Taliban promotes 4 previously unidentified training camps in Afghanistan

The Afghan Taliban promoted its network of training camps that it claims are in operation throughout Afghanistan in a recent propaganda video that was published on its official website. Four new Taliban camps have been identified by the Taliban.

Al Emarah Studio, a branch of the Taliban’s media arm, published “Omari Army 5,” a 70-minute long video which featured footage from seven camps, identified as: Abu Bakr Saddiq, Abu Dujanah, Khalid bin Walid, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, Omar Faruq, Omari, and Omar ibn Khattab. The Taliban had previously released footage from the Abu Dujanah, Khalid bin Walid, and Omar ibn Khattab camps; the other four have not been advertised until now.

In the video, the Taliban stressed that jihad is a “divine obligation” for all Muslims and failure to support jihad is a sin. The Taliban has pushed this message before, most recently at the end of May when it announced the beginning of Ramadan [see FDD’s Long War Journal report, Jihad during Ramadan is ‘obligatory,’ Taliban spokesman says].

Omari Army showed Taliban fighters at various stages in training, and at different times of the year (images from the video and be viewed below).

The video was released as the Taliban continued military success against Afghan security forces throughout the country. Earlier this year, the US military estimated that Taliban controls or contests 40 percent of the country, while the Taliban put that number at 50 percent.

Jihadist training camps in Afghanistan

The Taliban has publicized at least 16 of its training camps since the end of 2014 (see list below). In late 2015, the Taliban announced that its Khalid bin Walid Camp operated 12 satellite facilities throughout Afghanistan, and had the capacity to “train up to 2000 recruits at a single time.” Additionally, it said the Khalid bin Walid Camp “trains recruits in eight provinces (Helmand, Kandahar, Ghazni, Ghor, Saripul, Faryab, Farah and Maidan Wardak) and “has around 300 military trainers and scholars.”

Other jihadist groups, including al Qaeda, are known to operate camps inside Afghanistan. In 2015, the US raided an al Qaeda camp in Bermal district in Paktika, and two others in the Shorabak district in Kandahar province. The outgoing commander of US forces in Afghanistan, General John Campbell, said that one of the camps in Shorabak was the largest in Afghanistan since the US invaded in 2001. Al Qaeda has also operated camps in Kunar and Nuristan.

Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistani jihadist group that is closely allied with al Qaeda,“operates terrorist training camps in eastern Afghanistan,” the US government stated in 2014. The Turkistan Islamic Party, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Imam Bukhari Jamaat, an Uzbek jihadist group that operates in both Syria and Afghanistan, have all claimed to operate camps inside Afghanistan. Coalition forces have also raided Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan suicide training camps in Samagan and Sar-i-Pul.

Training camps promoted by the Taliban since Dec. 2014

Dec. 2014: The Taliban announced the existence of a training camp in Faryab province.
Dec. 2014:The Khalid bin Waleed camp in Kunar province.
June 2015: The Taliban touted its “special forces” training camp; the location was not disclosed.
Aug. 2015: Training Camp Shaheed Ustaz Aasim in the Lions Den, in Paktia province.
Sept. 2015 The Salahadin Ayyubi camp; the location was not disclosed.
July 2016: The Omar bin Khattab training camp in Kunduz.
Oct. 2016: Abdullah bin Mubarak Jihad Training Camp; the location was not disclosed.
Nov. 2015: The Khalid bin Walid Camp; the location was not disclosed. According to the Taliban, it has 12 “branches.”
Nov. 2015: The Abu Dujana Camp, in Sar-i-Pul province. It is one of the 12 branch camps of the Khalid bin Walid Camp.
Jan. 2017: Al Farouq Training Camp; the location was not disclosed.
March 2017: Intiqam Giran-e-Quran in Faryab.
March 2017: Khalid-Bin-Walid, or Khalid-Bin-Walik, in Faryab.
June 2017: Abu Bakr Saddiq Camp; the location was not disclosed.
June 2017: Abu Dujanah Camp; the location was not disclosed.
June 2017: Khalid bin Walid Camp; the location was not disclosed.
June 2017: Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour Camp, likely in Kunduz.
June 2017: Omar Faruq Camp; the location was not disclosed.
June 2017: Omari Camp; the location was not disclosed.
June 2017: Omar ibn Khattab Camp, likely in Kunduz.

Abu Bakr Saddiq training camp:

Abu Dujanah training camp:

Abu Ubaydah training camp:

Khalid bin Walid system of training camps:

Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour training camps:

Killed Taliban shadow governor, Mullah Abdul Salam, at the Mullah Akhtar Mansour camp in Kunduz:

Omar Faruq training camp:

Omar ibn Khattab training camps:

Omari training camp:

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal. Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

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