AFS appears to use DFS namespace redirection to point you to individual nodes in the AFS cluster where your data is actually held. The ELM does not support DFS redirection, so when the STATUS_PATH_NOT_COVERED comes back from the initial node we reached, we fail the attempt instead of moving to the requested server. If randomly you happen to connect to the node where your data is, there is no redirection and no error.
Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a workaround except to point the ELM to a specific node in the AFS cluster instead of the main cluster address. This node probably has to be the AFS “leader” node.