The U.S. winds down Afghanistan airlift
A U.S. drone strike in Kabul yesterday blew up a vehicle laden with explosives that officials said was an “imminent ISIS-K threat” to the airport, three days after a bombing killed about 170 civilians and 13 American service members. Afghans said that the drone strike killed a number of civilians, including children.
With President Biden’s Tuesday deadline for withdrawing troops fast approaching, the U.S. is shifting its focus from evacuating civilians to bringing military personnel home. About 300 American citizens remain in Afghanistan. The U.S.-led coalition has told Afghans awaiting transport out of the country that for them, the airlift is over.
Though the Taliban has reportedly assured the U.S. and 97 other countries that Afghans with appropriate travel documents will be permitted to leave after U.S. troops depart, the insurgents have reneged on promises in the past, and their leaders have not always been able to control fighters and followers on the ground.
Refugees: Nearly 100 countries have pledged to accept Afghan refugees. But for the tens of thousands who have fled and are now in limbo in overflowing processing centers, an uncertain future awaits.
Analysis: Biden has insisted that he had no choice but to withdraw under the deal he inherited from Donald Trump. But were there other options?
First person: “I knew — everyone here knew — that an era of hope, however uneven and misplaced, was about to end,” wrote Mujib Mashal, my colleague who grew up in Kabul, on the final days of life in the Afghan capital without the Taliban.
E.U. to reintroduce travel restrictions on the U.S.
The E.U. today will remove the U.S. from a “safe list” of countries whose residents can travel to the 27-nation bloc without quarantine or testing restrictions, after coronavirus infections and hospitalizations surged in the country in recent weeks.
Member countries will be advised to reintroduce restrictions on U.S. visitors, which are not mandatory. Most European nations reopened their borders to Americans in June, hoping that American tourism would help the industry bounce back. The U.S. did not follow suit, drawing anger from Europeans and their leaders.
Details: Other countries expected to be removed from the safe list include Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia.
By the numbers: The E.U. “safe list” necessitates having fewer than 75 new cases daily per 100,000 people over the previous 14 days — an infection rate far below that of the U.S. Some 64 percent of E.U. residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, compared with 60 percent in the U.S.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
THE LATEST NEWSFrom the U.S.
The French authorities have tried to outlaw hardy American hybrid grapevines for 87 years. But climate change and the natural wine movement are giving renegade winemakers a lift. Above, a winemaker examines some Clinton vines, a grape variety banned in France since 1934.
“France is a great wine country,” said one winemaker. “To remain one, we have to open up. We can’t get stuck on what we already know.”
ARTS AND IDEAS ‘Like I’d never done it before’
Sally Rooney’s first two books, “Conversations With Friends” and “Normal People,” made her more famous than she liked. For her latest, “Beautiful World, Where Are You,” which comes out on Sept. 7, she asked herself what a novel is and why she’s taking on another one, reports Lauren Christensen.
Since the release of her 2017 debut, “Conversations With Friends,” and her Booker Prize-longlisted “Normal People” in 2018, Rooney, 30, has become the kind of best-selling author whose popularity somehow eclipses the books themselves, her name an easy shorthand for a certain cultural sensibility, even to those who haven’t read a word she’s written.
Her first two novels, both written in her 20s, had all but poured out of her. “Off the top of my head is a bad way of putting it,” she said, “but I wasn’t thinking, What is a voice? What is a protagonist? It was so natural, all those questions just answered themselves as I wrote.”
By the time she got to New York in 2019, to take part in a fellowship at the New York Public Library, the pressures had accumulated, and she worried she would never write again. “Wait, how do you write one of these?” she’d asked herself. “It was like I’d never done it before!”
Read more about Rooney’s process here.
PLAY, WATCH, EATWhat to Cook
Whip up this supremely summery caprese antipasto, rich with tomatoes, mozzarella and roasted bell peppers.
What to Read
Jo Hamya’s debut novel, “Three Rooms,” follows a young, well-educated woman of color fighting for economic stability in contemporary London.