Following US President Donald Trump’s December 6 decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, protests have reportedly been called for Friday, December 8, following midday prayers, in front of the Provincial Governor’s office in Herat City. Friday prayers generally draw very large crowds and have often been targeted by terrorist groups present in the region.
In the coming days, it is possible that the US Embassy in Kabul as well as the surrounding diplomatic enclave become a focal point for aggression from critics of the decision. Additionally, militant groups such as the Islamic State (IS) may react violently and conduct attacks against US and international targets.
On Wednesday, December 6, President Trump announced that the US officially recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a departure from the previous US and international position of neutrality on the status of the city claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians; no country has an embassy in Jerusalem. World leaders have condemned the decision, claiming it will render impossible the establishment of a Palestinian state and could inflame tensions across the Muslim world. The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to hold an emergency session regarding the issue on Friday, December 8, as requested by eight nations.
The US Congress passed a law in 1995 stipulating that the US Embassy in Israel be moved to Jerusalem by May 1999; US Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama all issued waivers every six months to delay the move throughout their respective tenures.
Individuals in Afghanistan are advised to monitor developments to the situation and to avoid all public demonstrations due to the high risk of violence. Be aware that anti-American and anti-Western sentiment will likely surge in some areas; it is advisable to maintain a low profile and avoid discussing sensitive topics.
Many Western governments advise their citizens against travel to Afghanistan due to the high threat of kidnapping and terrorism, including frequent attacks against Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, local civilians and politicians, and individuals working in the humanitarian and reconstruction fields. Travel to the country should only be undertaken with proper security protocols in place.