Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Bryce Klehm, Rohini Kurup
Monday, August 16, 2021, 2:59 PM

Lawfare’s daily roundup of national security news and opinion.

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The Taliban took control of the Afghan presidential palace on Sunday after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, reports the New York Times. The reinstatement of the group’s rule over the country comes as the U.S. is seeking to evacuate thousands of U.S. personnel and partners from Kabul International Airport, which itself is overrun with thousands of Afghans attempting to flee. Around 6,000 U.S. soldiers have been deployed to the Kabul airport to provide security for U.S. personnel and restore order to the chaotic scene, which included Afghans clinging to a U.S. Air Force plane as it attempted to take off. John Kirby, Pentagon spokesperson, said there was a security breach at the airport and U.S. soldiers shot and killed two armed men near the security perimeter.

President Biden will deliver remarks this afternoon on the situation in Afghanistan and the evacuation of U.S. personnel and allies, according to the Associated Press. It will be Biden’s first public address after the Taliban took control of Kabul on Sunday. The remarks come as the Biden administration faces criticism for its handling of U.S. withdrawal from the country.

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck western Haiti on Saturday, killing around 1,300 people, reports the Times. As thousands seek medical care, Haiti’s hospitals are overwhelmed with patients, compounded by a shortage of doctors. Dr. Edward Destine, an orthopedic surgeon in Haiti, told the Times, “I’m the only surgeon over there … I would like to operate on 10 people today, but I just don’t have the supplies.” Rescue workers are rushing to help victims before a major storm is expected to make landfall on Monday night, raising the threat of mudslides and floods, according to the Wall Street Journal.

New York lawmakers will continue their investigation into Governor Andrew Cuomo, according to the Washington Post. The speaker of the New York State Assembly and the chairman of the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee said that the final report, which will examine sexual harassment claims, data on nursing home deaths and finances around the governor’s book deal, will still be released after his resignation takes effect. Democratic State Senator Sean Ryan publicly urged the committee to “[r]elease all the evidence to the public.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Lawfare Senior Editor Scott R. Anderson announced a live recording of the Lawfare Podcast on the fall of the Afghan government and the Taliban control of the country. You can watch a video of that event here and read a transcript here.

Hilary Matfess examined the latest fighting in Tigray and explained why it is unlikely that the conflict will end soon.

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

Bryce Klehm is a first year law student at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is a former associate editor at Lawfare.
Rohini Kurup is a J.D. candidate at the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to law school, she worked as an associate editor of Lawfare and a research analyst at the Brookings Institution. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College.

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