An increased threat of attacks targeting the Coalition Forces and the international community - especially if associated with the US or with US funding - is being reported across Afghanistan as of Friday, January 3, following the attack against al-Quds force commander Qasem Suleimani in Baghdad (Iraq) earlier the same day. The risk is particularly high in western provinces which share a border with Iran.
A heightened security presence is likely throughout the country.
While the majority of the Afghan population is Sunni Muslims, Iran often provides support to Anti-Government Elements (AGE) as part of a wider strategy to apply indirect pressure on the US.
The US Department of Defense released a statement on January 3, claiming responsibility for an airstrike targeting Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Iran's Quds Force, near Baghdad International Airport (BGW). According to the statement, Soleimani was "actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region." Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), was also killed in the strike along with six other individuals.
Individuals in Afghanistan are advised to monitor the situation, avoid areas near government buildings and other national institutions, report suspicious objects and behaviors to police, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
The security environment in Afghanistan remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.