Taliban’s Suicide Battalions: Tactical and Strategic Violence

Taliban-affiliated suicide battalions are among the most notorious and feared military units ever built. The formation nature of such military battalions is neither compatible with Islamic laws nor with international human rights values. Because the purpose of forming such battalions is to massacre the enemies – especially the civilians – en masse. In recent years, no nation has been harmed by such a terrorist suicide bombers as much as the people of Afghanistan.

Even with the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, the bloodthirsty spirit of the group’s fighters has not softened. The formation and operation of suicide battalions is an obvious sign. Some observers thought that if an insurgent group, even with a terrorist background seizes over the power, the requirements of governance would force it to change its approach to fit its new role and position. The Taliban ostensibly pretend to be moving in such a direction and beg the public inside and outside to consider them as a reformed and changed group. But the group’s on ground approach and behavior very seriously constrict with that of their propaganda of portraying themselves on the medias. They cannot take such a radical change even if they want to. However, there is no sign of such a will, and their actions indicate that they want to entertain both the benefits of insurgency and a conventional state simultaneously.

Conventional governments have police and armies, which according to the law, police’s duty is to protect the security of citizens inside the borders and army’s duty is to defend the country in the event of foreign invaders crossing the border. The formation of a suicide battalion in the formation of army, however, is an unprecedented innovation that is incompatible with the conventional rules of the state military apparatus, and raise the question: What is the purpose behind it? We know that preparing someone for suicide is not an easy task, but requires putting them in a special mental state with constant brainwashing to turn a healthy person into a robot-like disease. Suicide operations are primarily designed for terrorist acts, and the existence of such an institution within a country’s army introduces terror and suicide into the body of a state military system, and by giving it a religious branch, it can become a model for the entire military system.

Now that the international forces have left the country and there is only the opposition of some compatriot and allied groups, with whom their problem can be solved through dialogue and understandings, what is the justification for creating a suicide battalion? It is motivated by regional and global ambitions, inspired by al-Qaeda and ISIS?

The possibility is strengthened by the fact that this group has nothing to offer in the field of governance. Because it is alien to and distrustful of the foundations of modern state governance, and even if it has the will, it will not have achievements that will lead to public satisfaction. On the contrary, Taliban group has enough experience in the fields of guerrilla warfare, and only through violence, the group can engage in both political and economic blackmail from other countries. Now that the Afghan people have been left behind alone under the rule of the most brutal terrorist group who used to and are still the enemy of the modern society, it is an alarming sign  that with the group’s policy of increasing the number of religious schools across the country, the suicide battalion could gradually turn into school for suicide attackers. A group that is expert suicide and has achieved their targets via this approach will upgrade it from the level of tactics to the level of strategy. What makes the Taliban, al-Qaeda and ISIS prominent among political Islam groups is the culture of suicide.