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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

  • Tweets:

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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. 
  • Tweets:

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.
  • Tweets:

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.
  • Tweets:

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

Trump Knew His Supporters Were Armed in Jan. 6 Capitol Riots

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800px DC Capitol Storming IMG 7960
  • Former White House aid, Cassidy Hutchinson, stated that former US President Donald Trump was aware that rioters were armed on January 6th, 2021 when they stormed the US Capitol, but he did not want to stop them.
  • Hutchinson worked as a top advisor to Mr Trump’s chief of staff, and testified at a hearing to a select House committee that was in charge of investigating the Jan 6th riot at the US Capitol.
  • Hutchinson recounted how Mr. Trump said that rioters were “not here to hurt me” and that security should “let them in.” She also stated that he lunged at the driver of the limousine in a rage when he was told he could not be taken to the Capitol.
  • Mr Trump denied several parts of Hutchinson’s testimony, stating, “I didn’t want or request that we make room for people with guns to watch my speech.”

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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Fire During Colombia Prison Riot Kills 51

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800px Colombian Police 9731090561
  • A fire broke out in a Colombian prison during a riot, killing 51 inmates and injuring dozens. The fire was started by an inmate setting a mattress ablaze during the commotion and the flames spreading.
  • Colombian President Ivan Duque requested a “quick investigation to explain this terrible situation” and expressed his solidarity “to the families of the victims.”
  • No prisoners seem to have escaped and the fire is now under control. Twenty four people are currently in the hospital.
  • Prisons in Colombia are extremely overcrowded, as it was in this case, making riots and fighting amongst inmates a common occurrence.

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

50 Migrants Found Dead Near the US-Mexico Border

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U.S
  • Fifty migrants were found dead near the US-Mexico border in an abandoned semi truck due to “poverty and desperation,” according to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
  • The vehicle in which the victims were found was lacking air conditioning and water and, coupled with the extremely hot climate, it is suspected that they likely died from dehydration and heat stroke.
  • Migrants from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala were among the victims. Sixteen people survived the incident and were taken to the hospital.
  • US President Joe Biden spoke about the incident, stating that his administration “will continue to do everything possible to stop human smugglers and traffickers from taking advantage of people who are seeking to enter the United States between ports of entry.”

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

Credit Suisse Found Guilty for Involvement in Money Laundering Scheme

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800px Credit Suisse Zurich
  • Switzerland’s Federal Criminal Court found Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second largest bank, guilty for its involvement in a money laundering scheme involving a Bulgarian drug trafficking gang.
  • The bank is being fined 21 million Swiss francs ($22 million) due to its poor monitoring and implementation of anti-money laundering rules. More than 12 million francs worth of assets are also being confiscated due to their connection with the criminal group.
  • Credit Suisse has denied any wrongdoings and stated that it has been “continuously testing its anti-money laundering framework and has been strengthening it over time, in accordance with evolving regulatory standards.”
  • This case originated from actions taken by a former employee in 2007 and 2008, and two other Bulgarian citizens’ actions in 2005 and 2009. Some of their sentences and fines were suspended due to the amount of time passed since the crimes took place.

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

Chlorine Gas Leak in Jordan Port City Kills Thirteen People

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Port Of Aqaba City
  • A gas leak in Aqaba, Jordan killed at least thirteen people and injured more than 250. A storage container carrying between 25 and 30 tonnes of chlorine gas fell as it was being exported to Djibouti, releasing the gas.
  • A video of the incident on state TV shows the container being dropped onto the deck of the ship and a yellow colored gas spreading through the air as people try to evacuate. The accident seems to be a result of the crane malfunctioning.
  • If chlorine is inhaled at high levels, it can cause life-threatening damage. A nearby beach in Aqaba was evacuated as a safety precaution, and residents who live in the nearest residential area, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) away, were advised to stay inside and close windows.
  • Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh traveled to Aqaba and visited some of the injured at the hospital. He also formed a team led by the interior minister to investigate the incident.

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

Russian Missile Sets Ukraine Shopping Center on Fire

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781px Nevsky Centre Shopping Mall in Russia
  • A busy shopping center in Ukraine was set on fire by Russian missiles on Monday, killing at least thirteen people and injuring dozens. The total number of casualties is still unknown.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that “The number of victims is impossible to imagine” and that there could have been up to 1,000 people in the mall.
  • The attack came during the G7 summit, where world leaders condemned recent atrocities and promised to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes” in a joint statement. President Zelensky spoke to the leaders at the summit and stated that he wants the war to end before winter.
  • NATO has decided to increase the number of troops in its rapid reaction force from 40,000 to 300,000, more than eightfold. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated this move is part of the “biggest overhaul of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War.”
  • The United States has announced that it will provide Ukraine with advanced medium and long-range air defense capabilities.

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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