Scenes of chaos have emerged this week from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, where thousands of people have been attempting to flee Afghanistan following the recent Taliban takeover and the collapse of the government. U.S. officials say they are racing to evacuate as many people from the country as possible before the end of the month, when American troops are scheduled to withdraw after two decades of occupation.
President Biden said Friday that 13,000 people, including Americans and Afghans who have applied for so-called special immigrant visas or SIVs, have been evacuated from Kabul since Aug. 14, and approximately 18,000 total have been removed from the country since late July.
After hastening the removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan this month, the Biden administration was forced to ramp up the U.S. military presence in Kabul over the last few days in an effort to expedite the evacuation process before the final pullout.
As of Friday, Taylor said there were now 5,800 total troops on the ground with the capacity evacuate between 5,000 and 9,000 people out of Kabul per day. The exact number, however, depends on how many eligible people are able to make it onto the airfield, he said.
The U.S. evacuation efforts are reliant on cooperation from the Taliban, who, officials have said, are facilitating safe passage to the airport for American citizens. However, there have been many reports that Afghan citizens seeking to evacuate have encountered harassment and violence from Taliban forces.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued an alert Wednesday to people in the Afghan capital, saying it “cannot ensure safe passage” to the airport.
President Biden has promised not to leave any American citizens behind in Afghanistan, and said Wednesday that could mean keeping troops in the country past his self-imposed deadline of Aug. 31. It remains unclear how many vulnerable Afghans, including thousands of translators and others who worked for the U.S. government, will make it to safety before U.S. troops pull out of the country for good.
French drug maker Sanofi says it is shelving plans for a COVID-19 vaccine based on messenger RNA despite positive results from early stage testing.The Paris-based company said it will continue to develop another vaccine candidate that is already undergoing late stage human trials.
UEFA has called for the removal of the Madrid judge at the centre of its legal dispute with the European Super League, arguing he has demonstrated "clear bias" toward the breakaway competition.Rulings from the Madrid commercial court headed by judge Manuel Ruiz de Lara have forced UEFA to abandon disciplinary proceedings against Super League rebel clubs Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus.
Newly crowned world heavyweight boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk expects a rematch against Anthony Joshua in February or March, but has his sights on a title unification bout.The Ukrainian defeated Joshua in a boxing masterclass at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday in front of 67,000 fans, earning a unanimous points decision to take his British rival's WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts.
The top US military officer has told Congress that he knew former president Donald Trump wasn't planning to attack China and that it was his job to reassure the Chinese of that fact in phone calls that have triggered outrage from some lawmakers.Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivered a defence of two calls he made to his Chinese counterpart, saying he was responding to "concerning intelligence" that China was worried about a US attack.
The Nasdaq has fallen the most among Wall Street indexes as technology heavyweights come under pressure from a surge in bond yields on expectations of higher interest rates and rising inflation.In early trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 88.
Support for Australians who have lost work hours during the COVID-19 pandemic will be eased as states and territories reach vaccination targets and the economy reopens.Since the start of the pandemic the Morrison government has provided $291 billion in direct economic support to households and businesses.
Celtic's Portuguese winger Jota has dismissed the Hoops' early-season wobble in Scotland's Premiership stressing the title race has still a long way to go.Australian coach Ange Postecoglou's side sit sixth in the table after seven matches and fell six points behind leaders Rangers at the weekend after being held to a 1-1 draw by Dundee United at Parkhead.
Joe Root, the England captain, has said he is yet to fully commit to this summer's Ashes series even though he is "desperate" to take what he admits could be his last opportunity to win the urn in Australia.Root and his England team-mates are still in the dark about the exact conditions of entry into Australia and those with young families are wavering about travelling due to the stringent Covid-19 restrictions they could face throughout the tour.
A Melbourne duo has been charged over accusations they used fake Northern Territory driver's licences to enter Western Australia for the AFL grand final.Prahran bar owner Hayden Burbank, 49, and finance firm managing director Mark Babbage, 38, are alleged to have flown into Perth on September 22 after arriving in Darwin from Melbourne on September 14.
Catalans Dragons and England full-back Sam Tomkins has been voted the Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters Association's player of the year for the third time, edging out former NRL star Lachlan Coote.Tomkins, who won the award back to back as a Wigan player in 2011 and 2012, has been pivotal in the Dragons' best-ever Super League campaign.
Lawmakers from Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang (KMT) scuffled with members of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in parliament and stopped the premier from addressing the assembly in a dispute over the COVID-19 pandemic.The KMT has been demanding that Premier Su Tseng-chang apologise for his government's handling of the coronavirus, especially quarantine lapses that might have led to a spike in cases beginning in May, though infections have since dropped back to at most a handful a day
Prop Ox Nche will come into the starting line-up in the only change for South Africa's second and final Rugby Championship clash with New Zealand.Coach Jacques Nienaber on Tuesday made one injury-enforced change to the side for the Gold Coast rematch on Saturday.
Four-time Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles believes she should have "quit way before" the Tokyo Games.American Biles withdrew from five of her six finals in Japan to focus on her mental health.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has thrown his weight behind vaccinations again, saying it is the league's way out from COVID-19 disruptions.A decision is expected soon from the AFL on mandatory vaccinations for players and club staff.