In its latest video that celebrates the signing of the agreement that facilitates the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban promotes the training of its “commandos” at a camp in the remote northern province of Badakhshan.
In a video released by the Taliban on July 26 on its Pashtu language video section of Voice of Jihad, the Taliban celebrated its “newly graduated martyrs and Mujahideen from [the] Abu Ubaidah Ibn Jarrah Training Center.” The video was produced by Manba Al-Jihad Media, the main propaganda outlet for the Haqqani Network, an integral faction of the Taliban that is closely allied with Al Qaeda and other foreign terrorist groups.
“The military training of the believing Mujahideen youth is a guarantee of the country’s independence and Islamic sovereignty and a harbinger of the defeat of any enemy,” the Taliban notes in a statement accompanying the video.
The first half of the video focuses primarily on the signing of the U.S.-Taliban deal which will lead to the withdrawal of American and NATO forces. Also the Taliban show clips of attacks on U.S. and Afghan forces.
Then the second half of the video shows Taliban fighters in various stages of training, including calisthenics, firing small arms at a makeshift range, dismounting from vehicles to conduct an attack, and light weapons firing, including rocket propelled grenades, recoilless rifles, and machine guns.
The Taliban previously said that Abu Ubaidah Ibn Jarrah Training Center was located in Badakhshan. In a video released in April, the Taliban showed its fighters training at the camp, which had fixed structures. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Taliban touts training camps ‘still going on’ that prepare fighters for ‘war’.]
Badakhshan province is a known Taliban stronghold. Of Badakhshan’s 28 districts, two are controlled by the Taliban and 19 are contested, according to an ongoing assessment by FDD’s Long War Journal.
The Taliban is known to have trained foreign fighters in the northern province. In Feb. 2018, the U.S. military launched airstrikes against a Taliban camp in Badakhshan that also trained members of the Turkistan Islamic Party, an Al Qaeda-affiliated jihadist group that is based in Afghanistan and Pakistan and operates throughout Central Asia.
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