Your Wednesday Briefing - The New York Times

We cover US plans to complete their exit from Afghanistan, an interview with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and the death of Ro...


We cover US plans to complete their exit from Afghanistan, an interview with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and the death of Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts.

President Biden told world leaders in a virtual meeting that he still expected US troops to leave Afghanistan by August 31. although an extended mission is a possibility, according to an official.

The United States will begin withdrawing its 6,000 troops from Kabul as early as this week or weekend in order to meet the deadline. The longer the troops wait, Biden said in the closed-door meeting, the greater the risk of a terrorist attack, which he called “very high.”

The pace of evacuations has accelerated dramatically despite the chaos and desperation outside Kabul airport. But the Taliban announced that they would prevent Afghans from going to the airport. Residents of Kabul said they were struggle to make ends meet in an economy which, supported for the previous generation by American aid, is suddenly in free fall.

Secret interviews: The CIA Director William Burns visited Kabul this week to meet with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar as the United States seeks more time for the evacuation operation. The Taliban have rejected any plans to extend the deadline for US troops.

In an interview with The Times before a visit to WashingtonIsraeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he opposes any US-led attempt to restore the nuclear deal with Iran and will continue Israel’s covert attacks on the program Iranian nuclear power plant.

The Israeli leader has also ruled out peace talks with the Palestinians and said he will expand West Bank settlements.

Bennett’s positions differ little from those of his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu. But as he prepared to meet President Biden at the White House on Thursday, Bennett said he would seek common ground with the administration.

Quote: “This government will neither annex nor form a Palestinian state, everyone understands that,” he said. “I am the prime minister of all Israelis, and what I do now is find common ground – how we can focus on what we agree on.

Related: Recently, the Israeli government began to allow an increasing number of Jews to pray at the temple mount, a sacred site for both Jews and Muslims that has been used exclusively for Muslim prayer since 1967.


Indonesia started to ease restrictions in its capital, Jakarta, just a month after living one of the worst coronavirus epidemics in the world.

Restaurants, shopping malls and places of worship in parts of the country were allowed to open to reduced numbers on Tuesday after the government infection count fell 78% from its peak of mid-July. However, only 12 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, on average more than 1,000 people in the country die each day from the virus and the WHO has warned that the data could be inaccurate due to a decrease in testing.

“Urgent action is needed to deal with the continuing increase in cases,” the World Health Agency said last week, noting the continuing epidemics in parts of the country.

here are the latest updates and pandemic cards.

In other developments:

As a 20-year-old American soldier fighting in World War II, Martin Adler took a photo with three Italian children he almost shot after seeing movements and assuming they were German soldiers. Now 97, Adler reunited with siblings for the first time during a moving meeting organized by his daughter.

Lives lived: Charlie watts, one of the best rock drummers of his generation, who played for the Rolling Stones for over 50 years and never tasted the pop idol life, died Tuesday. He was 80 years old.

Spike Lee’s new documentary series on HBO – “New York Epicenters: 9 / 11-2021½” – is a sad and irreverent tribute to his city. He recounts the September 11 attacks and the pandemic through interviews with dozens of New Yorkers. “With 20 years to come since 9/11, and with people saying New York often during Covid, ‘This is the epicenter,’ that was natural,” Lee said of the topic.

Some of the faces are familiar – Senator Chuck Schumer, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rosie Perez – but most of the story is told by health workers, firefighters, activists and survivors. His team interviewed over 200 people for the series. “We just wanted to be as comprehensive as possible, a kaleidoscope of witnesses,” he said.

In a Q. and A. with The Times, Lee also defended his decision to include the 9/11 conspiracy theorists in the film: viewers would “make up their own minds,” he said. “My approach is to put the information in the film and let people decide for themselves.”

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. – Matthew

PS Zeynep Tufekci, sociologist and writer, joins our Opinion team as a columnist.

The last episode of “The Daily”Concerns Mexico’s lawsuit against US arms manufacturers.

Sanam Yar wrote the Arts and Ideas. You can reach Matthew and the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

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