Discover more from The Afghan Digest
Daily Evacuation Brief | February 17, 2022
Daily news about Afghanistan and the surrounding region powered by Operation Snow Leopard
Last 24 Hours
The Taliban sent three military aircraft to Feyzabad to reinforce the region against a rumored NRF attack.
Reportedly several groups of former Afghan government officials publicly pledged themselves to the NRF in multiple cities.
Russia is said to have moved 7,000 more troops to the Ukraine border, contradicting their previous announcement they were ordering some of their forces back to their bases.
The Taliban erected and manned additional checkpoints along the route between Jalalabad and Kabul.
Next 24 Hours
The Taliban’s troop movements and repositioning of military aircraft may be precursors to an impending military action. At-risk Afghans are advised to take extra precautions, and travel between Jalalabad and Kabul is discouraged.
More Russian troops and equipment are expected to arrive in Tajikistan to reinforce the central government givenconcerns in the Pamir region.
COULD TAJIKISTAN BE THE NEXT REGIONAL CRISIS?
CONTEXT: Since December, Russia has quietly been reinforcing their garrisons in Tajikistan. Reportedly they are concerned with the threat posed by alleged separatists in the cross-border areas of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province (GBAO) where unrest has been growing since late fall 2021. China’s military has also reportedly established several bases in the eastern portion of the GBAO, which also borders China.
The issue came up in a telephone call between the US Secretary of Defense and the Russian Defense Minister on 12 February where the two expressed concern over the issues on the Tajik-Afghan border. When taken in context with the recent proclamation by the Taliban to dispatch an additional 10,000 troops to the border, it is a cause for concern and merits continued scrutiny.
The GBAO encompasses nearly half the country, has less than 5% of the population, and is ethnically distinct from the rest of the country. It has long been a bastion for separatists with grumblings coming out of the GBAO about creating a separate state for decades. However, with the chaos in the region, some may seize the moment to force the issue. With all the additional military forces in the area, it could get out of control quickly.
ANALYSIS: Flying in troops is one thing; moving in battalions of new tanks is quite another. Russia is clearly concerned about the stability of the government of Tajikistan. Our analysis indicates the Russians would assume control of any potential military operation that may take place in Pamir or elsewhere. We believe the financial and military support provided thus far indicates Russia’s desire to fortify its buffer states. China’s goals in the area are unclear but we do not believe they conflict with Russia.
If Tajikistan were to become embroiled in civil war or even collapse as well, the regional refugee crisis would deepen, likely causing destination countries to further clamp down on refugee intake. Afghan refugees in Tajikistan could be displaced yet again due to violence, and state resources supporting refugees would completely dry up. Furthermore, the Taliban may come into conflict with their neighbor given the permeability of their shared border and potential for separatist militants to take refuge in Afghanistan. Finally, dealing with this conflict on their border would further drain the Taliban’s resources.
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 91.51 AFN (as of 17 FEB 2022)
By Amin Samsour – Pajhwok Afghan News
A woman’s beheaded body has been recovered in the capital of southern Kandahar province, an official said…
By Ariana News
Two military personnel and three other civilians have been killed in a shooting, by unidentified gunmen, in a car carrying relatives…
By Farangis Najibullah and Mustafa Sarwar – Radio Free Europe
Afghanistan’s Taliban-led Defense Ministry has established several new military units in three border provinces in the country’s…
By Paul Goble – Eurasia Daily Monitor
In mid-February, as Russians and Afghans mark the 33rd anniversary of the final withdrawal of Soviet…
Recent attacks in which many killed Pakistani soldiers were…
International News Relating to Afghanistan
By TOLO News
The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Thomas West said at an event on Monday that Washington is not…
By Ariana News
The White House said Tuesday that a court will make the final decision on Afghanistan Central Bank’s assets that US President Joe Biden ordered…
Before you go:
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.