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Daily Evacuation Brief | February 7, 2022
Daily news about Afghanistan and the surrounding region
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LAST 24 HOURS:
· 5 Pakistani troops were killed by Afghanistan-based members of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in a cross-border incident. This latest attack comes on the heels of two coordinated attacks by Baloch separatists the day prior that killed 9 additional soldiers. Violence has ramped up after the December expiration of the month-long ceasefire between the TTP and Pakistani government.
· The Salang Pass was closed due to snow.
· As previously reported, security raids have begun in Mazar-i-Sharif. Apartment buildings thought to be housing potential evacuees are being targeted.
· French President Macron stated a solution may be at hand for the impasse in Ukraine.
NEXT 24 HOURS:
· Pakistan’s security forces will increase patrolling along the border and are expected to conduct aerial patrols as soon as the weather breaks.
· More snow is in the forecast, and Salang Pass is likely to remain closed to all but military transport vehicles.
· UN aid agencies are expected to report on their ability to make financial transactions through the Afghan Central Bank.
Pakistan Internal Threats and Foreign Relations Calculations
CONTEXT: Over the last several days, 14 Pakistani soldiers were killed and nearly 40 more were wounded in two separate events, one led by Baloch separatists called the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and one by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) guerrillas. These attacks highlight two of Pakistan’s major internal threats that could potentially dramatically impact Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban in Kabul.
Firstly, the TTP attack is alleged to have been a cross-border incident where the TTP fired from Afghan soil, despite assurances from Kabul that foreign military groups will not be allowed to operate within its borders. The Afghan Taliban deny the attack took place from within Afghanistan. Notably, the attacks occurred approximately one week after Pakistan’s Interior Minister visited Kabul and raised concerns over Kabul’s stance towards the TTP. Deepening the conflict, it is believed that over the last two weeks the TTP has rallied local Afghan civilians to their cause and encouraged them to dismantle sections of the Durand Line fence. The porosity of the border allows the TTP to move freely and makes attacks more difficult to prevent. Thus ensuring the Durand Line will remain an extremely sensitive topic between Kabul and Islamabad.
Secondly, the BLA is now behaving more aggressively than ever and are launching brazen and sophisticated attacks that have not been witnessed previously. It is thought the BLA have been emboldened by the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan and are now receiving support from the TTP, who are heavily concentrated in Balochistan, leading to a dramatic increase in capability and capacity. This week’s BLA attack reportedly included planners based in Afghanistan and India, deepening Pakistan’s concerns of anti-Islamabad terrorist forces operating out of Afghanistan.
Sources in Pakistan confirmed that Pakistani Air assets have been mobilized, but flights are on hold due to the poor weather conditions.
ANALYSIS: These latest attacks put the Pakistani leadership in a very poor domestic position. Notwithstanding sympathy and support for the Afghanistan Taliban, the assurances given to Pakistan from Kabul over the last two weeks have proven to be worthless. Pakistan has put itself in a no-win situation where the Afghan government they support has emboldened and tacitly permitted the operations of terrorist groups with a stated mission of overthrowing the Pakistani government. Although Afghan-Pakistani discussions are currently focused on the Durand Line and para-military groups operating on Afghan soil, if Kabul does not cooperate with Islamabad more effectively and terrorist attacks increase, the relationship could deteriorate rapidly and Pakistan’s support for the government in Kabul could fade.
As for Pakistan’s immediate response to the two recent terrorist incidents, analysts expect military action will be taken over the next 48hrs. Limited air strikes could be made against suspected TTP and BLA strongholds. There is consensus that additional Pakistani troops will be brought in to reinforce the Durand Line. A significant escalation of the crisis could force Pakistan to close the border. At-risk Afghans are advised to follow the situation closely.
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 94.99 AFN (as of 7 FEB 2022)
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By TOLO News
The Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Sunday announced that five Afghan air force pilots who left Afghanistan after the republic government's collapse, have returned to the country and resumed work…
By Bakhtar News Agency
Kabul (BNA) Central Bank of Afghanistan rejected allegations of the Bank’s inability over Afghani’s exchanges to foreign currency, claimed byari UN representative, call it false and irresponsible…
By Alex Crawford – Sky News
The cells of Herat's main prison are crammed full. In each of the cells we go into, there are about 40 men laying jammed up against each other on the floor with some on bunk beds around the edges…
By Agence France-Presse
It comes just days after Baloch separatists in the southwest killed nine Pakistani troops in a series of brazen attacks that officials said involved planners from Afghanistan as well as India…
By Raza Khan – Al Jazeera
Tensions over border demarcation and TTP violence may damage relations between Islamabad and Kabul…
By Ariana News
The Chinese embassy in Kabul says a train carrying 600 tons of emergency aid in wheat is set to depart from China’s Xinjiang for Afghanistan…
International News Relating to Afghanistan
By BBC News
French President Emmanuel Macron has said he thinks a deal to avoid war in Ukraine is possible, but that it is legitimate for Russia to raise its own security concerns.
By TOLO News
Aziz Hazara, an artist who currently works in Kabul and Berlin, collected a shipment of 20 tonnes of rubbish from Bagram airbase, once used as the main US military base in Afghanistan, the UAE-based The National reported.
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