Geopolitical Risk in Afghanistan
August 20, 2021
One of the biggest news stories of the last weeks has been the swift takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, following the withdrawal of US Troops.
While the speed with which the Taliban gained control of the country came as a surprise in many circles, the Wall Street Journal reported that US Embassy officials in Kabul sent two cables to the State Department in Washington in July, warning that there could be a swift takeover following the August 31st deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. Troops. The memos recommended that the evacuation of US citizens and their Afghan allies be completed as soon as possible.
While no doubt many factors have come into play in the delayed evacuation, according to an anonymous Democratic congressional staffer who spoke with the Washington Post, the evacuation plan that was put together in the summer by the Biden Administration seemed reasonable at that time, but the administration failed to update it as the Taliban rapidly made gains in Afghanistan. And now it’s starting to look unlikely that all citizens and allies will make it out of Afghanistan before the end of the timeframe agreed upon between the US and the Taliban.
How Does This Affect You?
The threat landscape is becoming more complex and unpredictable as several events -from social unrest to supply chain disruptions- have changed security risk factors. While the takeover of an entire country is an extreme example of geopolitical risk, for an organization without access to the right data at the right time, a slow or misinformed response to any geopolitical event could mean physical harm to assets and people, eroded reputation, and financial costs.
How Can You Stay Secure?
Online data supports situational awareness for management of Geopolitical Risk. Echosec Systems provides access to a wide range of social, news, deep, and dark websites in one platform to support early threat detection and situational awareness.
- As bystanders capture or report an event, social media sites are often the earliest sources of ground-truth information. Authors on some of these sites can also geotag their location, which is valuable for finding threats near locations relevant to an organization’s assets.
- If your facilities or personnel span the globe, access to localized news and social networks may be beyond the scope of your standard Google search. Specialized information-gathering tools can automatically detect critical events on multilingual and region-specific sites you might not know where to find.
- Less-regulated social networks, chan boards, and alt-tech have more lenient content policies than mainstream social media. For security and emergency operations centers, these sites can provide early alerts like manifestos and planning that may precipitate a critical event like a shooting or terrorist attack.