Topics: MeS flights resume, Afghan interpreter now safe, Taliban resume issue of e-NIDs, ISIS-K, Turkey and the Kabul airport, and more.
Mes Flights Resume. Over past several days flights from Mazar-e-Sharif carrying American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and Afghans with passports and a visa have arrived at different locations in the Middle East and Europe. The chartered aircraft, usually a Kam Air plane, have been paid for and organized by several nonprofit organizations working to save Afghans who are at risk of persecution or of being killed by the Taliban.
Afghan Interpreter and Family Now Safe. After a personal plea to the U.S. president, weeks in hiding and a clandestine evacuation, Aman Khalili gets out with his family. “Afghan Interpreter Who Helped Rescue Joe Biden in 2008 Escapes Afghanistan”, The Wall Street Journal.
Taliban Resume Issue of e-NIDs. The caretake cabinet of the Taliban has decided to go with the same electronic National IDs that used to be issued by the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The Taliban cabinet has directed the National Statistics and Information Administration of the country to resume a process that had been stalled for the past two months since the Taliban took over on August 15th. According to this news report the e-NID is a must required card to apply for passports in Afghanistan. “Taliban to continue issuance previoius government’s e-NIDs”, Khaama Press, October 10, 2021.
Kabul Airport and Turkey. In June, it was thought that once NATO and the U.S. forces departed Afghanistan that Turkish troops and technicians would remain behind to secure and operate the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. The chaotic departure of U.S. forces in August put that plan on hold. It remains to be seen if Turkey will pick up that mission in the future. Aslinur Inalci provides an explanation of why this task might be important to Turkey from a strategic perspective as well as the risks that it entails in “Kabul Airport: Strategic Importance or Burden?”, Lobo Institute, October 7, 2021.
ISIS-K. With the U.S. military now out of Afghanistan and the Taliban now governing, ISIS-K is now waging a terrorist and guerrilla campaign against the Taliban. It is determined to undermine the legitimacy of the new government, lure Taliban fighters away from the TB, and bring them into the Islamic State’s ranks. The roles are now reversed for the TB; they were the insurgents, but now they are the counter-insurgents. “IntelBrief: Islamic State Khorasan Ramps Up Attacks against Taliban in Afghanistan“, The Soufan Center, October 6, 2021.
Think Tank Stuff
How Not to Build an Air Force. Alexander Smith writes on the many mistakes the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. military made in the establishment of the Afghan Air Force. “The Afghan Air Force: A Harsh Lesson in the Expensive Game of Airpower Reconstruction”, Small Wars Journal, October 10, 2021.
Drone Strikes Gone Wrong. The U.S. departure from Afghanistan will probably be remembered with references to three significant events: the rapid fall of Afghanistan once Biden announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops, the chaos at the Kabul airport as thousands of Afghans who were at-risk attempted to get on U.S. military evacuation flights, and the last offensive action by the U.S. in the long conflict. The U.S. conducted a drone strike in the closing days of August 2021 that was supposed to kill an ISIS-K bomb planner but instead killed three adult Afghans and seven Afghan children. This tragic mistake was no isolated incident but part of a pattern that has implications not just for US counter-terrorism strategy but for US foreign policy going ahead. Andrew Milburn, a retired member of the U.S. Marine Corps special operations community, provides the details in “Drone Strikes Gone Wrong: Fixing a Strategic Problem”, Small Wars Journal, October 8, 2021.
Photo: Afghan individuals go through a security checkpoint at Richmond International Airport in Richmond, Virginia, Oct. 9, 2021. A group of Afghan individuals left Fort Pickett after completing the initial resettlement process and will begin travel to different parts of the U.S. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Eric Ramirez, 9 Oct 2021)