In this edition of the Global Kidnap Bulletin, we discuss the changing security dynamics in Afghanistan as the Taliban takes office, we explain how shifting trafficking patterns and developments in the underworld have led some to describe the Netherlands as a narco-state, we look at the emergence of a new form of express kidnapping in Brazil facilitated by a mobile payment platform, we explore the drivers behind ongoing insecurity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces despite being under military administration since May, and we dissect the nature of post-coup environments in Africa specifically in terms of political evacuation planning.
From militants to ministers: The changing threats of kidnapping and extortion in Afghanistan
The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has changed some of the key security dynamics in the country. While Islamic State attacks are not likely to change in terms of methods or likely targets, we are likely to see some adjustments for both the Taliban and Al Qaeda in how they carry out extortion and kidnapping activities. With ongoing economic and security turbulence persisting, Afghanistan remains a high risk operating environment.
White lines: Tracking cocaine trafficking to Europe
The Netherlands has emerged as the European hub of cocaine trafficking and with that, growing organised crime activity. Descriptions of the Netherlands as a narco-state may not be far off the mark, particularly if current trends in drug shipping and violent gangland activity continue.
There’s an app for that: Express kidnapping takes new form in Brazil
A popular mobile payment platform has prompted a spree of express kidnappings in São Paulo, with the rest of Brazil likely not far behind. The app has made it easier and faster for criminals to extract payments from victims, and while service providers are being pressured into putting improved safety measures in place, the need for relatively straightforward payment processing for the app’s users is likely to mean it will remain susceptible to criminal exploitation.
Under siege: The crisis in Eastern DRC
Despite being ruled under martial law since May, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces are experiencing near-daily attacks and dozens of kidnappings, as government forces struggle to contain the rebel threat. Without a clear solution in sight, the insecurity is likely to persist.
Coup’ed up: Political evacuation planning in the era of the comeback coups
Following three successful coups to date in sub-Saharan Africa this year, operators in politically unstable countries may be looking to revisit their political evacuation protocols. The considerations change from the immediate aftermath of the coup, through the uncertainty of the first few weeks under the new regime, to the relative stability of transitional governments formed in the subsequent months. As unconstitutional changes to government remain a threat in many parts of the continent, robust political evacuation plans remain an essential part of the crisis management toolkit.