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This week in Tortoise – The retreat from Kabul: 11 days in August

This week in Tortoise – The retreat from Kabul: 11 days in August

The retreat from Kabul: 11 days in August. This week, we’re turning our attention to the chaotic scenes that were unfolding in Westminster and Whitehall as the Afghan capital fell. Starting today, our Slow Newscast is a two-part audio essay by Matt d’Ancona which lifts the lid on what the British government was doing – and not doing – as the US and the UK scrambled out of Afghanistan. 

It’s principally a tale of failure: a lack of foresight, a lot of summer holidays, a tacit understanding to hand over to the Taliban and a painful reality check on London’s reduced relationship with Washington. Do listen to Part 1 here. Part 2 will be available first thing tomorrow morning.

This week also marks the conclusion of Sweet Bobby – Alexi Mostrous’ investigation into how one woman’s life was progressively destroyed as she was deceived online over a ten-year period. 

And now, to this week’s ThinkIns:

On Thursday, we’ll be bringing together the worlds of business, politics and civil society for our annual Future of Cities Summit. It’s the second time we’ve hosted such an event, and I’m delighted that, once again, we’re doing so in partnership with Toronto’s Globe and Mail. Please do join us online with your thoughts, ideas and stories.

And then, on Thursday evening, we’ll be marking the launch of KITE – our inaugural festival of ideas and music to be held in June 2022 – with an evening of live entertainment. There will be two very special ThinkIns and live music from Afro-Jazz outfit Nubiyan Twist. To be a part of it, just upgrade your membership here to become a Friend of Tortoise – the ultimate supporter. (And if you haven’t already, do check out the first tranche of acts and speakers for KITE in Matt’s Creative Sensemaker from last week. Tortoise members have until midnight on Tuesday to get 20% off tickets.)

Have a very good week.


James Harding
Editor & co-founder

P.S. Liz Moseley and I will be moderating sessions across the course of the CBI conference that starts this morning. For the second year running, digital tickets – normally worth £550 – are free for Tortoise members. With speakers including Labour leader Keir Starmer, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot, LSE director Minouche Shafik and chief medical officer Chris Whitty, it promises to be a fascinating event. Please do sign up for free here (as per CBI rules, you’ll need a company or organisation email address to register).