The Taliban, those guys whom the Biden White House considers “businesslike” and with whom we apparently believe we can now deal in good faith, are building a standing army of somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 men. According to Enayatullah Khwarizmi, a spokesman for the Taliban defense ministry, the ranks of the new army are already 80% filled.
In its search for recruits, the Taliban has encouraged fighters from Pakistan to come to Afghanistan. Thousands have answered the call and are being trained at camps in Afghanistan.
“Many of our mujahideen were offered permanent residences in Afghanistan if they wish to move here,” said one Pakistani Taliban fighter who aided in the recruitment effort. Perhaps as many as 10,000 Pakistani mujahideen have responded to date and moved to Afghanistan.
The new army is flush with the latest in military technology courtesy of the Biden administration, which not only abandoned vast quantities of arms and equipment when it fled the country but has taken no action to destroy this material since our departure.
A recent report by a watchdog group called Open the Books found that among the items abandoned to the Taliban were 350,000 M4 and M16 rifles, 65,000 machine guns, 25,000 grenade launchers, and 2,500 mortars and howitzers.
The group also reported that the United States provided 75,000 military vehicles including 50,000 light- and medium-tactical vehicles, 22,000 Humvees, and 928 mine-resistant vehicles to Afghanistan between 2001 and 2021. Unless destroyed all of those vehicles were left to the Taliban as well.
Just to make sure no one missed their sudden good fortune and newfound military power in November the Taliban conducted a parade on the streets of Kabul in which they showcased all the U.S. hardware they now controlled. Troops carrying American weapons marched through the streets accompanied by American-made armored vehicles. Overhead, U.S.-supplied aircraft flew.
Already the Taliban seem to be flexing their muscles. The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan follows the Durand line – a boundary established by the British during their time in South Asia. It divides primarily Pashtun territory in half, and the Taliban has always stated that it does not recognize the border.
Pakistan, apparently uncomfortable about Taliban intentions, has started fencing the border. The Taliban have responded by tearing down the fencing. They have also warned Pakistan that if it continues to attempt to create a border barrier there will be “dangerous consequences. There have reportedly been a number of clashes already between Taliban forces and Pakistani border guards.
What precisely the Taliban intend to do with their new army and the vast military arsenal we have bequeathed them is as yet a little unclear. Some idea of their intentions may be gleaned however from the October 2021 visit of Taliban leader Anas Haqqani to the tomb of Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi. Ghaznavi was an 11th-century Islamic warrior who conquered much of modern Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India and created an Islamic empire.
During his visit to Ghaznavi’s tomb, Haqqani praised him as a “renowned Muslim warrior.” Haqqani also explicitly referenced Ghaznavi’s attack on Somnath – a Hindu temple in Gujarat. Ghaznavi destroyed the temple as part of his holy war on infidels and stole all of the gold and other riches stored there. Hindu pilgrims visiting the temple were slaughtered or enslaved.
Ghaznavi’s personal secretary, Abu Nasr Muhammad ibn Muhammad al Jabbaru-l ‘Utbi, recorded this account of one battle between Ghaznavi and Hindu forces.
“Swords flashed like lightning amid the blackness of clouds, and fountains of blood flowed like the fall of a setting star. The friends of God defeated their opponents…. the Musalmans wreaked their vengeance on the infidel enemies of God killing 15,000 of them…making them food of the beasts and birds of prey…. god also bestowed on his friends such an amount of booty as was beyond all bounds and calculations, including 500,000 slaves beautiful men and women”.
To us, this may read like the stuff of ancient history. For the Taliban, these are the actions of a great holy warrior, and they are to be emulated and repeated. They live to return Islam to what they believe was its period of glory and to bring the whole world under the rule of an Islamic caliphate.
Biden and his mandarins wish the American people to forget about the Afghan debacle and move on. Nothing could be more short-sighted or disastrous. The Taliban have no intention of living quietly in the mountains and joining the fraternity of civilized nations. They are jihadists. They are consolidating their rule. They are building a state-of-the-art army.
Now the only question is – what are they going to use it for?