Today's D Brief: Rising anxiety in Afghanistan; 'Majority' of SIVs left behind; GOP flip-flop on Afghan exit; DC, from the ISS; And a bit more.

Afghanistan’s neighbors have closed their land borders, and now “tens of thousands” of Afghans who couldn’t leave Kabul before Aug. 31 are trapped, the Wall Street Journal reports. It’s worth noting, however, that “Locals [in Pakistan] estimate that several thousand Afghans have been smuggled across Chaman over the last couple of weeks, paying up to $90 a person.” And Iran presents an even tougher challenge due to certain visa restrictions. 

Others closer to Kabul are losing heart, the Associated Press reports, as they cope with feelings like betrayal, with many—including some close to Defense One staff—having tried multiple times to access Kabul’s airport in the waning days of the withdrawal, only to meet resistance of all sorts. “On one occasion, [an Afghan man named Ajmal] said he received an email telling him and his family they would be picked up at a spot near the airport at 3 a.m. He and his family waited on the street until 9 a.m., but no one came, he said.”

Untold thousands face a similar dilemma: “[T]he majority of Afghan interpreters and others who had applied for visas to flee the country were left behind,” the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, paraphrasing a State Department official’s remarks. 

That includes “the majority” of special immigrant visa applicants, Politico reported Wednesday as well. 

Brutality watch: Taliban fighters are reportedly carrying out reprisal killings across at least four provinces—Kandahar, Nangarhar, Badghis, and Farah, according to the BBC, which noted it “was not able to independently confirm the killings, and the Taliban have repeatedly denied committing any revenge killings.”

Back in the states, several key Republicans have flip-flopped on an Afghanistan withdrawal between the last days of the Trump administration and now, the New York Times reported Wednesday. 

The notables include House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Calif.; Rep. Glenn Grothman, Wis.; Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana; Sen. Josh Hawley from Missouri; and, of course, Trump himself. 

Perhaps most useful to know moving forward, the policy U-turn from key GOP leaders is unlikely to hurt any of them politically, Reid J. Epstein and Catie Edmondson write. Read on, here

Big picture takeaway #679: This job of building a foreign army—arguably the chief task the U.S. military and its allies tried to shoulder in Afghanistan—the CIA is better at it, write Bilal Saab and Douglas London for the Middle East Institute. Read them articulate their case after four critical caveats, here.

Public service announcement: Don’t send donations to Al Udeid for Afghan refugees. They already have so many that they’re causing problems at the base’s post office, Military Times reports. For a sense of the problem’s scale, “Before Aug. 1, the average daily volume of mail going to Al Udeid was about 4,850 pounds. By the end of August, it rose to a daily peak of 19,841 pounds.”

Marine Corps Base Quantico has also urged people not to mail donations there, and has paused in-person donations. Several organizations are still taking monetary and other donations for Afghan refugees, though. Here’s a list of ways to help in the D.C. area. Find more Afghanistan coverage from Defense One staff immediately below.


From Defense One

‘It’s Possible’ US and Taliban Will Target ISIS-K Together, Milley Says // Tara Copp: But SecDef Austin cautions, “I would not make any leaps” beyond recent coordinated airport evacuation ops.

Marine Corps Commandant Wants Review of Afghanistan Evacuation // Caitlin M. Kenney: “While it's relatively fresh in our minds, we need the 

Lawmakers Ask About Past Blame, Future Security in Afghanistan In Policy Bill // Jacqueline Feldscher: Members approved more than a half-dozen Afghanistan-related amendments amid some partisan jabs.honest, open critique,” Gen. Berger says.

Welcome to this Thursday edition of The D Brief from Ben Watson with Jennifer Hlad. If you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. On this day in 1666, a bakery fire in London broke out just after midnight and, with high winds, swept eastward—eventually destroying 80% of the city. It took less than a day for order to break down on the streets as anger misdirected at foreigners quickly turned into violence. Perhaps surprisingly, the use of gunpowder is credited with helping stop the spread through the creation of firebreaks after much of the wind died down. 


America’s active-duty sailors and Marines have until Nov. 28 to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Secretary Carlos Del Toro announced on Aug. 30 and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger echoed Sept. 1.
Reservists have until Dec. 28, and those vaccinations must be FDA-approved (in case any barracks lawyers were considering livestock meds). That currently leaves just the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as an option, which the FDA approved one week before the new memo was distributed across the Navy.
Refuse vaccination? The Navy says it will provide counseling that “will include access to a healthcare professional to answer questions regarding the risks of COVID-19 and the benefits of COVID-19 vaccinations.”
Miss the deadline? Consequences could extend to UCMJ. Read more at U.S. Naval Institute News, here.

A captured ISIS fighter goes on trial in Virginia today. He’s one of two men that U.S. prosecutors say helped kidnap as well as torture and murder American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and aid workers Peter Kassig and Kayla Mueller.
His name is Alexanda Kotey, and his ISIS colleague is El Shafee Elsheikh. Both were snatched up by Kurdish fighters in Syria back in 2018. Then, “They were transferred to Iraq by the U.S. military in October 2019 amid Turkey’s invasion of northeast Syria,” the Washington Post reported Wednesday. 

For something completely different: Take a look at the Washington, D.C. area as seen from the International Space Station, via a photo shared Wednesday by Army Col. and NASA Astronaut Shane Kimbrough.

West Point just installed its first outdoor statue of a Black man: Staff Sgt. Sanders H. Matthews Sr., known as one of America’s “Buffalo Soldiers.” The message on its granite base: “In Memory of the Buffalo Soldiers who served with the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments as part of the United States Military Academy Cavalry Detachment at West Point.” The Washington Post has more here.

And lastly today: U.S. European Command’s Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters will brief reporters alongside Press Secretary John Kirby at 3 p.m. ET from the Pentagon. Catch it live at DVIDS, here.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.