Analysis & Comment

Your Tuesday Briefing

We’re covering the wrap-up of the Afghanistan withdrawal and the wreckage from Hurricane Ida.

The final hours of America’s presence in Afghanistan

The U.S. military is racing toward a Tuesday deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, two weeks after the Taliban takeover of Kabul.

Earlier Monday, the U.S. military shot down rockets aimed at the Kabul airport. The U.S. also warned that more attacks, like the one last week outside the airport that killed nearly 200 people, were possible before the withdrawal ended.

By the evening, a sense of calm and resignation had descended as hope dwindled among the Afghans seeking to escape via the airport. Some had the requisite documents but were not allowed through. Roughly 1,200 people were airlifted from Kabul in 24 hours leading to Monday morning, the White House said, for a total of about 116,000 evacuations in the past two weeks.

A few hundred people were waiting outside the airport perimeter but were kept at a significant distance by Taliban fighters guarding the area. A few planes — mostly C-17’s, large military transport aircraft — took off and turned west into the setting sun.

Meanwhile, at a family home in Kabul, survivors said the U.S. drone strike that targeted a vehicle filled with explosives had killed 10 people, including seven children, on Sunday.

Get used to coronavirus shortages

Pandemic-related product shortages were supposed to be temporary. Instead, the increasingly interconnected world is still feeling the ripple effects of disruption.

A shipping container that cannot be unloaded in Los Angeles because too many dock workers are in quarantine cannot be loaded with soybeans in Iowa, leaving buyers in Indonesia waiting, and potentially triggering a shortage of animal feed in Southeast Asia.

Factories around the world are limiting operations, despite powerful demand, because they cannot buy metal parts, plastics and other crucial inputs and raw materials. Earlier this month, Toyota announced it would slash its global production of cars by 40 percent because of a shortage of computer chips.

Central banks weighing concerns about inflation rates have not been able to answer a key question: How long will the delays last? “There is a genuine uncertainty here,” said one economist. Normalcy might be “another year or two” away, he added.

Here are the latest pandemic updates and maps.

In other developments:

The European Union recommended that its member countries reintroduce travel restrictions for visitors from the United States who are not vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Here’s a list of American companies and their stances on vaccine mandates and returning to the office.

Berlin offered vaccinations to people on a commuter train.

Australia’s New South Wales reported 1,290 infections on Monday, a record rise in daily cases.

Hurricane Ida’s wreckage

Search-and-rescue teams fanned across Southeast Louisiana after Hurricane Ida pummeled the area, 16 years to the day after Katrina hit.

Much of New Orleans remained without electricity after all eight transmission lines that delivered power to the city were knocked out. Some power outages may last weeks.

Buildings were razed in some areas, and at least one person died. Some places were cut off from rescue teams because of flooded roads or downed power lines.

But a $14.5 billion system of levees, barriers and pumps that protect New Orleans appeared to have held firm, passing the most severe test since being expanded and hardened after Hurricane Katrina.

These photos show scenes of damage from Hurricane Ida.


News From Asia

North Korea has restarted a plutonium-producing reactor, the U.N. nuclear watchdog warned, while talks with the U.S. remain stalled.

China tightened limits for video games. Children and teenagers are now banned from online gaming on school days, and limited to one hour a day on weekend and holiday evenings under government rules issued on Monday.

The Indian ride-sharing app Ola, which is backed by SoftBank, could raise up to $1 billion through an initial public offering, Reuters reported.

Around the World

President Iván Duque of Colombia defended his performance amid the pandemic and social strife.

At least one person died after Tropical Storm Nora lashed Mexico.

Russian opposition leaders increasingly have to choose between jail and exile.

Novak Djokovic began his pursuit of an exclusive Grand Slam as U.S. Open tennis facilities filled with fans for the first time in two years. A last-minute change will require all spectators to be vaccinated, though many tennis players have stubbornly been slow to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

A Morning Read

It took international collaboration and multiple failed attempts for two Afghan Paralympians to make it to the Tokyo Games. Here’s how they did it, and what might come next.


TikTok stars on a bigger screen

For 14 years, the Kardashians ruled the genre of reality shows documenting famous families. When their program ended this summer, it left a gap in the TV landscape — one that the D’Amelios, TikTok’s most famous family, want to fill with an upcoming documentary series on Hulu.

Charli D’Amelio, 17, is the most popular person on TikTok, with 123 million followers. She’s sold signature drinks at Dunkin’ and has appeared in Super Bowl commercials. Her sister Dixie, 20, and their parents also have large followings.

Sara Reddy, the showrunner, who had previously worked on “Toddlers and Tiaras,” said she wasn’t familiar with the D’Amelios when she was first pitched them as subjects. “I’m not a teenager,” she told The Times. “I really found it easy to roll my eyes at social media during Covid. Then I dug in, and what really struck me was I felt like the family was a living social experiment.” She added, “I came into their life right as fame was changing for them.”


What to Cook

Make one-pot orzo with tomatoes, corn and zucchini.

What to Read

Nineteen books to look forward to this September, including works by Colson Whitehead, Sally Rooney and more.

What to Watch

In the mini-series “Laetitia,” the Oscar-winning documentarian Jean-Xavier De Lestrade turns to fiction to tell a story of grisly murder in western France.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Ending with black, blue or straw (five letters).

And here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Melina

P.S. Kathy Ryan and Maureen Dowd explored the deserted New York Times newsroom.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about the recall election in California.

Sanam Yar wrote the Arts and Ideas section. You can reach Melina and the team at [email protected].

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