Daily Evacuation Brief | January 29, 2024
The Week of January 22 - 29
Human Rights and Civil Liberties
Public Flogging in Takhar – In Takhar province, a severe public punishment was administered to eleven individuals, four women and seven men, for offenses such as extramarital relations, absconding from home, and theft. This follows a recent similar incident where 11 people, including three women, were publicly flogged. Each individual also faces imprisonment. This marks a continuing trend of harsh public penalties in the region.
Hijab Arrests Continue – Several confirmed arrests of women took place this week including two girls in Malestan of Ghazni, 6 girls and a woman in Dashte Barchi of Kabul, and several women in the Makroyan, Mahdia and Omid Sabz areas of Kabul. Videos have emerged of a previous arrest, showing a crowd of people watching as female police officers push a woman into a waiting police truck. The incident reportedly took place in Makroyon, Kabul. A similar video has been shared of the arrest in Dashte Barchi, and Karte Parwan have emerged. Reports from Kabul state that Taliban Security has increased over the past week to enforce hijab restrictions. Women in Afghanistan should be aware of the increased risk of roadblocks and arbitrary detention.
Women Forced to Stay Home – Amid growing concerns over Taliban detentions, many families in Afghanistan are preventing their daughters from leaving home. Reports from Kabul state that Taliban Security has increased over the past week to enforce hijab restrictions. Women in Afghanistan should be aware of the increased risk of roadblocks and arbitrary detention.
Freedom Of Press
Kyodo Reporter Released – Reporter, Ehsan Akbari was released after being detained by the Taliban for 9 days, highlighting ongoing concerns about press freedom in Afghanistan.
Refugee and Education Crisis
International Day Of Education – On the UN's International Day of Education, Afghan girls' ban from secondary schools contrasts sharply with global education goals. Many families flee Afghanistan to Pakistan and Iran seeking education, but face deportation. Taliban's Education Minister, Habibullah Agha, acknowledges the poor quality of Afghan schools, calling for modernization.
Security and Conflict
Former US Translator killed in Kunar – An unnamed former US translator was reportedly arrested this past Monday, January 22 near Asadabad city, Kunar by GDI. His body was found the following day. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the individual had worked with the US for some time, but his position was terminated and his subsequent application for a Special immigration visa was denied.
Former NDS soldier killed by Taliban – Former NDS 01 Unit soldier, Mohammad Yasir was executed by the Taliban in Badakhshan this week. Further details are not yet known.
Individuals arrested at Kabul Airport – The Taliban Ministry of Interior announced on January 24 that 4 individuals had been arrested while attempting to leave Kabul International Airport with forged passports; another arrested arriving from Iran with a fake German passport.
Borders, Trade and Developments
Torkham Reopens – Torkham border reopened on January 23, after 10 days being shut. Truck drivers and sick visitors are given until the end of March to obtain a Pakistani visa. Trade has resumed between Pakistan and Afghanistan, though travelers should be aware that closures to the border are frequent and often come without warning.
Traffic Accidents on Kabul- Jalalabad Highway – On Saturday, 10 traffic accidents on the Kabul-Jalalabad road occurred, killing 17 people and injuring 10 others. Similar incidents took place in several other cities in the past week; TAD staff urges all those traveling to be aware of weather, visibility and road conditions and use caution when traveling in poor conditions.
Japan to Aid Disaster Management – Japan has pledged 36 million dollars in aid to Afghanistan, focusing on foundational and developmental sectors, including a disaster management training program for the Taliban in Turkey.
Water Security – Uzbekistan has raised alarms about Afghanistan's construction of the Qosh Tepa Irrigation Canal, which plans to divert approximately 15% of the Amu Darya's water. This project, led by the Taliban near the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan border, is causing significant concern in Uzbekistan, particularly regarding the potential reduction in irrigation water for its farmers. This development is especially critical given Uzbekistan's significant role as a primary electricity exporter to Afghanistan, highlighting the broader implications for regional relations.
Jihadi Schools Entrance Exams – On January 20, 2024, the Taliban in Afghanistan conducted public examinations for enrolling approximately 50,000 students in seminaries or Jihadi madrassas. These exams were held in Kabul and various other Afghan provinces. The Ministry of Higher Education of the Taliban oversaw the commencement of these exams, which continued until January 25. This initiative by the Taliban is part of their larger effort to expand the enrollment of youth in Jihadi madrassas across the country.
Taliban expected to host a meeting of special envoys of China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan and other ambassadors based in Kabul on Monday, January 29. This meeting is titled “Afghanistan’s Regional Cooperation Initiative”
As Pakistan approaches its elections on February 8, there is an anticipated escalation in security threats, potentially impacting Afghans residing in the country. Measures taken by the government to counter these threats could adversely affect Afghan communities. Additionally, recent statements by Pakistan's Army Chief have fueled anti-Afghan sentiment, raising concerns about increased arbitrary arrests and harassment of Afghan refugees by Pakistani law enforcement. Afghans currently in Pakistan should remain aware of the situation and avoid crowded areas and protests.
Russia also had planned a meeting of special envoys to Afghanistan before the end of the month. Despite the announcement, few details have been provided on the planned meeting.
U.S. Sharing Intelligence With Iran. A Wall Street Journal article reports that the U.S. secretly informed Iran about an impending Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist attack earlier in the month, which resulted in over 80 deaths from suicide bombings in Kerman, Iran. The U.S. received intelligence about ISIS-Khorasan, the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan, planning the attack. Despite the warning, Iran was unable to prevent the bombings. The article discusses the implications of this event and the U.S.'s "duty to warn" policy, even towards an adversary like Iran.
Hunger Strike by Female Political Prisoners in Evin Prison – 61 women in Evin prison in Iran have gone on hunger strike to protest the hanging execution of Mohammad Ghobadlou, who was arrested as a result of his participation in protests around the death of Mahsa Amini. The hunger strike has gained international support and media attention this week.
Statement by Pakistani Army Chief – Pakistan’s Army chief released a statement this week, “The life of a Pakistani is more important than the whole of Afghanistan.” The statement is likely to add to the already tense relations between the countries’ regimes
Pakistan Elections - Pakistan is gearing up for general elections on February 8, 2024. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has prepared extensively, establishing 90,675 polling stations nationwide. Major parties, including PML-N and PPP, are actively campaigning. Former PM Nawaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari are key figures in these rallies. However, security concerns loom large, with threats from groups like TTP and ISKP targeting politicians. Legal and constitutional issues led to election postponements, necessitating Supreme Court intervention. This mix of political enthusiasm, security challenges, and legal complexities marks a pivotal moment in Pakistan's political journey.
By Nurbek Bekmurzaev
Summary: The Global Voices article raises serious concerns about the increasing involvement of Tajik nationals in global terrorist activities, notably within jihadist organizations like the Islamic State. It reports that between 1,100 and 1,900 Tajik citizens have joined IS, underscoring the issue of radicalization in Tajikistan. This trend is exemplified by a Tajik national who became the IS Minister of War. The piece links this phenomenon to socio-political issues in Tajikistan, highlighting the significant threat posed to international security by this emerging trend.
By Mona Thakkar And Anne Speckhard
Summary: Jihadist groups like Al Qaeda and Islamic State are using heightened tensions from the Israel-Gaza conflict to increase crowdfunding, primarily through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Tether. This tactic, notably following the October 7 Hamas attack, is under scrutiny, as these groups exploit sympathies for Palestinians to fund their activities.
By Ferdows Andishmand
Farhad* was a sixth-semester dental student at Kabul Medical University when he was arrested by the Taliban in November 2022. He had joined other student activists, as well as university professors, located inside and outside Afghanistan in taking to social media to criticize the Taliban when they banned girls from attending school beyond the sixth grade and then forbade them from attending any educational facility.
On July 31, 2023, the Taliban’s Passport Directorate issued a statement that read, in part, “Individuals who the Taliban courts have convicted do not have the right to receive a passport; they have lost both educational and employment opportunities in Afghanistan and cannot legally leave the country.”
By Gul Hassan Mohammadi
Undeniably, all communities in Afghanistan have suffered tremendously, but the Hazara minority has suffered disproportionately because of its distinct ethnic and religious identity. As an ethno-religious minority, the Hazaras of Afghanistan have endured a long history of discrimination and systematic persecution. The Hazara community has suffered from enslavement, mass killings, and forced displacement throughout the modern history of Afghanistan. This suffering has continued into the present, aggravated alarmingly by the Taliban’s rise to power.
The United Nations, spearheaded by Secretary-General António Guterres, is set to organize a conference on Afghanistan in Doha on the 18th and 19th of February.
Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN, has confirmed the participation of special representatives from various countries involved in Afghan affairs.
Announced at a press briefing on Wednesday, the conference aims to synchronize the approaches of different nations towards Afghanistan and to deliberate on independent assessments of the situation in the country.
By Zhou Ziwen
The Taliban has completed its first road link between Afghanistan and China, but analysts expect Beijing to be cautious about giving its war-torn neighbor full access to its land border because of security concerns over terrorists and separatist militants.
By Jihan Abdalla, Hadya Al Alawi
US President Joe Biden on Sunday accused Iran-backed militants of being behind "a wholly unjust" attack that killed three US troops in Jordan and wounded dozens more.
The drone attack on a US military outpost near the Jordan-Syria border will likely fuel tensions in the region, amid recent US strikes on Houthi rebels in Yemen who have been targeting commercial and military ships in the Red Sea as a claimed response to the Israeli war in Gaza.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS RELATING TO AFGHANISTAN
By Amu TV
LONDON – A group of British parliamentarians, led by Baroness Helena Kennedy KC, a prominent lawyer and peer in the UK House of Lords, on Jan. 8th, initiated an inquiry into the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan and Iran, reported Forbes. Dubbed the Gender Apartheid Inquiry, the probe aims to assess the scale and nature of gender-based discrimination in these countries and examine it against the backdrop of international law.
Among those whose working lives have been upended, de facto authorities “banned” approximately 400 women workers at a pine nut processing from the workplace and dismissed another 200 at a power plant, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a report on the human rights situation.
The Mission also noted that women were arrested for purchasing contraceptives and that unmarried female staff at a healthcare facility were “advised” to get married by officials from the so-called Department for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, or risk losing their jobs.
THE DAILY WTF
Jalaluddin Haqqani, the head of the chamber of public security of the Taliban-run Supreme Court, was killed in a traffic accident in Ghazni province on Saturday, Jan. 27, according to a statement by the court.
In the past months, following a lawsuit between three drug partners in Jawzjan province, the Taliban Supreme Court sentenced one of them to deliver "320 kg of cooked opium" to his two partners.
"Taliban reinvents Solomon's wisdom: Half the opium, double the harmony!" TAD staff.
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 73.48 AFN (as of 28 JAN 2024 (a drop of 15.69 in one week))