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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Christiana Wayne
Wednesday, September 1, 2021, 2:29 PM

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

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President Biden declared “the war in Afghanistan is now over” in an address yesterday marking the conclusion of the 20-year war, according to the Washington Post. The president said former President Trump left him with the difficult decision between leaving and escalating, claiming, “I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit.” He framed the evacuation effort of the past few weeks as an historical accomplishment, though his administration has faced criticism for the 200 American citizens and thousands of Afghan allies who are stranded in Afghanistan. In response to the suicide bombings at the Kabul airport that killed 13 U.S. service members, the president said, “To ISIS-K: We are not done with you yet. The United States will never rest. We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down to the ends of the Earth, and you will pay the ultimate price.”

The United Kingdom is in talks with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, about further evacuations from Afghanistan for British citizens and some Afghans, according to the BBC. The U.K. defense secretary told members of parliament that between 150 and 250 people and their families are eligible for relocation. Earlier this month, Taliban leaders promised that they would allow residents with the correct documentation to leave the country. A spokesperson for the prime minister said the special representative to Afghanistan “is meeting with senior Taliban representatives to underline the importance of safe passage out of Afghanistan for British nationals, and those Afghans who have worked with us over the past 20 years.”

Israel is relaxing some restrictions on the Gaza Strip, expanding the region’s fishing zone, increasing the water supply and allowing more Palestinian people and goods to enter Israel, according the Deutsche Welle. The decision comes after the Israeli government allowed for construction materials to enter Gaza to rebuild after damage from conflict in May and occasional violence in the months since then. Israel and Egypt have blocked access to the Gaza Strip since Hamas took control in 2007. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said this new policy would take effect today.

Officials from OPEC and other oil-producing countries decided to stick with their July agreement to increase production each month by 400,000 barrels per day, amounting to less than 1 percent of global supply, according to the New York Times. Despite the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, OPEC Plus officials did not see an urgent need to make production changes. The Biden administration has pressured the organization to produce more oil, saying the higher gas prices “risk harming the global recovery.”

A Colorado grand jury indicted several police officers and paramedics in the death of Elijah McCain, a Black man who died in police custody in 2019 after being stopped and tranquilized while walking home from a convenience store, according to the Wall Street Journal. The indicted individuals face a total of 32 counts of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and various assault charges. The original decision not to charge the officers involved in his death after an autopsy report was inconclusive drew nationwide scrutiny. McCain’s father said in response to the indictments, “Nothing will bring back my son, but I am thankful that his killers will finally be held accountable.”

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Jack Goldsmith talks to national security reporter Spencer Ackerman about his new book, “Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump.”

Dan Lips explained how Congress and the National Institute for Standards and Technology can help organizations better manage cyber risk.

Sam Cohen discussed Vice President Harris’s visit to southeast Asia, military exercises in the Indo-Pacific, Taiwan security and more in the latest installment of Water Wars.

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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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