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Daily Evacuation Brief | February 22, 2022
Daily news about Afghanistan and the surrounding region powered by Operation Snow Leopard
LAST 24 HOURS:
Two former government officials were reportedly killed in southern Helmand province.
A rebel was reportedly killed and another arrested in northern Samangan.
As previously reported, Taliban security forces have sent plain clothed members into the major markets to attempt to identify black market gangs operating there. Primarily, they are focused on disrupting money changers and lenders.
NEXT 24 HOURS:
The Taliban will continue a sweep of “corrupt” officials operating within the passport offices. Several officials have absconded with money purportedly received for selling passports, and others have prioritized friends and family over the general population.
An informal meeting will be held in Brussels to assess the Taliban’s reform pledges made during several rounds of talks in Doha. The US envoy has already expressed dissatisfaction over a lack of any meaningful progress.
THE PERILS OF ACTIVISM IN TIMES OF CRISIS
CONTEXT: The Taliban’s Ministry of the Interior recently sent shockwaves through the evacuation community after releasing a video showing some of the women activists who were recently rounded up. In the video, the women give statements and name several Afghan women abroad who they say encouraged them to protest against the Taliban. The revelations brought swift condemnation from organizations involved in the evacuation effort and human rights groups.
It is unclear if any of the women abroad mentioned in the video were actually involved, or if the women being held are being manipulated into giving unreliable statements. The MoI spokesman stated that “at the moment there is no threat to [the imprisoned activists’] lives” [emphasis added]. This ironically points to overhanging threats that could have affected the women’s “confessions”.
This could just be a MoI attempt to capitalize on the situation and try to silence outspoken critics abroad. Either way, the MoI manipulated the situation skillfully, providing more evidence that the Taliban 2.0 is more sophisticated than its predecessor.
Separately, also of note are the protests and demonstrations that have taken place over the last several months in temporary refugee camps outside of Afghanistan in order to try to get immigration processing sped up in final destination countries. Most demonstrations were believed to be organized by US-based groups, with the most prominent protests taking place at the Humanitarian City in UAE.
After the first round of protests, the government of UAE halted landing clearances for flights which seriously hampered the evacuation effort. Several new restrictions were then put in place which forced some groups to cancel arranged flights. The cancellations caused resources to be wasted, putting significant strain on already tight budgets.
ANALYSIS: Continued exhortations to publicly protest and oppose the Taliban or to foment dissatisfaction among Afghan populations in hosting countries could backfire. In Afghanistan itself, there is a high probability for violence against protestors, and any groups taking to the streets are exposing themselves to reprisals by the security forces. Our analysis suggests this could have a ‘ripple effect’ as the security services are likely gathering information from the detained women which could expose other Afghans in hiding. As was witnessed in Mazar recently, the logistical support systems can collapse like a house of cards and are difficult to rebuild.
Similarly, efforts intended to speed up the resettlement process for refugees who are in external hosting nations are better directed towards the governments in destination countries. The limited pathways are already difficult enough to navigate.
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 91.84 AFN (as of 22 FEB 2022)
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