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August 25, 2021 24 min

Since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban last week, everything and everyone has been focused on Hamid Karzai International Airport and the massive military operation to get thousands of Americans and Afghan allies out of the country.

It is a monumental challenge — one of the biggest and most complicated military operations the Pentagon has had to deal with in decades.

We explore these complexities and the challenges being faced by the U.S. as it attempts to evacuate the city. 

Guest: Eric Schmitt, a senior writer covering terrorism and national security for The New York Times. 

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Background reading: 

  • The American withdrawal has coincided with a threat by the Taliban to stop Afghans from traveling to the airport, an ominous sign that the window may be slamming shut for thousands of people desperate to leave.
  • The military has ramped up evacuations, increasing the number of flights out of Kabul, but questions remain about whether the military can sustain the pace as the deadline to end the operation draws near.
  • For more information on today’s episode, visit nytimes.com/thedaily. Transcripts of each episode will be made available by the next workday. 

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