Daily Evacuation Brief | August 5, 2022
LAST 24 HOURS
Taliban officials claimed they had no knowledge that al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was residing in the country. Sources in the Ministry of Defense claim the statement was planned and meant to absolve the regime of any official responsibility.
Several rumors have circulated that the operation was given tacit approval after elements of Al Qaeda had refused to depart Afghanistan earlier in the year. There are some indications the Taliban had been notified of the strike in advance, but nothing has been confirmed.
It is worth noting that al-Zawahiri was killed while residing at the home of a top aide to Taliban deputy leader Sirajuddin Haqqani; furthermore, the Haqqani network reportedly immediately evacuated his family and attempted to conceal his presence in the home. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the US government does believe that senior members of the Haqqani network were aware of Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul.
Reporting remains conflicted as to whether al-Zawahiri was killed without collateral damage or if some of his family members and/or associates were also killed in the attack. Information has been tightly controlled.
Afghanistan observers should monitor closely the US–Taliban discussions concerning the frozen assets. If the US relents and releases some funds, this would be a strong indicator that negotiations regarding killing the terrorist leader may have taken place. Many analysts believe al-Zawahiri was a divisive factor that has long contributed to the discord between Haqqani and Kandahari factions of the Taliban. There is significant debate over whether his killing will create greater dysfunction among the regime or unify the disparate groups.
The US Ambassador to Pakistan visited the Torkham border crossing after allegedly receiving complaints about poor living conditions from Afghans who had crossed and were pursuing US immigration cases. The US ambassador is thought to be taking a more visible role after China reputedly expressed concern about the use of Pakistani air space to conduct over the horizon counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan. It is thought China’s complaints are propelled more by the recent US delegation’s visit to Taiwan than with security in Central Asia.
Limited fighting was reported in Panjshir and Baghlan but no casualties have been reported other than the targeted assassinations listed below in the Conflict Tracker. Local sources in Panjshir claim that the Taliban seem to be consolidating their forces, and increased vehicular traffic has been observed. For their part, Resistance forces have chosen to stay in their bases to rest their men.
Several former US ambassadors and senior diplomats to Afghanistan wrote a joint op-ed urging the US government to support reimposing a United Nations travel ban on the Taliban. They argue that the United States’ words have been hollow and that it needs to take strong “actions that make its words meaningful” regarding protecting the rights of women and girls or decoupling from al-Qaeda.
NEXT 24 HOURS
Analysts agree that three leading candidates are vying for al-Qaeda’s top post following al-Zawahiri’s assassination. The three most likely successors are Saif Al Adel, Yazad Mubarak, and Almaghrabi. Sources claim two of the men are in known locations and may be targeted in the next day or two. None are reputedly in Afghanistan, but all three are said to have visited the country in the past five years.
Security sweeps continue in Kabul by agents of the Ministry of the Interior. Sources claim many of the agents recruited by the Haqqani network are voicing concerns about a possible deal between US intelligence and Kandahar that may have led to the drone attack on al-Zawahiri. Sources say the searches are not being conducted seriously.
How the U.S. Never Left Afghanistan
By Emran Feroz – The American Prospect
When the Biden administration prepared to share important news regarding a successful counterterrorism operation, many Afghanistan observers suspected that what seemed at first to be a minor event from the weekend might not be so minor after all. Initially, it was reported that a small missile had struck a building in Kabul. No casualties had been reported at first. But in due course, it was the Taliban themselves who took the next step. In a statement, the group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, denounced an American drone strike that took place on Afghan soil. Mujahed stopped short of releasing any details; the statement did not name any specific victims and instead stuck to the predictable and general condemnation of Washington having again violated Afghan sovereignty.
Taliban Pre-empts IS-K’s Impending Attack on Shiites in Muharram; Justifying Clash in Karta-e-Sakhi
By Saqalain Eqbal – Khaama Press
The Taliban defends the operation in the Karta-e-Sakhi area, in Kabul, by saying that IS-K intended to use the “nest” they…
Taliban says was not aware al Qaeda leader in Kabul, warns U.S.
By Gibran Naiyyar Peshimam & Mohammad Yunus Yawar – Reuters
The Taliban on Thursday said the government had no information about al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri "entering and living" in…
Indefinite ceasefire will continue amid ongoing peace talks, TTP tells Pak delegation
Leaders of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan have assured a Pakistani delegation that the indefinite ceasefire will remain in force till…
Ariana Afghan Airlines resumes flights to India
By Ariana News
The company wrote on its Facebook page: “The first flight from Kabul to New Delhi will be on…”
INTERNATIONAL NEWS RELATING TO AFGHANISTAN
FBI 'actively' investigating Afghan evacuees in US flagged as suspected terrorists, security threats: Wray
By Brooke Singman & Adam Shaw – Fox News
A Department of Defense whistleblower reported to Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., that 324 of the individuals the Biden administration….
Taliban host former British military commander for humanitarian talks
By Thomas Harding – The National News
The Taliban have hosted the first former British commander to return to Afghanistan since the group seized control of the…
THE DAILY WTF
Man Arrested in Western Afghanistan for Attempting to Sell His Mother for 450,000 Afghanis
By Saqalain Eqbal – Khaama Press
A man who attempted to sell his mother together with two accomplices was arrested, according to the…
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 90.40 AFN (as of 5 AUG 2022)