Daily Evacuation Brief | May 23, 2023
LAST 24 HOURS
TALIBAN CAUTIONS IRAN OVER HELMAND RIVER THREATS – The escalating war of words over water rights between Iran and the Taliban continued yesterday as the Taliban Foreign Minister sent mixed messages regarding the commitment to the 1973 treaty. Amir Khan Muttaqi said during a press conference in Kabul that the Taliban was committed to honoring the treaty but then hedged by saying that Tehran needs to be prepared to lower expectations based on the drought in Afghanistan. In previous statements about the matter, the Taliban has consistently said it would adhere to the provisions of the treaty. We assess that the change in rhetoric was likely provoked by Iran’s public request to dispatch an assessment team to Afghanistan to measure water levels. A source in Tehran said that several of the drone flights conducted by Iran in the Spring of 2023 were sent into Afghanistan to conduct aerial hydrological surveys of reservoirs and that Tehran is convinced the Taliban are withholding water from the Helmand River with plans to divert it for domestic agricultural use. The Taliban appear to be adjusting their messaging with regard to the water issue.
THE RAINY SEASON MAY USHER IN DENGUE FEVER CONTAGION – The World Health Organization has issued a warning over the risk of outbreaks of Dengue Fever in Afghanistan. Populations in Eastern Afghanistan are the primary concern as the region has historically suffered the highest infection rates from the disease. The organization said it had anticipated the problem and had successfully trained approximately 300 medical staff to deal with the disease. Of note, the majority of the medical staff trained for this potential crisis are women.
MODERATELY POWERFUL EARTHQUAKE REPORTED IN BADAKHSHAN – An earthquake struck Badakhshan Province before noon yesterday. The 4.9 magnitude quake was centered near Faizabad and the tremors were felt in Kabul. The quake was the second above 4.0 magnitude reported in a ten-hour span and seismologists are concerned that a stronger earthquake may be coming.
NEW PRIME MINISTER APPOINTMENT THOUGHT TO BE AIMED AT THE ‘YOUNG LIONS’ IN THE TALIBAN 2.0 – Several long-time observers and analysts feel the appointment of Maulvi Abdul Kabir as acting Prime Minister by the supreme leader was a political message aimed at Mullah Baradar, Mullah Yaqoob, and (most importantly) at Sirajuddin Haqqani. Kabir’s roots lie in Paktia Province and his family ties are largely seen as competition to the Haqqani family. There seems to be a growing consensus that Hibaitullah Akhundzada has grown paranoid and it is said that he overruled several of his inner circle who had urged for a promotion for Mullah Baradar (First Deputy Prime Minister). Further reshuffling is expected to take place and many believe the Haqqani family will lose key positions.
NEXT 24 HOURS
PAKISTAN - FORMER PM KHAN SCHEDULED TO MAKE THREE COURT APPEARANCES TODAY – The ousted Prime Minister will start his day with questioning in front of the National Accountability Bureau in Rawalpindi over a corruption case. Then, he is scheduled to request bail in a case concerning potential charges of terrorism at the Anti-Terrorism Court. Lastly, he is scheduled to appear at the Islamabad High Court where he will be processed for his biometric data in an attempt to receive another grant of bail in several new cases. The former PM called on his followers to remain calm if he is arrested today. Some believe the about-face is due in large part to several high-level defections from his party and recent polling that gives the Pakistani military very high approval ratings. Relative calm has reigned in Pakistan since the events that transpired after 9 May but the former PM has proven to be a wily political figure and it is possible that orders have gone out to instigate a new round of mass protests should be detained. However, the matters before him today are considered routine and we assess the likelihood of violence to be low. At-risk Afghans sheltering in Islamabad and Rawalpindi should continue to remain vigilant but should be able to go about their daily affairs.
A famous Iranian grand master of chess has emigrated to France because he says he can’t access the main chess website from his home country.
Iran appointed a new leader of its national security council yesterday. Ali Akbar Ahmadian, a former General in the IRGC, succeeded Ali Shamkhani as the new Secretary. Shamkhani held the post for nearly a decade.
The head of Israel’s military intelligence branch said that Iran currently does not have a nuclear weapon. Major General Aharon Haliva went on to say that Iran and Israel are in ‘direct conflict’ with one another already.
A close aide and confidant of the former Prime Minister was released from prison on Monday and then promptly rearrested on a warrant issued by the Lahore High Court. Shireen Mazari enjoyed a few minutes of freedom before being taken back into custody. It was said to be her fourth arrest in the past ten days.
Lawyers for the PTI party have asked the Supreme Court to rule on the legitimacy of the Army tribunals being employed to try cases against PTI protestors who attacked military and government infrastructure.
After the deadly border incursion in Iran that left 6 Iranian border security officers dead, the Deputy Commander of Police promised that vengeance would be dealt to the perpetrators of the attack. The group that is thought to have committed the terrorist act is said to be sheltering in Pakistan.
By Mona Thakkar and Vineet P - Global Network on Extremism and Technology
The Islamic State in Khorasan province (ISKP), operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has emerged as Islamic State’s (IS) most deadly branch. It has conducted attacks not only on the diplomatic missions of Russia and Pakistan in Kabul but also targeted Chinese businessmen in a Kabul hotel, launched cross-border attacks in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and carried out an armed attack on a shrine in Iran. The group has thrived in the media space as well as the operational space. In recent months, it has aggressively expanded its propaganda machinery, circulating print, video and audio releases to bolster its recruitment, outreach and fundraising activities.
By TOLO News
The former leader of the Islamic Emirate, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, was remembered in a ceremony attended by senior members of…
By AMU TV
“We will continue to stay in Afghanistan, and we will continue to innovate, reinvent, and…
By Mitra Majeedy - TOLO News
UN Women in a statement said the latest restrictions on women in Afghanistan has uniquely impacted UN…
By Ariana News
“Afghans live in a traditional society, the Islamic Emirate does not allow anyone to criticize the culture and ideas of Afghans and is committed to this goal in…
By Ariana News
Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) foreign minister, said on Monday that the IEA is committed to the 1351 (1973) water treaty with Iran but that…
INTERNATIONAL NEWS RELATING TO AFGHANISTAN
By Atenas Burrola Estrada - Immigration Impact
If you are an asylum seeker in the United States who cannot afford an attorney, your chance of finding pro bono assistance is now slimmer than…
By Holly Bancroft - The Independent
An Afghan colonel who fought alongside British troops and fled to the UK on a small boat has been threatened with…
THE DAILY WTF
By Banafsha Binesh - TOLO News
The acting Minister of Interior, Sirajuddin Haqqani, met with the UN special envoy for Afghanistan, Roza Otunbayeva, and he requested that representatives of the…
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 87.60 AFN (as of 23 MAY 2023)