A senior Taliban official confirmed that suicide squads would be integrated into the country’s military to tackle the threat from the rival Islamic State chapter in Afghanistan.
Bilal Karimi, deputy spokesman for the Taliban, said the suicide squad will operate as a single unit.
The Taliban have in the past often used suicide bombers, called “martyrdom seekers”, to fight against Western and allied forces. However, it was not clear whether members of the suicide squad would be used as suicide bombers or as regular members of the military.
“Special forces which include martyrs seekers will be used for more sophisticated and special operations,” Mr. Karimi said. We did not know what these operations would be.
Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last August, Islamic State’s Khorasan Province (IS-KP), the group’s Afghan wing, has attempted numerous attacks in the country.
IS-KP wrote in a weekly editorial last year al Nabha that the Taliban were only an agent of the United States. The editorial also criticized the “new Taliban” for wearing an “Islamic guise” to undermine the IS-KP in the region.
According to the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, although the ISIS section in Afghanistan and the Taliban are both die-hard Sunni Islamist extremists, they are rivals. The IS-KP accused the Taliban of abandoning jihad in favor of negotiations and peace treaties.
“Hostility between the two groups arose both from ideological differences and the competition for resources,” the center said. “IS has accused the Taliban of deriving its legitimacy from a narrow ethnic and nationalist base, rather than a universal Islamic creed.