A president makes a decision, admits there were errors in its execution, and sticks by and fully owns the decision. That sure beats: A president randomly tweets a decision, pretends it was a perfect decision, lies and says the decision is a hoax, and then suggests injecting Lysol into it. But the Afghanistan story is less about whether we left and more about how we left. NYT: Intelligence Warned of Afghan Military Collapse. (This part of the story just seemed so wildly obvious.)

+ “While the coming months and years will reveal what the U.S. government did and didn’t know about the state of Afghan security forces prior to U.S. withdrawal, the speed of the collapse was predictable. That the U.S. government could not foresee — or, perhaps, refused to admit — that beleaguered Afghan forces would continue a long-standing practice of cutting deals with the Taliban illustrates precisely the same naivete with which America has prosecuted the Afghanistan war for years.” Politico: Why Afghan Forces So Quickly Laid Down Their Arms.

+ A metaphor for the 20 year experiment? “They grabbed not only political power but also U.S.-supplied firepower — guns, ammunition, helicopters and more.” AP: Billions spent on Afghan army ultimately benefited Taliban.

+ Taliban declare ‘amnesty’ and call on women to join new government. Don’t bet on either of those. “Afghanistan’s youngest female mayor: ‘I’m waiting for the Taliban to come for people like me and kill me.'”

+ WaPo (gift article for ND readers): The all-girls Afghan robotics team inspired the world. Now they’re trapped, waiting to be rescued.

+ Courageous Female Afghan Journalists Continue to Report Despite Taliban Takeover.

+ Unreal photo: Inside Reach 871, A US C-17 Packed With 640 Afghans Trying to Escape the Taliban. (Be glad you live in the part of Earth where someone reclining their seat during a flight is considered a major inconvenience.)

+ WiredUK: Afghans are racing to erase their online lives.

+ Russia says Afghan president fled with cars and helicopter full of cash. (In other words, he left like he led.)

+ Here’s the latest from BBC.