Topics: P2 USARP program, Project Dynamo flight, interpreters threatened, AFGfree, Bagram Air Field and China, and more.
P2 USARP Program. There are a lot of visa and priority categories that are defined by the U.S. Department of State. A new designation as of August 2, 2021 is the Priority 2 (P-2) designation granting U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) access for certain Afghan nationals and their eligible family members. This designation expands the opportunity to permanently resettle in the United States to many thousands of Afghans and their immediate family members who may be at risk due to their U.S. affiliation but who are not eligible for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) because they did not have qualifying employment, or because they have not met the time-in-service requirement to become eligible. Read more in “U.S. Refuge Admissions Program Priority 2 Designation for Afghan Nationals Fact Sheet”, U.S. Department of State, August 2, 2021.HTML clipboard
Project Dynamo Flight. More than 100 Americans landed in Chicago after flying from Kabul on a chartered flight to the UAE, staying in an airport hangar for two nights there, and then arriving in the United States on a commercial airliner on Thursday, September 30, 2021. “More Than 100 Americans, Initially Denied Entry into U.S. after Evacuating Afghanistan, Land in Chicago”, National Review, September 30, 2021.
Flights from ‘Lily Pads’ to U.S. Will Resume Soon.The U.S. military intends to begin flights from the Afghan evacuation transit locations in Germany, Spain, and the Middle East towards the end of next week. The flights were halted due to several measles outbreaks and many of the eight military camps in the U.S. nearing full capacity. There are currently 14,000 Afghan evacuees housed overseas. 53,000 are in the U.S. bases. “Afghan evacuation flights to resume in very near future”, The Hill, September 30, 2021.
“We will take revenge. If we are not able to get hold of you,
we will settle scores with your near ones.”
Interpreters Threatened. Afghan interpreters who worked for the Netherlands have been ordered to appear in court and their families threatened if they fail to do so. Some interpreters are in hiding. The United Nations and human rights groups have reported the Taliban is tracking down people who worked with foreign forces, in some cases detaining and executing them. “Afghan Interpreters Who Worked for Dutch Summoned and Threatened by Taliban”, Gandhara, October 1, 2021.
AFGFree. A retired Lt Col who served in Special Forces in Afghanistan has formed a private organization to rescue Afghan allies from the Taliban regime. Lt. Col. (Ret) Perry Blackburn says of DoS – “They’re dealing with passports and processes. We’re dealing with people”. “Military veteran creates nonprofit to get Americans, allies out of Afghanistan”, by Brooke Singman, Fox News, October 1, 2021.
Bagram and China. There are multiple news reports that China has conducted a reconnaissance of the Bagram Air field north of Kabul. It certainly is a natural event to occur. It gives the Chinese a military base capable of handling any size air frame as well as the infrastructure to expand its commercial and economic interests in an unconstrained manner yet secure manner. An excellent gift to China courtesy of the United States.
Airbnb Housing for Afghans. The leaders of Airbnb said that they are offering temporary housing to 40,000 Afghan refugees worldwide. The costs will be borne partially by Airbnb, hosts, and donors. The highest demand areas will be Dallas, Northern Virginia, Sacramento, Seattle, and Silver Spring (MD). (Axios, Sep 23, 2021).
The Taliban Regime
Call to Reopen Embassies. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the first deputy prime minister of the Islamic Emirate, is urging the international community to restore diplomatic relations. He says that any disagreements and issues can be resolved through talks and understanding. “Baradar Urges Countries to Reopen Kabul Embassies”, Tolo News, October 1, 2021.
Disappointment in the Taliban. Despite having provided support to the Taliban in their takeover of Afghanistan, Russia and Iran are growing increasingly concerned by the new government’s direction. Both countries provided funding and other support, but more importantly they helped the Taliban by brokering deals with parties, groups and personalities close to either country. Both countries believed that a coalition government would be formed by the Taliban. Apparently, the Russians and Iranians were just as naive as the United States was in February 2020 when it signed the U.S. – Taliban withdrawal agreement. Dr. Antonio Giustozzi gets into the weeds with an article describing the palace intrigues of the Taliban and the path to forming the interim government. “Russia and Iran: Disappointed Friends of the Taliban?”, RUSI, September 30, 2021.
Female Journalist in Afghanistan. A female journalist and American citizen reports on how her job has changed with the new Taliban regime. “Taliban’s Return to Power in Afghanistan Leaves Female Journalists in Undefined Territory”, Deadline, October 1, 2021.
Al Qaeda’s Safe Refuge in Afghanistan. The terrorist group will likely have a low profile in Afghanistan so as not to attract too much attention. This will allow it to enjoy the continuing support and hospitality of the Taliban regime. Some observers believe that the terrorist group will concentrate on ‘near targets’ and leave attacks on ‘far targets’ (like the U.S.) for the future. Al Qaeda’s core leadership may very well leave places like Iran and Pakistan and set up in the safety of Afghanistan. The centrality of the Haqqani network within the Taliban’s government’s security structure will be of benefit to al Qaeda. Read more in “Al-Qaeda Could Flourish With New Strategy Under Taliban Rule”, Gandhara / RFERL, September 30, 2021.
Photo: Army Spc. Arlyn Libao hands donated supplies to an Afghan evacuee at Fort Pickett, Va., Sept. 25, 2021. Photo by Marine Corps Cpl. Eric Ramirez.