Today's edition of quick hits:
* A story out of Afghanistan worth watching: "Friction between pragmatists and ideologues in the Taliban leadership has intensified since the group formed a hard-line Cabinet last week that is more in line with their harsh rule in the 1990s than their recent promises of inclusiveness, said two Afghans familiar with the power struggle."
* An important new security pact: "President Joe Biden announced a security partnership with Australia and the United Kingdom on Wednesday evening as the administration ramps up efforts to counter China's rising power. One of the first U.S. moves as part of the agreement will be to assist Australia with the purchase of nuclear submarines, which offer more stealth capabilities, speed and range than traditional submarines, he said."
* To understate matters, officials in Paris are not pleased: "America's new security alliance with Australia and Britain was always likely to be greeted with fury by China, the unspoken target of Washington's latest effort to reinforce its influence in the region. And it was. But the pact also incensed France, a longtime ally that felt its Indo-Pacific interests had been torpedoed by the submarine-centered agreement."
* Following up on Rachel's coverage from last night: "A grand jury working with special counsel John Durham's office handed up an indictment Thursday of lawyer Michael Sussmann, who prosecutors have accused of making false statements to the FBI during the 2016 presidential campaign."
* Biden's pitch: "President Joe Biden outlined his administration's goal of raising taxes on the wealthy to strengthen the middle class and boost the economy in remarks Thursday afternoon at the White House."
* Economic news: "Retail sales posted a surprise gain in August despite fears that escalating Covid cases and supply chain issues would hold back consumers, the Census Bureau reported Thursday."
* The America's Children Act: "Senators introduced a bipartisan bill on Wednesday that would create a pathway to citizenship for some children and young adults who were raised in the United States but face deportation at age 21."
* The Elijah McClain case: "The Police Department in Aurora, Colo., engaged in a pattern of racially biased policing and excessive force, according to an investigation that began after the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a young Black man who was stopped by the police, put into a chokehold and injected with a powerful anesthetic."
* Quite a sight: "Jeneffer Haynes is among the roughly 300 volunteers planting a crop of more than 660,000 white flags on the National Mall — it's a physical representation of the staggering death toll of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States."
* An unvaccinated 24-year-old man went to a concert in Florida, where he took off his mask. Then he got Covid-19. Then he needed a double lung transplant.
* Here's another example, also out of Florida, proving the point that the decision not to get vaccinated is not a purely personal matter: "A boy went to a COVID-swamped ER. He waited for hours. Then his appendix burst."
See you tomorrow.