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Politics: Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping

Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — FDA moves to sell hearing aids over-the-counter

  Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — FDA moves to sell hearing aids over-the-counter Welcome to Tuesday's Overnight Health Care, where we're following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Seeking dating advice for mingling during the pandemic? Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is giving advice on Hinge's pandemic dating resource page.The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a step toward making hearing aids available without a prescription to those with mild or moderate hearing loss. For The Hill, we're Peter Sullivan ([email protected]), Nathaniel Weixel ([email protected]) and Justine Coleman ([email protected]).

It's Tuesday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

a large air plane on a runway: Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping © Getty Images Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping

Top Pentagon officials testified in front of lawmakers on Tuesday about the risks emanating from Afghanistan weeks after the Taliban took control of the country.

Meanwhile, private companies are stepping up to aid in relocation efforts for vulnerable Afghans, part of the 125,000 that were evacuated amid the U.S. exit from the country in August.

"Nobody cares about my family": US troops struggle to get their families out of Afghanistan

  An hour after a suicide bomb exploded outside the Kabul airport on August 26, killing 13 US service members and scores of Afghan civilians, Fahim Masoud, a US military intelligence officer, made a frantic call to his sister. © CNN Fahim Masoud spent weeks trying to get his family out of Afhganistan amid the chaotic US withdrawal. She, along with Masoud's parents and two other siblings, were in a CIA-organized bus navigating the crushing crowds and constant gunfire around the airport, desperately trying to escape Afghanistan.

And the Biden administration is taking a more forceful position on standing up for Taiwan.

I'm Laura Kelly, covering foreign policy for The Hill and filling in for our Pentagon reporter, Ellen Mitchell. Write to Ellen with tips: [email protected], or me: [email protected]. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter for all the breaking news and latest updates: @EllenEMitchell & @HelloLauraKelly.

Let's get to it.

Lawmakers press top Pentagon officials on Afghanistan threats

  Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping © Provided by The Hill

Top Pentagon officials testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday on the current security situation in Central and South Asia following the chaotic departure of American forces from Afghanistan after two decades of war.

Biden muddles America’s ‘strategic ambiguity’ policy for defending Taiwan against Chinese attack

  Biden muddles America’s ‘strategic ambiguity’ policy for defending Taiwan against Chinese attack ‘AMBIGUOUS STRATEGIC AMBIGUITY’: At last night’s CNN town hall event, President Joe Biden committed the same misstep for which he lambasted President George W. Bush in 2001. Biden answered a straightforward question, “Are you saying that the United States would come to Taiwan's defense if China attacked?” with an unambiguous answer, “Yes. Yes, we have a commitment to do that.” © Provided by Washington Examiner DOD header 2020 Except that is not the policy of the United States, and in fact, according to the White House and Biden’s nominee to be ambassador to China, it’s not Biden’s policy either.

The officials, including Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl and Lt. Gen. James Mingus, director for Operations, J3 Joint Staff, largely stuck to the Biden administration's arguments that the quick fall of the Western-backed Afghan government in Kabul was unexpected.

They also reiterated their belief that terrorist groups like ISIS-K and Al Qaeda have the intent to carry out terrorist attacks outside of Afghanistan, particularly against the United States, but face a timeline of between six and 36 months to build up that capacity.

"As you said in your opening senator, we have to remain vigilant against that possibility," Kahl said in response to a question from the chair of the committee, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

Kahl further said that the Pentagon has "some very specific ideas" on what the administration is calling "over-the-horizon" counterterrorism capabilities, keeping an eye on terrorist threats in Afghanistan from outside the country, but said such ideas had to be discussed in the closed session.

China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan Move to Create United Front on Afghanistan

  China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan Move to Create United Front on Afghanistan "We should positively view the timely development of bilateral and multilateral dialogues and cooperation with Afghanistan on fighting terrorism," China's top diplomat said.In their second such meeting, the senior diplomats from Afghanistan's six neighboring countries and Russia gathered virtually and in person for a conference in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Wednesday in an effort to further align their views.

"It's very sensitive."

Mingus reiterated that while over-the-horizon activities are more difficult, he said the military is primed to take action.

"It is harder, but we believe we have the assets in place right now, if necessary, to disrupt and, or degrade the terrorist networks in Afghanistan," he said.

A MESSAGE FROM BOEING

  Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping © Provided by The Hill

Boeing is helping the U.S. and its allies get ready for the future fight with digitally advanced, flexible real-time mission support to win at the speed of now. Learn more.

Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Big Oil's day in Congress

  Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Big Oil's day in Congress Welcome to Thursday's Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Today we're looking at what went down at the big oil hearing, the latest details on reconciliation and the Biden administration's latest plans to tackle lead poisoning.For The Hill, we're Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Write to us with tips: [email protected] and [email protected] Follow us on Twitter: @RachelFrazin and @BudrykZack.Let's jump in. Oil companies downplay early climate knowledge in tense House hearing © Provided by The Hill Leaders of the U.S.

OFFICIALS ON DEFENSE

The top Defense officials further defended their handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, sticking closely to arguments by the Biden administration that they expected the Western-backed Afghan government in Kabul to hold firm for at least a few months with the conclusion of an American presence in the country.

"The goal during the retrograde was to assist the Afghan government, not undermine them," said Colin Kahl, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, under questioning over why the U.S. did not initiate evacuations earlier.

Overnight Defense & National Security — Sparring over sub deal intensifies

  Overnight Defense & National Security — Sparring over sub deal intensifies It's Monday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Accusations are still flying over a controversial submarine deal between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom that left out France.We'll share the latest grievances and the response, plus cyber concerns ahead of Election Day and the State Department's message for China in regards to Taiwan.For The Hill, I'm Ellen Mitchell. Write to me with tips: [email protected]'s get to it.

"There was concern that if you accelerated evacuations, to include a large number of Afghans that it would create a self-fulfilling prophecy of accelerating the collapse of the Afghan government. That is also something that [Afghan] President Ghani raised as a chief concern."

Ghani fled Afghanistan on Aug. 15, hours after reassuring Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a phone call that he would fight to the death. His flight from the country had a domino effect on the Afghan government and security forces, which melted away in the face of a lightning offensive by the Taliban, which retook Kabul that same day.

At least 13 U.S. service members and hundreds of Afghans were later killed in a terrorist bombing claimed by ISIS-K outside Kabul's airport.

While the Biden administration managed to evacuate 125,000 people from Afghanistan, the majority of those who hold SIV status were left behind, as well as American citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) and Afghans vulnerable from retribution attacks by the Taliban.

Evacuation efforts are ongoing, with some people able to leave on commercial flights or through clandestine operations and crossing land borders.

Kahl on Tuesday said that the State Department is in contact with 196 American citizens who have plans to depart and that 243 American citizens have been contacted but are not ready to leave.

Overnight Defense & National Security — Frustration with delayed NDAA grows

  Overnight Defense & National Security — Frustration with delayed NDAA grows It's Tuesday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Senate Republicans are not happy with Democratic leadership for their decision not to push ahead the annual defense authorization bill and bring it to the floor for a vote.We'll share details on the issue plus the newly released details on the secretive submarine accident last month and the new nominee to be the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.For The Hill, I'm Ellen Mitchell. Write to me with tips: [email protected]'s get to it.

Since Sept. 1, the day after U.S. forces completely left the country, the State Department has documented 240 Americans who have left the country and 157 LPRs. Approximately 314 Americans and 266 LPRs exited the country without help from the U.S. government since Sept. 1.

Lawmakers search for answers on Afghanistan

Taliban Badri fighters stand guard as Afghans wait at the main entrance gate of Kabul airport © Provided by The Hill Taliban Badri fighters stand guard as Afghans wait at the main entrance gate of Kabul airport

Testimony from the Pentagon officials is part of an ongoing effort by lawmakers to understand the quick collapse of the political and security infrastructure in Afghanistan that the U.S. had invested two decades in building.

"What I want to know - what the American people want to know, and what our troops who served and sacrificed in Afghanistan absolutely deserve to know - is what did President Biden's most senior advisors do during those four months?" Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, said during his opening statement.

Sen. Reed put his support behind a formal, independent study of the Afghan war, with such an effort to be included in the National Defense Authorization Act.

"It is vitally important for us to reflect upon and study the entirety of the 20-year mission in Afghanistan," he said.

Executives donating 20,000 flights to Afghan evacuees

  Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping © Provided by The Hill

Major airlines and travel industry executives will be donating 20,000 flights to get Afghan refugees to their final destinations in the U.S., organizers of the effort announced Tuesday.

Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — COP26 ambitions could keep warming to 1.8 degrees

  Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — COP26 ambitions could keep warming to 1.8 degrees Welcome to Friday's Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signUp.Today we're looking at the potential impact of pledges from the U.N. climate conference (COP26), U.S. climate enjoy John Kerry's calls for continued action after the summit ends and how an accessibility controversy in Glasgow highlights climate changes'Today we're looking at the potential impact of pledges from the U.N. climate conference (COP26), U.S.

United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, the Boeing Company, Frontier Airlines, Air Canada and the Tripadvisor Foundation will contribute over 20,000 airline tickets for evacuees, organizers Welcome.US and Miles4Migrants said in a statement.

The contributions match an additional 20,000 flights that have already been "donated by the American people" since August through frequent flyer miles and credit card points.

Helping out: Welcome.US is a nonpartisan effort launched last month designed to be a "single point of entry" for Americans who want to help Afghan refugees.

Read the full story here.

US backs Taiwan's participation in UN

  Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping © Provided by The Hill

The United States on Tuesday backed Taiwan's inclusion in the United Nations system, a move that is likely to rankle China, which considers the island under the authority of Beijing.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken called "Taiwan's meaningful participation in the UN system" a "pragmatic" issue and not a political one.

"Taiwan's exclusion undermines the important work of the UN and its related bodies, all of which stand to benefit greatly from its contributions," Blinken said.

BEIJING BALKS: China has long opposed Taiwan's participation among U.N. bodies and pushes back against any international move that appears to recognize the island as separate from Beijing.

"The Taiwan authorities' attempt to expand the so-called 'international' space by brownnosing foreign forces is in essence trying to expand the room for 'Taiwan independence' and separatism and will only prove a failure," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin earlier told reporters, referring to meetings between U.S. and Taiwanese officials.

Read more here here.

A MESSAGE FROM BOEING

  Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping © Provided by The Hill

Boeing is helping the U.S. and its allies get ready for the future fight with digitally advanced, flexible real-time mission support to win at the speed of now. Learn more.

ON TAP FOR TOMORROW

  • Defense One and Nextgov presents "2021 National Security Forum," 10 a.m. Register here.
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace presents "Carnegie Connects: A Conversation With Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad," 10 a.m.
  • Foreign Policy Research Institute hosts "U.S.-Africa Relations Since 9/11," 10 a.m.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivers remarks on the creation of a new Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, 11:30 am.
  • The Atlantic Council presents "Dispatch from the ground: An American in Kabul," 12 p.m.
  • Booz Allen Hamilton, "Open Architectures For Modern Space Systems," 12 p.m.
  • The Brookings Institution hosts "Aligning technology governance with democratic values," 12:45 p.m.
  • The Wilson Center presents "China's Leaders: From Mao to Now," 3 p.m.

WHAT WE'RE READING

  • Lawmakers seek answers on armed services' plans to address gun tracking
  • Senate confirms four Biden ambassadors after delay
  • State: US 'strongly opposes' Israeli settlement expansion
  • White House rejects latest Trump claim of executive privilege
  • Democrats say GOP lawmakers implicated in Jan. 6 should be expelled
  • AP: Officials: Iran behind drone attack on US base in Syria
  • AP: Will Xi show at COP26? Probably not
  • The Hill: Opinion: Climate and weather funding are more critical than ever
  • The Hill: Opinion: Crucial mission: The United States must shore up its sea power

That's it for today. Check out The Hill's defense and national security pages for the latest coverage. We'll see you Wednesday.

Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — COP26 ambitions could keep warming to 1.8 degrees .
Welcome to Friday's Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signUp.Today we're looking at the potential impact of pledges from the U.N. climate conference (COP26), U.S. climate enjoy John Kerry's calls for continued action after the summit ends and how an accessibility controversy in Glasgow highlights climate changes'Today we're looking at the potential impact of pledges from the U.N. climate conference (COP26), U.S.

See also