The Atlantic Daily: The Fall of Kabul

Kabul has fallen, but President Joe Biden still thinks the United States made the right call.

A black-and-white photo of Joe Biden as he delivers remarks about the situation in Afghanistan in the East Room of the White House
Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty

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Just four months after President Biden announced plans to fully withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the country is once again under Taliban rule. Kabul fell, despite 20 years of investment by the American military. A haunting video from the capital’s airport showed desperate Afghans clinging to a departing U.S. military jet.

Now the commander in chief faces scrutiny on behalf of all the people his exit plan left behind. In a speech this afternoon, Biden defended his decision and deflected blame onto Afghans.

“U.S. troops should not be fighting in a war, and dying in a war, that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” he said. James Fallows, a former presidential speechwriter and longtime writer for this magazine, said he could not recall a presidential statement as blunt.


The rest of the news in three sentences:

(1) The death toll in the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti now tops 1,400. (2) U.S. coronavirus cases continue their charge upward, with seven-day averages not seen since the winter. (3) Tesla’s autopilot system is the subject of a federal probe into its behavior around parked emergency vehicles.

What to read if … you’re looking for practical advice on how to manage your risk in light of Delta:


Tonight’s Atlantic-approved activity:

Tonight’s a good night for poetry. Here’s “Postcards From the Living” by Jenny Qi.

A break from the news:

America suffers from a distinctly American drinking problem.


Atlantic Movie Club

This month, our movie critic David Sims is revisiting some of the most celebrated films of 2001 and examining how they shaped today’s cinema.

Each week, we’ll pick a genre and have you pick a film for David to discuss. This week, we’re turning to dramas. Which movie should we watch together?

  • Memento

  • The Royal Tenenbaums

  • Training Day

  • Donnie Darko

Vote on Twitter or by replying to this email with your choice. Check back Friday to see the winner and read David’s thoughts.

If you’re just tuning in, catch up on what we’ve discussed so far.


Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.