Daily Skimm: Afghanistan, Capitol Police Officers, and a Four-Legged Whale

Published on: Aug 27, 2021fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
Two boys embrace each other as they weep in the parking lot at Wazir Akbar Khan hospitalGetty Images

Afghanistan

The Story

Kabul has been rocked by attacks

Explain.

It's been over a week since the Taliban took control of the country, city after city. As the capital Kabul fell, American and Western forces mobilized to evacuate their citizens and Afghan allies. More than 95,700 people have been airlifted out since Aug 14. But as many as 1,000 Americans are still in the country. And thousands of people are crowding at the airport, waiting for evac flights. With the deadline for the US's withdrawal looming, intel officials warned of imminent terror threats. Countries (like Belgium and Denmark) stopped their evac efforts, fearing an attack. The US gov told American citizens to avoid the airport. They were right.

I heard...

Yesterday, explosions killed more than 100 people outside the Kabul airport. Officials say 13 US service members and about 90 Afghan citizens were among the dead. And over 140 people were injured. ISIS-K (a regional branch of the Islamic State) has taken responsibility for the attacks. One, a suicide bomb at one of the airport gates. The other, near the Baron Hotel – which British troops had reportedly been using as a base for evacuations. After one of the deadliest days of the Afghan war for US forces, military officials are bracing for more potential attacks. 

What are people saying?

President Biden called the fallen service members "heroes" and promised to respond “with force and precision” against those responsible. Telling them: "we will hunt you down and make you pay.” World leaders condemned the attacks. But stateside, many Republican lawmakers are still criticizing the Biden admin's approach to the withdrawal process. Some even called for him to be impeached. All as the Biden admin's relied on the Taliban for security measures outside the airport, reportedly even giving them access to names of Americans, green card holders, and Afghan allies still waiting to leave the country...safely. The Biden admin maintains that evac flights are still operating, despite the attacks. And will continue to do so until the August 31 deadline. 

theSkimm

With hundreds killed and many more injured, some say the US's withdrawal from Afghanistan has become a stain on Biden's presidency. But the latest attacks are showing ISIS's (and the Taliban's) reemergence as the potential long-lasting mark of this war.

And Also...This

What’s got people taking action…

The Capitol riot. Yesterday, seven Capitol Police officers sued former President Trump, his associates, and far-right groups for trying to upend the country’s peaceful transfer of power. On Jan 6, a mob of Trump supporters broke into the Capitol, falsely claiming Trump won the 2020 election. Five people died and more than 140 officers were injured. In House hearings investigating the attack, officers have testified about the mental and physical abuse they suffered. Including chemical burns, beatings, and racial slurs. And the toll it’s taken on their mental health. At least four officers have died by suicide since that day. Now, seven Capitol police officers – five of whom are Black – are saying Trump and his supporters engaged in domestic terrorism to stop the electoral count. And tried to silence "the votes and voices" of Americans, particularly Black voters.

  • Not the first: Several similar lawsuits have been filed in recent months. But this is the first to claim the former president worked together with far-right groups to promote election fraud.

What's saying ‘not so fast’...

The Supreme Court. Yesterday, it blocked the Biden admin’s ban on most evictions in the US. Earlier this month, the CDC issued a new eviction moratorium after an earlier one expired. And said it would protect Americans struggling to pay rent from losing their homes during a pandemic. But landlord groups challenged the CDC’s move, saying it wasn’t legal and that it left them buried in debt. And the case reached the Supremes. Now, the high court has ruled that the CDC didn’t have the authority to issue the eviction ban. Adding ‘that’s Congress’s job.’ The decision could put at least 3.5 million Americans at risk of losing their homes. And it’s got the White House calling on cities and states to “urgently act to prevent evictions.”

Where voting is top of mind…

Texas. Yesterday, the state House passed a sweeping elections bill that would ban 24-hour and drive-through voting, issue new requirements on mail-in voting, and empower poll-watchers. For months, House Democrats have tried to block the bill’s passage – staging walkoutsfleeing the state, and risking arrest. Dems argue the bill would negatively affect voters of color. But Republicans say it’ll prevent voter fraud. Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) has called two special sessions to pass the voting restrictions. And in this latest round, Dems didn’t have the numbers to prevent the bill from passing. Now, the legislation heads to the state Senate, which has already passed a similar version.

Who's seeing herself out...

Tina Tchen. Yesterday, she announced her resignation as president and CEO of Time's Up. Time’s Up was created in 2018 amid the #MeToo movement in an effort to prevent sexual harassment and assault in the workplace and to support survivors. But several of its leaders have come under fire after an investigation found they were involved in attempts to discredit former governor Andrew Cuomo's (D-NY) first accuser, Lindsay Boylan. Earlier this month, the chairwoman of the org’s board, Roberta Kaplan, resigned. Now, Tchen is doing the same – after a report revealed she told employees to "stand down" from supporting Boylan. She said her position had become a "painful and divisive focal point.”

Note: Hours before her resignation, Tina Tchen participated in our "Back to Normal" power panel. She spoke to us about the mistakes Time's Up had made, and said "the idea that my actions have caused pain to women is deeply, deeply and profoundly regretful to me.”

What people are (finally) speaking up about...

Mental health. Following Naomi Osaka's withdrawal from the French Open to prioritize her mental health, the US Tennis Association said 'note taken.' And announced the upcoming US Open would provide licensed mental health professionals and "quiet rooms" for athletes.

IVF. This week, NFL sportscaster Erin Andrews shared a post detailing her journey with in vitro fertilization (IVF). All seven rounds of it. And while it's been "time-consuming and emotionally draining," Andrews reportedly said she wanted to be open about it to break down the barriers for other women in her industry who "feel the need to keep things quiet."

PS: More than 1 in 10 women in the US have a hard time getting or staying pregnant. Here’s how IVF and other fertility methods could help.

When you have to keep reminding yourself the Candyman isn't real...

This four-legged whale once was.

Skimm’d by Rashaan Ayesh, Maria del Carmen Corpus, Mariza Smajlaj, and Clem Robineau


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