On November 14, Afghan officials said that 23-70 soldiers and officers of the Afghan Army were killed in hit and run attacks conducted by the Taliban’s special forces known as the “Red Unit”, the New York Times newspaper says.
The biggest attacks took place in the western Farah province and in the southern Kandahar province, according to the New York Times report.
Qudratullah Khushbakht, spokesman for the governor of Kandahar Province told the New York Times that “Red Unit” fighters were armed with US-made M4 rifles and equipped with Russian night-vision goggles and laser aiming devices. According to Khushbakht, the Taliban’s “Red Unite” is using VBIEDs that’s based on Ford trucks stolen from the Afghan Police and even using Humvee armored vehicles stolen from the Afghan Army.
“The Taliban now are using different tactics … They have their own mobile special forces unit which is equipped with lasers and night-vision gear, and they are attacking check posts and bases and then leaving the area as quickly as possible to avoid airstrikes.”
The Taliban news agency Voice of Jihad confirmed that Taliban fighters attacked and captured three checkpoints of the Afghan Army and Police in Mandozo camp and Khak Chopan areas of Maiwand district in Kandahar province on November 13.
According to Voice of Jihad, 46 soldiers and officers of the Afghan Army were killed during the Taliban attack in Kandahar. The casualties included four high ranking officers of the Afghan Army named “Raziq, Shin Khali, Hayat and Gulalai”. Taliban fighters also destroyed 4 armored vehicles and 6 pickup trucks of the Afghan Army during the attack.
Hours only after reporting Kandahar attack, Voice of Jihad announced that Taliban fighters attacked several positions of the Afghan Army in in Bala Baluk and Pusht Rod districts of Farah province. 30 soldiers and officers of the Afghan Army were allegedly killed in the attack in Farah while only 3 fighters of the Taliban were injured.
While US and Afghan officials are claiming that Iran, Pakistan and even Russia are arming the Taliban, the source of the “Red Unit” modern equipment is likely the Afghan Army itself. Between November 14 and 15 only, Voice of Jihad reported that four Afghan soldiers defected to the Taliban, most of them bringing their weapons, and equipment with them.
Such high rate of defections poses a real threat to the efforts of the Afghan Army and Police. However, it also shows that the US is still unable to build any kind of trust with a large part of the Afghan people.