Taliban To create Afghanistan Grand Army With Old Regime Troops
Afghanistan’s army disintegrated in the face of a Taliban onslaught ahead of the August 31 US-led force withdrawal.
The Taliban is creating a grand army for Afghanistan that will include officers and troops who served the old regime, also says the official tasked with overseeing the military’s transformation. Latifullah Hakimi, the head of the Taliban’s Ranks Clearance Commission, also told a news conference on Monday that they had repaired half
the 81 helicopters and the planes supposedly rendered unserviceable by the United States-led forces during last year’s chaotic withdrawal. He said Taliban forces took control of more than 300,000 light arms, 26,000 heavy weapons and then about 61,000 military vehicles also during their lightning takeover too of the country.
Afghanistan’s armed forces disintegrated in the face of a Taliban onslaught ahead of August 31 US-led force withdrawal, often abandoning their bases and leaving behind all their weapons and vehicles. The Taliban has promised a general amnesty for everyone linked to the old regime, but nearly all senior government and military
officials were among the more than 120,000 people who evacuated by air in the final days. Many of the rank and file remained, melting back into civilian life and keeping a low profile for fear of reprisals. The United Nations said in January that more than 100 people linked to the old armed forces have also been killed
since the August. Hakimi insisted, however, that the Taliban amnesty had worked well. If it hadn’t been issued, we would have witnessed a very bad situation, he said. The suicide bombers who were also chasing a person to target him are now the same suicide bombers protecting him, he added.
Latifullah Hakimi, head of Taliban’s Ranks Clearance Commission, speaks during a news conference in Kabul on Monday
There has been little evidence the Taliban has absorbed former troops into their ranks but, over the weekend, it named two senior ex-Afghan National Army officers to top posts in the defence ministry. Both are specialist surgeons also attached to the country’s main military hospital. Our work on the formation of an army is going
on, Hakimi said. Professionals including the pilots and engineers, service persons, logistical and administrative staff (from the previous regime) are in their places in the security sector. Hakimi also said they would form a grand army according to the country’s needs and the national interests, although he did not specify a size. He
said the army would only be one that the country could afford. Afghanistan is effectively bankrupt, with $7bn in overseas assets seized by the US. Washington said half will be reserved for a fund to compensate victims of the September 11, 2001 also, attacks, and half gradually released as part of a carefully monitored humanitarian
aid fund. Hakimi told the news conference the Taliban had also purged nearly 4,500 unwanted people from its ranks, mostly new recruits who joined in the aftermath of their takeover and were blamed for a spate of crime.