Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

U.S. relying on Taliban to let stranded Americans reach Kabul airport

The U.S. forces in Afghanistan lack the “capability” to pick up large numbers of Americans stranded in Kabul and bring them to the airport, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Wednesday, leaving the U.S. evacuation effort reliant on the Taliban’s willingness to let them travel safely.

Why it matters: Thousands of Americans remain in Afghanistan along with tens of thousands of Afghans waiting on Special Immigrant Visas, but those who aren’t in the airport — or even in Kabul — face a perilous journey to get there, and it’s unclear how long the window to evacuate them will remain open.


In a press conference on Wednesday, Austin said the first priority was to evacuate “all American citizens who want to get out of Afghanistan,” and the second was to “get out as many as possible” of the Afghans who worked with the U.S. and could now be in danger.

  • But U.S. troops will remain focused on securing the airport, Austin said, contending that they lack “the capability to go out and collect a large number of people.”
  • Austin also suggested that sending troops into Kabul would risk conflict with the Taliban, and said the State Department was in touch with the Taliban to ensure that U.S. passport holders would be able to travel to the airport.
  • The Taliban is currently facilitating that agreement, Austin said.

Administration officials have briefed Senate staffers that some 10,000 to 15,000 U.S. citizens are still in Afghanistan, per various reports.

However, the Afghan allies the U.S. is also seeking to evacuate clearly do not hold U.S. passports. Austin said the administration was pressing the Taliban to allow them through, but that there had been reports of some being turned back.

  • Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, who also took part in Wednesday’s Pentagon briefing, said the State Department was “still working through exactly getting through the procedures for the evacuees to get to the airfield.”
  • President Biden also told ABC that evacuating Afghan citizens was presenting “more difficulty.”

At present, Austin said the main issue was processing the people who were already at the airport and seeking evacuation.

“It’s obvious that we’re not close to where we want to be in terms of getting the numbers through, so we’re going to work that 24 hours a day 7 days a week and we’re going to get everyone that we can possibly evacuate evacuated, and I’ll do that as long as we possibly can until the clock runs out or we run out of capability.”
Lloyd Austin

The latest: Biden said U.S. troops would remain at the airport until all Americans were evacuated, even if it was after August 31 — the withdrawal date he had previously set.

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