ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE
NOVEMBER 22, 2021
The United States is committed to using its full set of counterterrorism tools to counter the threat posed by the Islamic State’s Khorasan Province, commonly referred to as ISIS-K, as part of our relentless efforts to ensure Afghanistan cannot again become a platform for international terrorism.
Today, the Department of State is designating three ISIS-K leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.
Sanaullah Ghafari, also known as Shahab al-Muhajir, is ISIS-K’s current overall emir. He was appointed by the ISIS core to lead ISIS-K in June 2020. Ghafari is responsible for approving all ISIS-K operations throughout Afghanistan and arranging funding to conduct operations.
Sultan Aziz Azam, also known as Sultan Aziz, has held the position of ISIS-K spokesperson since ISIS-K first came to Afghanistan.
Maulawi Rajab, also known as Maulawi Rajab Salahudin, is a senior leader of ISIS-K in Kabul Province, Afghanistan. Rajab plans ISIS-K’s attacks and operations and commands ISIS-K groups conducting attacks in Kabul.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of the Treasury is designating Ismatullah Khalozai pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for providing financial support to ISIS-K. Khalozai has been an international financial facilitator for ISIS-K and has carried out missions for senior ISIS leadership. Khalozai operated a Turkey-based hawala business to transfer funds to finance ISIS-K operations. He also operated a United Arab Emirates-based financing scheme, which involved sending luxury items to international destinations for resale, in an effort to generate funds for ISIS-K. Separately, Khalozai has carried out human smuggling operations for ISIS-K, including personally smuggling an ISIS-K courier from Afghanistan to Turkey.
As a result of these actions, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with those designated today. Their property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked.
Terrorist designations expose and isolate entities and individuals, and prevent them from exploiting the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist the law enforcement activities of U.S. agencies and other relevant enforcement entities and governments.
We will continue to use all levers of American power to target terrorists who plot operations to indiscriminately kill civilians around the world, and those who enable, facilitate, and finance their acts.
The CEO of Twitter resigned amidst a dilemma
Jack Dorsey posted his resignation on Monday (yesterday), after 16 years of founding the social media company.
“I resigned from Twitter,” he wrote and posted a screenshot of his resignation letter sent to Twitter.
He also blazoned Parag Agrawal as his successor.
EndSARS Battle with FG
Dorsey has not been in the good books of the Nigerian government since October 2020, over an allegation that he was complicit in the creation of the EndSARS protests that ended in the destruction of lives and billions of property in Nigeria.
In June 2021, the governance of the Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), suspended Twitter, citing the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”. The Federal Government’s action followed an omission of a controversial civil war post by the President.
The Buhari governance had since come under fire for what numerous nominated as a restriction of the right of expression.
The global community containing the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, amongst others had since knocked the Buhari governance for the action but the Federal Government had been unyielding in its stance averring that the sovereignty of the West African nation must be admired by the San Francisco tech giant.
Millions of content generators in Nigeria, who earn their living from the microblogging site, have been affected as they’re interdicted from using Twitter. Some of them have since embarked on a trip of diversification while exploring other social media platforms.
Nigeria, with over 200 million people, had about 33 million active social media users as of January 2021. WhatsApp is the most popular platform used in the country, with over 90 million users according to Statista.
Also according to Statista, about 61.4 percent of Nigerian social media users use Twitter, 86.2 percent use Facebook, 81.6 percent use YouTube, 73.1 percent use Instagram, and 67.2 percent use Facebook Messenger.
Read Dorsey’s full resignation letter:
After almost 16 years of having a part at our company …. from-founder to CEO to Chair to Exec Chair to interim CEO… I decided it’s eventually time for me to leave.
There’s a lot of talk about the significance of a company being author-led.’ Eventually, I believe that’s oppressively limiting and a single point of failure. I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break down from its founding and founders.
There are 3 reasons I believe now is the right time.
The first is Parag becoming our CEO. The board ran a rigorous process considering all options and unanimously appointed Parag. He’s been my choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its requirements.
Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around. He’s curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, tone-apprehensive, and humble. He leads with heart and soul and is someone I learn from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone-deep.
The second is Bret Taylor agreeing to become our board president, I asked Bret to join our board when I became CEO, and he’s been excellent in every way. He understands entrepreneurship, taking pitfalls, companies at massive scale, technology, product, and he’s a mastermind.
All of the effects the board and the company earn right now. Having Bret in this leadership part gives me a lot of confidence in the strength of our board going forward. You have no idea how happy this makes me!
The third is all of you. We have a lot of ambition and eventuality on this team. Consider this Parag started then as a mastermind who watched deeply about our work and now he’s our CEO (I also had an analogous path … he did it more!). This alone makes me proud.
I know that Parag will be suitable to conduct this energy best because he’s lived it and knows what it takes. All of you have the eventuality to change the course of this company for the better. I believe this with all my heart!
Parag is CEO starting today. I’m going to serve on the board through my term (May-ish) to help Parag and Bret with the transition. And after that … I’ll leave the board. Why not stay or become president? I believe it’s really important to give Parag the space he needs to lead.
And back to my former point, I believe it’s critical a company can stand on its own, free of its author’s influence or direction.
I want you all to know that this was my decision and I enjoy it. It was a tough one for me, of course. I love this service and company … and all of you so much. I’m really sad … … yet really happy.
There aren’t numerous companies that get to this position. And there aren’t numerous authors that choose their company over their pride. I know we’ll prove this was the right move.
We’ll have an each-hands meeting hereafter at 905 AM Pacific to discuss it all. Until then, thank you all for the trust you’ve placed in me, and for the openness to make that trust in Parag and yourselves. I love you all.
Secretary Blinken’s Call with Kenyan President Kenyatta
OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON
NOVEMBER 26, 2021
The following is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Secretary Blinken thanked President Kenyatta for his warm and productive visit to Nairobi on November 17-18. Secretary Blinken expressed grave concern about worrying signs of military escalation in Ethiopia and emphasized the need to urgently move to negotiations.
President Kenyatta and Secretary Blinken agreed on the importance of unhindered humanitarian access for all communities affected by the conflict and reiterated their support for an inclusive political dialogue.
Elimination of Violence against Women
Observance of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
ANTONY J. BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE
NOVEMBER 24, 2021
Preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV) is a human rights imperative and one this Administration is committed to championing. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, GBV impeded women and girls’ free and full participation in society.
The pandemic has only exacerbated existing gender inequities, including increasing women’s economic insecurity; decreasing access to education and safe spaces for girls; and growing risk to all forms of GBV, particularly intimate partner violence, female genital mutilation/cutting, homophobic and transphobic violence, and child, early, and forced marriage.
We are taking steps to address the “shadow pandemic” of GBV around the world. In March, President Biden called for the development of the first-ever U.S. National Action Plan to End GBV and an update to the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to GBV Globally.
Both processes will include significant input from valued civil society partners, many of whom have served on the front lines of this pandemic. Addressing GBV, including online harassment and abuse, will also be a priority topic of discussion in President Biden’s upcoming Summit for Democracy.
In addition, the recently released U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality highlights the elimination of GBV as one of our core gender and national security priorities. Guided by these strategic documents, the United States will develop and strengthen policies to end all forms of GBV, address GBV through comprehensive service provision, and increase prevention efforts.
Everyone deserves to live a life free from violence and achieve their full potential. Gender-based violence undermines the human rights and fundamental freedoms of far too many people in far too many places. The United States condemns all forms and instances of gender-based violence.
On this 30th anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, we recommit to preventing and responding to gender-based violence as a moral and strategic imperative, as fairness and equity issue, and as a driver of our collective prosperity and security.
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