Daily Evacuation Brief | April 7, 2022
LAST 24 HOURS:
An explosion at the Pul-e-Khishti Mosque in police district 1 of Kabul wounded several people. Witnesses stated they saw a man throw a grenade during prayers. Police say they have detained the suspect. The attack is the second this week reported in Kabul. The previous attack also used a hand grenade to target money changers in the Sarai Shahzada money exchange market. Authorities have yet to announce who is responsible for either attack.
An evacuation flight containing some American citizens departed Kabul for Doha, Qatar. This is believed to be the third recent flight focusing on evacuating American citizens and green card holders who have been stuck in Afghanistan since the fall of Kabul.
The passport office has posted on its website that they will be closing for an unspecified duration. No reason was given.
In a bid to stabilize the afghani, the Taliban began banning foreign currencies in transactions. The initial round of bans is taking place in the border provinces where utilizing foreign currency is most common but are expected to extend throughout the country by the end of the month. It is unlikely the Taliban will be able to fully enforce the edict.
The Afghanistan Freedom Front (a group opposed to the Taliban) claimed to have orchestrated an attack on the police headquarters of the Khaja Ghar district of Takhar. The group also claimed to have launched an operation in Kapisa earlier. Videos were posted on Twitter purportedly documenting both engagements. The Afghan Digest has yet to verify the claims.
Reports of fighting between Taliban forces and currently unidentified resistance groups took place in the forests of Anaba district in Panjshir. No further information is known at this time.
NEXT 24 HOURS:
Police district 1 in Kabul is expected to experience a significant security presence in the wake of the two attacks this past week. Sources indicated that the focus of searches will be on pedestrians, and the Taliban will bring in several women to assist with personal searches. Furthermore, snipers of the 1st Commando Battalion are expected to be placed on rooftops in the district.
The Ministry of Interior is sending a second investigative team to Bamyan to look into the recent protests by women there. It has been reported they are carrying several warrants for arrest.
ANALYSIS SPOTLIGHT: An Operational Disadvantage
CONTEXT: Fierce fighting has been reported in Panjshir, Andarab, and Hesarak for the past several days. The Taliban have remained quiet about the clashes, but video and photographic evidence has been posted by opposition groups from virtually the start.
DISCUSSION: Although the exact number of casualties on both sides are disputed, many Taliban and some NRF fighters are known to have been killed in separate engagements, including some commanders.
The Taliban now face an operational disadvantage in the country. Having to defend static positions to protect high value targets while simultaneously conducting insurgency operations is taxing on men, funds, and supplies. It also exposes major problems with the command-and-control structure the Taliban have adopted.
The lack of an effective air response capability has limited the Taliban’s ability to counter opposition group attacks. They have established a few quick reaction force (QRF) units in the larger towns, but they are dispersed and only capable of effectively intervening in local incidents. All movement is overland, and the QRF units that have been sent to problem spots generally lack a full understanding of the situation and their objectives. The time required to respond provides insurgents a distinct advantage by allowing them to reposition their forces or call-in reserves to attack an exposed flank.
ANALYSIS: The lengthy time required to bring air units back into the equation will benefit insurgent groups. Most observers calculate it would take the Taliban well over a year to train, maintain, and recruit an Air Force. Even after doing so, they will face issues with keeping the planes and helicopters airworthy while protecting the bases. Neither mission is something they have experience with, and engineering expertise is rare since almost all aircraft maintenance was previously done by Western contractors.
In the interim, it’s likely the Taliban will adopt a strategy of stationing more troops in historically hostile zones which will leave other areas vulnerable to attack. Insurgent groups will exploit this weakness to maximum effect.
As the Taliban become more frustrated with the tactical situation, they are apt to begin punishing entire villages or ethnic groups as they continue to sustain losses. Such incidents will outrage sympathetic regimes and further alienate the population.
As they struggle to hold and defend their rule of the country, the Taliban now find themselves wearing the shoes of their predecessors. The additional major disadvantage they face is the lack of modern military advisors and access to a strong logistical chain for the force.
Some regional actors are rumored to be providing tactical intelligence, but it is minimal and not timely enough to be effective. Barring the entrance of a sponsor such as China who is willing to step in in order to advise and equip the Taliban, the prognosis looks to be a slugfest of small unit tactical engagements for the foreseeable future.
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 88.09 AFN (as of 7 APR 2022)
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