this is bbc news. the top stories. three more afghan cities fall to the taliban as they dismiss international calls for a ceasefire. farewell to wall of the most challenging summer olympics of them all, tokyo closes the games, next stop, paris. the orange glow of wildfires burning out of control on the greek island, forcing holiday—makers and residents to flee. just a few miles from here, there are bright blue skies but here, the area is full of smoke and ash and it is making it harder for people to breathe. iran records its highest official death rate from covid—19 as it is hit by a fifth wave of the virus.
lionel messi bids an emotional goodbye to barcelona. we look at what his next move might be. hello and a warm welcome to bbc news. the taliban has captured three more provincial capitals this time in northern afghanistan as they intensify their offensive to seize power following the withdrawal of western troops. the three cities appear to have largely fallen to militants within hours of each other. the biggest of them is kunduz, a city of more than a quarter of a million. provincial capitals are also now largely in militant hands. the government in kabul insists its forces are fighting back to retake lost ground. here is our diplomatic
correspondent paul adams. fire and confusion in the centre of kunduz. taliban pictures appear to show yet another city falling under their control. this is their biggest prize so far — a large city, economically and strategically important, and it seems to have fallen easily. afraid of the fighting as much as the taliban, civilians are fleeing, some of them heading south for kabul. a government spokesman says the taliban will soon be ousted, but similar claims have been made elsewhere, apparently without result. to the west, taliban fighters inspect newly captured government buildings in sar—e—pul, another provincial capital. one of three reportedly captured in just one day. the taliban have now captured five provincial centres...
no longer content to control the countryside, but moving on to major cities. if the taliban can make it to kunduz maybe they can make it to kabul, and that in itself is a big fear. the only good option would be if there is some kind of a political settlement, but that doesn't seem any more possible today than it did two or three years ago. and tens of thousands of afghans are being displaced. this is notjust a political and military disaster. decades of conflict in afghanistan have created whole generations of refugees. the west's military withdrawal is almost complete. afg ha ns fear they�* re being abandoned. the government can request american air strikes, but for how long and to what effect? paul adams, bbc news. i have been speaking to a senior expert on the afghanistan peace process for
the us institute of peace, she told me how she expects the taliban to advance significantly further. there is a kind of momentum to the taliban's campaign, especially in parts of the country that do not constitute its traditional stronghold. that gives a feeling of inevitability in this moment. what can be done to avoid that? what could have been done to stop it, this sort of sweep in the first place, do you think? i think this was really a crisis that was not at all inevitable and you know, really, what we see is that since the withdrawal announcement, on the part of the biden administration and the tremendous speed with which that withdrawal has been pursued, the taliban has felt emboldened to take new territory and in part, we know that could have been stemmed had they felt there would have been consequences for that kind of bold action and the forcible
imposition of their rule. i think part of what we are seeing now is the use of air power on the part of the americans, that will be, i think, centralto stemming this tide. there will be resistance in the cities that have been taken, these are the heartlands of the resistance to the taliban so i don't think the taliban has an easy task going forward but i think the community that is caught in the middle are in for a very difficult period to come. the air power seems to have limited impact, let's be honest, at the moment, the cities still falling, the resistance, i suppose we have to wait and see how that pans out but is the truth that the americans and their allies and indeed the afghan government to an extent, has simply been hoodwinked by a taliban who said yes, we want a peaceful resolution and never really did? i think that is what many
afghans would tell you, the parameters within which the us negotiated with the taliban really marginalised the afghan government and the afghan people from the beginning. and made the conflict about the withdrawal of us troops. and once that troop withdrawal began, there's been very little incentive for the taliban to negotiate in any good faith and that's, we are seeing the consequences of that now. can you see any sign of a ceasefire, any kind of deal or settlement? i don't think a ceasefire, despite being desperately needed in this moment is on the horizon any time soon. the only chance for an end to the fighting and a negotiated settlement that will hold is if the international community comes together both at the level of the united nations and the
security council but also in the region and makes clear to the taliban that a forcible reimposition of the emirate will not stand, that there will be consequences for the leadership, for the rank and file, and that is going to be what is required, i think, in order to move the taliban on this. in the meantime, i understand you were going out to afghanistan, you are not now, that is basically a very clear message for any westerners at the moment, isn't it? stay away? i mean, for me personally i have been travelling to afghanistan since 2004, it is a place very dear to me professionally and personally. so for me it is a very difficult decision not to go but i think it's not of any use to anyone as the taliban really begin to feel like they are at the gates of kabul.
to tokyo now, after more than two weeks of competition in everything from karate to athletics and swimming, the olympic games had come to an end. the us finished top of the medal table ahead ofjapan and china, the host nation having their best ever performance in their best ever performance in the olympic games. the closing ceremony was an upbeat celebration of all aspects of japanese culture culminating in all the athletes thanking the people of japan for hosting the games in the midst of this pandemic. there were no fans inside the stadium to enjoy the moment although plenty did turn up moment although plenty did turn up outside to try and get a glimpse of the events going on. as for the legacy for the host city, here is our tokyo rupert wingfield—hayes. if you tried to get to the olympic stadium tonight, this is what you were met with. hundreds of police blocking alleyways ordering people to move along. even the closing fireworks
lasted just 15 seconds. but if the authorities were trying to prevent the large gatherings that took place during the opening ceremony, then they failed. out of the park, this sport loving family have spent much of the last two weeks glued to the television but even for them watching games on television has not been unmitigated joy. translation: iwanted to go and watch. - it is totally different to watch on television than actually being there. translation: it is almost | like the olympics was taking place in another country. you can only watch it on television. . we felt the distance very much. the last couple of weeks have been a tale of two cities. there is the one behind the fence where there has been this amazing sport and tremendous success forjapan and the tokyo outside where most of the time you would not even have noticed that the olympics has
been happening and the same contrast is true for the pandemic. inside the fence, daily testing meant things were kept under control but outside, the pandemic is now out of control. critics say the olympics has sucked away resources leaving the city without enough covid testing kits or vaccinations. it has left a scar- on the japanese society, meaning people are divided i and above all, the games left the economy attacked, if you look at numbers | in tokyo, it isjust increasing. - there is no doubt that the record—breaking haul of medals forjapan has bought realjoy to the host nation, as the roadshow leaves town, the olympic host city has been left facing a medical crisis. rupert wingfield—hayes, bbc news, tokyo.
as the olympic torch gets handed over from as the olympic torch gets handed overfrom japan as the olympic torch gets handed over from japan to france, astronauts on the international space station have been getting in on the act. the crew at the moment has members from both those countries on the left, japan. passing over an olympic flag to the french astronaut. that ceremony rounding off their own take on the games themselves. some of the inhabitants on the space station were taking part in events including no gravity gymnastics, synchronised floating. for more on the legacy of the tokyo games i've been speaking to matt carroll, chief executive officer of the australian olympic committee and he told me what the games had meant for his country had a particularly successful time. it has been a great games for the australian team. we equalled the high mark achieved in athens with 17 gold medals, 46 medals across 20 disciplines, 15 sports,
but it served to be a great time for australians who were in lockdown in some of our cities, the inspiration of the games, notjust the medals but the people who came sixth, seventh, eighth, the sportsmanship that we saw. all of those things that we hold dear to the olympic sentiment in sport. i was going to ask you what you felt you learned from the games, given that they had been different but you called it mateship, the athletes depending on each other more than ever before, they didn't have any other support that they would have normally expected. that's right, the athletes from whichever country arriving in tokyo airport into the olympic village, to the training venues, competition venues, and then within 48 hours, home, the olympic village became the only space they could congregate during the games and we found within the australian team,
a great ethos, and it was reflected in the teams across the world. representing other parts of the world. you saw it in the marathon yesterday. the first, second and third embraced each other after the race, we saw it in a lot of other events during the games. reuniting humanity which was great. do you pick through that and start thinking about how that might impact 2032, the brisbane games. i appreciate that it's not entirely your job but it's your patch, it's going to be your manor and you have a long wait, 11 years to prepare. a lot of thinking as to how you might be different, more creative. it is, it's a once in a generation opportunity, australia, queensland, brisbane have been heavily gifted, the ten year runway, into the games, there's
the winter and summer games in that period, international events, 30 scheduled into australia already but is also an opportunity to leave the legacy early, the eight—year—olds of today, watching the tokyo games will be the olympians in 2032 so with that opportunity the australian olympic committee is looking at to use the power of sport to make a difference in australia. hundreds more people have been forced to leave their homes in greece as wildfires burn out of control. the summer there have been scorching temperatures across much of southern europe leaving woodland bone dry and susceptible to fire. greece itself is experiencing its worst ever heatwave in 30 years. the regent north of athens in avia, the country �*s second largest island is amongst the worst hit, ferries evacuating residents and
holiday—makers. bethany bell sent us this report from avia. exodus from avia. there are long queues at the port. people are waiting to get on ferries to the mainland. holiday—makers and some locals are leaving, after villages and parts of the north of the island were evacuated. chris, who works on avia as a singer, says the wildfires are spreading and the authorities aren't doing enough. the most people see that we don't have any help until yesterday and they could save everybody and it wasn't true. the people don't know where to go. the big problem is that we feel that they let us burn. this is what they're fleeing from. wildfires have been blazing out of control for almost a week now. siren wails. houses and forests
have been destroyed. this village is being evacuated. as thick orange smoke fills the air, people wait nervously for the ferry to depart. it's like the scene of an apocalyptic movie definitely because there's no sky, the sun is red. it's quite scary. it's time to leave. the fires are getting closer and closer to this village. just a few miles from here there are bright blue skies but here, the air is full of smoke and ash and it's making it harder for people to breathe. no—one knows if this village will be spared. it's now up to the gods of the winds and the weather. bethany bell, bbc news, avia.
stay with us, coming up... he is leaving home, lionel messi bid an emotional farewell to the club he has played for his entire professional career. the big crowds became bigger as the time of the funeral approached. as the lines of fans became longer, the police prepared for a huge job of crowd control. idi amin, uganda's brutal former dictator has died at the age of 80. he's been buried in saudi arabia where he lived in exile since being overthrown in 1979. 2 billion people around the world have seen the last total eclipse of the sun to take place in this millennium.
it began itsjourney off the coast of canada ending three hours later when the sun set over the bay of bengal. you are watching bbc news. the main headlines. the taliban seized three more provincial capitals in afghanistan in the course of one day. they reject calls for a ceasefire. wildfires continue to burn on the greek island of avia, dozens of villagers have been evacuated, ferries on standby to take more people to safety. iran �*s latest covid—i9 figures show the country is in the grip of a deadly fifth wave of virus, leading to 542 deaths
and 40,000 positive cases. the delta variant and low vaccine uptake are thought to be behind the surge, and we have this report. record infections and record deaths. newly released figures confirm what iranian officials feared most. that the country is now facing its deadliest surge of the covid—i9 virus. iran reported more than 500 daily covid deaths on sunday and almost 40,000 positive cases. this all—time high pushes the total number of cases to more than 4 million and deaths to more than 94,000. iran remains the hardest—hit country in all of the middle east. cases have been spiking since latejune and officials are warning the delta variant is causing a fifth wave of the virus. overwhelming hospitals with critical cases. so despite sanctions that are crippling
iran �*s economy, the supreme leader has asked the government to consider a full national lockdown.— to consider a full national lockdown. one of the main reasons — lockdown. one of the main reasons for _ lockdown. one of the main reasons for this _ lockdown. one of the main reasons for this most - lockdown. one of the main. reasons for this most recent surge has been the slowness in vaccination in the country, one of the lowest vaccination rates in the region, approximately 3% of the country has received both vaccines, or the full set of vaccines, i should say. and for the most part, iranians have not had access to well tested vaccines from the west. the government is banking on iran �*s own vaccine which they say offers 85% protection from the virus there are no data has been released to back those claims. , , been released to back those claims. , _ , claims. judging by the number of iranians _ claims. judging by the number of iranians who _ claims. judging by the number of iranians who are _ claims. judging by the number of iranians who are able - claims. judging by the number of iranians who are able to - of iranians who are able to leave the country, particularly to go to the caucasus and obtain vaccines produced in the west, there is ample evidence
that iranians themselves do not trust the vaccines that are produced in the country. hoping to boost a _ produced in the country. hoping to boost a lagging _ produced in the country. hoping to boost a lagging vaccine - to boost a lagging vaccine campaign, the president publicly received his first dose on sunday. and with officials expecting this deadly surge to worsen, convincing the public to follow suit is crucial. the argentine footballer lionel messi has made a very tearful farewell to barcelona, the spanish club he joined at the age of 13. he has been a barcelona for more than 20 years now, he has helped them to win 34 trophies including ten spanish and four uefa champions league titles. barcelona said it was letting him go because it simply could not afford to pay his wages. the 34—year—old expressed his deep affection for the club where he had spent so much of his life. translation: many beautiful
things happened to me here, | bad too, but all this helped me to grow, improve and made me the person i am today. we've had very good moments, bad ones too, but the affection of the people has been constant — i always felt it, the recognition, the love. i felt it towards them, too, and the club, and will do all my life, i hope. for more on what lionel messi means to barcelona, here is south american football correspondent tim vickery. we are entering, david, the bizarre world, because he is by some distance the most valuable asset that not only barcelona have but also the spanish league. he gives you a guaranteed return in terms of people waking up in the middle of the night in the far east, that asian audience that people
involved in football are cultivating so much, the return there is guaranteed and they can have him now for half the price that they have been paying for him. but they have to say goodbye to him in order to keep on paying on those assets that have not given them a return. it really is almost suicidal, you would have thought, not only barcelona but from the spanish league and the spanish league was built around the real madrid barcelona rivalry, cristiano ronaldo on the one hand, lionel messi on the other, now both of them have gone. but have they got to the point they get nothing for him anyway? is he a free agent? are they going to get 100 million, 150 million euros if they sell him on? absolutely nothing, he is a free agent, the only thing they have to do is pay his wages, the only thing a club who acquires him has to do is pay his wages.
remind me what that amounts to, even at 50%. a lot more money than we will ever see in our lives, dazzling sums but really the story is here the incompetence of barcelona over the years and football is a strange business anyway. barcelona are especially strange because they are not run on a business model, it's a social membership club where the president is an elected position and that means there is always politics happening inside the club, no long—term planning. some of the signings that have been made had been vanity signings on behalf of a particular director for electoral purposes. and as i say, in order to retain the likes of other players, coutinho, one of whom they bought for a fortune from liverpool, in order to keep playing them they have to let lionel messi go, the one asset that gives them a guaranteed return. do you think psg, lionel messi has acknowledged that is in the frame at least, it is the most likely destination for him? i would have thought so.
we have that word mateship, i have learned during the course of the programme with neymar, he is a great friend and former team—mate at barcelona, they have mauricio pochettino, his compatriot, he is the coach of the team and one of the reasons i think he was brought in was in the event that lionel messi became a free agent, at argentine connection could just tip the balance so no doubt, psg are in pole position but for the time being, we can all dream? who knows, he could end up at our club? whichever club that might be. a renowned indian actor for playing villains in bollywood films has died in mumbai at the age of 63. he was admitted to hospital last week with a kidney infection. he was a very familiarface on tv, appearing in films including bandit queen, and the oscar—winning slumdog millionaire. just a
tad, you can get in touch with me most of the team on twitter. you watching bbc news. hello. some of you have been able to stay dry, some of you have had a month's worth of rainfall. some good news ahead, fewer showers around, it should turn warmer, temperatures close to where they should be. to get there we need to get rid of this area of low pressure that has been with us for days. with us today, we have outbreaks of rain, some thunderstorms around from that, warm weather system in the southeast with the heaviest of the rain. some clear skies, temperatures dropping back into single figures, but most with temperatures around the low teens to start the day. showers on monday morning across parts of southern scotland and northern ireland, brightening through the day, heaviest of the showers across the northern half of scotland, some of those torrential especially towards the east later.
that could cause flash flooding. brightest of the weather in north midlands, north wales, staying dry through the day, but further south after a wet start, sunshine and blustery showers and the temperatures more widely into the low 20s. showers continuing into the evening across scotland, for many they will fade over night and the sign of something improving, area of low pressure toward scandinavia, becoming less of a feature, high pressure pushing in, stopping some of those showers. some on tuesday in the northern half of scotland, thundery in places. south of that, isolated showers, more of you staying dry with longer spells of sunshine, temperatures climbing a little bit day by day. for the middle part of the week this broad area of low pressure towards the west will bring welcome rain in this weather front towards the highlands and islands, much—needed rain but it's approaching and we start to drag in southerly winds which tap into warmer air across the near continent, pushing temperatures
back to where they should be for the time of year, sunny spells, the best in the morning across central and eastern areas, hazy sunshine, clouding over in the west, outbreaks of rain in northern ireland, the heaviest and most persistent across western scotland. for more, temperatures above 20 degrees, where we should be for the time of year, one or two spots getting 25 or higher. staying warm in the south and east into the weekend, further rain at times in western scotland. see you soon.
this is bbc news, the headlines: three more afghan cities fall to the taliban as they dismiss international calls for a ceasefire. they have won the us against any further intervention. the orange glow of wildfires burning out of control on the greek island, forcing holiday—makers and residents to flee. argentine football star lionel messi gave an emotional press conference following confirmation he will be leaving barcelona after 21 years at the club. fc barcelona is facing serious financial problems and says it has to comply with the spanish league rules on spending.