Daily Evacuation Brief | July 22, 2023
LAST 24 HOURS
CENTRAL BANK AUDIT – A US-funded audit has determined that the Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) has yet to implement reforms and safeguards that must be in place to unlock access to the $3.5 billion in frozen assets currently parked in a Swiss trust fund. According to anonymous sources, the primary problem is the inability to ensure the funds would not be pilfered by Taliban leaders and the failure to replace 3 Taliban members of the board who have no banking experience. There are concerns shared by many in the international community that DAB could engage in money laundering and terrorism financing without stricter controls. The trust requires assent from all four board members to approve disbursements. DAB officials have yet to respond to the report as they say they need time to analyze it.
EU SANCTIONS ON TALIBAN LEADERS DRAWS CRITICISMS – The European Union slapped a fresh round of sanctions on 3 Taliban leaders yesterday which drew the immediate ire of IEA officials. Those added to the list include the Minister of Education, the Minister of Justice, and the Chief Justice of the Taliban Supreme Court. EU officials said the three men had been sanctioned for their roles in planning and implementing the draconian measures aimed at females in Afghan society. The sanctions ban the three officials from traveling in EU territories and freeze any assets they may have in EU member states. Responding to the sanctions, the Taliban claimed the bans would not facilitate dialogue and that pressure would not force them to relent on their Deobandist interpretations that are now state policy.
IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SOUNDS WARNING BELL OVER ISIS MIGRATION TO AFGHANISTAN – Amir Hossein Abdollahian, the Foreign Minister of Iran made a bombshell announcement when he claimed that both leaders and soldiers of ISIS had recently arrived in Afghanistan from Iraq, Syria, and Libya. While the Foreign Minister neglected to provide any proof that ISIS was flocking to Afghanistan, many in the international community are taking his words as proof positive that ISIS is building up its forces there. The Taliban have yet to respond to the Minister’s remarks.
US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE OUTSOURCING VETTING OF AFGHAN VISAS – The US Government as a whole has done a poor job of processing visa applications for Afghan refugees seeking asylum. All agencies involved in the process were/are clearly unprepared to deal with the situation. For its part, the Department of Defense set up its DOD Afghan Special Immigrant Visa support team (DAS-T) to assist with the workload. When it was officially unveiled in 2021, it was called PROJECT RABBIT and was established after the State Department requested help in verifying the employment histories of SIV applicants who had worked for US Defense contractors. The portal was initially open to anyone but was taken offline shortly after launch due to ‘overload’. Last week, the DOD appealed to private companies to submit bids for contracts to try and get things moving faster. The announcement has been received with cautious optimism by those groups and individuals working to help Afghans process their applications. The Department of Defense is hoping a contracting company will be able to process up to 500 SIV cases per month. With a backlog that is estimated to sit at around 25,000 cases, an immediate impact is not anticipated. Many of the private case managers who have been working on these issues since late 2021 say the public offer fails to solve the main problem which is a lack of communication between the Departments of State and Defense that have contributed to the lack of progress from the start.
NEXT 24 HOURS
POSSIBLE COUNTER ISIS-K OPERATIONS IN AFGHANISTAN EXPECTED – In the wake of the Foreign Minister of Iran’s remarks about ISIS terrorists flocking to Afghanistan, we assess the Taliban will launch counter-ISIS operations over the coming days. Although there is no specific information about where Taliban security forces could act, they have shown a proclivity to conduct ‘clearing operations’ after receiving criticism over their lack of will to tackle terrorism threats. At-risk Afghans should avoid any concentrations of Taliban security vehicles/personnel in urban areas as these are likely indicators of a coming attack. If specific information is received we will issue an alert notice through our regular channels.
Protests against a sanctioned demonstration in Sweden’s capital continued across Iran as thousands took to the streets to protest the second desecration of the Quran. Several photos and videos were shared on social media of angry crowds burning Swedish flags.
Iranian authorities have arrested another American citizen and are now holding the individual as talks about a possible prisoner exchange drag on.
Morality police in the city of Bandar Abbas reportedly arrested several female athletes as they were participating in early morning workouts. It is not known how many athletes were arrested and what their current situation may be.
Former PM, Imran Khan, used his Twitter account on Friday to urge the civil judiciary to intervene in several high-profile arrests of PTI party leaders.
Pakistan has assigned nearly 6,000 police officers to protect Muharram processions in Rawalpindi and parts of Islamabad. While no specific threat to mourners had been mentioned, the recent uptick in terror attacks is believed to be behind the heightened security.
The Defense Minister weighed in on the Cypher Case and said that he has been told that former PM Khan can be tried under the nation’s treason laws in the case.
By Binoy Kampmark - EurAsia Review
While the United States, along with its allies, left Afghanistan in August 2021 in spectacularly humiliating circumstances, the departure was never entirely complete, nor bound to be permanent. Since then, Washington has led the charge in handicapping those who, with a fraction of the resources, defeated a superpower and prevailed in two decades of conflict.
By AMU TV
An audit funded by the US and conducted on Afghanistan’s Taliban-run central bank has failed to secure Washington’s support for the release of bank assets from a…
By Sabria Abdal - TOLO News
Amir Hossein Abdollahian, Iran's foreign minister, claimed that leaders and fighters of Daesh have recently moved to Afghanistan from Iraq, Syria and…
By AMU TV
One heavily affected area is the fifth district of Kabul in the west of the city, where residents queue up for water from dawn until midnight, with young…
By Fidel Rahmati - Khaama Press
The President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, reiterated his support for forming an inclusive government in Afghanistan that would include representatives from all ethnic groups at the Gulf Cooperation…
By Dr. Subhash Kapila - EurAsia Review
Pakistan ever since its inception as an independent Nation State in August 1947 has never been at peace with itself or with its neighbours on both its…
INTERNATIONAL NEWS RELATING TO AFGHANISTAN
By Brooke Anderson - The New Arab
The Afghan Adjustment Act, a bill that would open a path to citizenship for Afghans who were paroled into the United States, has been reintroduced in Congress, giving renewed hope to…
By La Prensa Latina
The Taliban government on Friday criticized fresh sanctions imposed by the European Union on three of its leaders, and called for dialogue in…
THE DAILY WTF
By Mohammad Farshad Daryosh - TOLO News
The Islamic Emirate's governor of Kabul, Mohammad Qassim Khalid, said that the US is behind Daesh and that the group is an…
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 85.69 AFN (as of 22 JUL 2023)