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Daily Evacuation Brief | January 22, 2022
Daily news about Afghanistan and the surrounding region, powered by Operation Snow Leopard
Welcome to the Daily Evacuation Brief. For more in-depth intelligence analysis and crisis research, please subscribe to our members-only journal, which comes out twice a week: Whispers & Anatomy of a Crisis.
LAST 24 HOURS:
· Russia orders fleet to sea in an escalation over the confrontation in Ukraine.
· Taliban and NRF forces fought in Balkh province, 8 NRF fighters reported killed.
· EU standing up a combined diplomatic facility in Kabul.
NEXT 24 HOURS:
· Russia and the US will hold emergency talks over the Ukraine situation to try and find a diplomatic solution.
· There is the potential for more clashes in Balkh province and Mazar in particular.
· An escalation in the tense standoff between Russia and NATO over Ukraine will likely have a detrimental effect on the evacuation process in Afghanistan. In the event the situation develops into actual conflict, it is extremely likely air space in and around the region will be closed to civilian air travel and flights may be cancelled. These disruptions would almost certainly halt evacuation plans for an unspecified amount of time. At-risk Afghans should be aware of the geopolitical consequences that a Russian/NATO crisis could cause for their evacuations.
· Multiple sources indicated that NRF provocations near Mazar are not finished and locals should expect further small-scale skirmishes in and around the city over the next few days. The Taliban continue to minimize the threat posed by factions in the country, but secret talks are known to have taken place between both Uzbek and Tajik Taliban with NRF representatives. Reporting indicates a potential limited alliance was discussed between all parties.
· Another source reported seeing a drone fly low over Mazar before yesterday’s battle. Source claimed the drone was small and did not appear to resemble those used by NATO forces. Source stated the drone flew North after circling the city for approximately 1 hour. If accurate, it may signal technical assistance or tactical intelligence is being provided to factions or the Taliban by a neighbor. It could also have been flown from a nearby base in Uzbekistan. Analysts feel the extended flight and reported loiter time suggest the UAV was likely a foreign held asset. Scattered reports from late 2021 suggested the Taliban had requested drone support from Iran to assist with border security. However, Iran was not warm to the idea of the technology transfer and there were concerns the aircraft could be used against them.
· The Afghan currency remained unchanged despite all the economic investments and aid announcements made at the conclusion of the Economic conference in Kabul.
Afghani to the Dollar: .0095 – 1 (as of 22 JAN 2022)
Taliban kill eight NRF men in Mazar-i-Sharif | The News International | By AFP
MAZAR-I-SHARIF: The Taliban killed eight resistance fighters from a national opposition group in a firefight in the north of Afghanistan, police said on Friday. Since storming back to power in August, the Taliban have flatly denied facing organized resistance, but the gun battle on Thursday night may demonstrate that armed opposition is building against their hardline rule…
The Taliban’s religious police have threatened to shoot women NGO workers in a northwestern province of Afghanistan if they do not wear the all-covering burqa, two staff members told AFP…
The European Union (EU) has become the first Western institution to “re-establish” its presence in Afghanistan after the EU member states and other nations abandoned the country ahead of the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul in August…
Turkey, Qatar Reach Preliminary Agreement on Kabul Airport | TOLO News | By Tamim Shaheer –
The governments of Turkey and Qatar have reached a preliminary deal over running the Kabul airport operations, Reuters reported quoting Turkish diplomatic sources.
Why a Pakistan-Afghanistan war could upend both countries and end "Pax Taliban" | The New Arab | Syed Fazl-e-Haider
Escalating tensions on the border between Pakistan and Taliban-led Afghanistan may erupt into an armed conflict. If that happens, the largest beneficiaries will be the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan and other militant groups, writes Syed Fazl-e-Haider…
Exports to Afghanistan fall 35pc | The News International | By AFP
PESHAWAR: Pakistan’s export to Afghanistan have declined around 35 percent during the period starting from September to December 2021 on Afghan crises and consignments’ clearance issues at Pakistani side, said Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) on Friday…
International News Relating to Afghanistan
Taliban Accuses Afghan Soldiers of Fighting for Iran and Syria | Iran Wire | By Daniel Dayan
Kazem Jafari, a former soldier in the Afghan armed forces, worked for the National Security Agency in Afghanistan's Herat province for eight years, His job was to identify and detain members of the Taliban. When he lost his job after the fall of Ashraf Ghani's government, he trusted the Taliban's promise of "general amnesty" and did not believe his own arrest was imminent…
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