Taliban said to have rearmed Tajik militants based in Afghanistan’s province of Badakhshan

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Citing security sources in Tajikistan and northeastern Afghanistan, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on October 4 that the Taliban has provided Tajik militants based along the border with Tajikistan with new military vehicles, weaponry, and other equipment over the past two weeks.

RFE/RL says that according to an official with Tajikistan’s state border services, Tajik militants based in Afghanistan’s northern province of Badakhshan have been seen with U.S.-made weaponry and vehicles, including Humvees, with some of them wearing American combat gear.

The militants, who were previously seen carrying Kalashnikov rifles and driving old pickup trucks, received the new supplies during the past two weeks, according to the Tajik official, who spoke under condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

The new equipment is thought to have been seized by the Taliban from the former Afghan National Army during the Taliban’s lightning offensive across the country that ended when the hard-line Islamist group seized Kabul in mid-August.

Tajik and Afghan sources say at least 200 militants from Tajikistan are currently based along the border of the two countries.

RFE/RL says a former Afghan military officer based in Badakhshan confirmed the allegation.

Known in Afghanistan as the Tajik Taliban, the militants from Tajikistan are members of the Jamaat Ansarullah group, which was established by Tajik nationals a decade ago with the goal of overthrowing the secular government in Dushanbe.

In June, Tajik officials raised concern that one of the banned group’s commanders -- Muhammad Sharifov (aka Mahdi Arsalon) had been put in charge of security in five border districts in Badakhshan after they were seized by the Taliban.

According to RFE/RL, Tajik security officials said last month that they were reviewing reports that the militants were planning to infiltrate into Tajikistan, an allegation rejected by the Taliban.

The sources also told RFE/RL on October 4 that the Taliban has also “removed” ethnic Uyghur fighters from an area close to Afghanistan's small border with China.

Source: Asia Plus