Demonstrating their recent technological advancement, over the weekend Afghanistan’s Taliban released drone footage showing a suicide bomber driving a Humvee into a police base in Helmand province and blowing it up this month. Cited by Reuters, an Afghan government official said the video posted online appeared to be authentic. While the use of video taken by a drone is unusual for the Taliban, it has become common among the more media-savvy Islamist groups fighting in Iraq and Syria.
According to Al Jazeera, the video, 23 minutes long, begins with the purported suicide bomber speaking in front of the Humvee, a vehicle provided to Afghan forces by American advisers. “This is the happiest moment of my life,” the man says, dressed in a black turban and white tunic.
The 23-minute-long video, which begins with a self-proclaimed suicide bomber speaking in front of an explosives-rigged Humvee, was released on Saturday appears to be authentic, according to the Afghan defence ministry.
“I am telling the Afghan stooge forces to repent and join the Taliban or we will use this equipment the foreigners gave them, against them and they can’t do anything about it.”
A drone-mounted camera then films the Humvee speeding towards a compound and detonating in flames blowing up the entire building.
“This proves that we are well step ahead in sending our messages to people of Afghanistan in many sophisticated ways. Anything that helps us in destroying our enemies [Afghan and US forces] will be used with full force,” Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban spokesman, told Al Jazeera. “This video has proved to be very influential and we have many people supporting us.”
Mujahid said the video was of an attack on October 3, when the fighters overran parts of Helmand province.
“The remote-controlled drones to capture footage of their [Taliban] fighters conducting attacks is nothing but to instill fear among people and to indicate how far they can get in defeating us, but in fact, using a drone is not something they can call an achievement,” Dawlat Waziri, spokesman for the defence ministry, told Al Jazeera by telephone.
A government official in Helmand said the district police chief and several other officials were killed in the attack on October 3, when Taliban militants overran much of Nawa district. The official, who declined to be named, said the video depicting the attack appeared to be authentic.
As Reuters adds, the video’s producers used graphics of target-like overlays to give the footage a video game-like feel, an effect used by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
Perhaps the video was a retaliation to U.S.-led forces, who have often used military-grade drones against the Taliban in Afghanistan’s long war since 2001. Commercial drones favored by hobbyists and video producers are far simpler and cheaper, while suicide bombers in Afghanistan appear to be more accessible and in greater abundance than US-operated lethal drones.
The following map courtesy of Al Jazeera shows the fragmented territory of Afghanistan in which the contested areas between the Taliban and the government have seen a surge in deadly violence over the past year.
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