Taliban experimenting with arms, updating weaponry

The analysts believe that Iran has also provided the ‘flying IEDs’ to the Taliban.

Karachi: The Taliban are experimenting with their arms and updating their weaponry, spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has said.

Earlier this month, the Taliban shot down a CH-47 Chinook helicopter during action in the Afghan province of Wardak, killing 31 US soldiers- most of them elite Navy SEALs- and seven Afghan troops.

Some US analysts believed that the chopper was brought down not with RPG (Rocket-propelled grenade), but with I-RAM (Improvised rocket-assisted mortar), commonly known as ‘flying IEDs’.

The ‘flying IEDs’ were first used by the insurgents against US troops during the Iraq insurgency, and US military officials suspected that they were provided to the insurgents by Iran.

The analysts believe that Iran has also provided the ‘flying IEDs’ to the Taliban to use against their arch foe – the United States.

But the Taliban spokesperson rejected this allegation, saying: “We continue to update our weaponry. We continue to experiment with our arms.”

“The Chinook helicopter was shot down with the help of a modified version of RPG. Our modified version of RPG can trigger a fire on its target,” Mujahid told The Express Tribune in a telephone interview from an undisclosed location in Afghanistan.

When asked about the contribution of the Haqqani network, which the US believes is based in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region, the Taliban spokesperson said: “(Jalaluddin) Haqqani is a mujahid (holy warrior). And his role in the Afghan jihad is second to none.”

Speaking in the National Defence University, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta had alleged earlier this week that Pakistan has links with extremist groups, including the Haqqani network.

But the Taliban spokesperson rubbished the claims of outside help for their ‘jihad’.

“These are baseless rumours. Ours is a purely indigenous struggle. We are not getting any help from any country,” Mujahid claimed.


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