The rift between the Pakistan Army and the Taliban has intensified yet again as the two sides engaged in fresh clashes along the Durand Line in Kunar province on Tuesday.
According to Republic TV, the Pakistan Army opened fire against the Taliban troops in the Dangam district of Kunar. The Pakistan Army also used heavy artillery against the Taliban, leading to clashes between two sides. The Taliban troops assembled in the area to re-engage with the Pakistan Army.
The incident comes just months after similar gunfights between the Pakistan Army and the Taliban. In December 2021, a major clash was reported along the Durand line in Kunar province. There were reports of heavy firing from both sides along with the border areas in December last year.
The clashes have repeatedly occurred between the two sides due to disagreement regarding the 2,640-kilometre-long border along the Durand Line, which forms the border between India and Afghanistan around Gilgit-Baltistan – a province that is illegally occupied by Pakistan.
The Taliban fighters had stopped the Pakistan Army from erecting a security fence by the Pakistani military along the border between the two countries.
Taliban to prepare an Army of 1,10,000 troops
Amidst the clashes, Mullah Muhammad Yaqoob Mujahid, the acting Defense Minister of Afghanistan, had announced that the Taliban is preparing an army of 1,10,000 members.
According to Afghan media Khaama Press, Mujahid had revealed that at least 10,000 people had already joined the force, and nearly 80,000 were being trained currently. The Defence Minister further disclosed that the group had reactivated around 4,000 choppers and planes.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s Taliban has decided to raise a special military unit called “Panipat”, a district in Haryana where the third battle of Panipat between Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah Abdali and the Maratha Army was fought in 1761. The ‘Panipat unit’ will be deployed in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province bordering Pakistan.
Many have described the Taliban’s move as a jingoistic act to tease its neighbour India. In addition, the Taliban invokes historical military events like the third battle of Panipat during religious sermons in rural Afghanistan to radicalise youth and support the cause of Muslims across the globe. The Taliban has also started giving sermons on the issue of Kashmir and Palestine in mosques and Islamic seminaries in Afghanistan.