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Daily Evacuation Brief | March 25, 2022
LAST 24 HOURS:
Pakistan is claiming that 4 of their soldiers were killed in a clash with TTP (Pakistani Taliban) militants attempting to infiltrate Pakistan. No further information is available at this time, but it could bolster accusations that the Taliban regime is allowing militants to take refuge in Afghanistan.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid an unannounced visit. He was the highest ranked dignitary to visit Afghanistan so far.
Member of the TTP and wanted terrorist Abdul Wahab Larak was reportedly killed by unidentified men in Kandahar. If true, he is the third high-profile TTP official killed in Afghanistan since January of this year.
Several disturbing reports of young Afghan female students committing suicide in response to the school bans have been posted widely on social media accounts. One report claimed a young girl threw herself off a building in the west of Kabul. We have yet to confirm these reports, and they could easily be propaganda launched by opposition groups or activists to embarrass the regime. However, the decision taken by the Taliban remains deeply unpopular and divisive, and there have been several reports of increased suicide rates since the Taliban takeover. We will continue to monitor the situation.
A large, planned protest organized by several prominent women’s groups in Kabul was called off after threats of violence were received. Reputedly, organizers had been contacted directly by members of the Ministry of the Interior and warned about scheduling any future demonstrations. According to sources familiar with the situation, the tone of the conversation was “apologetic” and indicative of the divide between Taliban leadership and the rank and file. There were reports of several small protests around the country, but none had resulted in violence as of publication.
Three days of unannounced meetings between senior Taliban officials wrapped up in Kandahar. Although the Taliban claim the meetings were focused on the economy, a source who attended the meetings claimed much of the discussion was related to mending rifts between different factions in the Taliban. At some point, a heated argument took place over accusations about theft of state funds, but details are disputed. Another point of contention was the statement issued by delegates to the OIC meeting in Pakistan. Senior leadership discussed a response to the paragraphs recommending an inclusive government, but there is widespread dissension over this issue.
The Ministry of Education submitted a plan to the Prime Minister to rectify the female student problem. The plan emphasized the main sticking points the conservative factions of the Taliban objected to:
Boys and girls must be separated.
If separate classrooms are unavailable, different time schedules will be implemented so there is no crossover.
Female teachers must honor the hijab.
Females must be taught by female teachers.
NEXT 24 HOURS:
An announcement is expected from the Ministry of Education regarding female students continuing their studies. Little is known about the Prime Minister’s intentions regarding the proposal but even the most obstinate in the cabinet have undoubtedly observed the near-universal condemnation of the regime.
Pakistani border security is expected to tighten over the next several days in response to the attacks that killed four soldiers in the previous 24 hours.
A special parliamentary session will begin in Pakistan which will decide the future of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s premiership. The 15-point agenda for the meeting includes a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Khan launched by around 147 members. All listed members of the motion are in the opposition party, but members of the ruling party and coalition partners have suggested they may support the motion too. Opposition leaders are confident they have the 172 votes to remove Prime Minister Khan. However, given the heavy 15-point agenda, the no confidence motion may not be voted on until Monday.
Are factions of the Taliban helping the ISI eradicate TTP leadership in Afghanistan?
CONTEXT: The killing of TTP terrorist Abdul Wahab Larak by unknown gunmen in Kandahar within the past 24 hours denotes the third high-profile member of the terror group to have been assassinated since January 10, 2022. Larak was on Pakistan’s most wanted list. He was believed to have been involved in the suicide attack in Shikarpur which killed 53 people, masterminded attacks on Pakistani Air Force bases, and orchestrated multiple attacks in Waziristan.
TTP spokesman Khalid Balti (aka Muhammad Khurasani) was found murdered in Nangarhar province on January 10, and TTP senior leader and Malakand Commander Mufti Burjan died of wounds sustained in an assassination attempt on January 19, 2022.
No arrests were made in the succeeding investigations, and none of the assailants were ever identified. This passivity raised questions of the Taliban regime’s complicity.
DISCUSSION: There is universal consensus among our analysis pool that these killings involved Pakistan’s intelligence service, ISI, either in a direct role or using the Taliban as proxies.
If our theories are correct, the rumors of cooperation are probably known to the TTP. At the very least, they may suspect inside assistance is being provided to target and eradicate their leaders. It is unclear how they will react to this revelation.
An expert on the TTP who wished to remain anonymous stated that there could be “games within games” being played. What may look like cooperation with the ISI may actually be a convenient method for the Taliban to get rid of potential thorns in their side while gaining favor with a neighboring foreign intelligence service. Alternatively, the next generation in the TTP may have convinced the Taliban to remove the men to clear the way for “new blood”. As the TTP expert said , “As with most things in life, nothing is as it seems.”
Regardless of who is pulling whose strings, there is a strong possibility that animosity is building between the groups, and trust is degrading.
ANALYSIS: If senior members of the TTP continue to be assassinated inside of Afghanistan, the rift will widen between the two allied groups, which could usher in internecine warfare. The TTP absorbed large numbers of recruits from Pakistan in the months after Kabul fell, bolstering their forces. Although much smaller than the Taliban, they are a force to be reckoned with and could cause major damage.
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 87.84 AFN (as of 25 MAR 2022)
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