The Afghan Taliban’s NATO-like soldiers wearing American tactical gear are famous nowadays. The group has demonstrated its “high weaponry capability” and preparedness to engage in war. Its social media team has always made an attempt to demonstrate internationally their military might and capabilities.
They did so by uploading multiple photographs of their special unit, the “Badri 313”, which is reported to have played a crucial role in the swift takeover of Afghanistan. The unit became a well-known sensation on social media platforms as it uploaded one of the pictures of its special unit members depicting fighters copying U.S. soldiers hoisting their flag atop Mount Suribachi during World War II’s Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.
The Taliban’s Badri 313 brigade which defies the old appearance of the Taliban is sensational in its appearance. It was founded by Badruddin Haqqani who was killed in a U.S drone strike in 2012. Badruddin Haqqani was the son of Taliban co-founder Jalaluddin Haqqani, a notorious Haqqani group accused of having links with Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI.
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The name ‘Badri’ refers to the Battle of Badr, a first battle of Muslims at the early stage of Islam, which occurred about 1400 years ago and in which the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) led 313 soldiers to victory. The Taliban “Badri 313” is also known to wage a war against ISIS Afghan Chapter known as IS-Khurasan between 2017-2020.
The Taliban leadership has deployed this brigade on the outskirt of Kabul airport, facing U.S. soldiers. It has also been deployed at Key position in Kabul after the Taliban takeover. The Taliban define Badri 313 as the future of a group whose fighters. Since 1994 Taliban fighters are using plain clothes and joggers as their military uniforms to fight the U.S. and NATO forces.
However, with change in the Taliban position as the new victorious power in Afghanistan, its leadership has focused on uniting the Taliban fighters under a single leadership and unified force ready to fight for Afghanistan.
According to a Badri 313 officer, the brigade’s first criteria is needed to have a martyrdom seeker attitude. It is important for all of the members of this unit to be martyrdom seekers. Although all Taliban are martyrdom seekers, Badri 313 as a unit is specified for that mission. The unit has an estimated 5 000 fighters who go through rigorous training in urban warfare and how to conduct suicide attacks.
Battalion 313 is also said to be armed with M4 carbines and Humvees, night-vision goggles, and advanced gunsights which were purportedly obtained from defeated Afghan military (ANDSF) personnel. According to an estimate, The Taliban would have over a million US military components, including over 2,000 armored vehicles, 40 vehicles, attack helicopters, and military drones.
According to Taliban sources, the group has a council of religious leaders that decides on matters including seeking martyrdom (Suicide missions). The religious shura approves such missions. The Taliban have carried out such missions in huge numbers during their war against the US and its allies.
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However, with foreign forces leaving Afghanistan after fighting 2 decades of a failed war. The Taliban Badri 313 is finding its mission changed from seeking martyrdom to ensuring the safety and security of Afghanistan. According to Reuters, the Taliban have possession of worth $28BN of weaponry abandoned by Afghan forces after their defeat. With such huge weapons in hand, the Taliban have focused more on making their fighting more professional in order to take a wider role in future Afghanistan’s security and stability.
Author: Syed Ali Abbas
The author has graduated in International Relations from NUML, Islamabad, and is the managing editor of Global Defense Insight. He also works as an Associate editor at Indus News, Islamabad. Previously he worked as a sub-editor at Pakistan Strategic Forum and Junior editor at Global Village Space Magazine. He tweets @smalinaqvi05. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own.