The Afghan Taliban held a military parade in Kabul on Monday that included several American-made weapons in an apparent show of strength as the insurgents try to oust U.S.-backed President Ashraf Ghani’s government.
The Taliban held the parade to mark the five-year anniversary of a 2015 cease-fire declared by the militant group, the Washington Post reported.
Such a show of strength is sure to anger Kabul. In May, the Taliban’s military wing threatened to cancel the march, an assault the group said it was responding to NATO restrictions on the size of the gathering.
The parade featured three Russian T-90 tanks and at least one American-made M1 Abrams main battle tank. Afghan personnel wore military clothing, perhaps an unofficial symbol of the Taliban’s growing arsenal, including artillery and other military weapons.
It wasn’t clear how many armed personnel took part in the parade. According to the Afghan officials, some 300 soldiers participated. The U.S. Army’s Global Security Map lists 300-400 armed personnel of Afghan forces in Kabul, although that number would likely be in the low hundreds.
The parade featured a number of current army equipment, including an armored personnel carrier that was damaged in a roadside bombing earlier this year.
The Taliban have launched nearly 3,000 attacks this year, the United Nations said in a report, and the insurgents control or contest 50 percent of the country’s districts, according to a recent study from the Koman Center, which tracks events and events in Afghanistan.
The parade is certain to boost the morale of insurgents but it comes at a time when the Afghan government, backed by U.S. military advisers, is fighting to take control of the Taliban’s new stronghold in eastern Afghanistan, Nangarhar province. Earlier this year, the insurgents used social media to try to organize a huge rally for the fall of Ghani’s government in Kabul, but organizers canceled it out of security concerns.
Ghani, who now faces a sharp increase in tensions with neighboring Pakistan over what he says is Pakistan’s role in Afghan Taliban and other militant groups, called the parade “the deception of the enemy” in a statement released shortly after the parade.
“The parade which started this morning has lasted for more than three hours,” Ghani said. “The Afghan forces killed eight enemy, while two Afghan forces sustained injuries.”
Read the full story at The Washington Post.
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