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Some Afghan Refugees Flagged For Concern by CBP at Military Bases Worldwide, Report Says

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The US and its allies have entered the final phase of the evacuation of their citizens, along with those Afghans who want to leave their country now that it is controlled by the Taliban* military movement. All efforts are now said to be focused on distributing rescued Afghans.

Some Afghan refugees have been “flagged for concern” by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) following security checks and screenings in American military bases worldwide, the ABC News reported on Saturday, citing officials from several US security agencies.

“It’s exactly why CBP conducted careful and thorough vetting,” Keri Brady, the assistant director at CBP’s National Targeting Center, noted.

The process is reportedly facilitated by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department, whose officials, during a call on Friday, discussed the process of the security checks.

The CPB has been said to provide personnel to foreign bases, where Afghans are primarily transferred for vetting and other checks to detect threats and potentially dangerous people who “could use the relocation process as a way to introduce operatives intending to conduct an attack within the homeland,” according to acting head of the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, John Cohen.

Cohen added that agencies are also monitoring possible extremism in the US against the refugees, as there are concerns over “violent activities directed at immigrant communities, certain faith communities or even those who are relocated to the United States.”


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REUTERS / KAI PFAFFENBACH

Women and children wait for a document check after disembarking from the last plane arriving with Afghan refugees via Tashkent at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, August 27, 2021

Currently, the US and other NATO member countries continue to remove their personnel from Afghanistan, alongside Afghan allies. The evacuation is expected to conclude by the 31 August deadline, and has raised questions about housing for thousands of Afghan asylum seekers. The process of vetting has sparked controversy amid claims that US agencies have “no real idea” about who they are letting into the country.

Washington has not yet announced how many residents of Afghanistan the US will accept. The US was earlier said by some to be taking in an estimated 15,000 refugees. According to an official statement by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, the US will temporary house some asylum seekers at military bases, including Fort Bliss in Texas and Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. Reports suggest that as many as 22,000 Afghans, and their families, have applied for special immigration visas.

The Fort Lee base in Virginia has become provisional asylum for an unidentified number of Afghans. Reports have suggested that by this weekend, the total capacity of American bases would expand to 55,000 refugees by the time the evacuation is completed, according to The Progress-Index.

According to the latest estimates, the US and its allies have reportedly evacuated over 100,000 people from Kabul. Last week, US President Joe Biden announced that NATO countries would be expected to take in up to 65,000 additional refugees.


*Taliban is a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia and many other countries.



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[Ticker] US to lift Covid travel-ban on EU tourists

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Fully vaccinated travellers from the EU and the UK will be let back into the US from “early November” onward, the White House said on Monday, ending an 18-month ban and prompting airline firms’ shares to climb. “This new international travel system follows the science to keep Americans … safe,” a US spokesman said. The EU recently recommended increased restrictions on US visitors, amid anger at lack of US reciprocity.

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Ten women and girls killed every day in Mexico, Amnesty report says | Global development

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At least 10 women and girls are murdered every day in Mexico, according to a new report that says victims’ families are often left to carry out their own homicide investigations.

The scathing report, released on Monday by Amnesty International, documents both the scale of the violence and the disturbing lack of interest on the part of Mexican authorities to prevent or solve the murders.

“Mexico is continuing to fail to fulfil its duty to investigate and, therefore, its duty to guarantee the rights to life and personal integrity of the victims as well as to prevent violence against women,” says the report, Justice on Trial.

“Feminicidal violence and the failings in investigation and prevention in northern Mexico are not anecdotal, but rather form part of a broader reality in the country,” the report adds.

Femicide has been rife in Mexico for decades – most notoriously in an epidemic of murders which claimed the life of some 400 women in the border city Ciudad Juárez during the 1990s. In recent years, a growing feminist movement has held massive street protests against the violence, but authorities have proved unwilling to take action to stop the killing.

“It’s always a question of political will,” said Maricruz Ocampo, a women’s activist in the state of Querétaro.

Ocampo has been part of teams lobbying state governors to issue an alert when femicides reach scandalously high levels – a move to raise awareness and mobilise resources. But officials often resist such moves, she said, as governors worry about their states’ images and investment.

“They refuse to recognise there is a problem,” she said.

The president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has also downplayed the problem. He branded the women protesting on 8 March, International Women’s Day, as “conservatives” and alleged a dark hand manipulating the demonstrations.

When asked last year about rising violence against women, he responded, “Tell all the women of Mexico that they are protected and represented, that we’re doing everything possible to guarantee peace and quiet and that I understand that our adversaries are looking for ways to confront us.”

Mexico recorded the murders of 3,723 women in 2020. Some 940 of those murders were investigated as femicides.

The Amnesty report focused on Mexico state, a vast collection of gritty suburbs surrounding Mexico City on three sides. It has become notorious for femicides over the past decade – and for the way the former president, Enrique Peña Nieto, a former Mexico state governor, ignored the problem.

The report found cases of families carrying out their own detective work, which were ignored by investigators. In many cases, authorities contaminated crime scenes or mishandled evidence. They often did not even pursue leads such as geolocation information from victims’ mobile phones.

In the case of Julia Sosa, whose children believe she was killed by her partner, two daughters found her body buried on the suspect’s property – but had to wait hours for police to arrive and process the crime scene. One of her daughters recalled the subsequent interview process, in which “the police officer was falling asleep”.

Sosa’s partner hanged himself, prompting police to close the case, even though family members said there were more leads to pursue.

In states rife with drug cartel violence, activists say cases of femicides go uninvestigated as impunity is commonplace.

“The authorities say it’s organised crime and that’s it,” said Yolotzin Jaimes, a women’s rights campaigner in the southern state of Guerrero. “Many of these aggressors find protection under the excuse of organised crime.”

The persistence of femicides is a stark contrast to recent gains by the women’s movement in Mexico. The country’s supreme court decriminalised abortion earlier this month. A new congress recently sworn in has gender parity and seven female governors will be installed by the end of year – up from just two before last June’s election’s

The decriminalisation of abortion “let off some steam” from the pressure driving the protests “because part of the demands was over the right to choose,” Ocampo said. “But when it comes to violence, we still see it everywhere.”

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US official urges EU to speed up enlargement

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Gabriel Escobar, the US’ newly-appointed acting deputy secretary of state for South Central Europe, has urged Europe to speed up Western Balkans enlargement. “To return 20 years later and see that there hasn’t been much progress on that front was a little disappointing,” he told the RFE/RL news agency Friday, referring to his last post in Europe in 2001. “We would like to see a more rapid integration,” he said.

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