Topics: News about Afghanistan, immigration, resettlement, humanitarian crisis, commentary, books, podcasts, events, German relocation flights, Moral Compass Federation, Canada and red tape, Airbnb helping evacuees, JBMDL closes down (for now), Biden’s nightmare, UNAMA, and more.
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Germany Relocation Flights. Thousands of Afghans who worked with the German military or German government organizations remain in Afghanistan. Some aid groups are trying to assist them in their departure from Afghanistan. “German aid group battles to evacuate Afghans who worked with army”, Reuters, February 23, 2022.
Moral Compass Federation and At-Risk Afghans. Sixteen organizations involved in the Afghan Evac community that are focused on Afghans who served in special operations units want more action on the part of the Biden administration. The organizations, mostly composed of U.S. veterans of the SOF community, are trying to overcome the policy roadblocks to evacuate Afghans who remain in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Beth Bailey provides the details in “Moral Compass Federation begs Biden to better protect Afghan allies”, Washington Examiner, February 21, 2022.
Afghans, Red Tape, and Canada. In the midst of the evacuation of Afghans from Kabul late last summer Canada introduced two programs to assist Afghans – the special immigrant visa program and a humanitarian program. It announced that it would accept up to 40,000 Afghan refugees. Thus far, only 7,550 Afghans have arrived. “Cut through red tape preventing Afghan refugees coming to Canada”, Toronto Star, February 22, 2022.
At-Risk Afghans and an Uncooperative DoS. For members of the Afghan Evac community, working with the State Department can be an exercise in futility. Combat veteran Christy Barry has been working to help her former Afghan colleagues escape the Taliban – but the Department of State seems to be in the way. “A U.S. combat veteran tries to help former colleagues escape the Taliban”, National Public Radio, February 21, 2022.
Airbnb Hosts Support Afghan Evacuees. Over the past six months free, temporary housing has been provided to over 20,000 Afghan refugees. Airbnb hosts have provided housing for the evacuees since the end of the Kabul NEO in August 2021. Airbnb worked in partnership with resettlement agencies and other nonprofit organizations. “20,000 Afghan newcomers housed”, Airbnb News, February 22, 2022.
Humanitarian Parole. A bureaucratic quagmire that keeps families from being reunited. “6 Months After Evacuation, Thousands of Afghans Families Are Waiting to Reunite”, The World, February 21, 2022.
JBMDL Sees Last Afghans Leave. The last of the Afghans that were housed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst have departed. They are heading to communities across the United States where they will be resettled. So where will newly evacuated Afghans be housed while being processed? Maybe the U.S. Air Force base in Doha, Qatar? Many Afghan Evac volunteer organizations say JBMDL should remain open.(The Press of Atlantic City, Feb 22, 2022).
News About Afghanistan
A ‘Grand Army’. The Taliban are making moves to re-establish the Afghan army. Read more in “Taliban aiming to create ‘grand army’ for Afghanistan”, France 24, February 21, 2022. In addition, the Ministry of Interior says that it has set up a special unit to monitor checkpoints and conduct night patrols in Kabul. “New Special Unit to Increase Kabul Security, Monitor Checkpoints”, Tolo News, February 22, 2022.
Education and Afghan Girls. The Ministry of Education has stated that boys and girls in grades 1-6 will continue their education separately and at different times based on a new plan. Only female teachers will teach girls and only male teachers will teach boys. There are clothing rules that conform to Islamic laws and regulations. Over the past six months more than 3 million Afghan girls have been barred from attending school. “Education Ministry Prepares New Plan for Grades 1-6”, Tolo News, February 22, 2022.
Taliban and Governing Afghanistan. The Taliban fought for decades to retake Afghanistan. But their promises of a new start are already colliding with internal divisions and external opposition. Jon Lee Anderson provides a detailed look at Afghanistan today in a long but interesting read. “The Taliban Confront the Realities of Power”, The New Yorker, February 21, 2022.
Betraying Afghan Women. With the capture of the entire country the Taliban have now brought back their repressive rules and regulations. Women now find they are blocked from their workplaces, schools, health clinics, and sometimes their homes. “Stop Betraying the Women of Afghanistan”, Ms. Magazine, February 22, 2022.
ICRC Paying Health Worker Salaries. The International Committee of the Red Cross says that healthcare remains a major concern for a vast amount of Afghan people. Thousands of medical facilities have closed or are barely functioning. The ICRC is stepping up to provide funding to assist the shortage of medical care. “ICRC to Pay Salaries of 10,000 Afghan Health Workers”, Tolo News, February 23, 2022.
Commentary, Analysis, and Opinion
Afghanistan – Biden’s Nightmare. The Afghanistan debacle can’t be ignored or forgotten. The president would like to put Afghanistan in the rear-view mirror and move on with his domestic agenda. His administration botched the withdrawal and the Kabul non-combatant evacuation operation. “Biden’s recurring Afghanistan nightmare”, Washington Times, February 22, 2022.
1979 and the Soviet Assassination of an Afghan President. In December 1979 a Soviet special operations unit assaulted the presidential palace in Kabul and killed the president of Afghanistan. The presidential guard put up a fight but in the end the Soviet SOF unit was successful in their mission. “How Russian SOF Assassinated Afghanistan’s President Before Invading”, Coffee or Die, February 22, 2022.
Online Event – What’s Next For the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan?, Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), Thursday, February 24, 2022, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm. A discussion on how the UNAMA’s mission needs to have its mandate reexamined.
Photo: U.S. service members help Afghan guests arriving at the Philadelphia International Airport as they continue through the resettlement process. October 2021, DoD photo.