On September 24th, a video was shared showing a fight between the Taliban and the Afghan Security Forces, recorded with thermal imaging equipment.
Until about 2019, the US military, as well the Afghan Security Forces could effectively damage the Taliban during their night raids, however the group has increasingly been using night vision in its defense and attacks.
The Afghan Security Forces (and if the US doesn’t really withdraw) are practically losing a very important advantage over the militants.
Although, on the other hand, it is extremely difficult to estimate the number of night vision devices and thermal imagers in Taliban possession, it’s possible that only the most elite units have such equipment.
And these “special forces” are extremely rare on the battlefield.
The initial reports of Taliban with night vision equipment surfaced exactly a year ago in a UN report.
Taliban Fighter with AN/PVS-7 Night Vision Goggles, and M16A4 equipped with ATN ThOR-HD 384 4.5-18x/640 2.5x-25x thermal optic.
Taliban are utilising both Ghanimah and Smuggled Optics to deadly effect. This isn't just propaganda either. pic.twitter.com/VdktRlAIXo
— Cᴀʟɪʙʀᴇ Oʙsᴄᴜʀᴀ (@CalibreObscura) February 22, 2019
Afghan officials cited in the report said the Taliban had at least one night vision device and sniper rifle “for each unit of 10 to 16 Taliban fighters,” the UN report reads.
“The type and origin of such equipment varies and suggests that a number of commercial and military stock items are being supplied in increasing numbers,” according to the report.
“The Taliban enjoy robust supplies of weapons, ammunition, funding and manpower, with 60,000 to 65,000 fighters and half that number or more of facilitators and other non-combatant members,” the report reads.
The night vision devices allow the Taliban to “effectively harass isolated Afghan National Defence and Security Forces checkpoints” and “has proven to be a successful tactic in both gaining and holding territory, as well as being a catalyst for demoralizing the Afghan Forces at such checkpoints,” the report detailed.
The monitoring team said it had also seen Soviet military 1PN night vision scopes.
“Equipment is normally rail mounted onto rifles and becomes most effective in combination with the Taliban’s use of Dragunov 7.62 x 54 mm sniper rifles, which allow effective targeting at up to or even above 800 meters,” the report reads.
Taliban fighters have also been known to acquire night vision goggles through attacks against Afghan commandos and special operations units supplied with U.S. night vision tech.
It is unlikely that the numbers of night vision equipment had gone down since 2019, rather it has most likely gone up.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- U.S. To Withdraw From Afghanistan By May 2021, If Taliban Fulfills Their End Of The Deal
- Military Situation In Afghanistan On September 23, 2020 (Map Update)
- Rockets Struck US military Base In Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province