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NOEL KING, HOST: In just the previous handful of hours, the Taliban have taken manage of Kandahar and Herat, the next- and third-biggest towns in Afghanistan. DEBBIE ELLIOTT, HOST: They now management about 1 in three provincial funds towns, and the selection retains expanding. They have also reduce off a […]


In just the previous handful of hours, the Taliban have taken manage of Kandahar and Herat, the next- and third-biggest towns in Afghanistan.


They now management about 1 in three provincial funds towns, and the selection retains expanding. They have also reduce off a vital freeway amongst Kabul and the southern provinces. Factors are shifting so fast the U.S. is sending 3,000 troops back into Afghanistan to help evacuate U.S. diplomats and some civilians.

KING: NPR nationwide safety correspondent Greg Myre is adhering to this a single.

Excellent morning, Greg.

GREG MYRE, BYLINE: Very good morning, Noel.

KING: This is developing literally by the moment. What is occurring now as we communicate?

MYRE: So the most current is that the Taliban fighters continue on to transfer at large speed – a great deal, a great deal more rapidly than any one experienced predicted. Kandahar, as you outlined, is a big prize. It really is genuinely loaded with symbolism. This was home to a key U.S. foundation just before the current American pullout. It is really also the area exactly where the Taliban have been established in the 1990s. And when there are stories of some major fighting in numerous sites, we are hearing extra and far more stories of Afghan troops deserting, which is enabling the Taliban to acquire regulate with genuinely very little or no resistance.

KING: Okay. And as Deb claimed, the U.S. is sending 3,000 American troops again in. What are they heading there to do?

MYRE: These 3,000 troops are meant to start out arriving in Kabul today or tomorrow, and they are going to be dependent at the Kabul airport. Their mission will be to give stability for U.S. diplomats at the embassy and aid them fly out of the nation. We really should observe the U.S. Embassy and the airport in Kabul are just a number of miles aside. And a 2nd component of the mission will be to assistance with the evacuation of Afghan interpreters who’ve labored with the U.S. navy and are applying for visas to come to the U.S.

KING: I am pondering about the urgency of this, Greg. Are the American diplomats and the Afghan interpreters in speedy hazard?

MYRE: Well, as we discuss appropriate now, the Afghan govt however controls Kabul, and the U.S. was planning to hold a sizeable workers at the embassy to aid support the federal government. And right up until the past several days, the considering was it was secure – at minimum for now – in Kabul. But this Taliban surge has been so quick that President Biden and the Pentagon decided to act right away. This is a distinct sign that they consider Kabul is at hazard, and they really don’t want to wait until eventually it is much too late. But of course, this just provides to the feeling that the Afghan authorities and the navy is beginning to disintegrate, and it fuels the idea that a Taliban takeover is coming.

KING: And so is it conceivable that U.S. forces could be back in beat preventing the Taliban?

MYRE: Nicely, the Pentagon states these troops will be armed to defend themselves, but the mission is not to struggle. Here’s Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.


JOHN KIRBY: I want to anxiety that these forces are currently being deployed to aid the orderly and harmless reduction of civilian personnel. This is a momentary mission with a slim concentrate.

MYRE: And this mission is supposed to be accomplished by the end of the month, which is also the objective for the broader U.S. pullout.

KING: Indeed, it is, the stop of the month. Does this suggest that the U.S. will have completely left Afghanistan in a little over two months?

MYRE: Properly, correct now the State Division says it will continue to retain personnel at the embassy. It will be a tiny amount. The army is also planning to preserve about 650 troops to guard the embassy and the Kabul airport. But ailments are switching by the day, even the hour, so these strategies may perhaps have to be revised.

KING: And Greg, does the U.S. have any other selections, whether diplomatic or navy?

MYRE: Not many, and they are all negative. The U.S. actually missing its leverage with the withdrawal of 2,500 troops above the past couple months. And you can find actual dangers on the horizon. The Taliban could search for revenge in opposition to Afghans who supported People in america. A regional refugee crisis could be on us. And this is just a further substantial strike for a quite very poor state that is been at war for 40 yrs.

KING: NPR’s Greg Myre. Thank you, Greg.

MYRE: My satisfaction.


KING: All ideal. The Fda now claims some Us residents really should get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

ELLIOTT: The plan is to improve the body’s resistance to the coronavirus, but it is not for all people. Only people today with weakened immune programs will qualify for now.

KING: NPR science correspondent Joe Palca is with us.

Hey, Joe.


KING: Why did the Food and drug administration make this contact?

PALCA: Nicely, they pointed to a small but increasing physique of evidence that some folks who are immunocompromised, that means they are additional vulnerable to finding ill from viral or bacterial bacterial infections, will gain from a third shot. It is really some thing that many federal government officials have been talking about. For example, here is CDC Director Rochelle Walensky speaking at a briefing yesterday.


ROCHELLE WALENSKY: …Selected men and women who are immune compromised, these as folks who have experienced organ transplant and some cancer individuals, may possibly not have had an ample immune reaction to just two doses of the COVID vaccine.

KING: And can people who suit all those requirements just go down to the pharmacy and check with for a third shot?

PALCA: Very well, it can be not spelled out in the FDA’s announcement how people are meant to show to a pharmacist that they are immune compromised. But assuming that is the scenario, Dorry Segev says it would be a miscalculation to do that. He’s a transplant surgeon and researcher at the Johns Hopkins University. He claims handling people with weakened immune units can be a tricky small business, and only a particular subset of clients are probable to benefit from a 3rd shot. Segev is doing a research sponsored by the Countrywide Institutes of Overall health that he hopes will explain who are the most effective candidates to get a third dose.

DORRY SEGEV: We are setting up to give 200 transplant individuals booster doses below pretty cautious monitoring to study the immune response to the booster doses and make certain that their transplanted organs are not at threat.

PALCA: In addition to the two booster doses that the FDA’s approving now from Pfizer and Moderna, Segev would like to review regardless of whether setting up with an mRNA vaccine like people two or – and then switching to anything distinct like a Johnson & Johnson may possibly make the safety bigger.

KING: So even though medical doctors hold out for the success from his review, is there any assistance from the federal government about what to do?

PALCA: Nicely, of course. The CDC is going to make pointers. And there’ll be a meeting right now of an advisory committee on immunization practices that will vet what the CDC is recommending.

KING: And what about boosters for people who got the vaccine six or 8 months back but are nervous that the defense could be putting on off?

PALCA: Properly, the president’s chief clinical adviser, Anthony Fauci, addressed that dilemma at a White Property briefing yesterday.


ANTHONY FAUCI: Apart from the immunocompromised, we do not imagine that other folks who are not immunocompromised have to have a vaccine correct at this minute.

PALCA: And by vaccine, they are – Fauci is chatting about a booster vaccine. Now, Fauci states it’s a dynamic situation. There is a ton of reports currently being done about the period of defense. Some propose that the reduce amounts of antibodies may possibly not – the antibodies are not dropping around time for most persons. But some reports counsel that the reduced degrees may possibly not inform the entire tale. Other people advise that there might be a explanation to go for a booster. So it’s just a dilemma of which a person to imagine.

KING: NPR’s Joe Palca. Many thanks, Joe.

PALCA: You’re welcome.


KING: The head of Homeland Security suggests a, quote, “unparalleled variety of migrants” tried using to cross the southern border previous thirty day period.

ELLIOTT: Homeland Safety Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that yesterday throughout a check out to the border town of Brownsville, Texas.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: The condition at the border is 1 of the toughest problems we face. It is intricate, altering and consists of vulnerable people at a time of a international pandemic.

ELLIOTT: Officers documented much more than 212,000 migrant encounters past month along with a history quantity of unaccompanied children and adolescents – nearly 19,000.

KING: Joel Rose covers immigration for NPR, and he is been wanting into what’s likely on at the border.

Excellent early morning, Joel.


KING: When you just take a search at these experiences from the border, what stands out to you further than the sheer sizing of all those numbers?

ROSE: Nicely, to start with off, the timing – generally we see migration peaking in the spring, and then it declines in the summer as the hotter weather sets in. That is not taking place this 12 months. The numbers have been high in the spring, and now they are heading even increased.

KING: And so how does this evaluate to the previous? Is it wholly unique?

ROSE: Effectively, which is complicated. The quantity of encounters recorded final thirty day period is the maximum in 21 yrs. But that number is really greater than the variety of person migrants who are crossing mainly because a significant share of migrants right now are getting speedily expelled underneath a general public wellness order acknowledged as Title 42 that has been in spot because the pandemic began, and then they’re crossing yet again. Secretary Mayorkas reported yesterday that the number of special folks crossing the border previous month was about 154,000. That is still a extremely huge number, but it is really nearer to other the latest peaks, which include 2019.

KING: Okay. So you have individuals attempting to get in, being expelled, striving to get back again in. The numbers are high. What does it search like at the border right now?

ROSE: In a phrase, it is a mess, particularly in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, in which the numbers are the optimum. They are so major that they are just mind-boggling the sources of all people included. That involves the Border Patrol, which has been forced to course of action migrants less than a bridge for the reason that its standard facilities are so overcrowded. It also contains the border cities and nonprofits and charities in those people cities that assistance care for migrants who are permitted into the U.S. to go after asylum statements.

The Biden administration claims it is targeted on addressing the root will cause of this migration, and it’s nonetheless making an attempt to uncover a equilibrium between enabling the most susceptible migrants into the state whilst telling everybody else, you know, never occur and largely expelling them again to Mexico. So it really is not a quite common situation with anyone proper now.

KING: I would think about that President Biden is having a great deal of criticism about this.

ROSE: For positive. I imply, his critics on the suitable are indicating, essentially, I advised you so. They want to hang all of this on Biden and his guidelines. They say that lifting any of the Trump administration’s hard-line immigration guidelines was a slip-up mainly because it has been noticed as encouraging migrants from all close to the environment. Here’s previous performing Customs and Border Safety Commissioner Mark Morgan on a call with reporters yesterday.


MARK MORGAN: This is about what our procedures are on our borders. And if you use helpful outcomes and you’re detaining people that break into our state towards the rule of law, I promise you the flow will go down.

ROSE: Immigrant advocates dispute that. They say, by the way, that it is really legal to seek asylum and that these are desperate persons who are fleeing from violence and corruption and poverty and that this all has extremely little to do with our border procedures.

KING: NPR’s Joel Rose. Thank you, Joel.

ROSE: You might be welcome.


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