Not too long ago a video emerged out of Afghanistan showing the country’s new rulers – the Taliban – parading a number of “suicide bombers” at an undisclosed location.
In the video, which was aired on Afghan National Television, masked men were seen carrying the Taliban flag and were referred to as “martyrdom-seekers squadron”.
The parade showcased everything from suicide vests, explosives, guns, rockets, mines, car bombs and yellow barrels. In the video, the Taliban claimed the weapons were to be used “against invaders and their puppets in defense of independence and dear country”.
They then went on to explain how the yellow barrels, car bombs, and suicide vests were used to “attack and destroy the enemy”.
#AFG Disturbing display on State Radio Television of Taliban’s Arsenal of suicide vests, car bombs and road side bombs. Lethal weapons for Taliban but they did murder thousands of Afghan civilians including women and children across Afghanistan over the last 20 years. pic.twitter.com/nt5azZLtU6
— BILAL SARWARY (@bsarwary) September 2, 2021
This video summarizes how the subcontinent is sitting on a powder keg ever since the US military completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 30, 2020.
As the democratically elected government fell overnight, with President Ashraf Ghani fleeing the country, it marked the start of uncertain times, not only for the people of Afghanistan but also for its neighbors, particularly India and Pakistan.
Parading of a “suicide squad” by the rulers of a country in the 21st century may seem dystopian, but now deputy governor of the Badakhshan province, Mullah Nisar Ahmad Ahmadi, gave official stamp on the development by telling Khaama Press that the suicide battalion has been deployed in his region, which borders Tajikistan and China.
Ahmadi said that the battalion is named Lashkar-e-Mansoori (‘Mansoor army’) and it is the same as the one that would conduct suicide attacks targeting the security forces of the previous Afghan government.
Taliban spokesperson Inamullah Samangani #threats the world by saying that if the international community do not recognize #Taliban regime, it will have adverse consequences.
He also added, "recognition is not Taliban need, it is international community’s need."#Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/vZaUH61g2Q
— Natiq Malikzada | ناطق ملکزاده (@natiqmalikzada) January 2, 2022
“The defeat of the US would not be possible without this battalion. These brave men would wear explosive waistcoats and would detonate the US bases in Afghanistan. These are people with no fear who devote themselves for the consent of Allah,” Ahmadi was quoted as saying by Khaama Press.
The publication added that there is another battalion called Badri 313, which is one of the most equipped and modern military groups deployed at the Kabul International Airport.
India-Backed Democracy In Tatters
All this highlights how India’s efforts to build a diplomatic relationship with Afghanistan over the decades since a democratically elected government took over in the war-torn country are all but wasted.
India’s ambition to maintain friendly ties with Afghanistan was seen when India sponsored a new parliament building in the country’s capital Kabul at a cost of Rs 710 crore. On December 25, 2015, during a state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the new Parliament building was inaugurated along with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Moreover, India also sponsored the Salma Dam, officially the Afghan-India friendship dam, at a cost of Rs 1,457 crore on the Hari River in Chishti Sharif district of Herat province in western Afghanistan.
The hydroelectric plant was opened on June 4, 2016, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with then-Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. However, with the Taliban back in power now, India will have to start afresh.
The Taliban’s main source of income has always been from the sale of drugs. According to a 2020 report of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), land allocated for poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has increased by 37% since 2019 to 61,000 hectares. According to it, 75%-80% of the world’s heroin supply originates from Afghanistan.
Taliban’s Links To Narco-Terrorism
With the Taliban assuming power, the country is believed to be branching towards the production of synthetic drugs, posing enormous security challenges for India.
Economic Times quoted a member of India’s Narco Coordination Centre (NCORD) as saying, “Afghanistan is becoming a major source of methamphetamine. This may be because of a range of factors including political instability and conflict.
Indian agencies estimate that smuggling of narcotics from Afghanistan to western countries via India is likely to increase due to the region’s instability and armed conflict.”
The smuggling rings associated with the drug trades are a serious concern for the security apparatus in India. A probe by the National Investigation Agency into the seizure of 532kg of heroin and 52kg of other narcotics substances in June 2019 at Attari in Amritsar revealed the involvement of an international drug racket based in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The proceeds from these narco trades are allegedly used to fund Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists in Kashmir.
To stop both terrorists and drug smugglers from infiltrating the borders, India is working to set up a hi-tech surveillance system along the 2000-km of sensitive stretch along Pakistan and Bangladesh borders.
With the use of advanced technology, the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) will be able to stop intruders if they try to enter India’s territory.
The BSF has progressed on hi-tech solutions at two pilot projects on the western border and one on the eastern border. The CIBMS is designed to guard stretches where physical surveillance is not possible in inhospitable terrain or riverine borders.
- By Protik Chowdhury
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