The Afghan Taliban recently promoted its “Special Forces Unit” that purportedly is operating in the eastern Afghan province of Laghman. Since 2015, the Taliban has advertised its so-called “Special Forces Unit” which is known to have operated in southern Afghan provinces.
These six photos of the “Special Forces Unit” operating in Laghman province were released by the Taliban on its official Telegram account on Nov. 1. The Taliban special forces are seen wearing new uniforms and chest rigs, and are photographed with a captured Afghan Army HUMVEE. The images were captured during the daylight.
In 2015, Taliban supporters began circulating photographs online purporting to show a Taliban “Special Forces Unit” training camp somewhere in Afghanistan. The pictures showed dozens of Taliban recruits partaking in physical exercises and weapons training. The recruits were seen training with handguns, heavy machine guns, and what looks like an anti-aircraft gun. Other photos showed the recruits making use of technicals, or armed pickup trucks. The Taliban’s white flag can be seen flying in almost every picture.
Afghan military officials confirmed the existence of a Taliban “Special Forces Unit”, known as the Red Group or Danger Group, in the summer of 2016. An Afghan Army special forces commander said the group uses “advanced weaponry, including night vision scopes, 82mm rockets, heavy machine guns and US-made assault rifles.” According to The Associate Press, the Red Group has fought in Helmand and other provinces.
While the Taliban’s “Special Forces Unit” certainly isn’t trained to the same standards and proficiency as US special operations forces, it has proven to be effective on the battlefield against its Afghan adversaries.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.