Hello, this is Danielle Jalowiecka with the BBC News.
President Biden has strongly defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Mr. Biden said the clear goals of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan were focused on counter-terrorism, not nation building. As to the current situation, he said he'd made it clear to the Taliban that attacks on U.S. personnel engaged in the withdrawal operation could be met with devastating force. David Willis reports. The crisis in Afghanistan has presented Joe Biden with the biggest challenge of his presidency to date. The Republican response to the chaos in Kabul has been excoriating, and the coverage of events by the U.S. media no less brutal. Cutting short his holiday to return to the White House, Mr. Biden conceded that events on the ground in Afghanistan had unfolded more quickly than his administration had anticipated. But he blamed the rapid advance of Taliban forces on a lack of will on the part of the Afghan army.
The United Nations secretary general has urged the Taliban to exercise the maximum restraint to protect lives. Speaking to the Security Council, António Guterres called on the international community to make sure that Afghanistan was never again used as a safe haven for terrorist organizations.
The mayor of Kabul, Dawood Sultanzoy, says the Taliban have asked him to stay on in his post to ensure stability. He said the militants was surprised they'd been able to take over so rapidly, and most of their leaders were not in Kabul. Victorious Taliban fighters with rifles have been patrolling the streets. This man who cannot be identified for his own safety described the situation in his neighborhood. "As we speak, there's Taliban right at my doorstep, and there's a few of them forcing themselves on our family. And we have to provide them dinner. And if we refuse, we will face force. There are hundreds of them, you know, in the street, many of them don't speak the local language. There are many foreign fighters under invasion right now."
A tropical storm has made landfall in Haiti, drenching the country with heavy rain as it deals with the aftermath of Saturday's powerful earthquake. At least 1,400 people were killed in the quake and almost 7,000 injured. Will Grant has more. Many roads have been damaged by mud slides caused by aftershocks. Some medical personnel are coming by helicopters organized by American aid agencies and the Haitian coast guard. The hospitals have been overwhelmed by hundreds of injured and the risk of infection for the wounded is high in the abject and unsanitary conditions. Those who have been left homeless in the earthquake are sleeping rough on football pitches and other makeshift camps. The government and international aid teams are concerned about the risk of a further spread of COVID-19.
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