Preparations for “martyrdom” continue – InsideSources
Member of Badri Command, Kabul, Afghanistan. CREDIT: Jake Simkin
KABUL, Afghanistan – For nearly two decades, the Taliban have waged a vicious war against the US occupation and the Afghan government – with frequent suicide attacks claiming countless lives and limbs. But now that they have come to official power, the old insurgency still has no intention of reducing training to “martyrdom”.
The difference now is that their once coveted suicide schools operate freely on bases mostly bought and paid for by the US taxpayer.
“They are not going to blow themselves up on us,” said Akif Mohajer, 32, a longtime member of the Taliban and recently appointed director of news and culture in Logar province. “They are part of the special forces. If someone or any country tries to go against our interests, they will be used. “
According to Mohajer, who himself joined the Taliban as a teenager in 2004, says the process is a combination of psychological and military skills similar to that of any advanced army in the world.
“We provide them with all the equipment and facilities used in developed countries,” he continues casually. “We used to do the training anywhere, but since our takeover we have facilities that the previous government used.”
The Taliban, officially called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, regularly stormed the besieged country of 38 million people throughout 2020 as the United States prepared for its final withdrawal. Then, on August 15, the force – armed with the best weapons captured by government troops fleeing from surrounding provinces – captured the capital of Kabul after former President Ashraf Ghani suddenly escaped the country.
Immediately after the change of power, the Taliban’s most elitist – and most obscure – unit known simply as the “Badri Command” quietly moved into a kindergarten on the outskirts of Kabul to pursue the war. suicide school.
Picture books and pink toys still languish on the shelves near the entrance, and play equipment is rusting in the scorching sun. The patches of grass – which one can only imagine were weeks ago filled with the smiles of little children – have since been reduced to dust, frighteningly adorned with a multitude of armored vehicles and American-made weapons ranging from M240 and M16 rifles to bulletproof vests and camouflage uniforms strung on a swing to dry.
Hafiz Badry, a 29-year-old commander from Helmand province, speaks ominously about the selection process.
“You have to have done some special actions before,” he said sternly, his young face a map of wrinkles – clearly a product of years spent waging war deep in the Afghan mountains.
His fellow combatant, a 26-year-old unit leader named Kari Omadi Abdullah, assures me that they continue to be inundated with young Taliban – a word that translates from Pashtu to “student” – are arguing desperately. the chance to blow themselves up in the name of Islam and fight for their country.
“They come to beg and cry,” he continues in a low voice.
After selection, specialist bombers undergo training that typically lasts between 40 days and two months, focusing on dual physical preparation to understand explosives and move undetected, followed by intense religious studies to ensure they are sufficiently committed to complete the end-of-life mission.
Typically, suicide bombers come from poor families and are mostly uneducated, recruited directly from madrassas on the Afghan and Pakistani sides of the border. Throughout the now over “Eternal War”, the Taliban have used such attackers to kill dozens of Afghan forces, American soldiers and, ultimately, citizens caught in the crossfire.
“The greatest thing about the Supreme Leader is that he gave his son,” a Taliban guard stationed in Kandahar also told me of the new Afghan leader and his former madrassa teacher, Haibatullah Akhundzada, who has ruled the emirate behind the veil of secrecy since 2016. “His son carried out a suicide mission years ago in Helmand. “
Badri’s men refuse to give a figure on the number of talibés in suicide schools, but indicate that the number is in the hundreds, if not thousands. They also tell me that the average age of recruits is around twenty years or more. Yet human rights defenders and security analysts have long warned that a large portion of the group’s combatant ranks are considered “child soldiers,” which, according to international law, is considered to be under. 18 years old.
And like most of the Talibs, who took up arms with the insurgency to push back the American imprint and simply entered the battlefield without extensive training or skill, Badry said with a shrug that he simply acquired an AK-47 and “started”.
Yet the victory, paired with billions of US-issued weapons, inspired senior Taliban officials to turn their basic training into a more detailed process. Mohajer says their public recruiting process will start any day. They are also urging the former Afghan national security forces – many of whom have fled the country or have been hiding in their homes – to bring their US-trained skills back into the fold of the Taliban-controlled government.
He explains that part of the motivational process is recalling stories of war in the midst of the long and bitter struggle against the United States.
“One night I was staying in a garden, and there was a house nearby. Special forces (Afghan), the United States and NATO jointly conducted a raid on the house. I could hear people screaming. They were ordinary people who had nothing to do with the Taliban, ”says Mohajer. “The next day there was blood all over the walls… that’s why we will fight. We will never allow others to use our land.