Night vision equipment includes a range of imaging systems enabling humans to see at night, including thermal imaging devices. The Taliban's ability to access and deploy night vision equipment was a significant factor in the years before the group's takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021.
This Frontline Perspective, the third in a series from CAR's field operations in Afghanistan between 2019 and 2021, reports on two commercial supply lines through which the Taliban sought to procure thermal imaging weapon sights. These sights, manufactured in the past five years, were commercially available in the United States and United Arab Emirates.
Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August 2021, concerns have grown over the changing terrorist landscape in the country and the threat posed by groups such as the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP). This second Frontline Perspective focuses on weapons used in two high-profile attacks in Kabul: the May 2019 Taliban-claimed attack on Counterpart International, and the November 2020 ISKP-claimed attack on Kabul University. It helps shine a spotlight on tactics and weapon selection for such high-profile attacks, and highlights important similarities between the weapons used.
Recent Taliban seizures of equipment previously provided to Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) by the United States and NATO probably constitutes one of the most significant large-scale diversion of military equipment in recent history. This Frontline Perspective, the first in a series from CAR's investigations in Afghanistan, explores the long-standing capacity of the Taliban and other armed actors in Afghanistan to access weapons that had been issued to ANDSF, and considers the systemic challenges that have enabled weapon diversion from national custody.