Daily Evacuation Brief | May 5, 2023
LAST 24 HOURS
NORTHERN PAKISTAN ERUPTS IN VIOLENCE – Multiple clashes took place on Thursday in both North Waziristan and Kurram involving the TTP and unidentified militants that have left at least 13 people dead and an indeterminate number wounded.
The first clash involved the storming of a suspected TTP stronghold in North Waziristan where 3 TTP fighters were killed and 2 others were injured. The Pakistani Army said that 6 of its soldiers had been killed in the engagement as well.
The second incident saw at least 7 school teachers killed when masked gunmen entered a school and began firing on the educators. The school reputedly serves a predominantly Shi’ite community.
A source in Rawalpindi said that some analysts predicted yesterday’s violence and are concerned that ISIS may have carried out the attack on the school district and is coordinating with the TTP.
TRI-LATERAL MEETING SET FOR PAKISTAN TODAY – Diplomats from China and Pakistan will meet with the Taliban Foreign Minister today to attend the 5th China-Pakistan-Afghanistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers Dialogue on 6 May. The meetings are expected to focus on a slew of topics having to do with Afghanistan. Security in the capital is reputedly overwhelming with police and soldiers stationed around the downtown government buildings, the hotels where the delegations are staying, and roving security patrols have been doubled. Bilateral talks between Taliban and Pakistan will take place Friday and the Trilateral meeting will take place Saturday. Many international observers believe that China, after successfully mediating the Iranian/Saudi rapprochement, intends to achieve a similar result with Afghanistan.
TALIBAN RESHUFFLES LEADERSHIP – Reporting in April 2023 indicated the Taliban intended to replace key leaders across the regime and it appears that the first round of appointments began on Thursday. While we have yet to receive the official documents pertaining to the reshuffle, the Taliban announced that several Governors and Military Commanders have been replaced. Sources in Kabul say the appointments are suspicious because many are being seen as ‘patronage jobs’ that have been handed out by Hibatullah Akhundzada for perceived loyalty. The Minister of Defense was reportedly perturbed by the appointment of 3 new Corps Commanders who, a source says, will report to Kandahar before reporting to Kabul. The new appointments are also significant because the candidates are primarily Pashtuns and ethnic minorities in the country have long decried the lack of representation in the Taliban leadership. More changes are expected over the coming weeks.
NEXT 24 HOURS
PAKISTAN SITUATION – Based on information from sources in Pakistan, there are concerns that the TTP and ISIS may plan to conduct more attacks on Friday and throughout the weekend. According to the source, the goal is to embarrass the Pakistani government while the Chinese Foreign Minister is in the country for talks. Security around the location where the 5th Trilateral Foreign Ministers Dialogue is to take place on Sunday is extremely tight but there are concerns the TTP may have co-opted some police and/or military personnel. Barring a direct attack against the visiting diplomats, the source said that low-level attacks against police facilities are expected to continue well into Monday. An unspecified threat that reputedly targeted the airport in Islamabad was also being considered and an additional quick reaction force is expected to be deployed to the airfield to deal with any threats. A source in Islamabad said that security at the Chinese Embassy had been tripled since Thursday morning but did not have information on what may have elicited the response. At-risk Afghans in Pakistan should be cautious during this period of heightened tensions and take care to avoid government facilities if at all possible. The meetings are expected to conclude on Monday and the delegations will depart soon after.
A senior labor ministry official was sacked after answering questions about Iran’s precarious economic situation in an interview. The backlash raised fears that China would soon be buying territory from the cash-strapped country.
The Iranian President met with President Bashar al-Assad during his visit to Syria where several bilateral agreements were signed and discussions about Israel and the West took center stage.
Al-Qaeda’s reputed leader in Yemen shared a video that blasted Saudi Arabia’s rapprochement with Iran last month.
Preparations are being made for visits by both the Taliban and China’s Foreign Ministers. Security throughout Islamabad has been described as ‘massive’.
The country is reeling from a series of terror attacks that claimed over a dozen lives on Thursday.
Deposed PM, Imran Khan, appeared before the high court in Islamabad and was granted 10 days of protective bail due to health conditions. His appearance staved off another potential clash between his supporters and police.
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Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 87.31 AFN (as of 5 MAY 2023)