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The Daily Brief: Violence in Afghanistan Racks Up as US Troops Withdraw

Violence in Afghanistan Racks Up as US Troops Withdraw

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U.S. and Coalition Forces Mentor Afghan National Army in Dismount Patrol DVIDS251813

Summary:

  • US troops are currently withdrawing from Afghanistan following a plan designated by President Joe Biden to remove all troops from the republic by September 11, 2021.
  • Some fear that US troop withdrawal will weaken Afghanistan’s defense against terrorist groups however David F. Helvey, acting assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs, has stated that the US will “maintain counterterrorism capabilities in the region sufficient to ensure that Afghanistan cannot again become a safe haven for terrorists who threaten our security,”
  • An estimated 400 people, including civilians and security forces, were killed in Afghanistan this last month making April 2021 the deadliest month for Afghanistan since November 2020.
  • Violence in Afghanistan appears to be on the rise with 200 people already killed in the first week of May.
  • May 2021 was also witness to one of the deadliest terror attacks in Afghanistan, a school bombing that killed 85 people, most of them young girls.
  • US Department of Defense leaders acknowledge the increasing violence in Afghanistan, however they believe that the threat landscape in the Islamic Republic has changed so US counterterrorism strategies must change as well; rather than stationing troops in Afghanistan for extended period of time, the US plans to mitigate the threat of terrorism fom Afghanistan though a “diplomatic presence”.
  • No terrorist groups in Afghanistan have taken responsibility for most of the recent attacks in the country, however the Taliban, ISIS, and Afghan citizens disgruntled with the government’s lack of protection for them are possible suspects.
  • Sources:

DOD

Foreign Politics

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Nepal Suffers Severe COVID-19 Surge Coupled With Political Unrest

  • Nepal is suffering from its worst COVID-19 surge yet, with shortages of medical supplies, health facilities, and oxygen for patients – its citizens face anger and frustration at the government’s lack of ability to handle the pandemic.
  • Nepal has had eight governments in the past 10 years and faces increasing political turmoil amidst the current COVID-19 surge, mirroring the scenes in its neighboring country India.
  • Coronavirus cases and infections began increasing in April as the government allowed mass religious festivals, weddings, and other public gatherings to continue.
  • Tweets:

Accident at Taiwanese Power Plant Brings Blackouts

  • Millions were affected by power outages in Taiwan after a grid failure at the Hsinta Power Plant in a southern city of Taiwan. 
  • Power was later restored in the evening, but blackouts affected around 22 million of Taiwanese residents, many of whom were caught off guard. 
  • While authorities were investigating the cause of the power plant accident, a strong drought and heat wave made restoration of electricity difficult and prolonged complications
  • Officials urged residents to remain calm as they worked to resolve the outages and asked residents not to spread misinformation regarding the blackouts. 
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Bitcoin Sinks After Elon Musk Announces End of Tesla’s Support

Bitcoin
Onov3056, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • Bitcoin prices sank more than 10% after Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that he would stop allowing car purchases paid with Bitcoin. Prices of other digital currencies dropped as well.
  • Musk criticized the use of fossil fuels and overall energy consumption required for the mining of the currency.
  • Tesla began accepting the cryptocurrency in February, which worried some environmentalists, but excited cryptocurrency markets. Musk has expressed interest in other cryptocurrencies that are more environmentally friendly.
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Colonial Pipeline Pays Ransom to Hackers and Restarts Operations

Gasoline Fill Up
MarkBuckawicki, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Colonial Pipeline has resumed its regular gasoline and jet fuel operations after paying DarkSide, the hacker group responsible for the shutdown, $5 million in cryptocurrency to decrypt its systems.
  • Colonial Pipeline, a major distributor of fuel for the East Coast, faced a ransomware attack, forcing them to shut down all operations and work to retrieve stolen data. 
  • Gas stations in the Southeast faced fuel shortages due to public panic and hoarding. The federal government has been involved in the conflict and is further investigating the individuals responsible.
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All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Daily Brief

Salman Rushdie Severely Stabbed due to his Publication of the Book “The Satanic Verses”

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Salman Rushdie 2014
  • Salman Rushdie, an author, was severely stabbed in his neck and abdomen on stage by a suspect named Hadi Matar, causing him to be on a ventilator and potentially losing an eye.
  • An Iranian leader back in the 20th century wanted Rushdie killed because of his novel, Satanic Verses, that many Muslims found disrespectful. This led Salman to go into hiding for almost a decade.
  • Translators from different countries reading this book were harshly stabbed to death when the book came out and Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khomeini called for Salman’s execution for three million dollars.
  • The Iranian government has not yet responded to this issue, but many Iranians in the media claim him to be an apostate who later became an atheist.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

China Threatens Consequences if Pelosi Visits Taiwan

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  • US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has landed inTaiwan. Prior to the visit, China’s Foreign Ministry has voiced their disapproval, stating that “China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized in response  that “The speaker will make her own decisions about whether or not to visit Taiwan,” and that the US is looking to Beijing to “act responsibly and not to engage in any escalation going forward.”
  • The US has made it clear that members of Congress routinely visit Taiwan and that this trip is non-threatening and has precedent. Even so, some officials have expressed concern that China may invade Taiwan’s air defense zone or send missiles near Taiwan in retaliation.
  • Pelosi has criticized China’s leadership and vocalized support for Taiwan in the past. She is currently on her tour of Asia, with scheduled visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

First Grain Ship Departs Ukraine After Six Months of Russian Blockade

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Odesa pristav
  • The first shipment of grain departed the port of Odesa on Monday after Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports for the last six months trapped around 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn.
  • Russia recently made a deal with Ukraine, brokered by the UN and Turkey, allowing grain exports to resume, appeasing fears of a global food supply crisis and rising prices.
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba celebrated the shipment, calling it a “day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.”
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was more hesitant to celebrate the shipment, stating “it is too early to draw any conclusions and make any forecasts” and he wants to “see how the agreement works and whether security will be really guaranteed.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Concerns Rise As US Teeters on the Brink of Recession

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US Stock Market Investing in the United States
  • The US economy declines for the second quarter in a row, causing, what other countries would consider, an economic recession. 
  • The prices for groceries, gas, and other basics are rising at the fastest pace since 1981. The US Central Bank is quickly trying to raise borrowing costs in order to cool the economy and ease the prices on goods, but with the contraction, at the annual rate of 0.9% in the 3 months to July, many are still getting concerned. 
  • President Biden struggles to convince the public that the economy is sound, with the unemployment rate at a low 3.6%. But with inflation in the US hitting 9.1% in June, the fastest price appreciation in 4 months, consumer spending has slowed at an annual rate of 1%. 
  • Many other countries, such as China and the UK, have been hit harder by the surge in energy prices and the War in Ukraine, causing risks from abroad. Other countries are facing much more serious problems and once they’re hit, their problems can spill over and affect the US. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

North Korea Could Possibly Be Preparing another Nuclear Test

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  • North Korea could be preparing a seventh nuclear test, especially after Mr. Kim announced that the country is fully ready for any military confrontation with the US at a Korean War Anniversary event. 
  • A US special representative in North Korea states that Jong-Un has tested an unprecedented number of missiles this year—31 to 25. Jong-Un also stated that threats from the US required North Korea to achieve the urgent historical task of strengthening its self-defense. 
  • Jong-un also stated that South Korea is reviving a plan to counter North Korea’s threat by mounting precautionary strikes; in June alone, South Korea launched 8 missiles of its own.
  • The North Korean regime is especially angry with South Korea’s new president Yoon Suk-yeol and his so-called Kill Chain strategy. This strategy allows South Korea to launch ballistic missiles and air strikes on North Korean targets if it ever feels threatened. 
  • North Korea has also not been getting as much engagement with Washington ever since Biden replaced Trump, and could be hinting at some sort of deliberate escalation by the North, and preparations have been underway at the Punggye Ri test site since March.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Russia Limits Gas Supply to Germany

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Black Sea port of Theodosiya panoramio
  • Gazprom, a major Russian energy provider, has stated it will reduce the supply of gas to Germany by half via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline due to repair work. 
  • Germany has said that they see no technical reason for the decrease in gas supply. The European Union continues to accuse Russia of weaponizing energy, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stating, “This is an open gas war that Russia is waging against a united Europe.”
  • Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement to allow the export of grain via the Black Sea after Russia continued to block millions of tonnes from being exported. The next day, Russia struck missiles at the port, some of which hit the infrastructure of the port.
  • The US and Ukraine are optimistic that the agreement will still be implemented, with the US State Department stating, “Despite these attacks, we do understand that the parties are continuing preparations to open Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for food and fertilizer exports…we also continue to expect that the Black Sea agreement will be implemented.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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