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Gorman reads her poem during Biden's inauguration. Photographer: Patrick Semansky/AP Photo/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Prominent women's rights advocates, including poet laureate Amanda Gorman, are calling on the Biden administration to protect and support Afghan women and girls and "honor its commitment to gender equity."

Why it matters: The activists — including the actors Connie Britton and Charlize Theron, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg — are the latest advocates to try to increase pressure on President Biden to do more for Afghans who could face persecution from the Taliban.

  • “We join a growing chorus of global leaders and advocates in raising up the voices of Afghan women’s rights activists who are under imminent threat,” the activists write in an open letter to the White House.
  • “Immediate action must be taken to safeguard Afghan women most at risk: women’s rights activists, journalists, educators, civil society leaders, human rights defenders and direct service providers.”

The big picture: While the U.S. is ramping up the airlift in Kabul, it is still only using a fraction of its total capacity to evacuate Americans and Afghans.

  • The U.S. has enough aircraft available to meet its goal of getting 5,000–9,000 people out of the country each day, Gen. Hank Taylor told reporters on Thursday, but it has only evacuated 7,000 people in total since Saturday — 2,000 of them in the previous 24 hours.
  • “No flight out of Kabul should have empty seats,” more than 300 former national security officials, organized by members of the Truman National Security Project, wrote to Biden and Congress in a separate letter.

Driving the news: The women's letter was organized by Vital Voices and Women for Women International, a group of celebrities, policy experts, NGO leaders and activists.

  • They are demanding that Biden take four concrete steps: provide direct evacuation flights for women; include a category for at-risk women for Special Immigrant Visas and raise the refugee cap; provide more resources for assistance and resettlement; and protect and invest in women who remain in Afghanistan.

Read the letter.

Go deeper: Exclusive: Inside the White House scramble to protect Afghan allies

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Nov 25, 2021 - Sports

Special report: Women's soccer stares down change

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The next few months could be among the most important in American women's soccer history, with significant change on the horizon for both the NWSL and USWNT.

The big picture: Collective bargaining agreements tend to be tedious, and lawsuits can drag on. But as 2022 approaches, that's where the action is.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump dogs "dull" DeSantis ahead of potential 2024 matchup

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Donald Trump is trashing Ron DeSantis in private as an ingrate with a "dull personality" and no realistic chance of beating him in a potential 2024 showdown, according to sources who've recently talked to the former president about the Florida governor.

Why it matters: The two are among the most popular Republicans in the country, and as the former president eyes another run in 2024, he's irked by DeSantis' popularity and refusal to rule out running against him.