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Daily Evacuation Brief | February 19, 2023
LAST 24 HOURS
PAKISTAN SECURITY OPERATIONS HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED – Several local sources in Pakistan have reported additional search operations in Peshawar, Karachi, Islamabad, and Rawalpindi focusing on Afghan nationals. Police vehicles have been filmed outside of hostels, hotels, and guest houses. Pakistani security forces stationed at security checkpoints are said to be stopping 1 out of 4 pedestrians for periodic searches and identity checks. While the searches of homes, apartments, and guest houses have not begun in force yet, they are expected to take place soon. Some arrests have been reported but seem to be overwhelmingly Pakistan nationals rather than Afghans at this point. It is our assessment that these searches are focused on finding potential TTP terrorists and are not focused on Afghan refugees.
HUMAN SMUGGLING A PROBLEM FOR AFGHAN REFUGEES GLOBALLY – The discovery of 18 bodies, purportedly Afghan refugees, in a container truck in Bulgaria has sparked concern among refugee agencies. The truck was found on the outskirts of the capital on 17 February and there were 34 other people who survived the ordeal. All have been taken to hospitals for treatment. The problem is occurring elsewhere and several cases are being investigated in Europe and Latin America. The smuggling rings that control the pipelines have made huge profits from the business and it is not clear how many refugees have died while in transit to foreign countries. At-risk Afghans contemplating such journeys should consider the risks and reach out to legitimate refugee agencies before embarking on such potentially fatal journeys.
THE “NEW” AND “OLD” TALIBAN – Much has been said about the chasm that has opened between Kandahar and Kabul. Rumors of coups and open civil war have been postulated by analysts and policy wonks over the last year. Speeches by the Ministers of both the Interior and Defense have been openly critical of the Supreme Leader and his Deobandist clique. However, no action has been taken and many are wondering why the two “young lions” simply don’t march on Kandahar and put their problem in the ground. A reasonable theory for the inaction has come out of some Ivy League researchers who question either faction’s ability to maintain control over the foot soldiers who give the Taliban their grip on power. According to their research, both Kandahar and Kabul have been forced to walk a fine line with their differing policy approaches because they both fear the same thing – pushing the Taliban mujahadeen into the waiting arms of ISIS. Too much of a progressive agenda risks disillusionment within the ranks and the perception of abandoning the conservative 7th-century tenets of Islam they prefer. Overly regressive policies mean continued ostracization and condemnation from fellow Islamic states and no voice in international or regional affairs which is important for the more enlightened among the rank and file. Unquestionably, ISIS-K has continued to gain recruits and represents the most immediate threat to the regime. An internal power struggle between Kandahar and Kabul could result in mass defections that would add significant numbers and material to a resurgent ISIS, in a relatively short amount of time. The result would be a fresh layer of chaos to an already perilous situation. Perhaps the vision of such a reality is what has kept the young lions in check so far. Only time will tell.
PROTESTS IN IRAN BACK WITH A VENGEANCE – After a lull of several weeks, protestors in Iran took to the streets again in many cities across the country (including Tehran). Thousands of protestors flocked to public squares and marched on government buildings and other habitual demonstration rally points. Many were filmed chanting “freedom” and the reemergence appears to have been synchronized. In response, the regime began recalling police and military personnel who had been granted short terms of leave. A strong response is expected from the regime and violence seems likely.
NEXT 24 HOURS
PAKISTAN SEARCHES AND SECURITY OPERATIONS WILL CONTINUE – Based on actions and threats from the TTP, it appears their campaigns will focus on Pakistani Police infrastructure and personnel. In response, Pakistan has raised its security posture to the highest level and it is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future. At-risk Afghans residing near police stations and/or facilities frequented by police (Mosques, shopping centers, apartment buildings, etc) are urged to stay alert and be ready to take shelter should an attack occur. They should not linger near these facilities and recognize that police vehicles, checkpoints, and other security-related locations are obvious targets for the TTP.
Israel reiterated its threat about the Iran nuclear weapons program and announced that ‘all options’ are on the table. The remarks were made at a meeting with Bahraini and Emirati leaders.
Protests in Tehran and others cities last night returned with a vengeance as thousands came back out onto the streets in what appeared to be a coordinated and timed campaign.
The regime has reportedly recalled hundreds of police and is deploying units from the IRGC to areas in cities across the country. Violence between protestors and security forces is expected in the coming days.
The Minister of Defense (Khawaja Asif) in remarks made at a graduation event in Sialkot said the country had already defaulted on its debt and that Pakistan now had to stand together to get out of the predicament.
Pakistan’s Police services announced they had assembled a committee to probe the Karachi attacks.
Police said they had arrested 3 individuals for attempting to sell weapons-grade radioactive material and mercury switches for $1 million dollars. The group was uncovered in a sting operation. Their identities have not yet been revealed.
By Ahsan ur Rahman Khan - EurAsia Review
Recently a new wave of deadly acts of terrorism in Afghanistan, and from Afghanistan into Pakistan, has erupted again. To understand its raison d’être in general and the focus of its violence on Pakistan and Afghanistan a critical review of the major political upheaval in Pakistan continuing since about a year now is essential.
By Ariana News
Seventy six houses were destroyed in several parts of Badakhshan in a 4.7 magnitude earthquake on Thursday night, officials…
By Sulaiman Hakemy & Ali M. Latifi - The National News
Pharmacies in the country’s capital, Kabul, were freely selling the family planning products when The National…
By Nazir Shinwari - TOLO News
Shia Ulema Council members asked the Islamic Emirate to create an inclusive government in Afghanistan so that representatives of all ethnic groups can…
By Fidel Rahmati - Khaama Press
On Saturday, Khawaja Asif, the defense minister, acknowledged that “Pakistan has already defaulted, and we are living in a bankrupt…
By Ariana News
“The policemen should stay away from our war with the slave army, otherwise the attacks on the safe havens of the top police officers will continue,” Tehreek…
By Ariana News
Earlier, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said that Afghanistan offers immense opportunities in terms of…
INTERNATIONAL NEWS RELATING TO AFGHANISTAN
By AMU TV
According to the statement released in Munich on Saturday, 18 February: “Together, we, female Foreign Ministers at the Munich Security Conference 2023, strongly condemn the Talibans’ push to…
THE DAILY WTF
By The Sofia Globe
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are shocked and deeply saddened after…
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 89.26 AFN (as of 19 FEB 2023)