Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Christiana Wayne
Friday, August 27, 2021, 3:14 PM

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

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In an address Thursday night, President Biden vowed to strike back against the militants who carried out the attacks on the Kabul airport that killed 13 U.S. service members, reports NPR. The administration will target the assets, leadership and facilities of ISIS-K, the Islamic State affiliate that reportedly claimed responsibility for the bombings. “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” Biden promised, though he said the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan will continue as planned. The president also said he told military personnel that he would grant the use of more U.S. forces if they were needed to aid the evacuations of American citizens and Afghan allies.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said there are still “specific, credible threats” of terror attacks in Kabul following yesterday’s bombing at the Kabul airport, according to the Washington Post. The Pentagon confirmed that the U.S. continued evacuations after the attack, saying 35 U.S. military aircraft with approximately 8,500 personnel had departed in the last 24 hours. Senior Pentagon officials also said there would likely not be a “significant military presence” in Afghanistan after the Aug. 31 withdrawal of all U.S. troops.

China and Russia are planning for anti-terror and peacekeeping drills next month as the countries face rising security concerns during the Taliban takeover, according to the South China Morning Post. The “Peace Mission-2021” drills will include six other countries, all concerned about regional stability after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Analysts say the aims for the two week program are improving counterterrorism measures and strengthening bilateral security cooperation between Beijing and Moscow.

The British Foreign Office said it made “every effort” to destroy sensitive information on staff at its embassy in Kabul, according to the BBC. The announcement is in response to reporting from the Times that contact information of Afghans working on behalf of the Foreign Office had been found “scattered on the ground” of the embassy as staff evacuated after the Taliban takeover. The incident has raised questions from Labour members about the government’s protection of its Afghan allies, but the Foreign Office said three families identified in the reports had been helped to safety.

President Biden met Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Friday at the White House, according to Reuters. The meeting, which had been delayed due to yesterday’s attack at the Kabul airport, was the first between Biden and Bennett, who replaced conservative Benjamin Netenyahu as Prime Minister in June. When asked about negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, the president said, “We're putting diplomacy first and we'll see where that takes us. But if diplomacy fails, we're ready to turn to other options.”

The Supreme Court ruled to end the Biden administration’s eviction moratorium due to the coronavirus, reports the New York Times. In an eight-page per curiam opinion, the majority says that the Centers of Disease Control is overreaching its authority by imposing a nationwide moratorium. Three justices dissented, with Justice Breyer writing in dissent. When announcing the moratorium on Aug. 3, President Biden said the policy would likely be struck down in court but could offer some relief to tenants facing eviction while it was being litigated.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the Federal Reserve might start removing stimulus this year as the economy rebounds, according to the Wall Street Journal. Powell said he expects the recent rise in inflation to ease over time and that, despite the risk of the Delta variant of coronavirus, “the prospects are good for continued progress toward maximum employment.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Lawfare Senior Editor Scott R. Anderson about the Taliban’s presence on Facebook for this week’s episode of the Arbiters of Truth series.

Rohini Kurup posted the complaint from Capitol Police officers’ lawsuit against former President Trump and his allies over their role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

David Priess discussed policy choices and claims of intelligence failure in Afghanistan.

Anderson traced the history of international recognition of the Taliban.

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Christiana Wayne is a junior at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill studying history and English. She is an intern at Lawfare.

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