The Taliban even flew dozens of banners to advertise their location to air surveillance.
By Bill Roggio
August 27, 2015
Long War Journal
Hundreds of heavily armed Taliban fighters gathered in the open in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz to pledge an oath of allegiance to Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the new emir of the group.
The Taliban released a video on Aug. 25 on its official website, Voice of Jihad, that showed the massing of jihadists in Kunduz and its leaders issuing lengthy speeches before pledging fealty to Mansour, who replaced Mullah Omar, the group’s founder and first leader. The video was “published by Al Emarah Studio, part of the Multimedia Branch of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s Cultural Commission,” the Taliban stated.
“A large number of Mujahid leaders, tribal elders, locals and ordinary Mujahideen in northern Kunduz province pledged their allegiance to the Islamic Emirate’s new Amir ul Mumineen, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour (HA), at the hands of the Jihadi in-charge [shadow governor] of Kunduz, Mullah Abdul Salam Akhond,” the Taliban said in the statement that accompanied the video.
Mullah Abdul Salam was one of several Taliban shadow governors who were detained by Pakistan in early 2010. He was later released and returned to Afghanistan and resumed his role as the Taliban’s governor for Kunduz.
The video shows that the Taliban in Kunduz, including its top leaders, do not fear massing in the open and staying there for extended periods of time. Members of the group do not appear all that concerned about the prospect of getting hit by a US or Afghan airstrike, and clearly control the ground in the area. Dozens of white Taliban banners are flying in the open.
Additionally, the video demonstrates that the Taliban has seized a number of military and police vehicles from the Afghan army and police. At least seven US-supplied Humvees and nine Ford pickup trucks are manned by Taliban fighters. The vehicles and fighters line up in formation – with Humvees in one area, Fords in another, and scores of motorcycle-mounted fighters in front – to listen to its leaders give speeches and then recite the oath to Mansour. Additionally, several jihadists mounted on horses are in the formation. While the commanders are talking, more fighters arrive in trucks and on motorcycles.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal