As the U.S. continues to arm its Afghan National Army allies in the war on terror, the Taliban is developing a strategy to take advantage of the influx of sophisticated western weapons, experts say.
A new propaganda video features Taliban fighters carrying U.S. special operations forces gear, including a FN SCAR, an assault rifle. Throughout the video, Taliban militants are seen holding U.S.-made M4s and M16s.
Attached to some of the weapons are various equipment used by special operators, such as Surefire flashlights, AN/PEQ 5 visible lasers, and Trijicon ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) scopes.
It's not clear how Taliban fighters got a hold of the weapons.
“Some Taliban commanders say their main purpose in attacking and capturing a town, city or district center is to seize weapons and vehicles and not to keep control of these places as it is not feasible and could prove costly for them,” said Rahimullah Yusufzai, a veteran Pakistani journalist based in Peshawar, along Afghanistan’s southern border.
Capt. William Salvin, spokesman for the Operation Resolution Support in Afghanistan, told the Military Times that it’s likely the weapons were captured during an assault on a checkpoint manned by the Afghan National Army, “rather than raiding an armory or a base.” He couldn’t definitively confirm the provenance of the weapons. Salvin did not respond to requests for comment by Fox News.
Various reports have claimed that the high-powered weapons were obtained not just in raids on ANA checkpoints, but also in assaults on NATO supply convoys in Pakistan or they were captured from U.S. special operators last year after a firefight in eastern Afghanistan. They could also have come from the black market, experts say.
“There are often reports of Afghan soldiers selling arms to the Taliban,” Yusufzai told Fox News.
A few days ago, three men – including an Afghan soldier – were charged with selling weapons to the Taliban in the northern Takhar province.
“The Taliban have been claiming in recent months that they had acquired new and sophisticated weapons, but there are no details given how and from where,” said Yusufzai.
In addition to U.S. weaponry obtained on the black market or through attacks, the Iranians have also been a source of small weapons, like rifles, said Marvin Weinbaum, director for Pakistan Studies at the Middle East Research Institute.