Taliban release propaganda video showing fighters in US army uniform, gear
The Taliban have released videos that show their fighters wearing stolen US-made military gear, including assault rifles and sophisticated tactical radio, according to a report. The video, with a musical soundtrack, was aired on propaganda channels affiliated with the Taliban and said they have deployed soldiers from the “the Badri 313 Brigade”, an elite unit, to guard locations in Kabul.
The Sun reported that the Taliban fighters, usually seen in traditional clothes and brandishing AK-47 assault rifles, can be seen wielding M4 and M-16 assault rifles, wearing bulletproof vests and helmets with night vision goggles. The Sun reported that the unit is reportedly highly trained and equipped with state-of-the-art military equipment.
The Badri 313 soldiers are seen with US special forces military helmets with mounts for night vision goggles in the Taliban video. They also appear to be wearing eyewear which could help protect the eyes from explosion flashes and tactical radios over bulletproof vests, camouflage jackets and trousers. The Sun cited reports on Afghan social media, saying the troops have been deployed for security purposes after the Taliban's lightning sweep of the country and Kabul last Sunday.
The Badri 313 unit is reportedly named after the Battle of Badr 1,400 years ago when the Prophet Mohammed defeated the enemy with just 313 men.
"Everything that hasn't been destroyed is the Taliban's now,” a US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters. Another official told Reuters that while there are no definitive numbers yet, the current intelligence assessment was that the Taliban are believed to control more than 2,000 armoured vehicles, including US Humvees and up to 40 aircraft potentially including UH-60 Black Hawks, scout attack helicopters, and ScanEagle military drones.
"We have already seen Taliban fighters armed with US-made weapons they seized from the Afghan forces. This poses a significant threat to the United States and our allies,” Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, told Reuters in an email.
The United States gave the Afghan military an estimated $28 billion in weaponry, including guns, rockets, night-vision goggles and even small drones for intelligence gathering between 2002 and 2017.