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Daily Evacuation Brief | March 12, 2023
LAST 24 HOURS
BOMB BLAST TARGETS JOURNALIST GATHERING AT SHIA CENTER IN MAZAR-I-SHARIF – A bomb was detonated at a press awards ceremony being held at the Tabian Farhang Center in Mazar-i-Sharif just before noon on Saturday. 1 man was killed (thought to be a security guard) and 8 other non-combatants were wounded (including children). Taliban authorities had little to say about the blast but said an investigation had been initiated. The incident brought immediate condemnation from Iran and journalism NGOs as well as UNAMA.
GOVERNOR OF KANDAHAR ARRIVES IN BALKH TO SERVE AS INTERIM LEADER – Mohammad Yousaf Wafa was ordered to Balkh Province after the assassination of the previous Governor. Wafa is considered an extremely close ally of the Supreme Leader and is reputedly carrying a brief that provides him with unilateral control to quell the Resistance in the Province and to eradicate ISIS-K. He was met by an immediate challenge in Mazar-i-Sharif when a bomb detonated at a Shia Center that was hosting an event for journalists.
TALIBAN REJECT NOTION THAT OVER 20 ARMED GROUPS ARE OPERATING IN AFGHANISTAN – The Taliban roundly rejected a recent UN report that claimed 23 armed groups are operating in Afghanistan. They suggested the UN had fallen for several online propaganda campaigns led by anti-Taliban groups to give the appearance of significant opposition to their rule. At the same time, they accepted elements of the report which praised their counter-terrorism and drug enforcement efforts. A survey of the many groups who have announced their existence on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites tends to support the Taliban’s position. Of the many groups, TAD has only been able to confirm that three main Resistance Groups have engaged the Taliban consistently and appear to be organized:
National Resistance Front
Afghanistan Freedom Front
Afghanistan Liberation Movement
Of the terror groups named in the report, only ISIS-K has repeatedly launched operations against the regime. The others (TTP, ETIM, etc.) are presumed to have an external focus and may actually enjoy protection from the Taliban.
NEXT 24 HOURS
TALIBAN WILL REMAIN ACTIVE IN BALKH PROVINCE – After yesterday’s bombing of the Tabian Farhang center, Taliban security forces and police have been ordered to step up their activities and find those responsible. Taliban forces in Mazar-i-Sharif had already increased vigilance and security measures at government facilities after the assassination of the District Governor. Systematic searches of neighborhoods had barely begun when the second blast occurred. A source said that a former ANA soldier and his two brothers had been arrested in connection with one of the bombings but no additional information was available. At-risk Afghans in Mazar-i-Sharif should expect heightened patrolling, pedestrian/vehicle searches, and searches of homes/offices for the foreseeable future. Security personnel manning checkpoints and guarding government facilities will likely be nervous and on edge which could easily escalate into violence if they sense a threat (real or imagined). ISIS-K has often launched operations in a series of threes so, if they were behind both bombings, a third event could be planned. If possible, avoid spending much time outside, and definitely do not linger in areas where groups congregate.
The deal for Russian-made SU-35 fighters has been completed according to State media outlets. It is not clear when Iran will take delivery of the aircraft.
Many in the US Government and throughout Europe appear to have been caught flat-footed by the China-brokered deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The regime announced it has arrested 100 people over the poisoning of female students. The Interior Minister seemed to minimize the issue by saying that some of those arrested admitted to participating in the plot to avoid classes. Over 700 students are reported to have gotten sick since the first case was reported in December 2022.
A large building caught fire in Karachi, but only 1 person was reportedly injured and firefighters brought the blaze under control quickly.
Talks with exiled Baloch leaders and both the Provincial and Federal governments were proposed.
2 security guards employed by a Balochistan MP were killed and another was severely injured when the MP’s son was targeted by an IED along a road used to take the boy to school.
By Sophia Nina Burna-Asefi - The Diplomat
As the Taliban seek to engage with the international community, the government announced plans to expand exports via existing air corridors as well as develop new ones. While this is promising, the current air corridor program is nascent and real progress will not be achieved until the Taliban and the West engage on differences, seek consensus, and achieve compromise. For the international community, it is not just a matter of whether to engage with the Taliban but more a question of how and on what terms. Simply expanding air corridors and expecting the international community to respond in kind would be wishful thinking. There is a lot more work that needs to be done.
By Banafsha Binesh - TOLO News
The Foreign Ministry welcomed aspects of the report of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to the Security Council, particulary his call for the world to…
In response to news reports that a number of journalists were wounded in a bomb attack on a press award event in northern Afghanistan on Saturday, the…
By AMU TV
In what was once a thriving industry, Afghan cinema has been hit extremely hard since the Taliban’s takeover and thousands of female stars have been pushed into the shadows, with…
By The Tehran Times
Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman for the foreign ministry, issued a statement on Saturday blasting the terrorist assault on the gathering of journalists at the…
By The Astana Times
Talgat Kaliyev, Kazakhstan’s Ambassador-at-Large, who led the delegation, outlined the country’s practical contribution to international efforts to…
INTERNATIONAL NEWS RELATING TO AFGHANISTAN
By Fatema Adeeb - TOLO News
The International Peace Institute (IPI) said in a report that the UN Security Council is expected to renew the mandate of the United Nations Assistance…
THE DAILY WTF
By Ahmad Sohaib Hasrat - Pajhwok Afghan News
The caretaker government has repudiated parts of a he report that was recently presented to the United Nations Security Council and…
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 88.03 AFN (as of 12 MAR 2023)