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People wait to be evacuated from Afghanistan at the airport in Kabul on Aug. 18. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Western officials have stepped up evacuation efforts in Kabul, with over 2,200 diplomats and other civilians flown from Afghanistan on military flights Wednesday, per Reuters.

The big picture: The Taliban has said it will honor women's rights and an independent media within the "frameworks" of Islamic law. But many Afghan women and girls fear they will again face the threat of human rights abuses they endured when the Taliban last ruled in the 1990s — when it carried out public executions for "offenses" including adultery.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid (L) attends the group's first press conference in Kabul on Aug. 17. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images
Returning Afghans at the Chaman Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing point on Aug. 17. Photo:AFP via Getty Images
A Taliban fighter standing next to poster bearing the image of the late Afghan commander Ahmad Shah Massoud at the Massoud Square in Kabul on Aug. 16. Photo: Wakil Kohsar//AFP via Getty Images
Afghan people climb up on a plane and sit by the door as they wait at Kabul's on Aug. 16. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images
Afghans watch as U.S. soldiers stand guard at Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday. Photo: Shakib Rahmani/AFP via Getty Images
Taliban fighters stand guard at an entrance of the "green zone," where government buildings, residences and foreign embassies are located in Kabul, on Monday. Photo: Wakil Kohsar /AFP via Getty Images
Afghans crowd the tarmac of Kabul's airport on Monday. Photo: AFP via Getty Images
Children among the crowds on the tarmac at Kabul's airport. Photo: Sayed Khodaiberdi Sadat/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
The entrance gate of the green zone after diplomats began evacuating Kabul on Sunday. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images
Afghan security forces patrol Kabul city on Sunday. Photo: Haroon Sabawoon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Taliban fighters and local people sit on an Afghan National Army Humvee vehicle in Jalalabad province Sunday. Photo: AFP via Getty Images
Afghan schoolgirls walk along a Kabul street Sunday as the Taliban reached the Afghan capital. Photo: Wakil Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images

Go deeper

Zalmay Khalilzad steps down as Afghanistan envoy

Photo: Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images

Zalmay Khalilzad stepped down as special envoy for Afghanistan peace talks on Monday, two months after the Taliban seized control of Kabul in a disastrous conclusion to the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

Why it matters: Khalilzad was the architect of the Trump administration's 2019 peace deal with the Taliban, which the head of U.S. Central Command called "the primary accelerant to lowering morale and general efficiency of the Afghan military."

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.