Kabul: Donning professional uniforms, military boots, balaclavas, tactical radios, body armour, and tactical knee pads, carrying rifles, and traveling in armoured cars, the Badri 313 unit can be seen patrolling the streets of Kabul, as the Taliban takes complete control of Afghanistan and looks forward to ruling with their governance.
In recent times, photos and videos of its new Badri 313 paramilitary unit doing the rounds on social media suggest that the hardline Islamist group also intends to tell the world that it has transformed from a rag-tag group of shepherds and farmers into a professional, well-equipped military force.
What is Badri 313 unit?
The unit, reportedly named after the Battle of Badr 1,400 years ago mentions the Prophet Mohammed believed to have overcome an enemy force with just 313 men, but now the Taliban unit comprises more than a thousand men, all equipped with modern arms and armor.
It is still unclear how much equipment is at their disposal. But there are a number of images of them with captured Humvees, aircraft, and weapons abandoned by the defeated Afghan National Army.
Pictures and videos of fighters in the so-called “Badri 313” unit have been posted online for propaganda purposes to underline how the Taliban have better equipped and trained men at their disposal than in the past, experts say.
What have experts surmised from this ‘elite team’ of the Taliban?
A Western weapons expert who writes on Twitter under the pseudonym Calibre Obscura told AFP that the Badri forces would be no match for Western special forces or those of India and Pakistan.
But “they are more effective than normal Taliban and certainly more than standard Afghan national army troops from a couple of weeks ago,” he told AFP.
US defense experts though have stated that, if the Badri 313 unit was to come up against Western forces, the threat they would pose would be limited. Many have suggested that the Taliban’s rationale for disseminating videos of the force online is to create a sensationalized image of its military capabilities. The group also couldn’t resist an opportunity to mock the US, releasing an image of Badri 313 soldiers recreating the iconic image of American troops raising the Stars and Stripes on the island of Iwo Jima in 1945.
So should countries be wary of this ‘Special Badri 313 Unit’?
Considering the level of sophistication and warfare tactics the elite force of the Taliban is relying upon, one needn’t worry much, yet some analysts have also raised concerns that the establishment of the elite force could prove problematic in India’s efforts to secure its own borders with Pakistan.