Afghanistan Update – November 2023

Evacuees Board Plane at Rota, Spain

Topics: News about Afghanistan, relocation, immigration, resettlement, humanitarian crisis, commentary, books, podcasts, events, and more.

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Relocation from Afghanistan

Leaving Afghanistan

Deportation from Pakistan. Beginning in early November the Pakistan government has begun deporting Afghans in Pakistan. According to the World Food Programme in Afghanistan almost 3.7 million Afghans live in Afghanistan. Afghans who are in Pakistan can now reach the emergency hotline of the Department of State for those being detained or deported via phone or WhatsApp text. The hours are Mon-Sat, 8:00 am through midnight ISL time. WhatsApp (text only): +1 (956) 291-4571, Phone: +1 (757) 916-4100.

The Iran Option – Smaller Opportunities. Millions of Afghans have departed Afghanistan for Iran over the past few years. Many to escape Taliban persecution; but also, to escape the grinding poverty and lack of employment opportunities. However, Tehran is getting stricter on Afghans entering and has started deporting those without valid papers. “An Iranian Reversal on Afghan Refugees”, The Diplomat, November 14, 2023.

FlyDubai Flights. After more than two years of not flying a route to Kabul following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan a major Middle East airline is resuming passenger service.

Medals for Airmen. Hundreds more airmen who orchestrated Operation Allies Refuge, the massive evacuation of civilians from Afghanistan as U.S. forces withdrew in 2021, will receive medals honoring those efforts, the Air Force announced. “Hundreds more airmen to receive medals for roles in Kabul evacuation”, Air Force Times, November 8, 2023.

AAA. The Senate has acted on including the Afghan Adjustment Act in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It is now up to the House to include the AAA in its version of the NDAA.

Humanitarian assistance and economy in Afghanistan

Humanitarian Assistance and Economy

Afghanistan’s Earthquakes. Herat province has suffered a series of deadly earthquakes over the past few months. This article looks at the damage and the science behind the earthquakes, the disaster response efforts, and what remains to be done to help Afghans affected by the quakes to rebuild their lives. “Nature’s Fury: The Herat earthquakes of 2023”, Afghanistan Analysts Network, November 10, 2023.

Afghan Economy. Kate Clark provides an overview of the Afghan economy. It is a bleak look that contradicts the rosy proclamations of the Taliban regime. “Survival and Stagnation: The State of the Afghan Economy”, Afghanistan Analysts Network, November 7, 2023.

Taliban Ban on Opium Cultivation. Two new reports show that Afghan farmers have largely complied with the ban on opium cultivation. There are economic consequences of the ban. Read more in “Prosperity or Penury: The political and economic fallout of the opium ban in Afghanistan”, Afghanistan Analysts Network, November 15, 2023.

Banner Commentary about Afghanistan

Commentary, Analysis, and Opinion

Haqqani Network. Apurva Ramakrishnan provides us with a deep dive into the Haqqani Network. The organization’s enduring influence underscores the necessity for counterterrorism practitioners to prioritize containment and disruption efforts, as the group’s ability to sustain and perpetuate global terrorism remains undiminished. “A Network of Possibilities: How the Haqqani Network Changed the Face of Global Terrorism Forever”, Georgetown Security Studies Review, November 13, 2023.

CT in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Asfandyar Mir provides his perspective on the choices U.S. counterterrorism policy-makers have for Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Commentary: No Good Choices: The Counterterrorism Dilemmas in Afghanistan and Pakistan”, CTC Sentinel, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Oct/Nov 2023.

ISKP and India- What is the Future? The Islamic State of Khorasan Province is still a very real concern for the Taliban. It is also a concern for Pakistan and India. An Indian national security observer provides the details and offers some recommendations for India to consider. “Islamic State in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India – will its influence decline in 2024?”, India Narrative, November 29, 2023.

banner - resources for Afghans and Afghan Evac Volunteers

Resources for Afghans and Afghan Evac Volunteers

Badger Six. A group of former CIA paramilitary officers and Special Forces personnel have formed an organization called Badger Six to assist former members of the Northern Alliance in relocating from Afghanistan and other nearby countries. “These US Veterans aren’t giving up on Afghan fighters who saved their lives”, New York Post, November 8, 2023.

Giving Tuesday. There are a lot of private sector volunteer organizations assisting in the relocation, resettlement, and advocacy for our Afghan allies. One of the better ones is Team America Relief. This organization invites you to continue to help them serve our Afghan allies.

#AfghanEvac Resources. The #AfghanEvac Coalition frequently updates its “Resources” webpage to assist volunteers with casework help and the navigation of the complex immigration process. It has a list of resources for Afghan allies, volunteer advocates, and advocacy organizations.

#AfghanEvac Caseworker Guide. The #AfghanEvac Coalition has published (Sep 2023) a guide to assist those in the Afghan evac community who are assisting in the relocation and resettlement of Afghans to the United States. It has been compiled based on #AfghanEvac volunteers’ professional and lived experience, meetings with U.S. Government officials, and the sharing of best practices across the coalition ecosystem. It is subject to change and the information contained therein is not, and should not be considered, legal advice. PDF, 44 pages.

Books about Afghanistan

Banner Books about Afghanistan

Check out books about Afghanistan, the Taliban, decades of war, culture, and more.


Report – Pakistan and Terrorists. The Congressional Research Service has updated its “IN FOCUS” report entitled Terrorist and Other Militant Groups in Pakistan. CRS IF11934, updated December 1, 2023, PDF, 3 pages.

CT and AF/PAK. “No Good Choices: The Counterterrorism Dilemmas in Afghanistan and Pakistan”, by Asfandyar Mir, CTC Sentinel, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, Oct/Nov 2023.


Photo: Evacuees from Afghanistan at Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota, Spain, walk to a U.S. charter aircraft bound for the U.S., Sept. 8, 2021. NAVSTA Rota is supporting the Department of State mission to facilitate the safe relocation of U.S. citizens, Special Immigration Visa recipients, and vulnerable populations from Afghanistan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Brytani Musick)