Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

6 Afghan provincial capitals fall to Taliban in 4 days

Six Afghan provincial capitals have fallen to the Taliban since Friday, Reuters notes, with the militants taking the town of Aybak on Monday and targeting northern Afghanistan's largest city, Mazar-i-Sharif.

Why it matters: The string of swift Taliban successes in the final weeks of the U.S. withdrawal has dented hopes that the Afghan military and allied militias will be able to fend off the insurgency.

Flashback: As of June 16, the Taliban and government controlled a roughly equal number of districts (104 and 94, respectively) with 201 contested.

  • The Taliban is also targeting senior officials for assassination. Dawa Khan Menapal, who ran the government's media department, was killed on Friday, shortly after a failed assassination attempt on Afghanistan's defense minister.

What they're saying: The United Kingdom's Defense Secretary Ben Wallace was the latest to question the decision of the U.S. and NATO forces to rapidly withdraw before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

  • He told the Daily Mail that the U.K. had sought an agreement for some NATO troops to remain but "without the United States as the framework nation it had been, these options were closed off."
  • A Pentagon spokesperson said Monday that "these are their provincial capitals" and it's up to the Afghan government to defend them.

What to watch: Afghan officials are seeking continued U.S. air support after the withdrawal, but the Pentagon hasn't said whether and how it would conduct such operations.

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories