An article by Farangis Najibullah and Mustafa Sarwar says Afghanistan’s Taliban-led Defense Ministry has established several new military units in three border provinces in the country’s north, northeast, and west, deploying an estimated 4,400 additional troops in the region.  

The article entitled “Taliban Says New Troops Near Central Asian Borders Will Bring Stability. The Neighbors Are Not So Sure”, in particular, notes that the Omar Salis division was launched in Badakhshan Province bordering Tajikistan, China, and Pakistan.  The article notes that similar divisions are thought to comprise about 3,000 soldiers.

Besides, four battalions were established as part of the Al-Farooq Corps in Badghis Province, bordering Turkmenistan.  Another battalion was launched in Farah, which borders Iran.  Similar battalions reportedly consist of about 350 soldiers each.

Thea article notes that similar troop deployments in the past have raised suspicion in neighboring countries, especially Tajikistan, which frequently voices concern about security issues in Afghanistan and their potential impact on Central Asia.

Although the Taliban insisted the placement of the new “special forces” is aimed at strengthening domestic security, neighboring countries are concerned. 

Zabihullah Mujahid, chief Taliban spokesman and deputy information minister, told RFE/RL that the latest troop deployment in the border provinces will also contribute to regional stability.

“We would like to reassure all our neighbors that upholding security in Afghanistan contributes to security in their countries, too,” he added, reiterating his previous statements that the Taliban “will never allow anyone to use Afghanistan to harm its neighbors.”

Meanwhile, Tajikistan continues to warn about what it describes as serious security threats posed by groups based in northern and northeastern Afghanistan.

In January, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon urged the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to create a security belt around Afghanistan to address alleged internal fighting among various Taliban factions in the border areas.

Rahmon added that there were more than 40 terrorist camps with about 6,000 militants in northeastern Afghanistan.

Just weeks after taking power in Kabul, the Taliban deployed exclusive battalions of suicide bombers known as Lashkar-e Mansoori in the Badakhshan and Takhar provinces, adding to anxieties in Tajikistan.

The two provinces are home to hundreds of militants from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and other countries who have fought alongside the Taliban for many years.

Various sources inside Afghanistan and among Tajik border guards noted in October that the Taliban has rearmed Tajik militants in Badakhshan with new military vehicles, weaponry, and other equipment left behind by U.S. forces.

There have been fears in Central Asian capitals that the militants might want to infiltrate their home countries.

But many experts believe the Taliban has no intention of initiating or provoking a military conflict with its neighbors.

Afghan military expert Omar Sapi told RFE/RL that he reason behind the latest troop developments is that the Taliban is worried about internal resistance to its rule.