Taliban announces national suicide bomber battalion 4 months ago

Taliban announces national suicide bomber battalion

The squads have been set up to combat the threat from Islamic State

The Taliban has established a national suicide bomber battalion that will be used for "sophisticated and special operations."

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The Islamic extremists have a history of using suicide bombers, which they refer to as "martyrdom seekers", to fight Western and allied forces.

Zabihullah Mujahid, the group’s spokesman, announced plans for the special forces unit just hours after the defence ministry said it would set up a national army of 100,000 fighters.

“Our mujahidin who are martyrdom brigades will also be part of the army but they will be special forces,” Mujahid told Radio Free Europe, via The Times. “These forces will be under the control the Ministry of Defence and will be used for special operations.”

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Bilal Karimi, the Taliban's deputy spokesperson, said that the suicide squad would work as a single unit and would be used for "more sophisticated and special operations."

The announcement comes as the Taliban continues to face threats from rival group Islamic State.

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Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last year, the Afghan chapter of Islamic State has attempted a number of attacks in the country.

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The Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-KP) has previously accused the Taliban of being a proxy for the United States. In an editorial in its weekly newspaper al Naba, the group criticised the Taliban for wearing a "guise of Islam" to undermine the IS-KP in the region.

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According to the Centre for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, Islamic State's chapter in Afghanistan and the Taliban are rivals, despite both being Sunni Islamist extremists. The IS-KP has accused the Taliban of abandoning jihad for the sake of peace treaties and negotiations.

The centre says: "The hostility between the two groups arose both from ideological differences and competition for resources. IS accused the Taliban of drawing its legitimacy from a narrow ethnic and nationalistic base, rather than a universal Islamic creed."