Discover more from The Afghan Digest
Daily Evacuation Brief | March 14, 2022
Open source daily news about Afghanistan and the surrounding region powered by Operation Snow Leopard
Introducing: Whispers 001
Whispers is a free intelligence and analysis column focused on a post-democratic Afghanistan. Click on the article to read the full analysis.
The Passport Dilemma
Alarming reports from multiple sources indicate that the Taliban have issued backdated Afghan passports to foreign nationals. Iranian nationals are said to have received the majority of passports. However, Gulf state nationals, international terrorist groups, and transnational crime networks….
LAST 24 HOURS:
An attack in Nawzad district in Helmand has killed one and wounded four others. Reportedly, the attacker threw a hand grenade. No further information is available at this time.
Former jihadi commander Haji Mohammad Usman surrendered a sizable cache of weapons to the Taliban and called on others to do the same.
The Antalya conference concluded in Turkey. Taliban leadership expressed optimism over the discussions held with delegates of many foreign nations and institutions.
The decapitated body of a man was found in the Washer district of Helmand province. Two suspects are reportedly in custody but no motive has yet been revealed for the killing.
NEXT 24 HOURS:
The passport office in Kabul is expected to reopen and has set a goal of issuing 300 passports per day.
A protest is expected at the Ministry of the Interior. Several family members of Afghans who have been arrested and are being held without charges plan to picket the Ministry to demand the release of their loved ones. Although the protest is expected to be peaceful, at-risk Afghans are advised to steer clear of the area if at all possible.
Torkham Gate may experience higher than usual traffic as Pakistani authorities are planning to close the crossing to Afghans who only possess a national identity card. The border will be closed to taskira-only travelers beginningTuesday.
ANALYSIS SPOTLIGHT: Convenient Scapegoats
scapegoat: one that bears the blame for others
CONTEXT: From the moment the Taliban assumed power, their PR machine began claiming they did not face any opposition in the country. The exception was ISIS-K, but even now senior Taliban leadership maintains that they have forced ISIS-K from the country. Just this past week senior officials dismissed claims that an armed opposition was present in the country and opined that they only exist “online”.
DISCUSSION: The actions of the Taliban over the past six months have clearly debunked this theory. There are undeniably a plethora of opposition groups in the country, and they continue to act against the Taliban. Nobody knows definitively how large the groups are or how well equipped and resourced they might be. However, it is clear the Taliban take the threat seriously enough to have embarked on a huge military buildup and nationwide search for weapons.
Their charade is exposed on nearly a weekly basis. Shortly after a Ministry of Defense spokesman made the claim about the threat existing only “online”, the Ministry of the Interior announced that the National Resistance Front (NRF) had murdered members of a polio vaccination team. The NRF vehemently denied the accusations, and our team believes this action would be extremely out of character for the group.
It appears the Taliban want to have their cake and eat it.
Developed and developing nations alike often downplay the internal threats they face. Any regime will attempt to minimize the seriousness of opposition so as not to damage the perception of their hold on power. They may cloak their deception with rationalities based on maintaining public order and calm, but it amounts to essentially the same thing.
The Taliban tend to vacillate between two strategies: scapegoating criminals and scapegoating opposition groups.
They employ the first strategy more often and it appears to be used in incidents where there are fewer victims and witnesses. They tend to use the second when an incident is larger, and they fail to contain the information.
ANALYSIS: Our analysis indicates the Taliban will continue playing their double-game regarding opposition groups. The Afghan public seems keenly aware of the existence of multiple factions who oppose the Taliban, but the ploy does seem to have swayed (or at least provided a flimsy cover for) a few regional and international state actors. We believe the Taliban has demonstrated that their desire to achieve international recognition outweighs all other considerations. Naturally, they will not publicly admit they are not universally loved by the Afghan people.
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 86.59 AFN (as of 14 MAR 2022)
By TOLO News
The General Directorate of Passports says that it will resume the processing of passports in Kabul on…
By The New Arab
An Afghan group opposed to Taliban rule on Sunday rejected the police's accusation that its…
By Amina Hakimi – TOLO News
Residents of Kabul complained about the high price of food materials, saying that despite the dollar’s value dropping…
By Amin Samsoor – Pajhwok Afghan News
Two people were arrested in Spin Boldak district of southern Kandahar province for smuggling weapons to…
Pakistan has allowed Afghan nationals to cross the Torkham border to return to Afghanistan on the basis of their…
By Radio Free Europe
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on March 13 that negotiations with the Taliban on…
International News Relating to Afghanistan
By Laura Marchand – CBC
When the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last fall, the federal government promised to help thousands of…
By Schott Hewitt – The Columbian
Months after Maryam Azizpour and her family undertook a nightmarish journey through the violent streets of…
Do you enjoy The Afghan Digest? Click here to help us keep the lamp lit:
All our funds go toward maintaining a high-quality newsletter, caseworkers supporting evacuations, the evacuations themselves, and/or operational costs to keep this mission going.
Check out our other content:
Whispers: The best open source intelligence and analysis on Afghanistan. (weekly)
Anatomy of a Crisis (coming soon): Pragmatic thought leadership on disaster resilience and crisis management from a variety of experts. (weekly)
Afghan Voices (coming soon): Powerful Afghan voices making a difference in Afghanistan and around the world. (biweekly)
Allies in Action (coming soon): Allies in Action who are committed to evacuation and resettlement efforts. (biweekly)
We won’t forget our allies.
The Fine Print:
The materials and information on this newsletter are intended for general informational purposes only and do not constitute professional advice. Information shared may or may not reflect the most current developments on the ground; accordingly, information on this newsletter is not promised or guaranteed to be correct, complete, or current. Where appropriate, users should seek their own legal or other professional advice. Roseline LLC, Operation Snow Leopard, and all website contributors accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of material contained in this website and/or newsletter.