Armed Forces of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

  (Redirected from Military of Afghanistan)

The Armed Forces of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (Pashto: د اسلامي امارت وسله وال ځواکونه),[2] also referred to as the Islamic Emirate Armed Forces, is the military of Afghanistan, ruled by the Taliban government since August 2021. During the Taliban's first government from 1996 to 2001, the armed forces were called the Islamic Army of Afghanistan.[3] The Islamic Army of Afghanistan was created in 1997 after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan following the end of the Afghan Civil War, however the army was dissolved in 2001 after the first Taliban army and government was destroyed following the United States invasion of Afghanistan. It was officially reestablished on November 8, 2021 after the Taliban's victory in the War in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021 following the recapture of Kabul and the collapse of the U.S.-backed Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its Afghan National Army as a whole, with the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan after being out of power for 20 years.

Armed Forces of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
د اسلامي امارت وسله وال ځواکونه
MottoPashto: الارض لله والحكم لله
("The land belongs to Allah, the rule belongs to Allah")
Current form8 November 2021; 9 months ago (2021-11-08)
Service branches
LeaderHibatullah Akhundzada
Prime MinisterHasan Akhund (acting)
Minister of DefenceMullah Yaqoob (acting)
Chief of Staff of the Armed ForcesQari Fasihuddin (acting)
Commander-in-Chief of the Air ForceAmanuddin Mansoor
Military age18 (voluntary)
Active personnel90,000 – 110,000 (2022)[1]
Related articles
HistoryMilitary history of Afghanistan

Afghan Civil War (1992–1996)
Afghan Civil War (1996–2001)
War in Afghanistan (2001–2021)
Republican insurgency in Afghanistan

Islamic State–Taliban conflict
RanksMilitary ranks of Afghanistan

History (1997–2001)Edit

Following the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 the mujahiddin rebel attacks continued and grew in intensity.[4] For several years the Afghan Armed Forces had actually increased their effectiveness past levels ever achieved during the Soviet military presence. The eleven-year Siege of Khost ended with the city's fall in March 1991. But the government was dealt a major blow when Abdul Rashid Dostum, a leading general, switched allegiances to the mujahideen forces in 1992 and together they captured the city of Kabul.[5] By 1992 the Army fragmented into regional militias under local warlords because of the fall of the Soviet Union which stopped supplying the Afghan Armed Forces and later in 1992 when the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan government lost power.

By 1992 the Afghan Army fragmented into regional militias under local warlords because of the fall of the Soviet Union which stopped supplying the Afghan Armed Forces and later in 1992 when the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan government lost power.

The fall of the Moscow-backed regime in 1992 disintegrated the state as well as the army. Bits and pieces of the fragmented military either disappeared or joined the warring factions that were locked in a drawn-out power struggle. The warring factions were composed of odd assortments of armed groups with varying levels of loyalties, political commitment, professional skills, and organizational integrity.[6]

— Ahmed Ali Jalali, 2002

After the fall of Mohammad Najibullah's regime in 1992, the various Afghan political parties began to assemble their own more formal armed forces. By February 1992 Massoud's Jamiat-i-Islami had a central force reported at six battalions strong, plus additional second tier units, "the bulk of the army, ..made up of regional battalions, subordinate to local commanders of the Supervisory Council."[7] On 16 January 1993 Jane's Defence Weekly reported that "a special assembly of 1335 delegates elected from across Afghanistan" had both elected Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani as President of the Islamic State of Afghanistan for two years, and agreed to "establish a regular army with soldiers mostly drawn from Mojahedin groups." Pakistan had offered training assistance.[8] However, a Civil War started between the various warlords, including Ahmad Shah Massoud, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Abdul Rashid Dostum, Abdul Ali Mazari, Jalaluddin Haqqani, Ismail Khan, Atta Muhammad Nur, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, Mohammad Nabi Mohammadi, Mohammad Yunus Khalis, Gul Agha Sherzai and many others.

The Taliban movement arose around Kandahar in southern Afghanistan and defeated the various armed movements there that had squabbled since the dissolution of the previous Afghan Army and Afghan Air Force. They moved to confront Ahmed Shah Massoud's forces by marching to the gates of Kabul in March 1995.[9]

The previous Taliban maintained 400 T-54/55 and T-62 tanks and more than 200 armoured personnel carriers.[10][11] The Taliban also began training its own army and commanders. After the removal of the Taliban government in late 2001, private armies loyal to warlords gained more and more influence. In mid-2001, Ali Jalali wrote:[12]

The army (as a state institution, organized, armed, and commanded by the state) does not exist in Afghanistan today. Neither the Taliban-led "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" nor the "Islamic State of Afghanistan" headed by the ousted President Rabbani has the political legitimacy or administrative efficiency of a state. The militia formations they command are composed of odd assortments of armed groups with varying level of loyalties, political commitment, professional skills, and organizational integrity. Many of them feel free to switch sides, shift loyalties, and join or leave the group spontaneously. The country suffers from the absence of a top political layer capable of controlling individual and group violence. ... Although both sides identify their units with military formations of the old regime, there is hardly any organizational or professional continuity from the past. But these units really exist in name only ... in fact only their military bases still exist, accommodating and supporting an assortment of militia groups.

Taliban Humvee in the streets of Kabul following its fall, 2021

The Afghan Air Force under the previous Taliban maintained five supersonic MiG-21MFs and 10 Sukhoi-22 fighter-bombers.[13] They also held six Mil Mi-8 helicopters, five Mi-35s, five L-39Cs, six An-12s, 25 An-26s, a dozen An-24 and An-32s, an IL-18, and a Yakovlev. Their civil air service contained two Boeing 727A/Bs, a Tu-154, five An-24s, and a DHC-6. On 3 August 1995, a incident involving Taliban's Afghan Air Force MiG-21 aircraft forced a Russian Ilyushin 76 cargo plane carrying arms from Albania to Afghanistan to land at Kandahar.[14][15] Negotiations between the Russian government and the Taliban to free the men stalled for over a year and efforts by American senator Hank Brown to mediate between the two parties broke down over a prisoner exchange.[16] Brown was able to get the Taliban to agree that the Russian crew should be allowed to maintain their aircraft.[16] This request paved the way for their escape.[16]



The army under the Taliban Islamic Movement was inaugurated as the Army of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,[17] or Islamic Emirate Army on November 8, 2021. To date, the army itself relies heavily on captured hardware from the defeated Afghan National Army. Approximately 2,000 vehicles fell into Taliban hands after the Fall of Kabul, including the Humvee, M1117 Guardian, MaxxPro MRAP and Oshkosh ATV. In terms of infantry equipment, captured items include the M4 carbine, M16 rifle, night-vision goggles, body armor suits, communication equipment and shoulder-mounted grenade launchers. These U.S. made firearms are reportedly replacing Russian made AK-47s and AK-74s carried by most Taliban fighters.[18]

From 1 September 2021 to 10 January 2022, 15,102 newly trained fighters were inducted into the Islamic Emirate Army as calculated on the official site, the average number of new soldiers inducted is 120 soldiers per week not counting paramilitaries.[citation needed]

Formation and structureEdit

Currently the conventional land forces of the Islamic Emirate Army are subdivided into eight corps, mostly superseding the previous corps of the former Afghan National Army. The conventional land warfare corps of the Islamic Emirate Army are renamed in November 2021 by Mullah Yaqoob, Acting Minister of Defense.[19] They are listed below.[20]

Corps Headquarters Former Designation Commander(s) Ref(s)
313 Central Corps Kabul N/A Maulvi Naqibullah "Sahib" (Chief of Staff)
Maulvi Nasrullah "Mati" (Commander)
Maulvi Nusrat (Deputy Commander)
201 Khalid Ibn Walid Corps Laghman 201st Corps Abdul Rahman Mansoori (Chief of Staff)
Abu Dujana (Commander)
Ibrahim (Deputy Commander)
203 Mansoori Corps Gardez 203rd Corps Ahmadullah Mubarak (Chief of Staff)
Mohammad Ayub (Commander)
Rohul Amin (Deputy Commander)
205 Al-Badr Corps Kandahar 205th Corps Hizbullah Afghan (Chief of Staff)
Mehrullah Hamad (Commander)
Wali Jan Hamza (Deputy Commander)
207 Al-Farooq Corps Herat 207th Corps Abdul Rahman Haqqani (Chief of Staff)
Mohammad Zarif Muzaffar (Commander)
Abdul Shakur Baryalai (Deputy Commander)
209 Al-Fatah Corps Mazar-i-Sharif 209th Corps Abdul Razzaq Faizullah (Chief of Staff)
Amir Khan Haqqani (Commander)
Maulvi Amanuddin (Deputy Commander)
215 Azam Corps Helmand 215th Corps Maulvi Abdul Aziz "Ansari" (Chief of Staff)
Sharafuddin Taqi (Commander)
Mohibullah Nusrat (Deputy Commander)
217 Omari Corps Kunduz 217th Corps Mohammad Shafiq (Chief of Staff)
Rahmatullah Mohammad (Commander)
Mohammad Ismail Turkman (Deputy Commander)

All the corps beyond Kabul can be definitively tied to previous Afghan National Army (ANA) formations. However the number '313' was not utilized by the ANA, in Kabul or beyond, and the only former Taliban unit with that number was the Badri 313 Battalion. Other reported units include the Victorious Force Unit[25] and the Panipat unit.[26]

The Badri 313 Battalion;[27] the Red Unit[28] and the "Yarmouk 60 Special Forces Battalion"[29] may have some special forces capabilities.

Air ForceEdit

The Taliban created and ran a small air force in from 1996 to 2001. After the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul during the 2021 Taliban offensive, the Taliban established the Air Force of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,[30][31] which is also referred to as the Islamic Emirate Air Force. The air force acquired UH-60 Black Hawks, Mil Mi-24s (most of them without engines), Mil Mi-8s/Mil Mi-17s, A-29 Super Tucanos, Cessna 208s, and C-130 Hercules.

On 11 January 2022, the air force successfully repaired and flew unserviceable aircraft which were abandoned by the US Army and the former Afghan National Army after Kabul fell to the Taliban.[32][clarification needed] A new Taliban commander of the Afghan Air Force spoke as part of the announcement.


According to the testimony of Guantanamo detainees before their Combatant Status Review Tribunals, the Taliban, in addition to conscripting men to serve as soldiers, also conscripted men to staff its civil service.[33]

Conscription of childrenEdit

According to a report from the University of Oxford, the Taliban made widespread use of the conscription of children in 1997, 1998 and 1999. During the civil war that preceded the Taliban regime, thousands of orphaned boys joined various militia for "employment, food, shelter, protection and economic opportunity." The report said that during its initial period the Taliban "long depended upon cohorts of youth". Witnesses stated that each land-owning family had to provide one young man and $500 in expenses. In August, of that year 5000 students aged between 15 and 35 left madrassas in Pakistan to join the Taliban.[34]



  1. ^ "Afghanistan: Taliban raise new army unit named 'Panipat', many call it a move to spite India". The Economic times. 15 February 2022. Retrieved 27 April 2022.
  2. ^ د ملي دفاع وزارت - وزارت دفاع ملی [@modafghanistan2] (28 October 2021). "د افغانستان د اسلامي امارت وسله وال ځواکونه په کوم ځانګړي قوم او سیمه پورې اړه نه لري، بلکې د افغانستان په ټول مجاهد او دیني ولس پورې اړه لري او په ملي، سیمه ییزه او نړیواله کچه د افغانستان تاریخي عظمت بیا رغوي. د افغانستان خلک د دغو ځواکونو په زړورتیا ویاړي." (Tweet) (in Pashto). Archived from the original on 28 October 2021. Retrieved 21 February 2022 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ "Constitution of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (1998 draft)". Council of Ulema-e-Jaid. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  4. ^ "1988: USSR pledges to leave Afghanistan". BBC News. London. 14 April 1988. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
  5. ^ "Afghan Guerrillas Order Kabul Army To Surrender City". The New York Times. 18 April 1992. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
  6. ^ Jalali, Ali A. (2002). "Rebuilding Afghanistan's National Army". Parameters: Journal of the US Army War College. U.S. Army War College. 32 (3): 78.
  7. ^ See "Pushing at the Cracks". Jane's Defence Weekly. 8 February 1992. See also "Army Reformed to Heal Divisions," JDW, 15 August 1992.
  8. ^ "MOJAHEDIN FOR AFGHAN ARMY". Jane's Defence Weekly. 16 January 1993.
  9. ^ Malkasian 2021, p. 36-41.
  10. ^ The Beasts of Kabul: Inside the Afghan Army's Soviet Tanks. Stars and Stripes. 15 July 2014. Archived from the original on 14 November 2021. Retrieved 21 February 2022 – via YouTube.
  11. ^ The Guardian, Taliban lose grip on Mazar i Sharif, 7 November 2001
  12. ^ Ali A. Jalali, Afghanistan: The Anatomy of an Ongoing Conflict Archived 2016-12-10 at the Wayback Machine, Parameters, Spring 2001, pp. 85–98.
  13. ^ York, Geoffrey. The Globe and Mail, "Military Targets Are Elusive. Afghanistan Army Called a Haphazard Operation", 19 September 2001
  14. ^ Russian airmen escape from Afghanistan, Phil Reeves, The Independent, 19 August 1996
  15. ^ Farah & Braun 2007, p. 60
  16. ^ a b c Associated Press 1996, p. 4
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  18. ^ Shelton, Tracey (20 August 2021). "The Taliban's new armoury of US-made equipment includes planes, guns and night-vision goggles". ABC News. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  19. ^ Lalzoy, Najibullah (8 November 2021). "Taliban retitles all military corps in Afghanistan". The Khaama Press News Agency.
  20. ^ "Islamic Emirate Introduces New Members of Caretaker Cabinet". TOLOnews. Retrieved 9 October 2021.
  21. ^ a b "د هوايي ځواکونو عمومي قوماندانۍ او د کابل ۳۱۳ مرکزي ق ول اردو له پاره نوي مسوولین وګمارل شول | د ملی دفاع وزارت". (in Pashto).
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h "د اسلامي امارت په تشکیلاتو کې نوي کسان پر دندو وګومارل شول". باختر خبری آژانس (in Pashto). 4 October 2021.
  23. ^ "به زودی ۴۵۰ نفر از قول اردوی "الفاروق" فارغ می‌شوند". آوا پرس | ا خبار لحظه ای افغانستان (in Persian).
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  25. ^ Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan [@TalibanSoldiers] (16 January 2022). "Victorious Force Unit 🪖" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 23 January 2022. Retrieved 21 February 2022 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ Tare, Kiran (16 February 2022). "Why the Taliban named a military unit after 'Panipat'". India Today.
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  28. ^ Snow, Shawn (12 August 2016). "Red Group: The Taliban's New Commando Force". The Diplomat. Archived from the original on 12 June 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
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  32. ^ "مانور طیارات قوای هوایی کشور به مناسبت احیا و فعالیت چرخبال های اردوی امارت اسلامی".
  33. ^ Dixon, Robyn (13 October 2001). "Afghans in Kabul Flee Taliban, Not U.S. Raids". Los Angeles Times. Shirkat. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  34. ^ Jo Boyden; Jo de Berry; Thomas Feeny; Jason Hart (January 2002). "Children Affected by Armed Conflict in South Asia: A review of trends and issues identified through secondary research" (PDF). University of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2007. Retrieved 5 January 2008.