August 18, 2019 | FDD's Long War Journal

As U.S. presses negotiations, Taliban promotes training of fighters and attacks

August 18, 2019 | FDD's Long War Journal

As U.S. presses negotiations, Taliban promotes training of fighters and attacks

As the US government pushes for a deal with the Taliban that will pave the way for the withdrawal of US forces, the Taliban continues to promote the training of its fighters and attacks on Afghan and Coalition forces.

In the Taliban’s latest video, which was released today on its official Website, Voice of Jihad, the group shows its fighters training for war as well as a montage of attacks on Afghan and Coalition forces. The video, titled ‘Caravan of Khaibar,’ is named after the battle of Khaibar in 628 in which Muslims conquered a Jewish community in the Arabian Peninsula.

The video opens with well equipped Taliban fighters in various levels of training. In one scene, the Taliban practice movements in brand new Toyota H-Luxs adorned with large white Taliban flags. The location of the training was not disclosed; it could be in either Afghanistan or Pakistan. Either way, the Taliban is operating in broad daylight without fear of being targeted from US, Afghan, or Pakistani forces.

In another scene, Taliban fighters conduct various drills, including calisthenics and weapons training. Additionally, the Taliban parade on horseback while flying large white flags of the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Again, the training takes place in broad daylight, and the Taliban does not fear being targeted.

The video is littered with short video clips of IED, rocket and other attacks on Afghan and Coalition forces. In one longer sequence, a Taliban unit is shown preparing for battle and then moving into an Afghan town unopposed. An Afghan force is shown retreating in the distance.

The Taliban has been churning out propaganda that shows it is prepared to continue the fight against the Afghan government and military even if a so-called peace agreement is signed with the US. The Taliban has been clear that its main goal in the talks is to secure the withdrawal of US forces, and continues to brand the Afghan government as a “puppet,” “stooge,” and “tool” of the West.

In its “Preparation for Jihad” video, which was released on Aug. 10, the Taliban showed its so-called special forces in training.

Taliban Emir Mullah Hibatullah’s Eid speech, which was released on Aug. 8, emphasized that the Taliban was close to victory and urged his followers and all Afghan people to attack the government and military.

In what is perhaps the most inflammatory Taliban video released in recent memory, the group justified al Qaeda’s attack on Sept. 11, 2001, calling it a “heavy slap on their dark faces.” The Taliban also called for the continuation of attacks on Afghan security forces, government, and rejected talks with the government. The Taliban also called for the restoration of the Islamic Emirate and indicated that women’s rights would be granted under an “Islamic System.”

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.

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Issues:

Afghanistan Jihadism Military and Political Power The Long War U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy