Daily Evacuation Brief | March 6, 2022
Open source daily news about Afghanistan and the surrounding region powered by Operation Snow Leopard
LAST 24 HOURS:
A gruesome murder scene in Herat was discovered with five beheaded members of a family. The perpetrators remain at large. Another incident in Mazar-e-Sharif involved the murder of two young girls by unknown assailants.
Multiple sources have reported additional murders of activists in Balkh province. The security forces have denied they took place.
The Salang Pass has been closed to heavy trucks due to weather.
NEXT 24 HOURS:
Witnesses are said to be coming forward with evidence of the murders of over fifteen activists in Mazar-e-Sharif and Balkh province. They are expected to say Taliban officials were involved.
Another protest by civil servants is expected to be staged in several cities over a lack of pay. To date several protests about wages have taken place in the country and these represent a wide sector of professions. Sources claim the Taliban has continually pointed to fluctuations in the rate of exchange of the Afghani vs the US dollar. However, the currency has long since normalized and has been making incremental gains against the dollar for some time. Most sources say that the populace believes the funds are being diverted to the new Army and dissatisfaction is rising.
LYING IS DIFFERENT THIS TIME AROUND
CONTEXT: The world has changed dramatically since the Taliban were last in power, particularly in the realm of communications and social media. Gone are the days when an incident could be manipulated with an intentionally misleading press release and minimal questions asked from a misinformed and fearful populace. The legacy holdovers from the first Taliban regime have a limited understanding of the new technological reality and tend to favor harsh crackdowns. However, the new leadership, many of whom have grown reliant on the internet and cell phones, understand the dilemma between allowing normalized internet access and the need for misinformation campaigns.
A case in point is the newly unshrouded Minister of the Interior Sirajuddin Haqqani. Acting Minister Haqqani chose to come out of hiding and deliver public remarks at a police academy graduation yesterday. A key point he attempted to make was that Afghanistan posed no threat to any country. Considering the bombing in Pakistan that was reportedly carried out by ISIS-K from Afghanistan the previous day, the spate of border skirmishes that have killed scores more, and the continued tension regarding TTP presence in Afghanistan, it seemed tone-deaf. If it were 1997, he could probably have gotten away with such nonsense. However, today it is a near certainty that everyone in attendance at the graduation likely knew at least as much as the new Minister of the Interior did.
Since the Taliban has come to power, they have been kept on their back foot when it comes to processing and presenting information. The few international negotiations that have been held have seen them struggling to retain any credibility given that the international community has a plethora of information both on Taliban transgressions, the blatant lies they tell, and the Afghan citizens who are publicly criticizing them.
ANALYSIS: The ability of citizens and the global community to instantaneously reference what the Taliban says and does is going to make life difficult for the nascent theocracy, especially given their historical reliance on disinformation and suppression of connections to the outside world. The Taliban pretend to be blissfully ignorant of the fact that their every move is noted, commented on, and fired around the globe like electronic bullets—but there is no way that they are actually fully unaware. In fact, sources have previously reported conflict between new and old generation Taliban on what the regime’s approach should be to the internet and social media. Reportedly, the older generation fear the impact of internet access and urge a crackdown, whereas younger members fear a nationwide revolt if crackdowns occur.
With the world’s attention drawn to Ukraine, the Taliban could take the opportunity to cut off internet access soon. Shutting down the internet would give the Taliban the opportunity to lie and commit atrocities with minimal consequences domestically and reduced accountability internationally. The ensuing economic, security, and societal chaos could be their demise. However, a more nuanced crackdown is just as likely. The Taliban will continue to ask for help in curtailing online freedoms from developed states who have the experience and technical skill to monitor and police a national network. The obvious candidates for this kind of assistance are China and Iran.
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 89.78 AFN (as of 06 MAR 2022)
Wanted Taliban Leader Makes Public Appearance in Kabul
By Ayaz Gul – VOA
A senior leader of Afghanistan’s Taliban, listed by the United States as a global terrorist, made a…
5 Members of Family Beheaded in Herat, 2 Girls Killed in Balkh
By TOLO News
Five members of a family were beheaded by unknown individuals in Anjil district in the western province of Herat, officials said…
Taliban asks people to hand over weapons, government property
Taliban have been raiding the houses of the people of Afghanistan and asked them to voluntarily hand over…
Kabul Municipality Places Price Cap on Essential Goods
By Amina Hakimi – TOLO News
The Kabul Municipality has ordered a price cap on essential goods after residents complained over a spike in…
Afghanistan’s Central Bank Injects $14mn Into The Market
By WADSAM Afghan Business News
Da Afghanistan Bank, Afghanistan’s central bank, announced that in order to stabilize the…
IS-K claims responsibility for Peshawar bombing
By Abdullah Aziz – Pajhwok Afghan News
The Islamic State’s regional affiliate, Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, has claimed responsibility for a…
International News Relating to Afghanistan
Qatar FM, UN chief confer on Afghan peace, development
By Abdul Raqeeb Sail – Pajhwok Afghan News
Qatar Foreign Minister Mohammad Bin Abdul Rahman Al Sani has held a telephonic conversation with…
Biden Cannot Make US Failure In Afghanistan Disappear By Ignoring It – OpEd
By Luke Coffey - Arab News
Last week, President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address to a joint session of the US Congress. He started his speech by…
The Absurdity of the Day
IEA doesn’t pose threat to any country, says Haqqani
By Afsana HaActing Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani on Saturday stressed implementation of the…
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