ASIA Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 8 October...
Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3): On the evening of 24 August 2021, heavy rainfall in Puntarenas province, caused flooding in the downtown area of the popular tourist coastal town of Jacó and in the nearby municipality of Garabito. In Jacó, flooding disrupted transit for more approximately 200 people, 50 of whom were temporarily stranded in a shopping center. The flooding and subsequent debris destroyed several residences and buildings. In Garabito, authorities have set up shelters for at least 25 families. More than 50 floods and landslides have been reported throughout Costa Rica due to the recent heavy rains, with additional rainfall forecast through 27 August. The National Emergency Commission has issued a yellow alert, advising residents in the Central Valley — which encompasses the capital San José — the entire Pacific Slope and the North Zone to prepare for a weather event, whereas a precautionary green alert has been issued for the Caribbean zone.
Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 24 August 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden stated that the U.S. government is on track to complete evacuations and withdraw military personnel from Kabul by 31 August amid increasing concerns over the possibility of an Islamic State attack targeting the city’s Hamid Karzai International Airport (OAKB/KBL). The U.S. and its NATO allies have evacuated more than 70,000 people since 14 August. The director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency held a face-to-face meeting with Abdul Ghani Baradar — a founder and one of the senior leaders of the Taliban — on 24 August, although the content of their discussion remains unknown. French officials stated that efforts to evacuate French citizens and local partners from Afghanistan will likely be completed as of 26 August. According to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canadian armed forces may remain in Kabul following the 31 August deadline if security circumstances permit. However, the Taliban contend that they will no longer allow Afghan citizens to enter the airport and are stopping Afghan citizens at checkpoints even if they possess valid travel documents.
Internal talks are ongoing within the Taliban regarding the formation of a government. The group has appointed a former Guantanamo Bay detainee as the acting defense minister. Discussions have included the appointments of some former government officials, including former President Hamid Karzai. In related developments, the Taliban have ordered some government workers– specifically in the finance ministry and central bank — to return to work. Meanwhile, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that there are credible reports of the Taliban conducting summary executions of civilians and members of Afghan security forces who surrendered to the militant group. The Taliban have pledged to investigate reports of such crimes.
Greece (Security threat level – 3): On 24 August 2021, authorities announced new coronavirus-related restrictions for the southern region of Messinia, which will remain in effect from 27 August until at least 1 September. Under the restrictions, a nightly curfew will be enforced from 0100-0600 local time (2200-0300 UTC), music will be banned in all bars, cafes and clubs, and gatherings will be restricted to no more than 20 people. The announcement was made the same day that health officials in Greece registered 4,608 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 — the highest number of daily cases in the country since the onset of the pandemic.
Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 25 August 2021, Alitalia — the country’s flag carrier — announced that it will cease operations on 14 October. As of 15 October, the airline will be replaced by Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA) as the flag carrier, which plans to purchase several aircraft owned by Alitalia. Alitalia customers who have previously booked flights beyond 14 October have the option to rebook for an earlier flight with ITA or get a refund.
Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 24 August 2021, the chairman of the state telecom provider Ogero stated that limited access to internet and mobile phone service nationwide is likely in the near future due to the ongoing fuel shortages. Ogero is currently providing its own power via generators due to the unreliability of the state power company, which was only providing a few hours of electricity per day countrywide. Despite the generators, internet outages have spread across the country and are becoming more frequent. Ogero is requesting additional funds from the government, but it is unknown if their request will be approved. Moreover, the generators are currently operating 20 hours per day and are increasingly at risk for breakdowns even as the company has halted preventative and major maintenance due to lack of funds.
Analyst Comment: Ogero controls the infrastructure for mobile phones, all fiber connections, and international cables. Therefore, if Ogero loses power, communications disruptions are likely across Lebanon.
Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 24 August 2021, authorities partially lifted a coronavirus-related entry ban on travelers from 20 countries — including Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, France, Japan, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UAE, the U.K. and the U.S. Only fully vaccinated individuals from these countries will be allowed to enter Saudi Arabia and are subject to all existing coronavirus-related restrictions.
Tanzania (Security threat level – 3): On 25 August 2021, a gunman opened fire near the French Embassy along Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road in the city of Dar es Salaam. Police officers responded to the assailant and the subsequent gun battle resulted in four fatalities, including three police officers and a civilian. In addition, six people were wounded in the event, and the assailant was also killed at the scene. Preliminary reports indicate that the assailant was a foreign national, but the attacker’s motive remains unknown.
Belize (Security threat level – 3): On 25 August 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Belize, which reads in part as follows: “Incidents of serious gang-related violence do occur in Belize City, most commonly in the area to the south of the Haulover Creek (known as Southside). Effective 18 August, a state of Emergency has been declared for the Southside for a period of one month. While tourists are not normally the targets of gang violence, anyone in the vicinity of an incident could be affected. You should exercise particular caution and remain vigilant of your surroundings if in and around these areas, especially at night.”
Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4): On 25 August 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa issued a Security Alert for Lubumbashi, which reads in part as follows: “There are reports of unrest and police activity in various parts of Lubumbashi.
“Actions to take:
Indonesia (Security threat level – 4): On 24 August 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice regarding coronavirus-related restrictions, which reads in part as follows: “Emergency public activity restrictions (PPKM) are in place until 30 August in Jakarta, Bali and many other regions of Indonesia. Essential services are available, but many public facilities are closed. It is mandatory to wear a face mask when outside. Criminal sanctions, including deportation or large fines may apply for violations of the restrictions. Many non-essential businesses are closed and the public are advised to work from home until at least 30 August.”
Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): On 24 August 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Grenada, which reads in part as follows:
“The State of Emergency has been extended to November 2021. Local regulations are in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. These were amended on 20 August to extend the curfew restricting freedom of movement from 9pm to 5am, and prohibit any party-like activities of more than 20 persons, amplified music and hosting of live entertainment. This adds to the existing limit on social gatherings, funerals and weddings to 20 persons, mandatory face covering in all public spaces, physical distancing, and no eating or drinking on public transport.”