Good morning. We’re covering the latest on the U.S. effort to evacuate Afghans in Kabul, the extended lockdown in Australia and America’s fast-growing Asian population.
U.S. orders airlines to help Afghan evacuation
The Pentagon ordered six commercial airlines to provide passenger jets to help with the growing U.S. military operation evacuating Americans and Afghan allies fleeing the Taliban takeover in Kabul.
Eighteen planes will ferry passengers, who are sheltering in bases in the Middle East following their evacuation from Kabul, to Europe and then onto the U.S. Follow our live updates.
Speaking at the White House on Sunday, President Biden insisted that the operation was making progress, saying nearly 28,000 people had been evacuated since Aug. 14 on U.S. and coalition aircraft, including civilian charters.
“The evacuation of thousands of people from Kabul is going to be hard and painful, no matter when it started, when we began,” Biden said. “There is no way to evacuate this many people without pain and loss and the heartbreaking images you see on television.”
At the Kabul airport, surging crowds have trampled people to death, including a toddler. U.S. officials also warned of the possibility of an attack by the Taliban’s Islamic State rivals.
Some interpreters and journalists, after terrifying attempts to fight past Taliban gunmen and unruly mobs to catch planes, have given up trying to escape. “I’ve lost hope,” one man said. “I’ve lost trust in the U.S. government, which keeps saying, ‘We will evacuate our allies.’”
Failure: Biden had promised an orderly withdrawal. Interviews with key participants in the last days of the war show a series of misjudgments and miscalculations that led to the chaos.
What’s next: Leaders of the Group of 7 nations will hold a virtual meeting on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. One topic that will most likely be discussed is the final destination for thousands of Afghans who need new homes.
A longer lockdown in Australia
As the Delta variant continues to spread through the country, officials extended the lockdown in Sydney to Sept. 30. It had been scheduled to be lifted later this month.
On Saturday, the premier of Victoria, which includes Melbourne, extended the lockdown from the city to to the entire state after new coronavirus cases were detected. The city’s lockdown has been in place since early August.
Later that day, more than 4,000 people demonstrated against Covid restrictions, and there were clashes with the police. The police said it was the first time officers resorted to “a range of nonlethal options,” including pellets and pepper spray, to disperse the protesters in Melbourne.
The numbers: Sydney has now recorded over 10,000 infections since the outbreak began in mid-June. Last week, daily case numbers jumped from the 400s to the 600s.
Vaccines: Last week, the federal government opened vaccinations to all Australians age 16 and over. According to Times data, 23 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
Perspective: Our Sydney bureau chief, Damien Cave, wrote about his time in remote quarantine, where hundreds of domestic and international travelers are being forced to wait around long enough to prove they’re Covid-free.
Seoul reckons with Vietnam
On Feb. 12, 1968, a South Korean marine unit killed scores of people in Phong Nhi and Phong Nhut, villages in central Vietnam. Now, survivors of the massacres are seeking compensation from Seoul in the first lawsuit of its kind being tried in a South Korean court.
Rumors have long persisted that South Korean troops fighting alongside U.S. troops committed mass killings of Vietnamese civilians. But under the past military dictatorship, discussions of the topic had been taboo.
Even though South Korea maintains that it has found no evidence of civilian killings in its wartime records, some South Korean lawmakers and civic groups are pushing for a special law to investigate the allegations.
They have pointed to declassified American military records from after the rampage, in which U.S. investigators concluded that “there was some probability that a war crime was committed.”
Testimony: Nguyen Thi Thanh, 61, was wounded in the massacre and lost five relatives, including her mother, sister and brother. “But the South Korean government has never once visited our village and never once asked us what happened.”
For decades, Abdellah El Gourd’s house in Tangier, Morocco, was the global center of Gnawa music, an art form born from enslaved West Africans. Now, he is fighting to save the historical house, which was abandoned early this year because it was in danger of collapse.
Understand the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan
Who are the Taliban? The Taliban arose in 1994 amid the turmoil that came after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments, including floggings, amputations and mass executions, to enforce their rules. Here’s more on their origin story and their record as rulers.
Lives Lived: Don Everly, the elder of the Everly Brothers, the groundbreaking duo and most successful rock act to emerge from Nashville in the 1950s, rivaling Elvis Presley for radio airplay, died. He was 84.
ARTS AND IDEAS
America’s growing Asian population
The number of people who identify as Asian in the U.S. nearly tripled in the past three decades, from 6.6 million in 1990 to nearly 20 million in 2020. Asians are now the fastest-growing of the nation’s four largest racial and ethnic groups, according to recently released census numbers.
In those three decades, the population has also become more geographically diverse, spreading from a few pockets in coastal cities to Southern suburbs and more rural areas of the Midwest, according to a Times analysis of census data.
“When people think Asians in America, they think California, Hawaii,” said Neil Ruiz, the associate director of race and ethnicity research at Pew Research Center. “But this population is not a West Coast phenomenon. It’s now an American phenomenon.”
Economically, Asian household incomes exceed that of the overall U.S. population. Educational attainment is also higher. But among groups, there is quite a large variation, especially when tied to citizenship status.
Take, for instance, Korean households. Those headed by a person born in the U.S. have a median income of $95,000. For households headed by noncitizens, it’s just $54,000. The gap is even wider for those of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.
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