Emotional wounds have been ‘torn open’, says Afghanistan veteran Tom Tugendhat MP – video

In an impassioned Commons speech during the debate on Afghanistan, the Conservative MP speaks about the impact of the Taliban takeover on veterans. He criticises Joe Biden's assertion that the Afghan army did not adequately resist the Taliban

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‘I wouldn’t stay on holiday whilst Kabul was falling’: Starmer slams Johnson in Commons – video

Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, has castigated the government over its reaction to events unfolding in Afghanistan, saying the prime minister's response to the Taliban 'arriving at the gates of Kabul' was 'to go on holiday', and that the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, could not 'coordinate international response from the beach'. 

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‘Where is Global Britain on streets of Kabul?’: Theresa May blasts UK failure in Afghanistan – video

The former prime minister Theresa May has suggested her successor, Boris Johnson, had hoped 'on a wing and a prayer it’d be all right on the night' once the S and its allies had withdrawn from Afghanistan.

Johnson has faced anger from MPs about the UK’s failure to prepare for the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, as he made the case in parliament that Britain could not have stayed in the country 'without American might'

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What could Taliban rule mean for Afghanistan? – video explainer

Afghanistan's government collapsed as the Taliban militant group took control of all of the country's major cities in only nine days, including Kabul, the capital of more than 4 million people.

The Guardian’s senior international correspondent Emma Graham-Harrison explains how the Taliban took control so quickly and what this could mean for the future of the country

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UK troops could not have remained in Afghanistan, PM tells MPs

PM says military defence of Afghanistan was not possible in absence of ‘American might’

Boris Johnson has faced anger from MPs about the UK’s failure to prepare for the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, as he made the case that Britain could not have stayed in the country “without American might”.

The prime minister said a military defence of Afghanistan by the west was not possible in the absence of Washington’s support.

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Manchester and Liverpool will welcome Afghan refugees, say mayors

But Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram call for more support from Home Office

The mayors of Greater Manchester and the Liverpool city region have said they will welcome Afghan refugees but that those fleeing persecution must be fairly distributed around the country.

In an interview with Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “We of course – as always – stand ready to help and to welcome people here who need our help, but it does need to be fair to places like Greater Manchester. The truth of the matter is there is a fractured relationship between places like Greater Manchester and the Home Office.”

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The Taliban triumphant: inside the 20 August Guardian Weekly

The fall of Kabul. Plus on the set of Sex Education

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As the weekend began, few would have predicted it would end on the Sunday evening with the Taliban back in charge of Kabul while US forces scrambled to evacuate personnel. The speed of the advance as the Afghan army seemed to melt away shocked the world and starkly revealed a miscalculation by Joe Biden. The desperate plight of ordinary Afghans, particularly women, who fear what life under Taliban strictures will bring, and the chaos at the capital’s airport are, despite Biden’s defence of his policy and objectives, likely to remain indelible stains on his presidency.

As the world slowly digests the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Observer science editor Robin McKie examines its frightening implications through the focus of the 60s sci-fi classic, The Day the Earth Caught Fire. The IPCC’s findings are unequivocal: we must take urgent action to curb global heating and prevent catastrophe. But will our policymakers and the Cop26 conference be up to the task?

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Red Cross sounds vaccines alarm as Covid deaths in south-east Asia soar

The Delta variant is wreaking havoc in the poorly vaccinated region, which has recorded 38,522 deaths in the past fortnight

South-east Asia has recorded twice as many Covid-related fatalities as North America over the past two weeks, according to the Red Cross, which warned wealthier countries that they must urgently share their vaccine supplies.

The more aggressive Delta variant, combined with a lack of vaccines, is driving record outbreaks in countries across the region – from Vietnam to Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar. Indonesia, the worst hit, has one of the highest daily death tolls in the world, with 1,466 deaths reported on average over the past seven days.

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Thirty years after the Moscow coup, democracy is in a crisis of self-esteem | Rafael Behr

Much has been squandered since 1991, but the biggest threat to democracy today is the global contagion of cynicism

On 19 August 1991, citizens of the Soviet Union woke up to the news that Mikhail Gorbachev, the general secretary of the Communist party, was standing down due to ill health. That news was a lie, as many of those citizens had come to expect from their media. Tanks rolling through Moscow told the true story: a coup by politburo hardliners, determined to abort Gorbachev’s experiments in democratisation. They failed. The coup unravelled within two days. Five months later the USSR had ceased to exist.

No one in the west saw it coming, but shock at the unpredicted event yielded to conviction that it had been inevitable. The implosion of a superpower built to fulfil Marxist prophecy should have served as a warning against all claims to know the rules of history and chart its destination. But no. The fashionable idea took hold in western policy that liberal democracy was the ideological terminus.

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Ardern’s Covid lockdown finds favour as New Zealand watches Sydney’s Delta disaster

Asked what she would say to people who questioned the need for a level 4 lockdown, the prime minister responded with one word: ‘Australia’

To overseas eyes, going into national lockdown over a single case should have been a hard sell, even for an extraordinarily popular prime minister such as Jacinda Ardern.

But a disastrous outbreak of the Delta variant in Sydney has helped galvanise New Zealand’s “team of 5 million” – and across the country, the government’s tough strategy on Covid-19 has enjoyed widespread popular support.

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‘We kept on hearing gunshots’: my chaotic escape from Kabul’s airport

Afghan journalist Ramin Rahman, 27, left on a US military plane at Hamid Karzai international airport

The day the Taliban took over started with a call from my friend in Germany. He told me to get to the airport because there was potentially going to be a German embassy evacuation plane leaving that day. He put my name on their evacuation list because I had worked for German media, and I had been in the process of applying for a visa for the past year.

Related: Kabul airport: footage appears to show Afghans falling from plane after takeoff

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