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Daily Evacuation Brief | March 5, 2022
Open source daily news about Afghanistan and the surrounding region powered by Operation Snow Leopard
LAST 24 HOURS:
2 separate terror attacks took place at mosques in both Peshawar, Pakistan and Paktia, Afghanistan. The first killed scores of people, and the latter killed two. Hundreds were injured. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in Pakistan. No group has claimed responsibility for the Paktia attack yet.
The security clearing operation continued across Afghanistan, but far fewer Taliban personnel and vehicles were observed in many districts of Kabul. Sources indicated that threats about a bombing had been received on Thursday morning and may have drawn some of the Taliban forces away from the search operations.
A notable Pakistani Pashtun activist, Qazi Tahir, was given a life sentence for allegedly speaking out against Pakistan’s government and taking part in a protest in 2020. He was convicted and sentenced by an anti-terror court in Karachi, and the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement, a non-violent protest movement demanding equal rights for Pashtuns, protested the conviction and called on their members to protest. Tahir was supported by Pashtuns in Afghanistan and his arrest may cause further tensions between the Taliban and Pakistani government.
NEXT 24 HOURS:
More Taliban reinforcements will depart Kabul for Gardez and Khost. Additional checkpoints along the roadways are planned to be manned, and a source indicated motorcycles are to be stopped and searched. It is unclear if this motorcycle policy will affect other provinces and towns in Afghanistan or if it is limited to the areas where the reinforcements are to be deployed. At-risk Afghans who may be traveling by motorcycle should be prepared for additional security screening.
Pakistan is said to be planning large scale police and military operations across the country in response to the deadly bombing attack. Increased security detachments are also expected to deploy to the border areas. Afghans in Pakistan are advised to limit travel on roads and in cities for the duration of these operations.
THE RECENT BOMBINGS
CONTEXT: The terror attacks at two mosques on Friday had a combined death toll of nearly sixty and wounded hundreds of people. The attacks took place approximately 100 miles apart and targeted people as they were at prayers. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on the Shiite mosque in Pakistan, while no group had yet laid claim to the attack in Afghanistan’s Paktia Province.
In the Peshawar Mosque incident a suicide bomber detonated approximately 5kgs of explosive (to include metal balls for fragmentation effect) with possible gunmen in support, whereas the attack in Paktia employed an explosive rigged motorcycle that had been stationed near where worshipers would exit.
Although the method of the attacks differed, the timing and distance suggest a coordinated operation. Most sources believe ISIS will claim responsibility for the Paktia mosque attack within the next few hours. It is generally believed that both attacks were planned and coordinated by ISIS in an effort to demonstrate the capability to carry out synchronized campaigns in both countries.
ANALYSIS: Security forces in both countries will adopt elevated security postures for the next several days. There will be an increased presence at checkpoints, border crossings, and Mosques. Security personnel may be more nervous and could react preemptively toward any perceived threat. Heightened tensions could result in cross-border exchanges between Taliban and Pakistani Army personnel. At-risk Afghans in the affected areas are encouraged to limit their time in areas where people congregate and avoid any unnecessary travel.
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