Morning Wire: Inside A Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan, Historic Hurricane Hits Louisiana, New Data Shows Americans United Over Afghanistan

It’s Tuesday, August 31st, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast here.

1) Inside A Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan

The Topline: As President Biden continues the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban continue to assert control over the country. 

Quote Of The Day:

“I think that there is going to be great fear and even terror going forward.”

– Lynne O’Donnell, former bureau chief in Kabul for The Associated Press and AFP

MARCUS YAM / LOS ANGELES TIMES/Contributor via Getty Images

The Goals Of The Taliban

O’Donnell told Morning Wire the Taliban’s goal is complete control of political leadership in Afghanistan. 

According to O’Donnell’s sources, the Taliban intend to create a twelve-man council and install various “ministries” to carry out their radical agenda. 

Women have not been included in the governmental process so far and have been largely pushed out of the education system. Women who formerly held senior positions in the Afghan government have been replaced by men while lower level female staffers have been sent home. 

Bottom Line: People in Kabul are in shock. Their entire world has collapsed and the Taliban is still going door to door rounding people up — mainly those accused of collaborating with the United States — for retribution.

Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Contributor via Getty Images

2) Historic Hurricane Hits Louisiana

The Topline: On Sunday, the most severe hurricane to hit New Orleans since Katrina rocked the city, and the storm continues to threaten states across the Southeast. 

Quote Of The Day: 

“I will leave it here: I am certain that as the day goes on, we will have more deaths.”

– Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards

The Storm

Hurricane Ida made landfall south of New Orleans on Sunday afternoon as a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of 150 miles per hour. The storm surge was so powerful it reversed the flow of the Mississippi river.

By 2 a.m. Monday, the storm made its way north into southern Mississippi and began to lose strength. It was downgraded to a Category 2 and by Monday evening was downgraded to a tropical depression. Experts are warning it’s still producing enough rain to pose a serious threat of flooding.

The Damage

The storm knocked out power for two million people across Louisiana and Mississippi, including everyone in New Orleans. It caused serious flooding in some parts of the city and the high winds tore apart structures across the state. 

As of Monday afternoon, the state confirmed one person had been killed by the storm, but Governor John Bel Edwards said that number was certain to rise as recovery efforts get underway. 

Key Point: This storm was the first major test of new systems implemented after Hurricane Katrina, and they appear to have worked, as newly constructed levees kept flood waters at bay throughout the storm.

Gas Prices Affected

Almost 15% of the country’s oil comes from the Gulf of Mexico, and this storm shut down almost every refinery in the region. Experts say people should expect prices to go up by 10-15 cents a gallon in the coming weeks. 

Liz Lynch/Stringer/Getty Images

3) New Data Shows Americans United Over Afghanistan

The Topline: New polling shows a unified response from Americans regarding the crisis in Afghanistan and President Biden’s withdrawal of American forces. 

Americans United

According to a new ABC News/IPSOS poll, 84% of Americans think that troops should stay in Afghanistan until all Americans are out and 71% think they should remain until all of the Afghans who helped the United States are out, as well.  

Little Partisan Divide

The polling found that 86% of Democrats, 87% of Republicans, and 86% of Independents all agree with that first position. 

Who’s To Blame?

According to a poll by Economist/YouGOV, 68% of U.S. adults think the withdrawal from Afghanistan was handled poorly. A majority of Democrats (55%) – and Independents (76%) describe the evacuation as having been handled badly with Republicans agreeing at 84%.

Of the Americans who say it was handled poorly, 69% blame President Joe Biden. 

What About Now?

When it comes to whether taking out troops now is a mistake, 39% say it is and 38% say it is not.

Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency/Contributor via Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Kabul Attack

On Monday, ISIS claimed responsibility for a rocket attack aimed at the Kabul airport. The group claimed responsibility for 6 rockets, at least one of which landed in a neighborhood adjacent to the airport. The rocket attack did not impede evacuation efforts within the airport. 

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