Daily Evacuation Brief | February 16, 2022
Daily news about Afghanistan and the surrounding region powered by Operation Snow Leopard
Last 24 Hours
Taliban leadership celebrated the 33rd anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal with calls for recognition and aid.
A measles outbreak has been spreading throughout the country and has claimed several lives.
Reports from the weekend security roundup in Kabul suggest nearly 100 people were detained for various charges. Many members of the former government were reported to be among those arrested.
Next 24 Hours
Russia announced it was interested in finding a diplomatic solution to the impasse over Ukraine. They stated they planned to pull some troops back from the border.
Pakistan and the Taliban will discuss the situation with the Durand Line.
GROWING THE TALIBAN ARMY
CONTEXT: Recent announcements made by the acting Taliban Minister of Defense illustrate the Taliban’s desire to build and maintain a large standing military. During a television interview this week, he claimed the Taliban currently have approximately 80,000 recruits registered and just graduated their first batch of 10,000 soldiers recently. He also made an appeal to military personnel from the former regime to return and join the new Army. So far, there has not been much interest from veterans of the democratic regime, nor is much interest expected.
The announcement raises several issues and could significantly change the power dynamic in the region. With stocks of US and NATO weapons and equipment, the Taliban’s army would constitute the most modern force in the region—at least until their cache of repair parts becomes exhausted. However, in the interim, Afghanistan’s neighbors must deal with the reality of a 21st century military on their borders and a potentially volatile national command authority controlling it.
A Taliban force of 110,000 would vastly outnumber its “-stan” neighbors to the north, while their size would still pale in comparison to Iran and Pakistan.
*Russian forces that are habitually stationed in Tajikistan and periodically deployed to Uzbekistan are not included in the above troop strength assessments
The Taliban’s large force is clearly not being assembled to counter external threats; they are wary of internal challenges, like the NRF. However, the Taliban’s strategic ability seems to stop there, given that this force is overly large and financially unsustainable. For a nation that is currently paying civil servants with wheat rations, starting a new ‘era’ off with a massive defense deficit could prove to be deeply problematic. Unlike their civilian counterparts, the military will be organized, trained, and armed. A forced seizure of resources, mass resignations, or quite possibly a coup could be the end result.
ANALYSIS: Based on the information assembled to date, we believe:
The Taliban’s force would not be able to sustain a conventional offensive campaign for long.
Funding the force will be problematic and likely have a negative effect on potential donors who are focused on humanitarian aid.
The justification for the force is almost certainly for internal threats.
It’s probable that logistics units are not properly manned and trained, further diminishing the force’s effectiveness.
It is likely that units will be organized along ethnic lines and that Pashtun units will receive priority. This will create a ‘Praetorian Effect’ and establish distrust among units.
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 91.51 AFN (as of 16 FEB 2022)
Taliban Seeking 110,000-Strong Army After 6 Months in Power
By Akmal Dawi – Voice of America
The acting defense minister of Afghanistan's Taliban government has announced plans to build a 110,000-strong army for Afghanistan.
Officials Call for Intl Engagement at Event Marking Soviet Exit
By Fakhria Radfar – TOLO News
At the gatherings, held in Kabul, officials called on the world to engage with the Islamic Emirate and to recognize its…
Defense ministry urges Afghan military students abroad to return home
By Ariana News
In an interview with a state-owned media outlet, Mujahid stated around 80,000 have been enrolled to join the…
Afghanistan pays down $5M in electricity debts to Tajikistan
Afghanistan has paid down $5 million of outstanding electricity delivery debts to Tajikistan, but still owes $27 million, the head of the…
Taliban says they did not allow Pakistan to continue fencing along the Durand Line
The Durand Line has been a bone of contention between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Taliban on Tuesday said…
The Taliban seek legitimacy. Gulf monarchies more cautious
By Prime Asia News
Qatar continues to act as the main mediator between the Afghan Emirate and the rest of the world. However, no country wants to grant international recognition. After the meeting…
Afghanistan-Iran Disquiet Over the Helmand River
By Sudha Ramachandran – The Diplomat
On January 19, Afghanistan opened the gates of the Kamal Khan Dam, which sits astride the Helmand River in…
International News Relating to Afghanistan
UK to Co-Host Conference on Afghan Humanitarian Crisis to Raise $4.4 Billion
By The Afghanistan Times
The UK is planning to host a conference on Afghan humanitarian status, hoping to raise…
US and others shouldn’t fall for Taliban’s ruses. Aid and assets will still go to terrorism
By Husain Haqqani – The Print
The Taliban’s return to power has created a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan that is worsening by the day. Instead of acknowledging…
Afghanistan’s Watchdog Journalists Turn to Leaks and Offshore Sites
By Amer Malik – Global Investigative Journalism Network
In the aftermath of the Taliban regime’s takeover of Afghanistan, an extraordinary adjustment has taken place within…
Before you go:
To support our work, become a monthly subscriber or donate here.
All our funds go toward caseworkers supporting evacuations, the evacuations themselves, and/or operational costs to keep this mission going.
Check out our other content:
Whispers: The best open source intelligence and analysis on Afghanistan. (weekly- members only)
Anatomy of a Crisis: Pragmatic thought leadership on disaster resilience and crisis management from a variety of experts. (weekly- members only)
Afghan Voices: Powerful Afghan voices making a difference in Afghanistan and around the world. (biweekly- all subscribers)
Allies in Action: Allies in Action who are committed to evacuation and resettlement efforts. (biweekly- all subscribers)
We won’t forget our allies.
We believe in sharing many opinions and looking from many different perspectives. This means we do not necessarily agree with everything shared in the news or contributor articles, but we believe it’s important to treat other perspectives with respect and to consider their point of view.