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The Taliban special forces: Heavily armed fighters with American equipment

Reports of a Taliban special forces unit patrolling Kabul have begun to emerge from Afghanistan, shattering the stereotypical image held by many of the militant group.

Rather than the typical Salwar Kameez and AK-47 slung over the shoulder that has become synonymous with farmer-turned-terrorist Taliban fighters, the ‘Badri 313’ battalion forces are an altogether different outfit.

The unit, previously unveiled by the Taliban in promotional material, are reportedly highly trained and equipped with state-of-the-art military equipment.

Where the unit acquired the equipment is unknown, but it appears to be a combination of U.S. military hardware and that use by Afghan forces, likely seized as Western and allied forces withdrew from the country.

In videos released by the group, the Badri 313 soldiers are seen with military helmets and sunglasses instead of the usual tuban, bullet proof vests over camouflage jackets and trousers instead of the typical robes, and armed with tactical rifles.

In addition, the unit appears to be armed with modern sidearms, wearing modern combat boots, and even have night vision goggles – making them difficult to distinguish from any other country’s special combat units.

Images of the special commando-style unit have previously been released, and there are now reports that its personnel are patrolling the streets of Kabul after the Taliban took control of the city on Sunday.

Reports of a Taliban special forces unit patrolling Kabul have begun to emerge from Afghanistan, shattering the stereotypical image held by many of the militant group. Picturd: A still grab from a video purporting to show the Badri 313 special forces unit in training

According to reports on Afghan social media, they have been deployed for security purposes after the Taliban’s lightning sweep of country culminated in them assuming control of Afghanistan for the first time since 2001.

The unit is reportedly named after the Battle of Badr that is written about in the Qur’an, in which the Prophet Mohammed successfully defeated an enemy force with just 313 men – some 1,400 years ago.

According to a report from India Today, the Badri 313 prepares like any other special forces commando unit, employing tactical and attack training in undisclosed locations run by the Taliban.

When the Taliban first released images of the Badri 313, experts believed that they were sending a signal that showed they were no longer a rag-tag group of farmers, but now had modern military capabilities.

The Taliban’s tenacity has been well documented, but their lack of equipment always put them at a significant disadvantage against US and NATO forces. 

The addition of night vision goggles in particular raised eyebrows when images of the Badri 313 were released, suggesting the Taliban would now be better equipped to combat night raids, or even carry out their own.

Pictured: A soldier reportedly part of the Badri 313 patrols the street in a promotional video released by the taliban showing off the unit

Pictured: A soldier reportedly part of the Badri 313 patrols the street in a promotional video released by the taliban showing off the unit

The unit, previously unveiled by the Taliban in promotional material, are reportedly highly trained and equipped with state-of-the-art military equipment. Pictured: A member of the Badri 313 unit holds an assault rifle

The unit, previously unveiled by the Taliban in promotional material, are reportedly highly trained and equipped with state-of-the-art military equipment. Pictured: A member of the Badri 313 unit holds an assault rifle

Rather than the typical Salwar Kameez and AK-47 slung over the shoulder that has become synonymous with farmer-turned-terrorist Taliban fighters (pictured), the 'Badri 313' battalion forces are an altogether different outfit

Rather than the typical Salwar Kameez and AK-47 slung over the shoulder that has become synonymous with farmer-turned-terrorist Taliban fighters (pictured), the ‘Badri 313’ battalion forces are an altogether different outfit

Zaid Hamid, a Soviet-Afghan war veteran, told The Sun in July that it appeared that the Taliban had ‘gone up a step’.

‘When I was part of Afghan Mujahideen, we defeated the Soviet Union using the Soviet weapons, either snatched from the Soviet army or given to us by our allies.

‘But Afghan Taliban have gone a step further. They only snatched from the Americans and the Afghan army,’ Hamid told the newspaper.

He added: ‘From a rag tag militia of shepherds, farmers and shopkeepers, Afghan Taliban have really come of age. Indians fear that very soon they will find them in Indian-occupied Kashmir too.’

In videos and images released by the group, the Badri 313 soldiers are seen with military helmets and sunglasses instead of the usual tuban, bullet proof vests over camouflage jackets and trousers instead of the typical robes, and armed with tactical rifles

In videos and images released by the group, the Badri 313 soldiers are seen with military helmets and sunglasses instead of the usual tuban, bullet proof vests over camouflage jackets and trousers instead of the typical robes, and armed with tactical rifles

Pictured: Badri 313 soldiers undergo a training exercise in promotional images

Pictured: Badri 313 soldiers undergo a training exercise in promotional images

The unit (pictured) is reportedly named after the Battle of Badr that is written about in the Qur'an, in which the Prophet Mohammed successfully defeated an enemy force with just 313 men - some 1,400 years ago

The unit (pictured) is reportedly named after the Battle of Badr that is written about in the Qur’an, in which the Prophet Mohammed successfully defeated an enemy force with just 313 men – some 1,400 years ago

A member of the Pakistan Defence website told the news outlet that it showed the Taliban were no longer a bunch of farmers, but a professional paramilitary force, with one experts suggesting they were even better equipped that Pakistan’s army.

Speaking to India Today, Indian Maj Gen GG Dwivedi said the ‘Taliban are highly ideological outfit and they draw their motivation from religious fervour’ adding that it is ‘Not a surprise to see them equipped. This is a danger to the entire region.’

Questions will surely be raised over how the Taliban have come into possession of such high-tech military equipment, with some suggesting that they have stolen or seized it from departing U.S. troops or defeated Afghan soldiers.


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