Taliban Offers Manpower Support to Hezbollah Against Israel

Source : militarywatchmagazine.com – June 19, 2024


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The Taliban government of Afghanistan has reportedly offered to provide manpower to fight alongside the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah in its escalating conflict with Israeli forces. This development, if confirmed, would mark an unprecedented shift in Taliban policy, with the Sunni Islamist group having previously considered Muslims from the Shiite sect to be apostates, leading to attacks on Shiite minorities in Afghanistan and high tensions on the Afghan-Iranian border in the 1990s. These sectarian issues have been a primary cause for the alignment of a range of jihadist groups in the Middle East against Hezbollah, forcing the militia group to fight a two front war both against such jihadists and against Israel. This division notably led Israel to join its allies in Turkey and the Western world to fund Sunni Islamist groups in Syria in the 2010s to weaken Hezbollah, as confirmed by Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot in 2019. The dispatch of Taliban forces, widely revered among Sunni Islamist groups, to fight alongside Hezbollah, could thus mark a watershed moment in Shia-Sunni Islamist alignments. 

Taliban Personnel in Armoured Personnel Carriers

Taliban Personnel in Armoured Personnel Carriers

Despite Taliban offers of manpower contributions to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East having been reported by a number of sources, they are unlikely to materialise for a number of reasons. With Hezbollah described as “a defensive guerrilla force organised along North Korean lines,” the sophistication of its equipment and warfighting techniques would make integration of Afghan militia into its forces highly challenging, as would issues such as language barriers. Hezbollah General Secretary Hassan Narsallah on June 19 highlighted the widespread offers of support his group had received in its fight against Israel, but made clear at the time that no such support was needed, expressing confidence in the ability to handle possible contingencies alone. Hezbollah has also had a far from positive experience operating alongside Sunni extremist groups, and after sharing key military knowhow with the Palestinian militia group Hamas in the 2000s, including passing on North Korean expertise on tunnel warfare, this was the following decade passed on by Hamas to Turkish-backed Al Qaeda affiliates which used it against Hezbollah. Thus while the Taliban may be seen as sympathetic to Hezbollah’s present conflict due to common animosity to Israel, Kabul’s future alignment remains highly uncertain.

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