Many who heard President Biden’s pledge to exact revenge for the killing of 13 US Marines in an Islamic State suicide bombing in Kabul last week will have been struck by how closely they resembled the words of George W Bush almost exactly 20 years ago.
“I want justice,” Bush then told a nation traumatised by 3,000 deaths in the attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001. “And there’s an old poster out west that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive’.” Bush is no longer president and Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks whose face was on the putative poster, died in a US special forces raid 10 years ago. But the rhetoric remains the same. “We will hunt you down and make you pay,” Biden said on Thursday. Such language is unavoidable for the leader of a nation that retains and promotes a “frontier culture”, as a veteran CIA official told me last week, but it signals much more too.Continue reading...
The US told citizens to ‘immediately’ leave the airport amid reports around 1,000 civilians remain to be flown out
The US remains on high alert for another possible terror attack at Kabul airport and has warned citizens to “immediately” leave the area, as military forces moved into the final stage of evacuations from Afghanistan and the Taliban signalled its readiness to take over.
The US embassy in Kabul on Sunday issued an alert – its second in as many days – of security threats at specific areas of the airport, including access gates. It followed an earlier warning from president Joe Biden that another terror attack in Kabul was “highly likely”.Continue reading...
Speaking on Saturday afternoon, Biden vows further strikes against Islamic State as airport terror threat ‘remains high’; largest UK evacuation mission since second world war comes to a close
Alex Mistlin here on the Guardian’s Afghanistan live blog.
The UK prime minister Boris Johnson has published a letter to “all those who served in Afghanistan.”
“Over the last two decades, many thousands of you gave your lives to services in Afghanistan, often in the most arduous conditions. I realise this will be an especially difficult time for the friends and loved ones of the 457 British services members who laid down their lives.”
My letter to all those who served in Afghanistan.
Whether you are still serving or a veteran, a loved-one, a relation or a friend, you all played your part and you should feel immense pride. pic.twitter.com/Foy5r41Mcr
“ ‘Very well, alone’ did good service for Winston Churchill as a wartime rallying cry in 1940,” says Andrew Rawnsley (“Boris Johnson’s Global Britain is exposed as impotent and friendless by Afghanistan”, Comment). The myth that Britain “stood alone” in the Second World War and that Europe was then liberated from “our island fortress” was woven by Margaret Thatcher in her 1988 Bruges speech and became one of the driving fictions of Brexit.
“Where is Global Britain in the streets of Kabul?” was a little rich coming from Theresa May, who declared, when triggering article 50 of the Lisbon treaty in 2017: “I want Britain to be… a great, global trading nation that is respected around the world and strong, united and confident at home.”Continue reading...
The nation’s Delta outbreak continues to grow, with Auckland likely to remain in lockdown for at least another fortnight
New Zealand’s Covid-19 outbreak continues to spread, with 83 cases announced on Sunday – a new daily high for this outbreak.
All but one of the new cases were found in Auckland, with the other in Wellington.Continue reading...
Survey by Shanghai University that asked colleges to research the political stance and ‘state of mind’ of members of LGBTQ+ communities has sparked alarm
A well-known Chinese university appears to have asked its colleges to make lists of their LGBTQ+ students and report on their “state of mind”, according to a purported internal directive published online on both Chinese and foreign social media platforms.
Shanghai University has not confirmed the request or responded to queries about its intention, but it has sparked alarm among young Chinese people, coming after a crackdown on campus groups and organisations supporting LGBTQ+ and feminist communities.Continue reading...
‘Operation warm welcome’ for 20,000 Afghans could come unstuck for lack of suitable housing, campaigners warn
The government last night unveiled “operation warm welcome” for the thousands of arriving Afghans, but campaigners immediately expressed concerns about the accommodation many will be offered.
As a new position – a minister for Afghan resettlement – was announced, doctors also warned that healthcare provision would have to be improved if, as expected, many of the arrivals are housed in hotels for at least the first few months.Continue reading...
Open letter from the prime minister tells military personnel they should take ‘the greatest pride’ in their service there, and that gains made will live on
Boris Johnson has responded to criticism that the rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan has undermined Britain’s 20-year involvement in the country, by telling those who served that the gains made there will not “swiftly be undone”.
In an open letter to current and former military personnel, the prime minister said they “should take the greatest pride” in their achievements in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion. He said they had succeeded in the “central mission” of keeping the UK safe from attacks masterminded from the country.Continue reading...
The British ambassador to Afghanistan, Sir Laurie Bristow, said it was 'time to close this phase' of the evacuation effort, after the final UK flight for Afghan nationals left Kabul airport. About 14,000 people have been airlifted out of the country by British forces in less than two weeksContinue reading...