Afghanistan: What  We Know    

U.S. President Joe Biden said Wednesday that he will keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan until the last Americans are evacuated from the country.  He had set an August 31 deadline for the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops. The World Food Program’s country director for Afghanistan, Mary Ellen McGroarty, is warning of a humanitarian disaster with 14 million people facing severe hunger. Speaking to reporters in a video briefing Wednesday, she described additional challenges facing the country, including severe drought and the coronavirus pandemic. At least three people died Wednesday when Taliban militants attacked protesters in the city of Jalalabad. The demonstrators were trying to take down a Taliban flag and replace it with Afghanistan’s national flag. The International Monetary Fund suspended Afghanistan’s access to resources, with a spokesman citing “a lack of clarity within the international community regarding recognition of a government in Afghanistan.” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said U.S. forces are focused on securing Kabul’s airport and cannot help people reach the site. A White House official said military flights have taken nearly 6,000 people from the country since Saturday. 

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