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As the Taliban continues its takeover of large swaths of Afghanistan, the group completed its sweep of the country’s south on Friday, with 18 provincial capitals now under its control — including Kandahar, Herat and Lashkar Gah. A weekslong battle in Helmand province left hospitals filled with injured civilians. The latest takeover brings the Taliban even closer to the Afghan capital, Kabul. In response, the US has dispatched 3,000 troops to help evacuate Americans who are still in the country. The move comes weeks before the planned full withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan, and following two decades of war.
The Venezuelan government and its opposition are opening talks in Mexico on Friday in an attempt to find solutions to economic and social crises gripping the country. The last round of negotiations were held between 2017 and 2019. This time ,the talks are being brokered by Norway. President Nicolás Maduro appears to have the upper hand this time, since the opposition has weakened and fractured. Opposition coalition leader, Juan Guaidó — who the US and other countries recognize as the country’s legitimate leader — is calling for a plan for massive imports of COVID-19 vaccines along with a “National Salvation Agreement” that would include the government, its local allies, the opposition and the international community.
President Joe Biden is sending his special envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, to Ethiopia to push for an end to nine months of internal conflict. Continued fighting between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has raised concerns of a worsening famine and humanitarian disaster along with reports of increased violence against hundreds of women and girls. The UN says that a total of 400,000 people are at risk of famine in the Tigray region. Feltman will also travel to Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates in an attempt to promote stability in the Horn of Africa.
From The World
Rebecca Collard/The World
Bartella, a historically Christian town of about 15,000 people, is one of the world’s oldest Christian communities — but Christians here are now a minority. 🎧
All the children in this class, and their families, fled when ISIS took the town in 2014. Many of their families sought refuge in the Kurdish areas of Iraq. Now, they are back, but more than half of the Christians from Bartella never returned.
Haiti's image around the globe is often negative, but the Haitian band Lakou Mizik wants to change that perception. They want to highlight the beauty and culture of the island nation. And the way they do that is through music. Steeve Valcourt of the band spoke to host Marco Weerman 🎧 about Haiti, music and their new album "Leave the Bones."
🎶We made a Spotify playlist with some music from Lakou Mizik — and other artists that we've featured on the show. 🎶
Courtesy of Michael Sipe Jr.
In case you missed it
Listen: Taliban fighters are in the streets of Afghanistan's third-largest city
Mohammad Asif Khan/AP
Taliban fighters are in the streets of Afghanistan's third-largest city. Also, the new climate report from the UN calls for rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We get a reality check on the massive effort needed to meet climate goals. And, an Olympic gold medalist from Jamaica thanks the volunteer who helped him get to his competition on time.