Afghanistan, Terrorism
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Did 77 members of the Afghan security forces really join the Taliban?

The Taliban has published a propaganda video in which they claimed that 77 members of the Afghan security forces had defected and joined their ranks. The video, which included footage of the purported recruits, shocked many Afghans. However, police authorities denied that these men were police officers, and our Observer – and expert on the Taliban in Afghanistan – says they are villagers who were forced to join the extremist group.

The video, which started circulating online on October 11, shows dozens of Afghan men in civilian clothing pledging their loyalty to the “Islamic Emirate,” the name that Taliban fighters call their group. A man behind the camera says that these men are military and police officers, and that they have “understood” the error of their ways and decided to join the Taliban.

He asks the men to introduce themselves, and several of the men then give their name and the name of the village they are from – all villages in the northeastern Kunduz province. They then chant “down with [Afghan president] Ashraf Ghani; down with [Chief Executive] Abdullah Abdullah; down with the USA; down with Trump” and “long live the Islamic Emirate.”

When contacted by FRANCE 24, a spokesperson for the Afghan army, Dowlat Vaziri, denied that the men in the video were security forces. “No one from the security forces has joined the Taliban in that region,” he said.

“When these “recruits” are sent to the battlefield, they’ll be used as shields”

Our Observer Mokhtar Wafayi is an Afghan journalist who is a specialist on jihadist movements. According to him, these men were actually just local residents who took up arms to defend their villages in Kunduz province, where the Taliban has been gaining ground. Wafayi has been in touch with people from several of the villages mentioned in the video, who were able to confirm that the “recruits” were actually captured by the Taliban and forced to join their ranks.

Initially published on France24 on 10/20/2017
Read the full story here.


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