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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Sep 8, 2021

Qatar and Turkey are working to restore passenger flights at Kabul airport soon but have yet to agree with Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers how to run the airport, their foreign ministers said on Tuesday.

Both countries have technical teams at the airport and Qatar is chartering near daily humanitarian flights following the withdrawal of U.S. troops a week ago, Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said.

"We hope in the next few days we can get to a level where the airport is up and running for passengers and for humanitarian aid as well," Sheikh Mohammed told a joint news conference in Doha with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

Read more: Reuters

The Taliban included the leader of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization in a new government to formally mark the group’s return to power after 20 years of war with America, as the West grapples with whether to recognize the new administration.

Mullah Mohammad Hassan, the little-known head of the Taliban’s leadership council, was named as acting prime minister, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said at a press conference in Kabul on Tuesday. Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the main public face of the group who signed a peace deal with the Trump administration last year, will serve as his deputy. 

Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the Haqqani Network who is on the FBI’s most wanted list for terrorism, will serve as acting interior minister. That may complicate any moves by the U.S. to cooperate with the Taliban, particularly as President Joe Biden urges the Taliban to cut all ties with terrorist groups.

Read more: Bloomberg

Binghamton police say the city man charged with stealing a fire department ambulance has been accused of setting a downtown fire two days later.

Authorities say 32-year-old Jonathan Ventura of Pine Street was arrested following an investigation into the theft of the ambulance and a separate arson incident.

The ambulance was driven away from the temporary fire department headquarters at Court and Carroll streets around 8:45 a.m. August 23. The vehicle was idling and unattended while the crew was in the station to pick up gear.

The suspicious fire reportedly occurred in a dumpster in Commercial Alley north of Court Street around 6:15 a.m. August 25.

Detective Captain Cory Minor said Ventura has been charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle and possession of stolen property in connection with the ambulance theft.

Read more: WNBF (Binghamton, NY)

As the effort to resettle those who escaped Afghanistan during the U.S. military withdrawal, there are now more than 46,000 Afghan refugees in the United States, according to law enforcement sources. More than a dozen of them have shown up on terror watch lists, the sources said.

But Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the U.S. has protocols to remove anyone brought to the country who later turns out to be a threat.

"We screen and vet individuals before they board a plane to the United States," Mayorkas told "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell in an exclusive interview. "An individual who does not satisfy our screening and vetting protocols is not admitted to the United States. And if in fact, we learn information subsequently, we place those individuals in removal proceedings so that they are set to leave the United States as swiftly as possible."

Read more: CBS News

An historic trial is beginning in France over the 2015 Paris attacks which left 130 people dead.

The shooting and bombing assault by Islamist State (IS) group extremists was the worst post-World War Two atrocity in France.

The only surviving attacker, Salah Abdeslam, will appear in court with 13 other defendants at a purpose-built facility in Paris.

The trial is being described as the biggest in France's modern history.

Over the next nine months, there will be over 140 days of hearings involving about 330 lawyers and 1,800 civil plaintiffs. About 300 witnesses will be heard, including survivors and François Hollande, French president at the time of the attacks.

Ahead of the trial, Mr Hollande told French media that this was an important moment for the victims of the attacks, which he described as an "act of war" at the time.

Read more: BBC News