“Americans have not been a visible presence in the city for years, so the U.S. departure has not affected surface normality: Markets bustle and streets are jammed with homeward-bound civil servants by midafternoon. At night, the corner bakeries continue to be illuminated by a single bulb as vendors sell late into the evening. But beneath the surface there is unease as the Taliban creep steadily toward Kabul. ‘There’s no hope for the future,’ said Zubair Ahmad, 23, who runs a grocery store on one of the Khair Khana neighborhood’s main boulevards. ‘Afghans are leaving the country. I don’t know whether I am going to be safe 10 minutes from now.'” NYT (free article for ND readers): As Afghan Forces Crumble, an Air of Unreality Grips the Capital.

+ US troops leave Afghanistan’s Bagram airbase after nearly 20 years. (Two decades of fighting and war, following decades of fighting involving other countries, and now, it’s likely to get worse.)

+ And… A Crippling 3rd Wave Of COVID Adds To Afghanistan’s Woes.