Daily Evacuation Brief | September 1, 2023
LAST 24 HOURS
THE ISIS-K RECRUITMENT STRATEGY IN AFGHANISTAN – Several sources in Afghanistan have assisted with providing clarity on how ISIS-K intends to destabilize the Taliban regime over the coming year.
A Revamped Strategy - ISIS-K has rejected the notion that it will be able to compete with the Taliban militarily. Apparently, this was an early hope in late 2021 and early 2022 but the efforts to mass-recruit followers resulted in significant losses at the hands of the Taliban. Thus, it has now pivoted to a more traditional role of targeting the Taliban hierarchy and critical infrastructure in a prolonged terror campaign. There was a schism between senior leaders within ISIS-K at the outset of the Taliban’s rise to power and those voices that felt that public opinion/sympathy would swell the ranks of the organization and, more importantly, would drive many Taliban and Resistance fighters to bring weapons, vehicles, and material into the crusade won out over those who preferred the more traditional footing. Also discussed at the meeting was the inclusion of Chinese targets in future operations as a perception persists that China is assisting the Taliban with counter-terrorism training and intelligence activities. However, specific targets were not discussed. The reversal in strategy signals a return to its historic role.
Recruitment Within the Taliban - The organization has prioritized recruiting mid-level Taliban members to gain access/information about the Taliban hierarchy. In a meeting that took place in Jalalabad in late March 2023, several proponents of this technique pointed out that senior Taliban leaders were becoming more openly corrupt and that mid-level leaders were fast becoming disillusioned with the direction of the regime. ISIS-K apparently had access to financial records from contacts within the Da Afghanistan Bank that detailed several questionable accounts and transfers on behalf of certain Ministers and those with ties to the Taliban which suggested some were involved in corruption. Consensus to adopt this strategy was reportedly achieved at the Jalalabad meeting.
Recruitment of Resistance Forces - Also discussed at the meeting in Jalalabad were overtures that had been made to the various Resistance forces over the course of 2022. Apparently, this was the key component of the organization’s initial strategy, as most felt the technical competence of former Afghan military personnel would be critical to engage with the Taliban in direct operations. Many of those in attendance at the meeting complained that the offers they had made to members of the Resistance had been rebuffed. It was decided to keep a few channels of communication open with two (unidentified) Resistance groups but that active recruiting efforts would be dropped.
INTEL SUMMARY: While much has recently been reported about the strength and capabilities of ISIS-K in Afghanistan, it is not clear what is fact and what is fiction. It appears the group has learned several painful lessons from the early adoption of mass recruitment and they have suffered significant losses from a far more effective than anticipated General Directorate of Intelligence over the course of 2022-23. If the information gleaned from the March Jalalabad meeting is accurate, it seems logical to presume that the group will focus on targeted assassinations of senior Taliban personnel throughout the remainder of 2023 and into 2024. To accomplish this, they will attempt to recruit disillusioned mid-level Taliban functionaries to aid them in their goal.
TALIBAN RELEASE SEVERAL JOURNALISTS – At least 5 journalists who have been held for several weeks without charges were reportedly released yesterday. The Taliban did not comment on the reasons behind the parole of the journalists. The Afghanistan Journalists Center announced the five had been freed in different cities in what appears to be a coordinated move. A spokesman for the Center called on the Taliban to free other journalists who remain in detention and who have not been charged to date.
ICRC HANDS OVER FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR SEVERAL HOSPITALS AS FUNDS RUN DRY – Several dozen hospitals that have been supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross/Crescent for the past twenty-two months will have to find support elsewhere as of today. ICRC supported the hospitals under an emergency measure called the Hospital Resilience Program and said that it was always intended to be a temporary measure. The organization paid for salaries and provided medications and health supplies. Technically, the Taliban regime will take nominal control of the facilities but few expect the Ministry of Health to be able to support the hospitals for long. ICRC vowed to continue providing health support in the country but would be forced to direct the remaining funds to critical needs programs.
SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS 9 PAKISTANI SOLDIERS IN KP – A suicide bomber riding a motorcycle rigged with explosives targeted a military convoy in Bannu. At least 9 soldiers were killed and 20 more were wounded in the blast. Reinforcements were ordered into the District and a search for possible accomplices was underway but authorities have remained tight-lipped about the tragedy so far.
NEXT 24 HOURS
PAKISTAN TO HALT FUEL SUBSIDIES, PRICES EXPECTED TO INCREASE DRAMATICALLY, PROTESTS ARE EXPECTED – Citizens and business leaders will face a shock at the fueling stations as government subsidies for the price of fuel will expire under the agreement with the IMF. It is not clear how high the prices will climb as the issue of subsidized fuel has never been completely transparent but early indications are that costs will increase by nearly 25%. Coming on the heels of the yet unresolved electricity cost increases, the public is expected to protest the added expenses. Trade unions had called for strikes in Peshawar and other parts of Punjab yesterday which appear to have closed many businesses and markets. Protests could easily turn violent and at-risk Afghans residing in Pakistan are reminded to avoid any gatherings or crowds should they appear.
The regime has accused Israel of conspiring to sabotage its ballistic missile program by supplying faulty parts in a scheme carried out by Israeli intelligence.
Javad Rouhi, a man who was arrested during protests last year died while in prison from a seizure. Activists say Rouhi was denied reasonable health care while in prison.
A court in Iraq has convicted 1 Iranian national and 4 Iraqi citizens for the killing of American Stephen Edward Troell in Baghdad last November.
Pakistani officials say that a senior TTP leader (Sharka Din aka Umar Khalid) and 3 additional TTP militants were killed in a clash with counter-terrorism forces in an Afghan refugee camp in Pishin. 21 other suspects were arrested in the operation.
The Prime Minister stated that the government would not be able to intervene in the increased costs of electricity that residents have been forced to endure after subsidies for power were canceled in the wake of the IMF bailout agreement.
By Roya Rahmani - Foreign Affairs
Two years have passed since the Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan, but Western governments and nongovernmental organizations remain stumped about how to deal with the country. Hunger and poverty are rampant, and Western countries often end up accidentally punishing the Afghan people for the loathsome policies of their leaders. After the Taliban banned women from working in most jobs outside the home, some aid agencies scaled back their operations or threatened to withdraw from Afghanistan entirely. Continuing to work in the country, they believed, would mean abandoning Afghan women. But walking away from Afghanistan in defense of women’s rights hurts Afghan women most of all.
By Fatema Adeeb - TOLO News
On August 31, 2021, the final American forces member withdrew from Afghanistan following 20 years of…
By TOLO News
The acting Minister of Petroleum and Mines Shahabuddin Delawar speaking to the press at a contract-signing ceremony for the extraction and processing of 7 major mines said…
By Fidel Rahmati - Khaama Press
On Sunday, a fire started in the “Nikmok” area of Bargmatal district, rapidly spreading across this side of the…
By Sanstuti Nath - News 18
A suicide bomber riding on a motorcycle targeted a security convoy in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing at least nine soldiers and wounding 20 others…
By Fidel Rahmati - Khaama Press
A five-year-old Afghan boy residing in Iranshahr, Iran, has played a vital role in saving the lives of three…
By Ariana News
Interim Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani said on Wednesday that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) had arrested some suspects in connection with recent terror…
INTERNATIONAL NEWS RELATING TO AFGHANISTAN
By Daniel Feinberg - The Hollywood Reporter
In chronology, Ibrahim Nash’at’s Hollywoodgate is almost a sequel to Retrograde, tracing the first year of the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan after…
By Fidel Rahmati - Khaama Press
In a statement released on the White House website, President Joe Biden highlighted that the US remains Afghanistan’s largest humanitarian…
THE DAILY WTF
By Iran International
At a religious scholars' gathering in Kabul, the Taliban's Foreign Minister used sarcasm to address countries supporting an all-inclusive government in…
Afghani to the Dollar: $1 – 81.20 AFN (as of 1 SEP 2023)