Badri 313: Will Taliban be able to maintain military 'show off', ask experts

Updated on Aug 25, 2021 09:06 PM IST

The unit has been named after the battle of Badr, fought nearly 1,400 years ago when Prophet Mohammed supposedly vanquished his enemies with only 313 soldiers.

A video grab taken from Afghan TV RTA shows propaganda images of Taliban's Badri 313 Special Forces patrolling streets in an unidentified location in Afghanistan. (Photo by- RTA TV / AFP)
A video grab taken from Afghan TV RTA shows propaganda images of Taliban's Badri 313 Special Forces patrolling streets in an unidentified location in Afghanistan. (Photo by- RTA TV / AFP)
By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Photos and videos of Badri 313, a unit of the Taliban's special forces are doing the rounds on social media, which is being seen as part of their propaganda to tell the world that the Taliban are no longer a group of shalwar kameez-clad fighters with Kalashnikov rifles. But will they be able to maintain the equipment they plundered? Experts, interviewed by news agency AFP, are of the opinion that these will be near-impossible for the Taliban to maintain. Another expert, who writes anonymously on Twitter under the pseudonym of Calibre Obscura, said the Taliban army, made up of stolen American equipment, is definitely better than what the Taliban used to have or what Afghanistan's national army troops had but is no match for "Western special forces or those of India or Pakistan", AFP reported.

What is Badri 313?

This is the new Taliban army that can be seen in Kabul. The soldiers have uniforms, boots, balaclavas like that of other forces around the world. Badri 313 "likely represents some of the best trained and equipped fighters within the Taliban more broadly, although as you would expect there is a degree of sensationalising in propaganda coverage of the unit by the group," Matt Henman from the Janes defence consultancy told AFP.

Taliban release propaganda video showing fighters in US army uniform, gear

The unit has been named after the battle of Badr, fought nearly 1,400 years ago when Prophet Mohammed supposedly vanquished his enemies with only 313 soldiers. The Taliban unit may have thousands of men though it is not clearly known what arms and equipment they have. "When they began to overrun the Afghan forces, they progressively integrated Western supplies. The US in effect armed the Taliban army," Bill Roggio, managing editor of the US-based Long War Journal, told AFP.

Taliban 'mock' US by copying famous WWII photo of troops raising flag at Iwo Jima

Badri 313 troops have also mocked the US army by mocking the 1945's famed picture of American soldiers raising the Stars and Stripes on the island of Iwo Jima.

Though the weapons are looted from the American troops, the training of Badri 313 has been done by the Haqqani network as Haqqanis have become visible in the Taliban leadership in recent years.

While it remains to be seen how the Taliban manage to maintain their sophisticated army, the group has started appointing ministers as it now has the challenge to run the country. A Reuters report said that Gul Agha will be the finance minister and Sadr Ibrahim will be the acting interior minister. Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir has been named as the defence minister.

(With agency inputs)

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