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Daily Evacuation Brief | August 18, 2022
LAST 24 HOURS
A bomb blast tore through the Siddiquiya Mosque in Kabul’s Khair Khana neighborhood, killing at least 10 and wounding over 30. The death toll is expected to climb. Some eyewitnesses say the blast was triggered by a suicide bomber, but the method has not been confirmed yet. High-ranking cleric Mullah Amir Mohammad Kabuli was reputedly among those killed. No group has yet claimed credit for the attack, and no further information was available.
Hazara Taliban Commander Mawlawi Mahdi Mujahid, who split from the Taliban and launched a Hazara resistance in Balkhab, was reportedly killed by the Taliban while attempting to flee to Iran via Herat. Conflicting reports have been shared from official and unofficial sources about the circumstances under which he was killed. Some claim he was killed while in captivity, while others say he was killed in a shootout. Early speculation denied the reports altogether and stated he was still alive and fighting in Balkhab; however, multiple sources have shared photos of his body, and it seems clear that he is now dead.
In a show of force, the Taliban ordered several sorties of repaired military aircraft to fly over Kabul. The display included at least three helicopters and one airplane.
In a reversal of his earlier views, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, a controversial warlord who played a central role in toppling the Taliban in 2001, is now urging Afghans to cease fighting and to work together for the future of the country. The general had called for armed resistance earlier in the year and was said to be lobbying several nations for arms and equipment.
Several sources claim the World Bank intends to reopen its offices in Kabul and that an announcement is forthcoming.
A spokesman for the Kabul police has announced that over 3,000 arrests have been made in the city over the last year, including 52 connected to terror groups. He also announced that security scanners had been reactivated at four entrances to Kabul and were now working properly. Some analysts from human rights organizations have opined that the arrest figures do not account for those arrested for their ties to the previous regime and/or accused of supporting Resistance forces. It is thought that the number given to the press is far below the actual count.
As expected, the Taliban have redeployed fresh fighters to Takhar province in response to several reported successful attacks by NRF forces in the region. The reinforcements arrived by helicopter, and their exact number is unknown. Several ground convoys of reinforcements were observed to be marshaling for movement to the province, but a source claimed they were waiting for security escorts before beginning movement as fears over potential ambushes have worried commanders.
We are investigating reports of a large explosion at the Mandigak Palace in Kandahar province. Yesterday, the Taliban announced that Kandahar would host senior IEA officials, former government officials, and tribal leaders in order to discuss Afghanistan’s future. Local sources are claiming that several members of the senior leadership and visiting diplomats from other countries were in the palace when the explosion occurred. We have not verified this information as reports were received late, but several accounts are going viral on social media.
NEXT 24 HOURS
In the wake of Mawlawi Mahdi’s death, most analysts are watching to see what the remnants of his forces will do. Sources in the Ministry of Defense claim his successor will be Amir Sahib Mehdi Mujahid. However, the new commander’s allegiances are not known. The Taliban are considering sending additional fighters to Balkhab in anticipation of an armed response but are wary of committing too many men while the NRF is active in Panjshir.
Taliban forces in Panjshir are expected to launch offensives against NRF positions in an attempt to roll back successes achieved over the previous two days. With the bulk of their reinforcements not yet on the scene, these actions will likely be ineffective.
If the reports about the attack on senior Taliban leadership at the Mandigak Palace prove to be true, it would represent the first coup de main against the IEA executive. A significant security response would almost certainly be initiated, which could turn violent and may affect non-combatants. At-risk Afghans should make sure they are staying up to date with local and national news.
By Aaron Y. Zelin – The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
When the Taliban first ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates recognized its “Islamic Emirate.” Yet while no country has officially recognized the new government established after the group recaptured Kabul one year ago, the Taliban is far less isolated today than it was during its first iteration. In March, for example, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called for international recognition of the Islamic Emirate, while his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov argued that it should be granted a seat at the United Nations. Just how extensive is this diplomatic momentum? And how might it be affected by the July 31 targeted killing of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was reportedly being sheltered in Kabul by Taliban interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani?
By Anadolu Agency
A violent explosion took place on Wednesday in a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul, local police…
By Mohammed Rasool – VICE
The Taliban say they don’t exist, but small groups of loosely linked resistance fighters still operate across…
By Al Arabiya
Mahdi Mujahid’s split with the Taliban leadership in June is the highest-profile public division seen in the group since they…
By Asia News
The migrant issue is back at the center of talks between the Turkish government and the Taliban, which has…
By Iran Front Page
Iran’s special representative to Afghanistan says the Islamic Republic is pursuing a policy of interaction with the Taliban rulers based on…
INTERNATIONAL NEWS RELATING TO AFGHANISTAN
By Sophia Cai – Axios
The Biden administration is developing a portal to facilitate and simplify the reunification of Afghans with family members left behind in their Taliban-controlled country, three people familiar with the matter tell Axios.
It's been a year since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, but today many Afghans are still desperate to flee — including those who…
THE DAILY WTF
The Iranian diplomat made the remark in a meeting with the governor of Herat Province, northwest Afghanistan, as well as the head of…
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 88.65 AFN (as of 18 AUG 2022)