Afghan Report – Tue, Oct 5, 2021

Sophia Harmelink

Topics: Afghan passports, Congressional hearings, ‘Lily Pad’ flights, Podcast on Afghanistan, WhatsApp evac, Afghan music students, electrical power, book – “Get the Terp Up Here”, DoS DepSec Sherman in Tashkent, Operation Sacred Promise, webinar on Humanitarian Parole, and more.

Afghan Passports. Multiple news sources report that the Afghanistan Ministry of Interior (MoI) will begin to issue passports from its Kabul office. The passports may soon be issued in some of the provinces as well. There is likely a backlog of of thousands and thousands of applicants. “Passport Department Resumes Services to Afghans”, Tolo News, October 5, 2021.

Congressional Hearing on Afghanistan. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs will conduct a hearing entitled Afghanistan 2001-2021: Evaluating the Withdrawal and U.S. Policies on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at 1:00 PM EST. Witnesses include Former Deputy of Secretary of State William Armitage, Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, and others.

‘Lily Pad’ Flights to Resume. The Department of Homeland Security says that transport flights from the Middle East and Europe will resume for Afghan evacuees. The flights had been halted because the bases in the U.S. were nearing capacity and there were cases of measles among the evacuees. (The Washington Examiner, Oct 5, 2021).

Podcast: The Future of Afghanistan and the role of the United States, Brookings Institution, September 29, 2021. A panel of experts chat on the United States role with Afghanistan. (one hour).

International Flights. A listing of flights for October 5, 2021 from Kabul airport show the following destinations: Tashkent, Delhi, Islamabad, Ankara, Istanbul by Kam Air, Ariana Afghan Airlines, and Pakistan International Airlines.

WhatsApp – Slows Down Evac Process. The folks at Human First Coalition describe the problems they encounter when the messenger service they use to talk to Afghans goes down. “Whatsapp outage ‘a nightmare’ for group working to rescue Afghans, American citizens”, Military Times, October 4, 2021.

Afghan Music Students Fly to Portugal. More than 100 students, alumni, and faculty members of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music have flown out of Kabul and have been granted asylum by Portugal. They were on board a flight carrying 235 people out of the Kabul International Airport going to Qatar. The students were from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music founded in 2010. Under the old Taliban regime of 1996 to 2001 music was forbidden. “More than 100 Afghans from music school flown out of country”, The Washington Post, October 4, 2021.

USAF Doc Shares Experience. Maj. Elaina Wild is an Air Force family practice doctor who was on a six month deployment in Qatar. Life changed for her drastically when the Afghan evacuees started to flow into the U.S. airbase. “Offutt doc led effort to treat tens of thousands of Afghan refugees in Qatar”, Omaha World-Herald, October 4, 2021.

Electricity. The Afghan electrical company, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS) says they owe millions of dollars to four neighboring countries – Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran. Many private companies, factories, and individuals have not paid their power bills. DABS has asked the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) for help in meeting its financial obligations. “Afghanistan Owes $62 M for Foreign Electricity”, Tolo News, October 4, 2021.

Book Excerpt – Get the Terp Up Here. Nasirullhah “John” Safi was an interpreter for U.S. military forces in Afghanistan. Read his account of the Battle of Kamdesh. (Military Times, Oct 4, 2021).

DoS DepSec Sherman in Tashkent. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met on Monday, October 4th with Uzbekistan leaders to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and the situation in Afghanistan. (DoS, Oct 4, 2021).

U.S. Public Support for Afghan Evacuees. Most people in the United States want to see Afghans who worked with the U.S. military or U.S. government in Afghanistan be offered resettlement in the United States. A recent survey find 72% are in favor if the pass the security checks. “Most people in US favor Afghan ally refugees: AP-NORC poll”, The Washington Post, October 4, 2021.

Taliban Governance. A third round of Afghanistan government appointments show that the hard-line trajectory of the Taliban will continue. A host of men were named to the deputy positions, none of the 38 new appointments included women and few were from minority groups. “Taliban appointments add to all-male Afghan government team”, ABC News, October 4, 2021.

Operation Sacred Promise
OSP’s mission is to honor the service and sacrifice of Afghan Air Force and Army Special Mission Wing warriors and their families by supporting their transition from Afghanistan and helping them to build new, productive lives in the United States. OSP provides consular assistance and resettlement support, including housing and basic life needs, job placement, language training, and cultural acclimation, in addition to ongoing advocacy and awareness efforts.

Brief – Terrorist Groups in Pakistan. The Congressional Research Service has published a two-page paper (PDF) on Terrorist and Other Militant Groups in Pakistan, CRS, September 23, 2021.

Webinar on Humanitarian Parole & Financial Sponsorship for Afghan Evacuees
Task Force Melmastya, September 23, 2021, 90 minutes, YouTube


Photo: Sophia Harmelink poses with two Afghan girls at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Photo by Maj. Joseph Bush, 30 Sep 2021.