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Two Years on Profile of Afghan Taliban Army


Taliban Army Chief Courtesy BNA

Taliban Army Chief of Staff Qari Fasihuddin Fitrat, in a conference with the media on August 15th second anniversary of the power shift in Kabul, outlined the forces' achievements. He claimed that the Afghan Islamic Army has increased in strength from 150,000 to 180,000. He claimed that 8,418 light weapons, 318 heavy weapons, 5,044 motorcycles, 538 other types of equipment, 1,205 kilograms of explosives, 917 hand grenades, 841 landmines, 513 walkie-talkies, 453 binoculars were recovered by Afghan security forces. Fitrat said 63 battalions in 37 camps, 108 bases and 600 check-posts had been furnished with facilities and equipment.

Mawlavi Mohammad Qasim Frasd, deputy policy and strategy head of the Ministry of Defence, claimed that 60 aircraft were flown to other countries after regime change, which had not been returned so far. "We asked them to return the aircraft, but they are under "US pressure and did not reply to us." He claimed that in one year, 24,774 officers graduated from the Islamic Military educational institutions, and 50,000 equipment had been repaired and were now useable.


Claims of Weapons Restored by Taliban Source BNA

The weapons restored include Russian- and US-origin guns, rockets, heavy weapons, and assault rifles such as the M4 and M16. In addition, helicopters and at least one light attack helicopter have been repaired by the Taliban. Most of these military vehicles were partially damaged by the US forces during withdrawal. It's estimated the US alone left $7 billion of military gear - including 78 aircraft, 12,000 Humvees and thousands of air-to-ground weapons. Weapons left behind by U.S. forces during the withdrawal from Afghanistan are surfacing in other conflicts, further arming militants, which have also led to some concerns. One factor behind the boost to terrorism in Pakistan is the weapons and equipment, such as night vision goggles, available to TTP and the Baloch insurgent groups.


The Ministry of Defense said that all troops had been provided with uniforms and that those who neglect to wear them will be punished. Enayatullah Khwarizmi, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, said that the uniforms are from the previous government, but their colour may change soon. Discipline in the Taliban troops on the ground is seen as a significant challenge, and people are suffering as many of those claiming to be soldiers of the Islamic Emirate do not wear the uniform. Some renegades also claim that they are the Taliban force representatives. Taliban claim that 250 military personnel from the Taliban forces had been incarcerated due to infractions ranging from breaches of government policies to involvement in traffic accidents.


The Taliban has claimed that it is absorbing previous government officials, including those who worked with the Afghan defence forces, but the latest United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has indicated that facto Taliban has carried out 800 instances of extrajudicial killing, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and ill-treatment and enforced disappearance carried out against individuals affiliated with the former government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its security forces in the past two years.


Conclusion


Security challenges faced by the Taliban are presently limited to Islamic State of Khorasan and resistance forces as the National Resistance Front and the Afghanistan Freedom Front. These have been able to carry out sporadic attacks on the Taliban forces which have not been acknowledged by Kabul as such.


Meanwhile the main threat to the public remains Taliban renegades who are indulging in rampant extortion and threats particularly past military officials. Disciplining these has remained a challenge.






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