The Taliban has announced a new national battalion of suicide bombers.
In the immediate fallout of the militant group’s takeover of Afghanistan, reports emerged of some fighters fearing they’d ‘missed their chance at martyrdom’ in a regime based on maintaining power, rather than fighting against the US, UK and other forces.
Now, the Taliban has revealed plans to establish a brigade of suicide bombers for a new 10,000-strong national army.
As per The Times, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, ‘Our mujahidin who are martyrdom brigades will also be part of the army but they will be special forces. These forces will be under the control of the Ministry of Defence and will be used for special operations.’
While the news was described as ‘horrific and appalling’ by Shaharzad Akbar, the chairwoman of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, it echoes reports from October last year when an ‘exclusive battalion of suicide bombers’ was deployed to the borders of Afghanistan.
Mullah Nisar Ahmad Ahmadi, the deputy governor of the Badakhshan province, revealed the battalion is named Lashkar-e-Mansoori, or ‘Mansoor army’, and it was set up to carry out suicide attacks against security forces assigned to the previous Afghan government, Hindustan Times reports.
‘The defeat of the US would not be possible if not for this battalion. These brave men would wear explosive waistcoats and would detonate the US bases in Afghanistan. These are people with literally no fear who devote themselves for the consent of Allah,’ Ahmadi earlier said.
Disturbing footage of a ‘martyrdom-seekers squadron’ also emerged in September last year, showing masked men carrying a Taliban flag and weapons to be used ‘against invaders and their puppets in defence of independence and dear country’.
Bilal Karimi, the Taliban’s deputy spokesperson, explained that the battalion will be incorporated into the army to combat the threat from the rival Islamic State Khorasan Province chapter (ISIS-K). ‘The special forces that include martyrdom seekers will be used for more sophisticated and special operations,’ he said.
Last week, ISIS-K claimed responsibility for a mortar shell explosion in eastern Afghanistan that took the lives of nine children. It’s just one of nearly 100 bloody attacks across the country, targeting both Taliban operatives and civilians.
A recent report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan found the main cause of civilian casualties to be IEDs, explosive devices that are used by both ISIS-K and the Taliban.
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