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A curated guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
AFGHANISTAN – WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS
The Taliban have warned that there will be “consequences” if the U.S. and its allies extend the presence of troops in Afghanistan beyond next week. The comments from the Taliban were made after a firefight between unidentified gunmen and U.S., German and Afghan guards at the airport left one Afghan guard dead and three wounded. “If the U.S. or U.K. were to seek additional time to continue evacuations – the answer is no. Or there would be consequences,” the Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said yesterday. Staying beyond the agreed deadline of Aug. 31 would be “extending occupation”, he added. Peter Beaumont and Kate Connolly report for the Guardian.
President Biden is facing increasing global pressure to extend the deadline for the evacuation from Afghanistan beyond Aug. 31, despite the Taliban warnings against doing so. British officials have said that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will use the emergency meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) to propose new sanctions on the Taliban and push Biden to extend the evacuation operation. However, Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, told reporters yesterday that the United States could finish its evacuation of Americans by the current deadline, which Biden set this spring. “As I’ve said before, as the president has said before, we believe that we have time between now and the 31st to get out any American who wants to get out,” he said. Missy Ryan, Anne Gearan, Karoun Demirjian and Dan Lamothe reports for the Washington Post.
Biden is expected to decide as soon as today on whether to extend the Afghan evacuation deadline. Yesterday, “an administration official told Reuters that Biden would decide within 24 hours whether to extend the timeline to give the Pentagon time to prepare,” Reuters reports.
The U.S. military is advising Biden that he must decide by today whether to extend the evacuation deadline, according to a defense official. “Military advisers have told the White House that the decision must be made by Tuesday in order to have enough time to withdraw the 5,800 troops currently on the ground, as well as their equipment and weapons. If the President agrees, the military anticipates ‘a few more days’ of trying to evacuate as many people as possible before the drawdown of U.S. forces begins, possibly at the end of this week. Nicole Gaouette, Barbara Starr, Jennifer Hansler and Kylie Atwood report for CNN.
The U.K., France and other U.S. allies are appealing to the U.S. to extend the Aug. 31 for U.S. troops to leave Kabul. As well as the U.K. Defense Minister Ben Wallace, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has also publicly expressed doubts Monday about the Aug. 31 deadline, telling reporters in the United Arab Emirates, where many evacuees are being received, that France was “concerned” about the deadline. “Additional time is needed to complete ongoing operations,” he said at al-Dhafra air base. Adam Taylor reports for the Washington Post.
The U.K. defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has said it is “unlikely” the evacuation of Kabul will be extended beyond the Aug. 31 August deadline. Speaking to Sky News, Wallace said “I think it is unlikely. Not only because of what the Taliban has said but if you look at the public statements of President Biden I think it is unlikely. It is definitely worth us all trying, and we will.” The Guardian reports.
Norway’s foreign minister Ine Eriksen Søreide has joined calls for the withdrawal deadline to be extended beyond Aug. 31. Søreide added that Norway will continue evacuations as long as Kabul airport remains open, however Norway is “completely dependent on the U.S. military operation being maintained in order to be able to evacuate.” The Guardian reports.
Democratic party members on the House Intelligence Committee expressed doubt yesterday that the U.S will be able to evacuate its remaining citizens and Afghan allies before an Aug. 31 deadline. Following the committee’s first in-person briefings with officials from the intelligence community after the House returned to Washington this week, Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) told reporters that meeting the deadline was “possible”, however he thought it was “very unlikely given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of [Special Immigrant Visa holders], the number of others who are members of the Afghan press, civil society leaders, women leaders.” “It’s hard for me to imagine all of that can be accomplished between now and the end of the month,” Schiff added. Rebecca Beitsch reports for The Hill.
AFGHANISTAN – KABUL AIRPORT
Some Afghan military interpreters and other close U.S. allies are being turned away from Kabul airport by U.S. officials in order to give priority to U.S. citizens and green card holders, a State Department official said on Monday. The details were supported by interviews with Afghans and with organizations that have tried to organize departures for Afghans who are at risk of retribution from the Taliban. The State Department yesterday night denied the accounts of Afghans being turned away. Megan K. Stack reports for the New York Times.
The State Department yesterday night denied the accounts of Afghans being turned away. In a statement responding to questions from The New York Times, the department said, “Our overriding priority remains to put as many people as possible on departing planes as quickly as possible.” Mark Landler and Megan K. Stack report for the New York Times.
An estimated 6,500 people were waiting for evacuation flights inside Kabul airport this morning, a source close to the situation has said. “The vast majority of those still trying to get out of Kabul were Afghans, the source said, adding that applicants for the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program — an avenue for Afghans who worked for United States forces and agencies to get out of the country — are now permitted onto the airport. SIV applicants were told not to come to the airport on Monday as the U.S. tried to clear backlogs of evacuees and ensure US passport and green card holders got on aircraft out of Kabul before the August 31 deadline to complete evacuations,” CNN.
A gun battle broke out at Kabul airport yesterday involving Afghan, U.S. and German soldiers amid a deteriorating security situation. The firefight left one Afghan soldier dead and three wounded, German military officials said. Saeed Shah and Ehsanullah Amiri report for the Wall Street Journal.
A statement from U.S. Central Command stated that “the incident appeared to begin when an unknown hostile actor fired upon Afghan security forces involved in monitoring access to the gate. The Afghans returned fire, and in keeping with their right of self-defense, so too did U.S. and coalition troops.” The statement confirmed that “no U.S. or coalition forces were hurt during a brief exchange of gunfire,” however “one member of the Afghan forces was killed by the hostile actor; several Afghans were wounded during the exchange.”
Chaos and violence is worsening outside Kabul’s airport as the crowds continue to grow. Thousands of desperate Afghans continue to flock to the airport in the hope of fleeing the Taliban and the road to the airport is fully congested with cars and rickshaws trying to get as close to the entrance to the airport as possible. “Control of the road leading to the north gate of the airport is divided between the Taliban, which mainly patrols the roads, the last remaining members of CIA-backed Afghan intelligence forces, and foreign troops that are guarding the mammoth gate,” Ali M Latifi reports for Al Jazeera.
At least 20 have been killed in shootings and stampedes near Kabul airport since last week. A NATO diplomat has said that thousands of people had returned to their homes after learning that the situation outside Kabul was “relatively calm.” However, reports from outside the airport continue to depict crowds of people desperate for information and help. BBC News reports.
AFGHANISTAN – EVACUATING U.S. AND ALLY CITIZENS AND AFGHANS
The U.S. is continuing to struggle to work out the exact number of Americans left on the ground in Afghanistan, compounding the challenges the evacuation effort faces. Some have estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 Americans were in Afghanistan when the evacuations began, several U.S. officials have said. Vivian Salama and Nancy A. Youssef report for the Wall Street Journal.
There are still thousands of Americans and a far greater number of Afghans who supported the U.S. during the war, believed to be stuck in Kabul and terrified of encountering Taliban checkpoints on their way to Kabul airport. The U.S. military have also begun deploying helicopters and troops into select spots in Kabul to extract stranded American citizens, including at least two cases in which a total of 350 Americans were picked up and taken to the airport, the Pentagon said yesterday. Mark Landler and Megan K. Stack report for the New York Times.
The U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has acknowledged that the U.K. will likely not be able to get everyone out of Afghanistan. Wallace speaking this morning said that the U.K. has evacuated 2,000 people in the previous 24 hours and 10,000 since April, but the scale of the challenge means that not everyone will get out. We are ruthlessly prioritizing people.” Wallace also said that the U.K. will not be able to stay in Afghanistan past the Aug. 31 deadline if the U.S. takes the decision that it does not want to extend the deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw. BBC News reporting.
The U.K. is scrambling to complete evacuations from Kabul, amid warnings from the senior diplomat on the ground that staying past the Aug. 31 deadline may not be realistic and risks provoking the Taliban. Speaking to parliamentarians from Kabul, Sir Laurie Bristow, the British ambassador to Afghanistan, said trying to hold Kabul’s airport any longer would be fraught with risk. Dan Sabbagh and Julian Borger report for the Guardian.
Six people on Britain’s “no fly” list have been picked up in security checks of would-be evacuees from Afghanistan in Kabul and Frankfurt. One of the six individuals had made it to Birmingham airport in the U.K., where many evacuees are landing. The U.K. Home Office said that the person who had reached the UK was “not a person of interest” to the security services or police upon “further investigation”. The individual, who had not been identified, had been allowed to enter the UK. Dan Sabbagh reports for the Guardian.
The U.S. will not be using its largest overseas military bases in South Korea and Japan to temporarily house Afghan refugees, two sources with close knowledge of the matter have said. “Speaking on condition of anonymity, one source told Reuters that U.S. officials ‘appeared to have figured out better sites and decided to remove both countries from the list because of logistics and geography among other reasons,’” the Guardian reports.
The U.S. will continue to help at-risk Afghans leave Afghanistan past Aug. 31, a senior State Department official has said. The official added that the promise of safe passage did not have “an expiration date.” “‘Our commitment to at-risk Afghans doesn’t end on August 31,’ the official told reporters in a briefing, without elaborating how Washington could continue its efforts to help people leave the country if it withdraws completely from the country by the end of the month,” Humeyra Pamuk and Simon Lewis report for Reuters.
AFGHANISTAN – EVACUATION NUMBERS
The Pentagon said early today that 17 U.S. military and partner nation aircraft evacuated approximately 16,000 people from Kabul airport within the previous 24 hours, with the U.S. Air Force transporting just under 11,000 of them. Nick Paton Walsh and Brad Lendon report for CNN.
The U.S. military pulled off its biggest day of evacuations so far yesterday. Associated Press reported that 28 U.S. military flights ferried about 10,400 people to safety out of Taliban-held Afghanistan over 24 hours that ended early Monday morning, and 15 C-17 flights over the next 12 hours brought out another 6,660, White House officials said. “The chief Pentagon spokesman, John Kirby, said the faster pace of evacuation was due in part to coordination with Taliban commanders on getting evacuees into the airport,” the Guardian reports.
The U.S. military have now evacuated roughly 37,000 people from Afghanistan in just over a week. Speaking to reporters Maj. Gen. Hank Taylor, deputy director of the Joint Regional Operations emphasised that the U.S.’s “mission remains focused on ensuring a steady flow of evacuees out of Kabul to the intermediate staging bases and safe havens at our insulations [that] continue to rapidly build out capacity as needed to ensure reception and providing humanitarian assistance.” Ellen Mitchell reports for The Hill.
The U.K. said late yesterday that it had evacuated over 7,000 people from Afghanistan. “7,109 individuals have been evacuated from Afghanistan under Operation PITTING, which commenced on Friday August 13. More than 1,000 UK Armed Forces personnel deployed in Kabul”, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement. Reuters reporting.
AFGHANISTAN – GROUP OF SEVEN
The leaders of the Group of 7 (G7) countries are to meet virtually today in an emergency meeting on the situation in Afghanistan. The leaders will discuss whether to extend the evacuation deadline in the emergency meeting today as well as whether there should be recognition of any Taliban government, along with other key issues on Afghanistan. BBC News reports.
The G7 leaders are expected to pledge coordination today on handling the Taliban and evacuations from Afghanistan. “The leaders will also commit to coordinate on any sanctions that may be imposed on Taliban leaders, as well as on the resettlement of Afghan refugees, diplomatic sources reportedly said. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is attending the meeting, has said he will push fellow leaders to consider additional sanctions on the Islamist militants,” Rachel Pannett reports for the Washington Post.
The G7 leaders will be under pressure to present a united front at the emergency summit today. “British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair the online talks where, diplomatic sources told Reuters, G7 nations were expected to show unity on areas including whether to sanction or officially recognize the Taliban to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and protect the human rights of vulnerable group,” Guardian staff and agencies report.
It is expected that President Biden will face pressure from the other G7 leaders to extend the Kabul evacuation deadline today. Michael Holden reports for Reuters.
China has said that imposing sanctions on the Taliban would be “counterproductive” ahead of the G7 meeting today where leaders will discuss whether to recognize or sanction the group. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters that “the international community should encourage and promote the development of the situation in Afghanistan in a positive direction, support peaceful reconstruction, improve the wellbeing of the people and enhance its capacity for independent development.” The Guardian reports.
Leaders of the G7 countries are expected to pledge unity on whether or not to officially recognize or sanction the Taliban when they meet virtually to discuss Afghanistan today, according to diplomatic sources. Reuters reporting.
AFGHANISTAN – TALIBAN TAKEOVER AND NEGOTIATIONS
CIA Director William J. Burns held a secret meeting in Kabul yesterday with the Taliban’s de facto leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in the highest-level face-to-face encounter between the Taliban and President Biden’s administration since the militants seized Kabul, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter. “The CIA declined to comment on the Taliban meeting, but the discussions likely involved an impending Aug. 31 deadline for the U.S. military to conclude its airlift of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies,” John Hudson reports for the Washington Post.
The top U.S. officer in Afghanistan, Rear Adm. Peter G. Vasely, a former member of the Navy SEALs, is in talks with the Taliban almost every day regarding security measures at Kabul airport, Pentagon officials have said. “The discussions between Admiral Vasely and Taliban commanders have helped set the rules of engagement to allow Americans and some Afghan allies to reach Kabul’s airport…Other American officers down the military chain of command in Kabul have also engaged with Taliban commanders on specific security and threat reduction issues, the officials said — a partnership of necessity between parties that spent 20 years on opposite sides of a war,” Eric Schmitt reports for the New York Times.
The Taliban have held their first meeting of religious leaders since taking Kabul, laying out guidelines about religious instructions to hundreds of the nation’s imams and religious school instructors. “We invited you here today to talk about your role in this system,” Mawlawi Mohammad Shafiq Khatib, one of the organizers of the conference, said to the participants at the meeting. Whatever religious leaders “say that is compatible with Shariah and the principles of Islam, the people must heed. We are thankful to God that we have an Islamic system now.” Matthieu Aikins reports for the New York Times.
Afghanistan’s disintegrating economy is putting pressure on the Taliban to negotiate a political settlement. Economic activity in Kabul has ground to a halt and in the eight days since Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and most ministers escaped Kabul, the banks and money exchanges have remained shut and prices for basic commodities have surged. “The quicker we push on a political settlement, the sooner we will save Afghanistan from the dire economic consequences that are looming,” said Omar Zakhilwal, a former finance minister who returned to Kabul this week to join power-sharing talks with the Taliban. Yaroslav Trofimov reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai is remaining in Kabul to try and coordinate with the Taliban a peaceful transition, despite the risks. Karzai has however been forced to leave his home and has found refuge with the former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah after the Taliban disarmed Karzai’s guards and took over security of his compound several days ago. Carlotta Gall, Austin Ramzy and Sharif Hassan report for the New York Times.
The U.S. is scrambling to fill the intelligence vacuum in Afghanistan in the wake of the rapid Taliban victory, amongst fears that the Taliban victory has provided a boost to extremist groups and terror networks. “The sudden collapse of Afghanistan’s government has prompted U.S. intelligence agencies to move some resources to the region from elsewhere, according to two sources familiar with the matter, in an effort to try to make up for capabilities they view as key to detecting plots that could affect the U.S. at home or its interests abroad. One example is moving predator drones with more endurance into the area to try to mitigate the loss of bases in the country, said one of the sources. Adding to the complexity, some anti-government and right-wing extremist groups in the US may also be drawing inspiration from the Taliban’s victory, officials say,” Evan Perez, Geneva Sands and Natasha Bertrand report for CNN.
The Taliban have issued a death sentence for the brother of an Afghan translator who helped U.S. troops, accusing him of helping the U.S. and providing security to his brother, according to letters obtained by CNN. The letters are just one example of how the Taliban are directly threatening Afghans who worked with the U.S. or are family members of those who have. Brianna Keilar and Veronica Stracqualursi report for CNN.
AFGHANISTAN – GLOBAL RESPONSE
U.N. agencies have sounded the alarm over difficulties bringing urgent needed emergency supplies and food aid into Afghanistan. In a media interview yesterday, “Richard Brennan, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director, explained that the agency is unable to bring some 500 tonnes of medical supplies, scheduled to be delivered this week, into the country, because of restrictions at Kabul airport, which is struggling to cope with a massive evacuation effort,” UN News Centre reports.
The WHO has warned of food shortages in Afghanistan as early as September without urgent aid funding, as key deliveries have been held up due to restrictions at Kabul airport. “The World Food Program (WFP), which brings in supplies by road, said it was getting food through via four different supply routes for the moment, but could start running out of food by next month,” Karen McVeigh reports for the Guardian.
E.U. Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said that the E.U. will increase its humanitarian aid for Afghans from 50 million to over 200 million euros. Von der Leyen said on Twitter that she would announce the increase in humanitarian support at today’s G7 leaders call. It has been reported that E.U. officials have said that the aid would be condition on the respect of human and women’s rights. The Guardian reports.
The U.N. high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, has said that she had received credible reports of the Taliban committing serious violations, including summary executions of civilians and Afghan security forces who have surrendered. Bachelet gave no further details of the executions during her speech to a special session of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Afghanistan but urged the Council to set up a mechanism to closely monitor the Taliban’s actions. Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge report for Reuters.
The Taliban’s treatment of women would be a “fundamental red line,” Bachelet has said to a special session of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Afghanistan. “There are grave fears for women, for journalists and for the new generation of civil society leaders who have emerged in the past years,” Bachelet told the Council. Tamila Varshalomidze reports for Al Jazeera.
China’s envoy to the U.N. in Geneva has said today that the U.S. army and the militaries of other coalition partners should be held accountable for alleged rights violations they committed in Afghanistan. “The US, UK, Australia and other countries must be held accountable for the violation of human rights committed by their military in Afghanistan and the evolution of this current session should cover this issue,” Chen Xu told an emergency session of the Human Rights Council on Afghanistan. Reuters reporting.
Just Security is providing ongoing coverage of the U.S. military withdrawal and Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. Analysis of the humanitarian and policy challenges of U.S. Sanctions on the Taliban is provided by Adam M. Smith, while Nicholas Miller and Doug Rutzen consider how U.S. counterterrorism measures may block aid to Afghans.
U.S. DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
The police officer who shot and killed Ashli Babbitt during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol will not face any discipline after a monthslong internal investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing. The U.S. Capitol Police have said that the officer acted lawfully and adhered to department policy, which says police can use deadly force to defend their own lives and others’. “The actions of the officer in this case potentially saved Members and staff from serious injury and possible death” Capitol Police said in announcing the results of the probe. Sadie Gurman reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack is ready to send notices to various telecommunications companies requesting that they preserve the phone records of several people, including members of Congress, sources have said. The committee’s chair, Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said that he hoped to issue the subpoenas by the end of the month. Thompson has also indicated that as well as telecommunications companies the letters may be sent to social media platforms, though he declined to name which ones. Zachary Cohen, Ryan Nobles, Annie Grayer and Whitney Wild report for CNN.
10 key pieces of information that the Jan. 6 select committee could seek to subpoena from social media companies is provided by Justin Hendrix writing for Just Security.
The leader of the Proud Boys extremist group has been sentenced to more than five months in jail for burning a Black Lives Matter banner that was torn down from a historic Black church in downtown Washington and bringing two high-capacity firearm magazines into the nation’s capital days shortly before the Jan. 6 attack. Enrique Tarrio told the court he was “profusely” sorry for his actions, calling them a “grave mistake.” Alanna Durkin Richer reports for AP.
At least two dozen members of the Proud Boys face federal charges in the U.S. Capitol attack, however even amid the crackdown, members of the Proud Boys are still agitating. Members have begun regrouping online and joining rallies, and on Sunday, members of the group were mobilizing once again in Oregon. Sergio Olmos, Mike Baker and Alan Feuer report for the New York Times.
The host of a program for the right-wing website Infowars, Owen Shroyer, is in custody after being charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol, officials have said yesterday. “Shroyer, who hosts “The War Room With Owen Shroyer” for the website operated by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, said on air Friday that he had to turn himself in to authorities Monday morning to face misdemeanor charges stemming from Jan. 6,” AP reports.
Vice President Harris has reaffirmed that the U.S. is still a “global leader,” during her trip to Singapore and Vietnam, as allies are concerned about the impact of Afghanistan on the U.S.’s global presence. “The reason I am here is because the United States is a global leader, and we take that role seriously,” Harris said at a news conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. “In a meeting that lasted more than an hour, the two discussed deepening economic engagement, shoring up supply chains, the launch of a new climate partnership between their countries, expanded cybersecurity cooperation and other matters,” Shibani Mahtani reports for the Washington Post.
Harris has delivered a sharp rebuke to China for its incursions in the South China Sea, affirming that the U.S. will support its allies in the region against Beijing’s advances. Harris warned that China’s actions there amount to “coercion” and “intimidation,” saying that “Beijing’s actions continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten the sovereignty of nations.” AP reports.
The U.S. has imposed sanctions on an Eritrean defense official over serious human rights abuses in the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. “The U.S. Treasury Department in a statement said it blacklisted Filipos Woldeyohannes, the chief of staff of the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF). The Treasury said he commands EDF forces that have been operating in Tigray. The Treasury accused the forces of being responsible for massacres, sexual assaults and purposely shooting civilians in the streets, among other human rights abuses,” France 24 reports.
ISRAEL – PALESTINE
There have been increasing clashes between Israel and Palestine, with Israeli warplanes striking targets in Gaza overnight, drawing machine-gun fire from Hamas. “The Israeli military said a series of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip overnight hit a Hamas weapons manufacturing site, a tunnel and an underground rocket launch site. The army said it struck an additional militant tunnel after Hamas fired machine guns across the border,” AP reports.
Israel’s military said earlier today that the Israeli warplanes bombed Hamas sites in Gaza in response to incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian enclave that caused brush fires in southern Israel. There were no immediate reports of casualties in the air strike. Reuters reporting.
In the occupied West Bank, officials have said that a 15-year -old Palestinian has been killed in a clash with the Israeli military in a refugee camp near the city of Nablus. “The Palestinian health ministry said Imad Khaled Saleh Hashash died on Tuesday after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head in the Balata refugee camp. The Israeli army said it conducted an overnight operation in the camp to apprehend ‘suspect.’ ‘During the mission, live ammunition was fired at troops from rooftops. The troops responded with fire towards the sources of the shooting,’ it said in a statement,” Al Jazeera reports.
Egypt has closed its main border crossing point with the Gaza Strip yesterday amid tensions with the territory’s militant Hamas rulers, officials have said. “According to the Egyptian officials, the closure was connected to Cairo’s efforts to broker a long-term cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. It was not immediately clear how long the closure would last, the officials said,” Samy Magdy reports for AP
Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has extended the suspension of Tunisia’s parliament until further notice, the presidency said. Saied has also extended the suspension of immunity of members of parliament a month after he dismissed the country’s prime minister. Saied will also be giving a speech to the nation in the coming days, the presidency added without providing further details. Al Jazeera reports.
Syrian army units aided by pro-Iranian militias have staged a major assault on an opposition enclave in the southern border city of Deraa al Balaad in a bid to retake the last opposition stronghold in southern Syria, residents, army and opposition sources have said. Opposition fighters said they had repulsed the attack from the western side of the enclave, which has been under a two-month siege by the army. Suleiman Al-Khalidi reports for Reuters.
The genocide prosecution of Bolivia’s former interim president Jeanine Áñez is testing the country’s justice system. To some, Áñez is “the victim of a vengeful, politically motivated justice system under her socialist successor, President Luis Arce. To others, she’s a usurper who staged a coup that dislodged longtime president Evo Morales, and then presided over systematic human rights abuses by police,” Samantha Schmidt reports for the Washington Post.
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy yesterday vowed to do all he can to bring back the peninsula of Crimea, annexed by Russia seven years ago, and urged international allies to support Ukraine’s efforts. Zelenskyy was speaking at the Crimean platform summit, attended by top officials from 46 countries and blocs, including from the United States, the European Union and Turkey, and which was called by Ukraine to build up pressure on Russia over the 2014 annexation that has been denounced as illegal by most of the world. Yuras Karmanau reports for AP.
Gunmen have killed two Nigerian military personnel and abducted another in an attack on an army training college in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna today, a spokesperson for the Nigerian defense academy has said. “The security architecture of the Nigerian defense academy was compromised early this morning by unknown gunmen who gained access to the residential area within the Academy of Afaka,” the spokesperson said, adding that various army units and security agencies were pursuing the attackers and trying to rescue the kidnap victim. Reuters reporting.
The coronavirus has infected over 37.9 million and has now killed over 629,400 people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 212.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 4.44 million deaths. Sergio Hernandez, Sean O’Key, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley and Henrik Pettersson report for CNN.
The U.S. military will move to mandate the Covid-19 vaccine for all service members now that the Pfizer vaccine has full approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the Pentagon’s top spokesperson announced yesterday. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is “prepared to issue updated guidance requiring all service members to be vaccinated,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters. Ellen Mitchell reports for The Hill.
A map and analysis of the vaccine roll out across the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
A map and analysis of all confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
U.S. and worldwide maps tracking the spread of the pandemic are available at the Washington Post.
A state-by-state guide to lockdown measures and reopenings is provided by the New York Times.
Latest updates on the pandemic at the Guardian.