Daily Evacuation Brief | April 27, 2023
A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER:
I have received several requests to turn the ‘community features’ on for the Afghan Digest. This would allow readers to comment on the stories and the open-source intelligence we provide each day. While we understand the value of such feedback/dialogue, we purposefully made the decision to disable such features as we witnessed situations on social media and other sites related to Afghanistan where at-risk Afghans provided personal information that exposed their identities and/or locations. It is difficult to maintain personal security protocols under the best of circumstances and the emotional debates that often take place over the Afghanistan crisis tend to inflame opinion and cause people to make mistakes. In this instance, we do not believe the gains outweigh the risks and will continue on our chosen path.
I want to thank those who have pledged support for the Afghan Digest. Your offers are generous and much appreciated. However, there is currently no mechanism that allows for charging subscriptions on a case-by-case basis. I would be forced to ‘turn on’ subscriptions for everyone and that defeats our main priority of informing those Afghans who are most at risk in Afghanistan or other locales. Therefore, I have not accepted any of the pledges that have been made and I encourage those who have offered their support to make a donation to Operation Snow Leopard in lieu of supporting The Afghan Digest. All funds collected by Operation Snow Leopard go directly to supporting people on the ground and they, like us, are an all-volunteer outfit.
Thank you for your feedback. -JMH
LAST 24 HOURS
RUSSIA ‘DROPS THE HAMMER’ ON THE TALIBAN – The Russian Foreign Minister made several remarks during a press conference in the US about Russia’s stance with regard to the Taliban. He proclaimed that Russia would not recognize the Taliban until it fulfilled its international obligations. Of primary importance to Russia was the formation of an inclusive government that represents not only ethnic minorities but opposing political views. He also added that the rights of girls and women must be respected. However, he also articulated that the Taliban are the ‘reality’ and must be dealt with on the ground in Afghanistan. Finally, he said Russia is supportive of the upcoming meeting in Doha which is to be hosted by the UN Secretary-General. Sergey Lavrov was in New York as Russia assumed the role of the presidency of the Security Council. Russia, Iran, and other regional powers have consistently stuck to the criteria Lavrov outlined but the Taliban leadership in Kandahar appears unwilling to compromise.
RUMORS OF US/TALIBAN COOPERATION AGAINST ISIS AND AL QAEDA CONTINUE TO SWIRL – Several regional News outlets have published stories about purported secretive meetings in Qatar and the UAE, between leaders of the Taliban’s intelligence unit (GDI) and select US intelligence agencies. The reports cite unnamed ‘sources’ who described the meetings as cordial and focused on limited areas of cooperation with regard to threats of mutual concern. The date of the meeting was not released but the sources said they had taken place recently. There has been no official confirmation of any such meetings but rumors of limited intelligence exchanges have circulated for many months and several analysts believe the drone strikes that resulted in the death of the al-Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, were coordinated with elements from the Ministry of the Interior.
POISONINGS AT WEDDING PARTY IN FARYAB – A source said that nearly 20 guests who attended a wedding in the province were poisoned and had fallen ill. The source said that preliminary investigation results suggest that guests were served pomegranate juice that had been laced with sleeping pills. There were no suspects named at the time of the report. The case is eerily similar to an incident that occurred in Faryab in 2015. Approximately 40 people were reputedly poisoned during a dinner at a wedding ceremony event in the Province and investigators believed the case was perpetrated by a jealous rival who had been involved with the Taliban-led poisoning of Afghan school girls that affected roughly 300 children in Herat Province the same year.
WHILE THE US ADMINISTRATION HAS ‘CONFIRMED’ THE TALIBAN ASSERTION OVER THE DEATH OF THE MASTERMIND OF THE ABBEY GATE BOMBING, OTHERS DISAGREE – Several Afghanistan observers and members of the former regime’s intelligence service and military say the Taliban and the US Government are wrong and the plotter is alive and is possibly living in Kunar Province. While the identity of the corpse discovered after a security operation in Southern Afghanistan earlier this month has not been released, those claiming knowledge of the situation say they got the wrong man. They have identified Abdullah Omar Bajawari as the actual planner of the Abbey Gate attack. At this point, it is not clear who was killed and what role he may have played in the attack. US officials continue to assert, with high confidence, that the man killed by the Taliban was indeed responsible for the deadly attack. More information will likely be released over the coming weeks to provide clarity.
NEXT 24 HOURS
SEVERE WEATHER ALERTS HAVE BEEN ISSUED IN AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN – A strong storm system is expected to roll across both countries over the coming week. Heavy rain, strong winds, and hail will be widespread and emergency management agencies are warning agricultural workers and the transport sector about the possibility of flooding. The system could be met by a high-pressure system loitering over China and India which would cause it to remain over Pakistan, potentially into the first week of May. At-risk Afghans who reside in areas under threat from this system should set aside drinking water and food as the expected flooding is expected to pollute local drinking water supplies and disrupt the transport systems.
A Shia cleric, Abbas Ali Soleimani, was murdered outside of a bank in the Northern Province of Mazandaran. The suspect has been arrested but no motive is yet known. Soliemani was an advisor to the previous supreme leader and was a member of the ‘Assembly of Experts’.
Youth groups in Mahabad attacked the security forces headquarters in the city after news spread about a Kurdish porter being killed when a security vehicle ran over him near the border.
There is confusion over a potential prisoner swap between Belgium and Iran. A spokesman for the Iranian regime said a deal had been made while Belgian authorities pushed back and said no deal has been struck.
Several former and current leaders in the government have stated concerns that India may attempt to mount a counter-terrorism operation to target the terrorists believed to be responsible for the Poonch terror attacks. Others dismissed the fears and say India has the G20 presidency this year and won’t want any kind of scandal to emerge.
Police barred the entry of 7 PTI party MPs from entering the National Assembly yesterday. Police denied access to the National Assembly on the grounds the MPs had publicly resigned in April of 2022 and no longer merited entry. The Iranian Ambassador was present and was forced to seek shelter during the embarrassing display.
A clash between the Army and militants in the Khyber District has resulted in the deaths of 2 Army soldiers and 2 militants.
Pakistan’s Government announced that 98% of the contentious Durand Line fence was now complete and the remaining portion would be finished over the Summer.
Tajikistan’s security forces reportedly killed 2 terrorists who had attempted to cross the border in the Vanj District of Gorno-Badakhshan. A spokesman for the security forces said that weapons and explosives were recovered from the scene and the men had intended to carry out a terrorist operation.
The Commander of the Border Guard unit that had come under fire for a ‘bullying’ incident under his Command has been arrested. A video of the incident was posted on social media and an investigation was launched immediately after it went viral.
The US Assistant Secretary of State, Donald Liu, met with the Foreign Minister in Dushanbe on Wednesday to discuss bilateral cooperation.
By Zahra Nader - Zan Times
For a long time, I wanted to write about the question of ethnicity and ethnic bigotry in Afghanistan. I was looking for an example when I read a comment by a reporter on one of my recent posts on Facebook. I met this reporter only once at a media conference organized by Global Investigative Journalism Network and Centre for Investigative Journalism Nepal in Kathmandu, in 2016. We became Facebook friends. He sometimes left me comments and acted like a normal Facebook friend until we started Zan Times.
By TOLO News
“This committee has been formed by the Prime Minister and led by Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, and it also includes…
By Ahmed Hanayesh & Mansoor Khosrow - RFE
Inside the Islamic seminary, dozens of teenage girls sit on the floor, rocking back and forth, as they recite the Koran…
By Nasir Ahmad Salehi - TOLO News
At least 500 addicts who were treated in Herat have been hired to work in the salt mine of the province as a result of an agreement between the counter-narcotics department of…
By Fidel Rahmati - Khaama Press
“Two members of an international terrorist cell crossed the state border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan on Wednesday morning to conduct terrorist…
By Fidel Rahmati - Khaama Press
Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi had a detailed meeting with Pakistan’s former army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, before asking India to send…
INTERNATIONAL NEWS RELATING TO AFGHANISTAN
By Ariana News
During a press conference in Tehran, he stressed that these countries have contributed less than the promised…
By Yeni Safak
The Security Council asked Antonio Guterres in March to conduct and provide forward-looking recommendations for an integrated and…
THE DAILY WTF
By Bakhtar News Agency
The court in the capital issued the verdict on Wednesday based on complaints by families of three people killed and six wounded during the June 2017 attacks in Tehran…
‘Theater of the absurd.’ TAD Staff
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 86.37 AFN (as of 27 APR 2023)