US leaves Afghanistan before deadline, Biden says
President Biden said at the White House that the US was on track for an Aug. 31 departure from Afghanistan, and said he had spoken with military leaders so that they would be willing to “adjust that timetable should the need arise.” .
Earlier on Tuesday, he told world leaders that the 6,000 troops in Kabul could now leave this week or this weekend to meet the deadline. The longer the troops wait, Biden said, the greater the risk of a terrorist attack.
Some leaders had hoped Washington would extend the timeline. US lawmakers on both sides have urged Biden to do so. He had previously suggested it was possible, but the Taliban warned of “consequences.”
The pace of evacuations has accelerated despite the chaos and despair outside the Kabul airport, and the US has begun to withdraw from its presence there. The Taliban announced they would block Afghans from traveling to the airport.
Unvaccinated older Americans pose a challenge
The US has a much higher proportion of older adults without full vaccine protection than many other wealthy countries, and it has made the wave of the Delta variant more deadly.
While more and more younger, unvaccinated adults are entering hospitals, the vast majority of people who die from Covid are older and unvaccinated. Low vaccination rates among the elderly in Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana and Nevada have coincided with rising hospital admissions and deaths. In contrast, unvaccinated seniors are relatively rare in Britain, Spain and Canada.
Officials in other countries have been more willing to use mandates to encourage vaccinations, while some US states (such as Utah and Texas) have gone so far as to ban certain institutions from mandating vaccines. Those bans can now be lifted due to Pfizer’s full FDA approval.
The pace of vaccinations in the US has accelerated. More companies, including Goldman Sachs, are demanding that employees be vaccinated.
citable: “We’ve really tried to get them vaccinated,” said a North Dakota health official whose department has sent letters to every unvaccinated senior in the state. “There just seems to be a lack of trust in public health and government, and even a lack of trust from medical professionals.”
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other virus news:
Israeli leader’s hard line on Iran
In an interview with The Times ahead of a visit to Washington, Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he opposed all US-led attempts to restore the Iran nuclear deal and Israel’s covert attacks on Iran’s nuclear program. would continue.
Bennett also ruled out peace talks with the Palestinians and said he would expand settlements in the West Bank, a policy Biden opposes. He refused to support American plans to reopen a consulate for Palestinians in Jerusalem.
His statements, which echoed his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, created a potentially uneasy dynamic with Biden. The two will meet at the White House on Thursday. Bennett said he would seek common ground and that he planned to arrive in Washington with a new approach to contain Iran’s nuclear program.
citable: “What we need to do, and what we are doing, is to form a regional coalition of reasonable Arab countries, with us, that will fend off and block this expansion and desire for domination” by Iran, Bennett said.
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As a 20-year-old American soldier who fought in World War II, Martin Adler took a photo with three Italian children that he nearly shot after seeing movement and assuming they were German soldiers. Now 97, Adler, center, reunited with the siblings for the first time in an emotional gathering hosted by his daughter.
Life lived: Charlie Watts, whose drumming drove the Rolling Stones for 50 years, died at the age of 80.
ART AND IDEAS
Two crises, 20 years apart
Spike Lee’s new documentary series on HBO – “New York Epicenters: 9/11-2021” – is a sad and irreverent tribute to his city. It chronicles the September 11 attacks and the pandemic through interviews with dozens of New Yorkers. “With 20 years ahead of us since 9/11, and with people often saying about New York during Covid, ‘This is the epicenter,’ it was natural,” Lee said on the topic.
Some of the faces are familiar — Senator Chuck Schumer, Mayor Bill de Blasio, actress Rosie Perez — but most of the story is told by health professionals, firefighters, activists and survivors. His team interviewed more than 200 people for the series. “We just wanted to be as complete as possible, a kaleidoscope of witnesses,” he said.
In a Q&A with The Times, Lee also defended his decision to include September 11 conspiracy theorists in the film: viewers would “make a decision,” he said. “My approach is to put the information in the film and let people decide for themselves.”