An Afghan military commander on Wednesday claimed Taliban’s foreign financing had reduced in southern Afghanistan this solar year, subsiding threats they posed.
Maj. Gen. Abdul Hameed Hameed, the Afghan National Army’s 205th Atal Military Corps commander in the south, was speaking to Pajhwok Afghan News during an inclusive interview.
Gen. Hameed said not only the foreign funding had reduced, but internal differences in the insurgent group had also widened.
He said foreign groups and individuals cut short money supplies to the Taliban this year as compared to last year’s finances after considering the group “no longer effective.”
“The Taliban would previously receive a huge amount of money for their operation costs and they used a big portion of the money on suicide attacks and making roadside bombs, but these activities have declined and will further drop next year.”
The military official claimed new differences in the group’s top leadership had surfaced. He said Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, once ousted from the movement due to insubordination, had rejoined hands with Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, but Mullah Abdul Qayum Zakir had parted ways with them.
He said Mullah Zakir had been banned from meeting his commanders and comrades.
Gen. Hameed said there were serious differences among Taliban ranks over their white and Islamic State’s black flags, citing Mullah Abdul Rauf Khadim’s fallout as an example.
Khadim, who the Afghan spy service claimed was in-charge of IS operations in southwest Afghanistan, was killed in a US drone strike on Monday in the Kajaki district of southern Helmand province.
The military official said Mullah Khadim had recently started recruiting people for the IS group after developing differences with the Taliban.
He ruled out the presence of IS, a group which controls large swaths of land in Iraq and Syria, in southern Afghanistan, the spiritual heart of the Taliban, calling media reports in this regard as untrue.
He said no foreign fighter linked to the IS had arrived in the region, but local insurgents used the group’s name to terrify people.
A six-month long operation codenamed “Bawar” has been launched in Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan and Zabul provinces, he said, adding the offensive involved personnel from the army, police and intelligence.
He said the operation was currently underway in Kandahar’s Maiwand and Mianshin districts, where insurgents suffered heavy casualties and many areas were demined.
“Three wide areas in Maiwand ---Khoshkaw, Ismailkhel and Usmakhel --- which border the troubled Sangin town of Helmand have been cleared of militants. Last week, 10 militants were killed and this week, nine insurgents, including a key commander Mullah Shah Wali, were eliminated in these areas.”
Additionally, Hameed said the 205th military corps headquarters had sent troops to reinforce the 215 military corps in Helmand, where the forces would launch an operation soon in Sangin and Musa Qala districts.
He also said the issue of logistic supplies to security forces had resolved to a great extent and the forces were able to effectively maintain security and conduct operations.
“The 205 Atal Military Corps current possess nine aircrafts and eight helicopters, which are used to airlift logistic supplies and shift injured personnel to hospital from remote areas.”
However, he said security on roads had improved and most supplies were delivered to security forces by road. In case of emergency, foreign troops provided air support to Afghan forces like they did in the past, he said.
The commander called as satisfactory the security situation in the south and Taliban’s attacks had declined along the Durand Line after a joint meeting of Afghan and Pakistani security officials in Kandahar.
He said previously Taliban insurgents would attack Afghan posts from across the border after crossing through Pakistani posts and would flee back to Pakistan after attacking Afghan forces and emplacing bombs.
He said it seemed recent bloody terrorist attacks in Pakistan had forced the country to become sincere in cooperation with Afghanistan in the anti-terror fight.
However, he said they needed to wait until to know if Pakistan was really sincere in cooperation.