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What We're Watching: Rwandan "justice," ISIS-K hits the Taliban, Canada's vote, COVID vaccines for kids, the UNGA podium

Hotel Rwanda hero given 25-year sentence: It's been more than a year since Paul Rusesabagina — the former hotel manager credited with saving more than 1,200 Tutsis and Hutus during the 1994 Rwandan genocide as portrayed in the film Hotel Rwanda — was misled into boarding a plane that eventually flew him to Kigali, where he was arrested. Now, Rusesabagina, a Belgian citizen and US permanent resident who received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush in 2006, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison on terrorism charges. Rwandan authorities say Rusesabagina's punishment is for his support for the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change, a group accused of coordinating a string of attacks in southern Rwanda in 2018. But supporters of Rusesabagina say the trial is simply retaliation for his public criticism of President Paul Kagame, who has ruled the country since the civil war ended in the mid-1990s and has been dubbed a "benevolent dictator." Western governments have criticized Kagame for targeting Rusesabagina, and President Biden could bring up his case directly with the Rwandan president when the two leaders attend a G20 summit in Rome next month.

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Rory Stewart explains why Afghanistan could become a new hotbed for global terrorism

Former UK diplomat Rory Stewart says the world is safer today than it was 20 years ago, but that terrorists still pose a threat to international security. Victories for jihadists in Iraq, Syria and now Afghanistan could ultimately lead the world towards more global terrorism. As if the Taliban retaking Afghanistan wasn't enough of a blow, the ISIS-K attack on the Kabul airport may be a sign that the country is on its way to become a safe haven for terrorist groups yet again.

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Biden's mistakes in Afghanistan were not "dereliction of duty"

In his latest Washington Post op-ed, Marc Thiessen makes strong statements about how and why the Taliban came to take control of Kabul. There have been big mistakes in executing this exit. But "dereliction of duty?" Not in our view. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst explain why in this edition of The Red Pen.

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The US is out of Afghanistan, but the war on terror isn't over

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week with a look at Afghanistan post-US withdrawal, how ISIS-K will complicate a Taliban-led Afghanistan, and EU travel recommendations.

What are your thoughts now that America's 20-year war in Afghanistan has officially ended?

Ongoing, it means much less coverage of Afghanistan in American media, something certainly President Biden is happy to hear and see. In part, we're going to continue to watch what happens with the couple of hundred Americans that are still on the ground. There is every intention to get them out, but I wouldn't say there is yet a plan.

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Kabul attack poses political risks for Biden

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

How will the Kabul airport attack influence the US evacuations?

Well, so far it looks like President Biden is on track to keep the August 31st deadline for evacuating, for finishing evacuations and leaving Afghanistan fully. However, there's still somewhere in the range of about a thousand American citizens, plus potentially tens of thousands of special immigrant visa holders who are Afghani citizens that helped the United States, that could potentially be left behind because of this expedited withdrawal schedule. This is a real risk for Biden.

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Afghan carnage

Thursday marked the deadliest day for US troops in Afghanistan in a decade. Twin explosions were reported outside Kabul's airport, killing dozens of people, including at least 90 Afghans and 13 US service members — the first US military deaths in the country since February 2020. Details are still coming to light, but harrowing images have been circulating online, showing pools of blood on the outskirts of the airport and desperate Afghans scurrying to get medical care.

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