Taliban promotes ‘Special Group’ training in northwestern Pakistan


The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan is touting its “Special Group” and claims it is training and operating in the northwestern Pakistani district of Swabi, which is near the capital of Islamabad.

Umar Media, the official media outlet of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP), published a video today on YouTube that showed its “Taliban Special Group Swabi” training with rocket propelled grenades. The Special Group fighters are shown how to site the RPG and fire it from different positions, and instructed where to hit a tank to disable and destroy it. After the training, the Taliban fighters fire live RPG warheads at targets placed on a mountainside.

The Special Group is the TTP’s version of a special forces unit and is often referred to as the “Mujahideen Special Group” and the “Special Task Force.” This unit is tasked with carrying out assassinations of Pakistani military and political figures, as well as suicide attacks and more organized assaults, such as the September 2015 attack on an air force camp in Peshawar. Earlier this year, the Special Group took credit for attacking polio vaccination workers in Karachi. Seven policemen were killed in the attack.

In the past the TTP has promoted the Mujahideen Special Group and has released footage of the unit receiving instruction at its “Mehdi Alaih Rizwan Training Center.” The location of the training camp has not been disclosed, but it is believed to be situated in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

The Pakistan military has claimed that the northwestern districts such as Swabi, Swat, Mardan, and Nowshera have been cleared of the Taliban. Between 2007 and 2009, the Taliban took control of large areas of northwestern Pakistan, including Swabi and Swat, before being ejected in an offensive. The video of fighters purportedly training and firing RPGs in the open in Swabi indicates that the Taliban have returned.

Images from the Taliban’s “Special Group Swabi”








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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