Daily Evacuation Brief | May 31, 2023
LAST 24 HOURS
IRAN DOWNPLAYS BORDER ISSUE – With a somewhat disconcerted series of messages, Tehran seemed eager to minimize references to the conflict that occurred on the border with Afghanistan. Some of the messaging said it was a minor issue and attributed the hostilities to a ‘misunderstanding’ while other statements implied it had been caused by the ever-present bugbear - the West. The Taliban, for its part, had a few loose cannons who let loose with threats to ‘conquer Iran in 24 hours’ by one of their senior military commanders. Both sides seem to have realized too late how ridiculous the situation looked to the rest of the world. Many senior analysts and policymakers see these skirmishes as the opening salvos of a possible war. While leaders in Kabul and Tehran say the situation is calm and no threat remains, both sides of continued sending reinforcements to the 900km border. The additional troops raise the risk of further violence in the future.
TALIBAN CORRUPTION EXPOSED – A recent expose by Hasht-E Subh media sheds light on the low-level corruption that seems to be taking hold among the lower ranks in the Taliban. Minibus drivers in Kabul described an extortion scheme carried out by Taliban security personnel whereby the drivers are forced to pay the Taliban a ‘daily fee’ to operate their vehicles. This fee is unofficial and is paid to the security personnel directly. If a driver refuses to pay the fee, he will not be allowed to pick up passengers from that area. Apparently, the scheme started in early 2022 and the average daily fee was 15 Afghanis. The fee has now swelled to 60 Afghanis per day and may be raised higher as boredom has set in among the Taliban security forces who now find themselves performing roles akin to glorified security guards rather than liberators. Many have developed a taste for modern things and the citizenry makes for easy targets in such an environment. The leadership has continually called on the rank and file to adhere to its code of ethics and it is often a point made in remarks by senior leaders. However, it is unlikely that the regime will be able to reign in such widespread corruption and there has always been a question about the average Taliban fighter’s loyalties.
TALIBAN CALLS FOR A HALT OF EVACUATIONS OF EDUCATED AFGHANS – The Foreign Minister and others in the Taliban leadership have called on the international community to halt the evacuations and resettlement of educated Afghans. They say the ‘brain drain’ is having an adverse effect on the future of the country. Having effectively neutered the country by barring women from working and studying, the Taliban are now pleading with educated Afghans to stay and bask in the security and safety they have brought to the country. It is not clear what measures the Taliban intend to take in order to halt the exodus of talent.
NEXT 24 HOURS
CALLS TO HALT EVACUATIONS – While we have no information that any impending action will be taken soon, the fact the Taliban leadership has called on countries to halt attempts to evacuate/resettle educated/skilled Afghans, is troubling. We felt it would be worthwhile to assess some of the actions they may take. The most likely scenario will involve the development of a list of ‘critical skill sets’ that would probably be formed with input from the various ministries. This list will almost certainly focus heavily on engineers, banking/finance, manufacturing, technology, etc. Those with the skills identified on the list may find themselves unable to travel outside of the country. They may have their passports revoked or could be placed on a ‘no-fly’ list of sorts. We do not think it is likely that women with the requisite skills will be allowed back into these roles as Kandahar would read that as submission to the international community. However, they may be forced to bring female specialists back considering so many Afghans have since departed. We do not foresee a closure of the borders at this time but that could happen. Almost certainly, airports and border crossings will see increased screening of people departing the country, and professional experience questions will be asked. We also believe this could affect the passport application process and may slow things down in that regard. It is too early to tell at this point but those at-risk Afghans who are planning to depart should consider methods of sanitizing any professional work history that could make them a target for ‘forced retention’ by the Taliban. We would also remind at-risk Afghans not to panic and to not endanger any pending resettlement case they may have by illegally crossing a border. As recent events have shown on the Iranian frontier, illegal border crossings are extremely dangerous. Those groups still working to evacuate/resettle Afghans are urged to consider methods to circumvent possible retention policies should they be implemented.
Biden’s envoy says military options are definitely on the table for Iran but a diplomatic solution is preferred.
An Iranian-born model at the Cannes film festival wore a noose to protest Iran’s executions.
The regime says it has successfully carried out a test launch of a hypersonic missile.
The Interior Minister said yesterday that former PM, Imran Khan, will be tried in a military court for his suspected role in masterminding the 9 May riots. The Defense Minister had deferred the question just 2 days before.
A Pakistani Airlines plane was seized in Malaysia over unpaid dues the airlines owed the country. The incident marked the second instance in the past two years Malaysia chose to seize an aircraft.
The Section 144 Ban on group protests was extended until 4 June.
By Common Space EU
It seems as if you cannot be respected as a superpower unless you burn your fingers trying to pacify Afghanistan, writes commonspace.eu in this editorial. The British in the heyday of the Raj, tried it in the 19th century; the Soviets tried it at the peak of their power in the 20th century, and the Americans had a go at a time when they were the only superpower, in the early 21st century. Now it seems it's China’s turn, and of course, it is being done the Chinese way. There are no armies swarming across the Khyber Pass, nor forward military bases established across Central Asia. Instead, the Chinese are using their time-tested tool – the Belt and Road Initiative.
By AMU TV
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) in a report published on Monday warned that Afghanistan, Sudan, South Sudan, Yemen…
By Akmal Dawi - VOA
The Taliban have called on Western countries to stop evacuating and resettling educated and skilled Afghans abroad, saying the…
By Ariana News
Deputy Minister of Information and Culture said in a ceremony to introduce Ahmadi that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) is committed to the…
By Fidel Rahmati - Khaama Press
These cartels use Pakistani sources to facilitate the acquisition of chemicals required to produce…
By Iran Front Page
Satellite images reveal how the interim government in Afghanistan is blocking the flow of Helmand River, a lifeline for residents of Iran’s Sistan and…
By Ariana News
Senior Iranian officials have said the border skirmish last week between Afghanistan and Iran is being exaggerated by…
By Fidel Rahmati - Khaama Press
With the funding, WFP will be able to provide life-saving food assistance to nearly 70,000 food-insecure people in areas struck by acute food…
INTERNATIONAL NEWS RELATING TO AFGHANISTAN
By The Toronto Star
Two Canadians who served the military in Afghanistan are suing the federal government over alleged discrimination for…
By Anadolu Agency
The Australian defense forces chief on Tuesday faced tough questions following his move to remove the military honors of…
THE DAILY WTF
By Fidel Rahmati - Khaama Press
The Ministry of Finance said that Ghulam Khan Border customs officials successfully thwarted an effort to smuggle more than one ton of…
‘We are not sure what to say about this one.’ TAD Staff
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 87.56 AFN (as of 31 MAY 2023)