Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Kabul airlift ramping up but still running far short of capacity

The U.S. is ramping up the airlift in Kabul but is still only using a fraction of its total capacity to evacuate Americans and Afghans.

Breaking it down: The U.S. has enough aircraft available to meet its goal of getting 5,000–9,000 people out of the country each day, Gen. Hank Taylor told reporters on Thursday, but it's only evacuated 7,000 people in total since Saturday — 2,000 of them in the previous 24 hours.


  • The airport remains secure and operational for now, but it’s unclear how long that will remain the case.
  • President Biden has said U.S. troops will remain until all Americans who wish to get out can, even if that’s after Aug. 31. There are believed to be upward of 10,000 Americans still in the country.
  • But that pledge does not apply to the tens of thousands of Afghans, many of whom worked with U.S. troops, who are now seeking refuge.

There are several snags in the airlift operation.

  • One is the difficulty of processing all of those who are at the airport. That effort sped up on Thursday, according to State Department spokesperson Ned Price, who said around 6,000 people had been approved and are now in the queue for evacuation.
  • Another major hurdle is getting to the airport. The Taliban have agreed to offer safe passage to U.S. passport holders, and Americans have been urged to make their way to the airport, the State Department says.
  • But multiple news organizations have reported that Afghans, including some with documentation from the U.S., have been turned away and even beaten at Taliban checkpoints. One Afghan interpreter told the BBC he’d tried on three separate occasions to travel to the airport but turned back each time due to the danger to his family.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Wednesday that the U.S. forces lack the “capability” to pick up large numbers of Americans stranded in Kabul and bring them to the airport, and he said the U.S. did not plan to extend the safe zone beyond the airport.

  • That means the success of the operation hinges on the cooperation of the Taliban.
  • Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley has said it will be the second-largest civilian airlift operation in U.S. history, after Saigon.

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

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories