FirstFT: US uses commercial airlines to help evacuate Kabul airport

Afghanistan Updates

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The Pentagon said it had ordered U.S. civilian airlines to help move Afghan refugees out of U.S. bases in the Middle East, as Western forces struggled to evacuate locals a week after regaining control by the Taliban.

Lloyd Austin, U.S. Secretary of Defense, activated the Civilian Reserve Air Fleet to provide commercial aircraft in support of evacuation efforts from temporary shelters, allowing military aircraft to focus on flights to and from from Kabul International Airport.

U.S. carriers including American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta, United, Omni Air and Hawaiian Airlines will provide a combined total of 18 planes, the Pentagon said.

Thousands of Afghans eager to leave the country were still crowded around Kabul international airport yesterday, but were unable to enter the area controlled by US forces. A NATO official said at least 20 people had died in and around the airport in the past seven days.

  • What has changed in two decades? Since the Taliban lost control in 2001, fertility rates have plummeted, women’s education has increased, and cell phone subscriptions have skyrocketed. Here are 10 charts that show how living conditions have improved in Afghanistan.

“The female voices that have blossomed over the past 20 years have yet to be celebrated”, written Enuma Okoro. Follow the latest news on Afghanistan on FT.com.

Five other articles in the news

1. The Swedish Prime Minister will resign in November Stefan Lofven has unexpectedly announced that he will step down in three months, causing political unrest ahead of next year’s elections. Lofven has faced two major crises in his seven years in power – the 2015 refugee flows and the Covid-19 pandemic, in which Sweden’s lack of a formal lockdown made it an outlier.

Stefan Lofven says he wants his party to be led by a new leader ahead of elections slated for September next year © Henrik Montgomery / TT / AFP / Getty

2. Merkel responds to Ukrainian concerns about Nord Stream 2 The pipeline, which will pump Russian gas to Western Europe through the Baltic Sea, is of particular concern to Kiev, which risks losing $ 2 billion in transit revenues if Moscow cuts off its supplies through Ukraine. “We are in favor of new sanctions if Russia uses this pipeline as a weapon,” the German chancellor told the Ukrainian president.

3. England looks to China and Russia Boris Johnson wants to focus on a longer-term approach to the Afghan crisis and recognizes that after the US withdrawal, China and Russia are now important players in the region. As Chairman of the G7, the British Prime Minister will hold talks which will include evacuation arrangements for Western nationals and Afghan citizens.

4. UK rejects industry visa application for EU truck drivers Ministers rejected industry calls to allow migrants from the EU to fill the significant void in the UK labor market for truck drivers. However, the UK government is ready to consider increasing training for Britons wishing to become carriers.

5. Climate models predict more frequent extremes of heat Heat waves will become longer and more intense if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase. The impact could be particularly evident in the southern hemisphere, according to new modeling.

  • Read more: Humanity is on the brink of disaster. But with creative thinking and collective will, there may still be time to avert disaster, writes Kim Stanley Robinson.

Series of maps showing the number of additional days the temperature exceeds 35 ° C above the 1981-2010 average using the CMIP6 model.  Based on the highest emissions scenario (RCP 8.5), many regions will experience an increase of more than 100 days of extreme heat

Coronavirus digest

  • AstraZeneca will seek regulatory approval for its cocktail of antibodies after a study showed the drug significantly reduced the risk of developing symptomatic Covid-19.

  • Cinemas are hoping for a recovery after an “existential” crisis on a list of blockbusters delayed by Covid, like the latest James Bond film.

  • Global equities recorded their worst week since June, with fears of a slowing economic recovery and an impending cut in US stimulus measures weighing heavily on sentiment.

FTSE All World Index Weekly Performance Column Chart (%) Showing Global Equities Suffer Worst Week Since June

Tim Harford asks: are the Covid-19 regulations here to stay? register here for our Coronavirus Business Update bulletin.

The day to come

Vaccines All 16 and 17 year olds must receive their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine by today. Britain’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the date would give teens two weeks to boost their immunity before the start of the school year.

Kamala harris The US vice president arrived in Southeast Asia yesterday. Harris will meet with the President and Prime Minister of Singapore today and stop at Changi Naval Base. It will seek to strengthen relations with partners in a region dominated by China’s economic and political influence. (CNN)

What else do we read

Taiwanese ignore Chinese threat Over the past year, China has taken a more belligerent stance towards Taiwan, threatening to invade the territory if Taipei indefinitely refuses to submit. Patrols and military exercises have intensified, alarming the United States which has said that a Chinese attack on Taiwan could be launched within six years. But on the ground in Taiwan, there is no sign of panic.

How US payment groups got on the wrong side of India’s plans In India, 20 percent of the population does not have a bank account and only 3 percent have credit cards, creating huge opportunities for financial services. Indian policymakers have tried to make the economy less reliant on cash, but strict rules on data storage are faltering foreign companies in hopes of expanding in a fast-growing market.

Olympian Krystsina Tsimanouskaya recounts her escape After a dispute with Belarusian sports authorities, officials of the country’s repressive regime attempted to transport the 24-year-old sprinter on a plane returning from the Tokyo Olympics. Tsimanouskaya, helped by a translation app, fled Japan to seek refuge in Poland, where she now lives under 24-hour protection. Here’s what she told the FT about her escape.

“I was like, what should I do if I can’t find the police? Should I tear up my passport? Start running? ”She recalls.

High-profile rape allegations reignite China’s #MeToo movement An anti-harassment campaign faded until a pop star and a former director of Alibaba were publicly charged. But women’s rights activists have warned that the ruling Chinese Communist Party remains suspicious of mass feminist activism, which continues to suffer from censorship and nationalist attacks.

How Myanmar’s coup fueled an increase in drug trafficking Thai police have seized 1,000 kg of crystal methamphetamine as officials and analysts watch with concern on the rise in drug trafficking and addiction. They say the narcotics originated in neighboring Myanmar, which has turned into political chaos and civil conflict since the military takeover.

Tons column chart showing methamphetamine seizures on the rise in Southeast Asia

To travel

Five aqua-adventures Spotting jaguars in the Peruvian Amazon, heliskiing in Greenland, extreme fly fishing in Patagonia, or just chilling off Paxos: wherever you do, do it from a boat.

The boat

‘Halas 71’ boat will tell over three millennia of Turkish history, including Istanbul’s Blue Mosque

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