Afghan police have arrested at least 14 Taliban jihadists carrying out terrorist activities disguised as members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and using fake identity cards linked to the troops.
The U.S.-funded and trained ANDSF includes police and army units. Kandahar province, known as the birthplace of the Taliban, borders Pakistan.
Khaama Press (KP) reports:
The Afghan intelligence, national directorate of security (NDS), said the militants were operating in three different groups and was led by a senior Taliban commander Mohammadullah also famous as Loi Lala.
NDS further added that the militants were involved in major terrorist activities including bombings, attacks and assassination of tribal elders and officials in Kandahar city.
According to NDS, the militants have confessed that they assassinated at least 7 government employees as they disguised in army uniforms and using fake identity cards of the security forces.
The arrests come as three U.S. service members have already been killed and two others wounded this year in insider or “green on blue attacks,” which refers to assaults by men dressed in uniforms of the ANDSF.
Five American civilians have also been killed and 10 others injured this year by alleged ANDSF members turning their weapons on them.
The five “green on blue” attacks during all of last year killed three U.S. service members and wounded 14.
Meanwhile, insider attacks during 2015 were also responsible for killing three U.S. civilians and wounding one.
The Taliban has not commented on the recent apprehension of its members in Kandahar, known as the birthplace of the terrorist group.
Although President Barack Obama declared the U.S. combat mission over at the end of 2014, American military combat activity continues.
Since the new train, advise, and assist mission began at the start of 2015, which placed the Afghan troops in the lead of security operations, the majority of insider attack victims have been ANDSF fighters.
“There were 101 insider attacks in which ANDSF personnel turned on fellow ANDSF security forces… These attacks killed 257 Afghan personnel and wounded 125,” has reported the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), a U.S. watchdog agency, citing the U.S. military in Afghanistan. “Of these attacks, 44 occurred in 2016, killing 120 and wounding 70.”
Kandahar province has been a traditional stronghold of the Taliban and its ally al-Qaeda. It is one of the deadliest regions of the 15-year-old-plus Afghanistan war for U.S.-led coalition troops.
However, KP reports that “Kandahar is [now] among the relatively peaceful provinces in southern Afghanistan… The security situation in this province has improved by a large extent during the recent months despite the neighboring provinces, specifically… Helmand witness violence on regular basis.”
According to the United Nations, the majority (54 percent) of the opium in Afghanistan is cultivated and produced in southern provinces that border Pakistan, namely Helmand and Kandahar. Afghanistan is the world’s top producer of opium and its heroin derivative.
Taliban jihadists use the lucrative proceeds from the illicit sale of opium to fund their terrorist activities.