GDI: a 12-Month Outlook on The Taliban Intelligence Agency



    Since the Taliban took over in Afghanistan in 2021, its use of intelligence has not been at the forefront of the coverage. And how it re-tasked the newly named General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) within Afghanistan. The focus has been primarily on the Taliban’s military accomplishments in recent months. 

    The General Directorate of Intelligence is under the leadership of Abdul Haq Wasiq a former Guantanamo inmate. It is responsible for many human rights violations. Also aiding the Taliban in its fight against IS-K, as it looks to govern Afghanistan. It is also responsible for attempts to control the media, not unlike that of intelligence agencies in authoritarian states.

    Key Judgement 1: It is highly likely the GDI’s intelligence will be instrumental in helping the Taliban combat IS-K in the next 12 months.

    • In March 2022, the GDI Twitter account rejected claims by US General Frank McKenzie that IS-K were growing in numbers within the country. GDI on its official Twitter assured the world that ISIS were no longer a problem in Afghanistan. (source)
    • Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, GDI announced it had assisted in the capture of 600 IS-K members. (source)
    • On the 21st of July 2022, the General Directorate of Intelligence released footage of a raid on an IS-K cell in Kabul. Consequently, two IS-K members were killed with three more captured. GDI holds the cell responsible for producing propaganda for IS-K in Tajik. (source)
    • Furthermore, on the 29th of July 2022, the Taliban claimed that with the help of GDI and its intelligence work IS-K in Afghanistan is nearly eliminated (source)

    Key Judgement 2: In the next 12 months it is highly likely that the GDI will be pivotal in limiting free speech within Afghanistan helping the Taliban control the narrative concerning its rule.

    • In January 2022, the General Directorate of Intelligence began to crack down on the sale and consumption of Afghanistan. Something that is in contrast to the previous Afghan government. (source)
    • With GDI under the control of the Haqqani network, it also called for the media in Afghanistan to refrain from publishing “false news and baseless rumours”. (source)
    • In July 2022, the Taliban’s GDI captured and tortured Foreign Policy journalist Lynn O’Donnell. It forced her to release statements and retract previous articles. This was on the basis that they were illegal and offended Afghan culture.  (source)
    • Following this GDI began targeting YouTubers. With reports indicating it arrested and tortured Afghan YouTuber Ajmal Haqiqi (source)
    • Furthermore, the GDI is known for conducting night raids on civilians who attend protests to arrest and question them. (source)

    Key Judgement 3:  It is likely that the General Directorate of Intelligence will become the omnipresent organisation of the Taliban feared by ordinary Afghans over the next 12 months.

    • In June 2022, Human Rights Watch accused the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence of torturing civilians. This is in the northern Panjshir province as it battles to take the region from the NRF. (source)
    • On the 20th of July 2022, the United Nations Mission to Afghanistan released a report highlighting the involvement of GDI in several human rights abuse cases. Also highlighting the GDI’s role in women’s rights violations. (source)
    • The GDI is also responsible for the control of all intellectual property within Afghanistan. Further inserting themselves into the day-to-day lives of ordinary civilians. (source)
    • GDI’s hunt for those who may oppose Taliban rule has undoubtedly family members in fear of reprisals from GDI. (source)

    Intel cut off 13/08/22

    Bobby Payne
    Bobby Payne
    Bobby has ten years experience in contracts management and business ownership. He is an alumni of the University of East Anglia where he studied history, focussing on Spanish colonisation. He is currently studying MA Intelligence and Security Studies at Brunel University. His research focus is on terrorism and geopolitics.

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