US president Joe Biden has defended his policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan despite chaotic scenes at Kabul airport on Monday (16 August) as thousands of desperate people tried to find a way to leave the country.
Afghanistan continues to dominate the front pages, but back in the UK, the competition regulator has been attacked for being “too slow” to take action on “rip-off” Covid-19 travel tests.
Business groups, meanwhile, have welcomed the easing of self-isolation rules in England but asked for the government to take further measures to boost the economy this autumn.
Here are the key headlines from the national press on Tuesday (17 August).
Chaos in Kabul as thousands struggle to flee the Taliban
Seven people died at Kabul’s airport amid chaotic scenes as thousands of people desperately tried to jump on flights out of the Afghan capital following the city’s takeover by the Taliban at the weekend. US and other allied troops struggled to reopen the airport’s runway because of the huge crowds. (The Guardian)
Biden defends America’s flight
“Defiant” US president Joe Biden defended his decision to pull American troops out of Afghanistan during a speech, in which he partly blamed the policies of his predecessor Donald Trump. Biden said there was “never a good time” to withdraw US forces but he admitted the Taliban’s return to power happened “more quickly” than he anticipated. (The Telegraph)
Britons stranded in Kabul plead with UK government to fly them home
Desperate relatives of Britons stranded in Kabul with “no food and water” and all flights grounded have pleaded with UK government to fly them back to the UK, as fears grow over a new dawn of terror following the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. (The Daily Mail)
Covid testing is rip-off, says former regulator
PCR tests for travellers have been condemned as “a predictable rip-off” by Lord Tyrie, who is a former chair of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Tyrie said the CMA had been “too slow to react” to complaints about testing providers over high prices and poor service. (BBC News)
Businesses welcomes easier Covid rules in England
The UK government’s relaxation of self-isolation rules for close contacts of positive Covid cases on Monday (16 August) has been welcomed by business groups. But they urged ministers to take further steps to “bolster” the country’s economic recovery in the autumn, including a “test to release” scheme for younger workers not yet fully vaccinated. (Financial Times)
Tropical Storm Fred makes landfall in Florida
Parts of Florida have been lashed by 65mph winds as Tropical Storm Fred made landfall on Monday (16 August) bringing potential for a “dangerous” storm surge and flooding around the south-eastern states. Fred is one of three named storms being tracked across the Atlantic as “hurricane season” gathers pace. (The Independent)