Submitted by caputon on Wed, 09/08/2021 - 12:40

Rapid Response Image Intelligence of the crisis at Kabul Airport, August 2021

In coordination with colleagues in UN GIS in New York, the UN Operations and Crisis Centre (UNOCC) and UNAMA, the UNGSC's Analytics & Location Intelligence Unit produced a number of rapid satellite image-based intelligence analytics describing the evolving situation in and around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.

On the afternoon of the 26th August 2021, a virtual meeting was convened between Jonathan Stewart of the UNGSC’s Analytics & Location Intelligence UNIT (ALIU) and colleagues in UN GIS in UN Headquarters, New York. This was in response to the evolving crisis unfolding in and around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. During the meeting, it was decided that ALIU would download the most recently available Very High Resolution satellite imagery over the airport and produce image intelligence analytics describing the situation on the ground at that time.

In coordination with colleagues in UN GIS in New York, the UN Operations and Crisis Centre (UNOCC) and UNAMA, the UNGSC's Analytics & Location Intelligence Unit produced a number of rapid satellite image-based intelligence analytics describing the evolving situation in and around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.

 

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An example of the Index page for the first analytic report produced by ALIU.

 

 

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An example of one of the 10 image subsets in the first analytic report produced by ALIU.

 

 

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An example of the analytic showing the locations of the complex attacks of 26th August.

 

On the afternoon of the 26th August 2021, a virtual meeting was convened between Jonathan Stewart of the UNGSC’s Analytics & Location Intelligence UNIT (ALIU) and colleagues in UN GIS in UN Headquarters, New York. This was in response to the evolving crisis unfolding in and around Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. During the meeting, it was decided that ALIU would download the most recently available Very High Resolution satellite imagery over the airport and produce image intelligence analytics describing the situation on the ground at that time.

Worldview 3 images with a spatial resolution of 33cm, acquired on 23 August, were analysed and interpreted, with activity of interest and concern highlighted in a 11-page image intelligence analytic report, produced and delivered within less than 24 hours. On the day of delivery, 27th August, further events of a critical nature had occurred in the vicinity of the airport, with terrorists carrying out a complex attack involving personal-bourne improvised explosive devices (PBIED) and small arms at two locations just outside the airport perimeter, resulting in the deaths of at least 182 people, including 169 Afghan civilians and 13 members of the United States military.

ALIU responded by producing an additional satellite image-based analytic, showing the precise locations of the attacks, that same day.

During the following days, ALIU continued to monitor the situation at the airport, as well as UNAMA Compounds within Kabul city, while UN GIS colleagues in headquarters monitored the situation at other UNAMA occupied locations in other parts of Afghanistan, including Kandahar and Mazar Sherif, also producing image intelligence products for those locations.

ALIU also produced another 11-page image intelligence analytic report, also produced within less than 24 hours, showing a comparison of locations highlighted in the original report, using images acquired on 23rd August, with more recent images acquired on 27th August, for comparison.

To date, ALIU analysts in coordination with their colleagues in UN GIS, continue to use satellite images to monitor the situation at the airport, as well as UNAMA occupied locations throughout Afghanistan, supporting situational awareness within DOS, UNAMA and the UNOCC.