know, I always hated it when they — would mind read Trump. 


GUTFELD: I feel that the dramatic changes in Biden suggest that its performance all the time. I mean, the fact that he can go this way, go that way, they get — it is though that it’s a — 

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You don’t think he’s sincere? 

GUTFELD: No. I don’t — and I’ll tell you why, because that wasn’t a speech. It was a bait and switch, to Pete’s point. What they’re trying to do is redefine the outrage against the president as directed against the decision to leave and the achievement of the troops so that if you are mad about this, you’re actually scorning — keeping scorn on the troops when it’s really obvious. And we talked about this. 

No one is upset with the troops and no one is upset with the decision. He was — and, you know, with the thing that kind of, you know, talking about the casualties of war. He went through this. No one disputes. The cost of war is understood. We’re focused actually on the cost of incompetence. 

Everybody understands that war is hell. We have friends that are missing limbs. We have missing friends. So when he goes through that, its lik, no, it’s not about that. It’s about your damned incompetence. It’s like yes, we wanted to go on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. We didn’t expect you to hit the iceberg, right? 

He’s conflating these things. And he also conflated like, it was a weird situation for him to take credit for this extraordinary success while at the same time blaming Trump. So he’s got this weird thing — he’s got it all backwards. The decision that Trump made is correct. The follow through is abysmal. 

What he’s doing is the opposite. He’s saying the decision is bad but look at what I did. I really got us out of this mess. You got us out of a mess that you created. The bigger airlift in history is your way a papering over a mission that you screwed up for reasons that we can’t begin to understand because you’ve screwed up on every decision point. 

PERINO: All right. Call for number two, if you would, this is President Biden talking about his predecessor if we have that. 


BIDEN: My predecessor, the former president, signed an agreement with the Taliban to remove U.S. troops by May 1st, just months after I was inaugurated. It included no requirement that Taliban work out a cooperative governing arrangement with the Afghan government, but it did authorize the release of 5,000 prisoners last year, including some of the Taliban’s top war commanders among those that just took control of Afghanistan.


PERINO: Geraldo, I’ll give you the floor after that. 

RIVERA: He’s trying to, I mean, obviously spread the blame. He wants Trump to share some of the responsibility. To use the Titanic analogy, what he did was they hit the iceberg right away. The Titanic was mortally injured, but then it sailed on and they did a pretty good job of patching it up. 

You know, this was, as the “National Review” says, a catastrophic success. We had all of the bad intelligence, the most horrific failure of intelligence, maybe except for the Russians not knowing that Hitler was coming in 1939. 

HEGSETH: What time frame are you talking about? 

RIVERA: I’m talking about the intelligence in the beginning when he came in and did not know that the Afghan army would run. 


RIVERA: How could you not know the Afghan army would run? How could you be so confident conversely that the Afghan army would fight, that you would hang your entire policy on the expectation of a decent interval? That the Afghan army would fight, you get people out in an orderly fashion and then at some point the Afghan army would exhaust itself and the Taliban would ultimately win and they wouldn’t blame Biden because it happened two years after he pulled the troops out. 

So what happened is, he had the expectations of the Taliban being confronted by the Afghan army, did not happen. Then he had already evacuated all the American troops, had the civilians or the most vulnerable people had been left behind, the warriors had been shipped out. Then they had to re-ship in other warriors to protect the civilians. 

So it was a real, you know, a massive, massive screw-up that they did a pretty good job of cleaning up by the end, but it doesn’t undo all of the horror that happened initially. 

PERINO: The Afghan military — the president spent a lot of time reiterating that and I only can imagine that one, that he believes it and two, it probably polls very well. 

And it has been very offensive to a lot of people who said, well, wait, you left in the middle of the night at Bagram. You didn’t even tell the Afghan commander that you were going. You took away the air support. They did melt away and we are where we are. 

Katie, you can comment on that, but also, I just want to play this for you in terms of the issue about Afghan girls. This is what Biden said during the speech. This is call for number three. 


BIDEN: We’ll continue to support the Afghan people through diplomacy, international influence and humanitarian aid. We’ll continue to push for reasonable diplomacy and engagement to prevent violence and instability. We’ll continue to speak out for the basic rights of the Afghan people especially women and girls as we speak out for women and girls all around the globe. 


PERINO: That is also probably an issue where they’re seeing, again, from the feedback from their twitter feeds, from their friends, and from the polling that that’s an issue. 

KATIE PAVLICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It’s a really naive point of view. I know that they’re trying to clean this up and figure out some kind of solution to this disaster they have created by, you know, their dispute about what the military generals said and did not say. A number of them would say that they told the president including a number of U.S. Senators that the Afghan army was not prepared. 

That’s also part of this big question about being in Afghanistan for 20 years and this lie that was propped up that the Afghan army was capable of fighting off the military. But in terms of moving forward with diplomacy when it comes to talking to the Taliban through diplomatic channels that aren’t even in Afghanistan, they’re in another country, is just completely opposite of the reality on the ground. 

They are hanging people from our helicopters. We have video of the Taliban going door-to-door to execute translators and interpreters who helped us. Women are at the very bottom of the list when it comes to — especially girls — when it comes to rights in Afghanistan. I was talking to a Marine friend today who said those — a lot of the girls are probably being sold off to men as we speak. 

We know that as the Taliban was coming through all these villages. They were taking a number of women from their families and forcing them to get married including, of course, underage girls. So this idea that they can talk their way out of this in terms of diplomacy now, it’s just a dishonest way of looking at it. 

I think, broadly speaking as we move forward with this, the administration talks a lot about diplomacy in a number of areas. Well, diplomacy is the way that we deal with nuclear Iran. Diplomacy is the way we deal with China and Russia without these conditions that we’ve seen. And I think the future for those girls, but also the future of a foreign policy and the safety of America is at stake if they’re going to pin it on talking to people rather than having some kind of force behind the words. 

PERINO: All right. We have a lot more to come. Ahead, broken promises, President Biden admitting Americans were left behind in Afghanistan after giving his word that that would not happen. 



BIDEN: Americans will understand that we’re going to try to get it done before August 31st. 

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABDC NEWS HOST: But if we don’t, the troops will stay. 

BIDEN: If we don’t, we’ll determine at the time who is left.


BIDEN: And if your American force — if there’s American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out. 

PSAKI: First of all, I think it’s responsible to say Americans are stranded. They are not. 

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: There are no Americans stranded is the White House’s official position on what’s happening in Afghanistan right now. 

PSAKI: I’m just calling you out for saying that we are stranding Americans in Afghanistan. 


PAVLICH: President Biden and the White House breaking repeated promises to stay in Afghanistan until all Americans are out. And today, President Biden admitted people were left behind. 


BIDEN: Since March, we reached out 19 times to Americans in Afghanistan with multiple warning and offers to help them leave Afghanistan, all the way back as far as March. The bottom line, 90 percent of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave. For those who remain, we will make arrangements to get them out if they so choose. 


PAVLICH: So Dana, we’ve gone from we’ve promised to stay to get every American who wants to leave out to it’s your fault if you didn’t get out. 

PERINO: That same day that the White House press secretary and Peter Doocy had the exchange about stranded and that the White House took offense to that. I think it was two hours later that “The New York Times” headline with their story that night was Americans are going to be stranded. 

And now it’s gone from stranded to abandon even though we say that we’ll do everything we can, and I hope we do. And I’m glad for the Americans that were able to get here. I also understand that there might be some people that made some really tough decisions about what they might have to leave behind. Parents being one of them. And if they were targeted themselves, for example, some of these interpreters who — that is the actually the number I think that is really abysmal. 

The administration won’t give you any numbers on how many interpreters they got out. And I have a feeling it’s because it’s really, really small, talking to our Pentagon reporters today. You know, celebrating the withdrawal while seeking credit for it, but yet we have these Americans and allies left behind is just — it’s a very hard thing to thread. 

I also think that the hopes that you hear from Blinken last night and his – – Secretary of State — in his speech, he quoted the Taliban and their commitments and the things that they have signed on to. And it has to be more than a hope and a prayer for that to get done. 

The other thing is, Jake Sullivan said it this morning. The White House press secretary just repeated it. They continue to say that there’s nobody on the ground in Afghanistan, nobody, that has the capability or capacity to hit the American homeland. I hope that is true. 

PAVLICH: Yes, that’s big bet that they’re making there. Geraldo, it’s obvious the president has gone back on his words. It’s on video. He promised that Americans would not be left behind. He said that this would be an orderly process. He said this was planned for. 

And yet here we are today with stories coming out of the “Sacramento Bee” for example of school-aged children who are stuck in Afghanistan without American forces to get them to the airport. 

RIVERA: Jen Psaki kept emphasizing over and over that the people who are still in Afghanistan are duel citizens, most of them — some are children, some are pregnant ladies who for, you know, reasons of their own health didn’t want to move. 

I thought that she really went over trying to convince us and I don’t disbelieve her that the vast majority of Americans are out and that they are reasonably certain that through the Qataris and others, they can negotiate the release of any other Americans who want to leave. 

Just two quick other points I want to make. One is that Biden, during his speech, emphasized the hundreds of millions of dollars every day that we spend in Afghanistan, $2 trillion. And he also said pointing out and that’s why we honor people like Major Hegseth, that only 1 percent of the American people serve in the military and that he does not want to send another generation of American G.I.’s overseas to put them in harm’s way. 

These are things that the people of Americ care about. And I think that the reason why he’s getting sort of a pass on this even though conservative commentators are trying to slam him on the Americans left behind business, I think that we are sympathetic to the goal that Biden sets to stop the carnage. 

PAVLICH: You know, Pete, part of President Biden’s speech today was off because he wasn’t reading the room. This is not America celebrating the end of a 20-year war even though most Americans think that we should have left. They’re upset. They feel shame. They feel dishonored. They feel like we have left people behind and they’re upset precisely because of that and yet, there’s justification for doing it. 

HEGSETH: Yes. That was about 75 percent of the speech. Geraldo, we’ve known for quite some time we spent $300 million a day for two decades. We’ve known for quite some time that 1 percent of Americans — these are all things we already knew and we already bemoan. That’s a reality. 

RIVERA: I knew them and I just re-remembered them today. 

HEGSETH: He spent — well, I’m re-remembering today that only 90 percent of Americans who wanted out can get out. I mean, imagine standing at the podium saying, yes, I will leave no one behind except for the 10 percent. Last time I did the math, 5,000 Americans came out, which means 10 percent of that is 500? That’s a much larger number than they have reported previously. We’ve been talking about a couple hundred. So that’s a larger number. And there might be complications with some people and — 

GUTFELD: Maybe they’re not vaccinated. 

HEGSETH: Does that make you less worthy? Or maybe they’re not vaccinated. I thought the story that came out that was most telling today was the Afghan interpreter who rescued Joe Biden in 2008 himself is pleading to get out. He literally was part of a quick reaction force that helped save these senators in Afghanistan. 

And vets are reportedly as saying if you can only help one Afghan, choose Mohammed. He’s been stuck in the SIV process. He was there for then Senator Joe Biden when he needed him. He fought a hundred firefights with U.S. forces. Combat vets said he deserve to be — he’s not on that list. He’s not on those airplanes. He’s been left behind. Imagine how — what a prize he would be for the Taliban right now. 


GUTFELD: Yes. If you’re leaving 10 percent behind, I don’t think the war is over. 


GUTFELD: I just don’t think — I don’t, I mean, you can play with the rhetoric and talk about it, but it doesn’t — it doesn’t feel that way. It’s — how many — Pete, how many is that? Two hundred? Was it 200 or 300? How many now, people that are still back there, Americans — 

HEGSETH: That are still there? By their math, 500. 

GUTFELD: Okay, 500. 

RIVERA: But they’re admitting it’s actually 200. 

GUTFELD: Yes. Imagine what you can do with that. I mean, it’s like we are a country — 

HEGSETH: You mean what, in terms of what (inaudible)? Sure. 

GUTFELD: We are a country that is (inaudible) by smart phone videos of police brutality. Do you know what you can do to this country with 500 hostages, with 500 executions? Whatever you want. You can do whatever you want. I don’t trust anything that’s coming out of this government. I’m hoping that maybe they’re lying and that they’re actually working to get these people out, but they can’t talk about it, right? 

That maybe this is just a smoke screen and that actually — because why would they tell us anyway? Why would they tell us? But I don’t know. We had, what’s his name? General McKenzie saying that they, you know, proudly demilitarized 27 Humvees, right? And that’s like, but what’s the denominator? Is it 27 out of 27? Twenty-seven out of 100 or 27 over 22,174? 

So I don’t — I think that there’s like pieces of good news that they put out there, but it’s like, we’re not hearing the truth. Maybe there’s a reason for it, you know. 

PAVLICH: But you don’t see a lot of the truth and that’s why people are upset. All right, coming up, Al Qaeda and terror groups gaining ground again in Afghanistan. But Biden claims we have to focus on other threats. 


GUTFELD: President Biden saying America can’t focus on the threats of 2001 while letting terror group like ISIS-K and Al-Qaeda fester in Afghanistan. 


BIDEN: The fundamental obligation of a president in my opinion is to defend and protect America. Not against threats of 2001, but against the threats of 2021 and tomorrow. 

Let me say it clearly. To those who wish America harm, to those that are engaged in terrorism against us our or allies, know this. The United States will never rest. We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down to the ends of the earth and we will — you will pay the ultimate price. 


GUTFELD: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was pressed about new potential threats to the homeland. 


UNKNOWN: Does the administration believe that Al-Qaeda is no longer a threat to America and given the ISIS attacks that we’ve seen in the last week, how confident is the administration that Afghanistan isn’t already a safe haven for terrorists? 

PSAKI: Well, I think first there is a very big difference between terrorist ability to attack U.S. troops in Kabul and to attack the homeland. And we have — we do not assess that any terrorist group on the ground has the ability to attack the homeland and the United States. 


GUTFELD: We kind of know that. I mean, that’s pretty obvious, Katie. What are your thoughts on those responses? 

PAVLICH: I think that they’re getting really caught up in Afghanistan as a place rather than an Islamic terrorism as an ideology, which can happen in Afghanistan. They can plan a 9/11-style attack if they have the room to do it as they did before. 

It can also happen in places like United States and Europe as we saw all throughout the Obama administration when they refused to acknowledge this idea that we’re fighting an ideology, not just a country or this enemy that is not traditional, right? But if you go back to what Obama’s kind of policy was, in foreign policy, when Joe Biden was the vice president, you see this theme running through of denying the reality, focusing on diplomacy. 

You look at Iran and the nuclear agreement. They don’t want to have conditions. You saw the Houthis in Yemen, which is another terrorist organization earlier this year. They took the terrorists label off of them to the State Department. And ever since then, all they’ve been doing is issuing statements about how they shouldn’t be bombing people at airports. 

And so, I think that’s where we are. We’re back to this ideology of not accepting the reality that people want to kill us. They do — there does have to be this balance between combating China and Russia and bigger traditional powers with Islamic terrorism. But you can’t ignore that this is still going to be around. 

GUTFELD: You know, Pete, remember how ISIS just kind of was flourishing, and then suddenly, it wasn’t. 

HEGSETH: What changed? 

GUTFELD: I don’t know. Do you know? 

HEGSETH: Is it the lots of bombs? 

GUTFELD: Yes. I think so. 

HEGSETH: And unleashed military? 


HEGSETH: It turns out that still matters in that neck of the woods, for sure. And it all comes — to me, it comes down to the false choice that still exists between leaving or you completely leave or you absolutely escalate all the way. I’m a little worried about the fact that this is the same White House that’s saying nobody could have foreseen that the Afghan troops were going to melt away. 

That’s telling us everyone is telling us that ISIS does not have the ability to attack us at home, which one am I supposed to believe? And that’s what gives people a lot of pause, because we’ve now legitimize — and we have legitimize the Taliban as a terrorist state. And we know they are in bed with al-Qaeda and Haqqani Network. 

And that doesn’t mean we stay forever. That’s such a false choice. It means — how you leave matters. And we’ve emboldened them. 

RIVERA: So, how do you end? How does — how do you stop from forever? 

HEGSETH: How you leave matters. You don’t leave on a deadline when you know the conditions aren’t right. And they knew the conditions aren’t right. 

RIVERA: All right. So, they’re going to leave in September. 

HEGSETH: They collapse. 

RIVERA: And it’s going to be October. Then, it’s going to be next year. 

HEGSETH: You leave when you have all the United States citizens out and under conditions that don’t leave — 


GUTFELD: Put it Geraldo’s frame of mind. It’s like getting a divorce. 


GUTFELD: But you work toward it, you get the lawyer, everybody gets together. 

RIVERA: And the more you fight the inevitable, the bigger the price you pay. Believe me. This is the voice of wisdom. 

GUTFELD: Maybe this was a terrible analogy on my part. 

PAVLICH: He is an expert. He is an expert. 

RIVERA: I am the incontrovertible expert. I think I worry that it sounds almost like we’re rooting for more failure in Afghanistan when I really do believe there is — there is a narrow window with this Taliban de facto government is now morphing into or becoming — evolving into a government. It has to be a government. There are good governments, there are bad governments, there are vicious governments, there are cruel governments, there are kind governments, benevolent governments. 

The Taliban will be whatever the Taliban is, but it will be a government. A government has to have relations with other governments to function as a government. Right now, there’s not a bus driver in Kabul that’s been paid. There’s not — and no one has been paid. I go back to this — if you have no money and you have no food, the people that can provide money and food have leverage. This is real leverage. 

I foresee — and write this down — I foresee in a week or two, there’s going to be a bus of Americans that the Taliban is escorting to a commercial flight in Kabul to — 

PERINO: So they can get money? 

RIVERA: Because they want money, because they want food. 

PAVLICH: Ransom driver. 


PERINO: So, the taxpayer dollars (INAUDIBLE) 

GUTFELD: Right. 

HEGSETH: But if our money is contingent on that bus, aren’t we paying ransom to get our Americans home. 

RIVERA: Yes, yes, yes. 

PERINO: Let me be very clear. No one is rooting for more failure. What we are lamenting is that character and honor matter. And our dignity matters and our position in the world matters. And that’s why people are mad. I appreciate that the President said that, in his opinion, also in the Constitution, his job is to protect America. 

I would have started there today with that speech. Instead of coming out hot taking every talking point that they have used for the last six weeks that we’ve already heard from McKenzie, and Blinken, and Sullivan, and Psaki instead of setting that aside and saying, let me be very clear, I will protect you. I’ll do everything in my power to protect you. And that is my solemn vow to you. Then, go on from there to talk about whatever else. 

I just want to say one other thing. And I wrote this down, then I just happened to pick — I see you wrote it down too. This Yemen comparison is driving me absolutely up a wall. He used it with Peter Doocy the other day where, first of all, media tip, never answer a hypothetical if you’re doing an interview. But it’s a really strange thing for a president then to then ask the media a hypothetical. 

Like, do you think if that if that al-Qaeda had been in Yemen, and then 9/11 had happened, that we would have gone into Yemen? And he’s like, come on, man, we wouldn’t have. And I’m thinking, wait, yes, I do think that if that happened in Yemen. Yes, I do think that that would have been consequences for Yemen. 

HEGSETH: Or in Afghanistan. No, we would not have gone to Afghanistan. 

PERINO: It was basically anywhere, right, that was where we were going to prevent that. 


GUTFELD: Yes, that was really stupid. That’s our president. Up next, the Taliban showing up billion dollars in military hardware we left behind. 


RIVERA: Jubilant Taliban celebrating America’s complete withdrawal from Afghanistan, firing their weapons up in the air, shooting up fireworks, now showing up billions of dollars, billions of dollars in military equipment left behind by our fleeing forces. 

New images show the Taliban dressed up as if they were Special Forces GIs, as if, decked out in other military gear courtesy of the United States. The Taliban also making a show of inspecting armored vehicles and aircraft that have been disabled by us, left behind though. 

Pentagon spokesman, Admiral John Kirby, downplaying the significance of the hardware that’s ended up in Taliban hands. 


JOHN KIRBY, PRESS SECRETARY, PENTAGON: What I would tell you about this, Dana, is the kinds of equipment we’re talking about, while certainly there’s a lethality component to it, it doesn’t threat — it doesn’t pose a threat to the United States. It doesn’t pose a threat to neighboring nations. I mean, these are not — these are not the kinds of things that the Taliban can make great strategic use out of. 


RIVERA: So these — the admiral is making a distinction, Pete, between a tactical weapon and an AK-47 and an RPG, whatever it is, and the strategic weapon, whether that’s a high-performance aircraft or you know, a weapon of mass destruction, whatever it is. He’s suggesting that nothing we left behind has strategic value. That yes, it’s — you know, if you’re firing over a grassy field, that’s one thing, but it doesn’t threaten them. 

HEGSETH: I’d say it has strategic value to the Taliban. Why do I feel like those flares they were shooting in the air and the bullet, it wasn’t because they were excited to be more effective at running a bus route, OK. That was that’s not what the Taliban is concerned about, the welfare of their people. 

What do they do first? Ban music, right? OK, you play music, you’re dead. Women in public, go home. Women with jobs, go home. They are adherence, as Katie said, to radical Islam to Islamism. And their belief is, if they crack in that code, they lose their legitimacy. 

So, administering public services is not what they care about. What they care about is using that equipment to consolidate the grip of fear on the people, on their — on their opponents, so as to not be challenged. And from there, they can start to consider whether or not they want to use what they have at their disposal to strike outside of Afghanistan. 

RIVERA: But Dana, this equipment that they have accumulated here, it doesn’t make any difference. Does it really? 

PERINO: I hope not. I mean, I hope not. I admire Admiral Kirby for coming on this morning. And I thank him for that. If what he says turns out to be true in the long run, OK, great. But it is sort of bizarre. You have — you have these — Pete, the Taliban wants to live in the seventh century. That’s their ideal. But they want 21st century weaponry. Why? Right? 

And I think — but what Pete is saying is also true, which is one, there’s a propaganda effect, right, and also just to show for us to say that they have it. 

RIVERA: You know, the one thing about the Taliban that really bugs me — and what about all these terror groups al-Qaeda in Africa and what they are doing and kidnapping young girls and all the rest? 

PERINO: Same. 

RIVERA: But we don’t have the same rage. We don’t have the same — 

PERINO: Who doesn’t? 

RIVERA: — skepticism about their sincerity. 

PERINO: About al-Qaeda in (INAUDIBLE), Boko Haram? 

RIVERA: We barely mention — we barely mention al-Qaeda in Africa. 

PERINO: I mean, well, you can count me out of your category there. And I think everybody here at this table and the network. I mean, we have been very clear on it. And the other thing I would point out is we just had a presidential election. And the big issue, of course, was COVID, and the economy as it should be. But these issues on foreign policy really matter. 

And you go back to the year 2000. And neither Gore nor Bush ever in that whole year in 2000 was ever asked about al-Qaeda. But it’s forefront of our mind now. And I understand that we are in much better capable of dealing with terrorist threats around the world because of the posture since then. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that ISIS and the Taliban, they might hate each other, but collectively they hate Western civilization. 

PAVLICH: Right. 

RIVERA: Isn’t the real problem, Katie, that we lost? Isn’t the real problem that everything that — all of these aggravating circumstances like the — them taking possession of the Humvees and so forth, it just aggravates. It’s rubbing our face in a defeat. And Americans are so proud. We’re so patriotic. We want to win for our country. 

PAVLICH: Well, this is part of the loss. I mean, the part of the loss is watching Taliban soldiers who harbored al-Qaeda and attacked us on 9/11 taking over the country and being stronger than they were on September 11, 2001. And there have been a lot of things said over the past two weeks that made absolutely no sense for this administration. But for John Kirby to say that the Taliban has no strategic use of these weapons is completely asinine and opposite of exactly what we’re seeing on the ground. 

Who borders Afghanistan? Iran and Pakistan. You don’t think the Taliban is willing to sell some of their equipment to Iran and Pakistan when they need to make money? If you look at the propaganda part of this, we were talking about what happens in the future and the administration saying today that these terrorist organizations in Afghanistan can’t hit the homeland.

You don’t think that the propaganda of those Taliban fighters at the airport where we fled and left Americans behind in our fatigues — 

HEGSETH: Look what ISIS — 

PAVLICH: That’s not — that’s not going to be a propaganda, mass recruitment for these terrorist organizations? And not just the Taliban in Afghanistan, but Hamas in Gaza, for other terrorist organizations all over the world, terrorist organizations in Africa. I mean, this doesn’t just stop with Afghanistan. 

And of course, these weapons can be used. And they’ve been using them to execute our allies who helped us on the ground. 

RIVERA: How do you know that? 

PAVLICH: There’s video of it. They have a guy with a helicopter, Geraldo. 

HEGSETH: How could you believe they won’t? 

PAVLICH: They’re hanging people from our helicopters. 

PERINO: And from reporting on the ground. 

RIVERA: So, then — I mean, an AK-47 is not going to make the Taliban any more lethal to the United States. I think that’s Admiral Kirby’s point. 

GUTFELD: I wish you could have that attitude in America. You know, that happened — owning that gun, Dana, it is not a problem. I wish — I wish everybody felt that way. Anyway, I want to talk about what Pete brought up, which was the fact that the Taliban just banned music. 

And to put a — put a pin in that as people like to say, they executed a folk singer. They shot him in the head. I was doing some research. I came across Billy Gould who’s from Faith No More. And he was putting out a call for help for this organization called Chuffed, which is C-H-U-F-F-E-D. It’s a nonprofit charity. 

And their goal is to get these musicians and their families out of Afghanistan before they’re murdered. If you go to that Web site, you can actually get information. So, it means that there’s something that you can actually do to help them. So, they need donations, and they — and I guess assistance. 

So far, they’ve held — they’ve helped 20 different musicians and I think there are seven still waiting to get out. So, that’s something maybe you could do. It’s called Chuffed. It’s a — well, that’s a word from Australia. It’s started by a guy named Travis Beard in Australia. 

RIVERA: Ahead, has Joe Biden doomed his presidency? Democrats hoping the Afghan evacuation doesn’t cost them big time. 


HEGSETH: President Biden and the Democrats are hoping Americans have a short memory and forget all about the fiasco they unleashed in Afghanistan before the Midterm Elections. But it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon. 84 percent of Americans say U.S. troops should have stayed there until all Americans, not 90 percent, are evacuated. 

We are short on time. Let’s go around the horn. I mean, it was COVID, it was crime, it was border all the time we were just talking about. Now, it’s been Afghanistan. How does this cut? Is this on the mind of voters, Greg? 

GUTFELD: I think it will. It certainly is right now, but I do think that like — the enemy of us is our own attention span, whether we can focus and because we have — we live in a different world to quote Joe Biden, where we’re like this the whole time. Who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, right? Something else. And under Joe Biden, something else will happen tomorrow. 

PERINO: Remember, the Taliban said, you have the clock, but we have the time. 


PERINO: That’s been proven again. But also, we have more capabilities now than we did before in 20 years. So, let’s utilize those and support those. I think these swing district Democrats, they already know that their days are probably numbered for being members of the House of Representatives. 

You take redistricting. That’s already going to give you the possibility of a House-led — Republican Congress. But now, what I’ve seen in the last couple of days is that the Republicans might be able to actually flip the Senate as well. And if that’s the case, they go into 2024 in a very different position. 

HEGSETH: Geraldo, Katie, real quick last words. 

RIVERA: I just think that the President was banking on his image of calm, confident, competence and that’s all blown away now. That’s all blown away. And I think that the Republicans have an excellent chance of sweeping the board in midterms. I mean, as of today. 

PAVLICH: I would say I hope that Americans remember and I think depending on how bad this gets. If it gets worse, there hostages, people can’t get out, it will drag on. The White House wants it to go away. And there’s a reason they’re trying to shift the debate back to whether we should have left Afghanistan, not how the withdrawal went. So, I hope that Americans continue to pay attention. 

HEGSETH: You’re so right. It very well could drag out and the imagery could take over. 

GUTFELD: They’ll shift back to January 6. 

PAVLICH: Or build back better. 

HEGSETH: I hear other networks are right now. 


HEGSETH: Yes, they are. All right, “ONE MORE THING” up next. 


PERINO: It’s time now for “ONE MORE THING.” Pete? 

HEGSETH: I would — I recommend you head over to Fox Nation. We did a special edition of Modern Warriors called Afghan Extraction. And we sat down with four individuals who have been behind the scenes working to get Afghans, American citizens back. 

That one right there, Matt Dobson. He talks about being in his flip-flops at his kitchen table for 20 hours a day working on WhatsApp and signal and others to coordinate around Taliban checkpoints and help our allies get in when our government was turning its back. So, they reveal how they did it. They’re not the only ones. There’s thousands like him, but their stories are representative of legions of vets and others who have come to the rescue. 

PERINO: Wow. I want to watch that. I want to watch that. That’s amazing. I didn’t know that was happening. It’s awesome to hear. 

OK, I have a podcast up. It doesn’t have anything to do with Afghanistan. I talked with Amy Mayo. She’s a country music singer — well, songwriter mostly, a legend. She also wrote a book called Talking To This Guy which I loved. It’s up at https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__FoxNewsPodcast.com&d=DwICAg&c=uw6TLu4hwhHdiGJOgwcWD4AjKQx6zvFcGEsbfiY9-EI&r=kJ8f_Q6dvX3AsDP-NC79Q-X4IyH70YKVhyH4eVON4dc&m=nwTZi9a9_3EofEkg6K6sgYc7MjE1fKr4pmPEpdgCYo4&s=lgbpiBUtWt98YDOYXvp_K47WCenjb7OmJHDwsIoTsSI&e= . So, you can take a look there. And Greg, you’re next. 

GUTFELD: All right, “GUTFELD!” tonight. We’ve got Emily Compagno — you don’t know who she is — Buck Sexton, Kat, Jimmy Failla. And let’s — you know, look at these wonderful people. It’s going to be a great show. 

And then let’s do this. Greg’s animal fake news. Yes, fake news has infiltrated the animal world. Take a look at this video here, all right. I’ve been sold — I’ve been sold this story that somehow this rat has learned to play the harmonica. 

HEGSETH: It looks real. 

GUTFELD: It does look real. But I had taken a closer look. It’s just being rewound a lot. He doesn’t — he’s not playing the harmonica. I hate having videos lying to me about rats playing harmonica. I want to see the rat playing an actual harmonica. 

PERINO: Yes, send that in. And make sure you send it to Greg’s personal e- mail address as well. 

GUTFELD: I’m as angry as Joe right now. 

PERINO: Geraldo. 

RIVERA: The latest edition of Geraldo’s Geraldo news with Geraldo today featuring my grandchildren. We’ll go from my — Gabriel and Deb, my oldest. His son Desmond is in Little League or whatever they call that nowadays. My middle grandson for my son Cruz, Liam, four and a half, he’s already a football player. It’s amazing the little league they have. And there’s sweetie, Ella Rose. She’s 6 years old. She’s already a cheerleader. 

GUTFELD: Nice gender roles, Geraldo. 

RIVERA: I’m sorry. It is the way — 

GUTFELD: Very traditional. 

RIVERA: She picked them. And here’s Vincent, the youngest, pining away. He wants to get out there. Send me in coach. I can do this. 

PERINO: He’s pretty cute. Cute hat too. Katie. 

GUTFELD: Katie P. 

PAVLICH: Well, we all love music, but we especially like music played by cute little puppies. Take a look at this puppy playing the bongo. He’s awesome. 

GUTFELD: Fake news. 

PAVLICH: Look at him. 

GUTFELD: Fake news. 

PAVLICH: He’s getting a little bit of help from his owner. But he is making the noise of the bongo. So, a cute little dog. He should start a band. 

PERINO: It’s pretty cute. 

GUTFELD: Fake news. 

PAVLICH: It’s real news. It’s a recording. 

PERINO: Fake animal news. I think we have a new segment. Be sure to tune in every night for something more. 

That’s it for us. “SPECIAL REPORT” is up next. Hi, Bret. 

RIVERA: Shocking, shocking. 

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: We definitely need to investigate the rat and the harmonica 100 percent. 

PERINO: Yes, get on that. 

BAIER: All right, thanks, Dana. 

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