Management of weapons in circulation

Weapons in the hands of Taliban fighters and officials remain primarily uncatalogued. According to some sources, the leadership in Kabul sent at least seven letters to hundreds of commanders at all levels, asking them to register their weapons. Commanders of delgai were asked to register their weapons with the district-level authorities; the lists were then passed on to the provincial-level authorities, who sent them to Kabul. Interviewees suggested, however, that probably only around half of the weapons in circulation were successfully registered this way.[1]

Even in Kabul, registering weapons already in circulation has been challenging. The case of the MoI’s Protection of Public Offices Unit illustrates this point. Fighters were tasked to protect various ministries and sites in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Republic, and retroactive attempts were made to organize them into police platoons. Only much later, as part of this retroactive reorganization, did the MoI catalogue the weaponry on hand. During the inventory process, the MoI did not provide instructions or guidance on how to collect this information, or specify which information to collect. The head of each platoon was simply tasked to register people working for them. This situation occurred because most of the weapons are seen as belonging to commanders, not individual fighters; if a commander and his men had, for example, ten weapons, all of them were considered the property of the commander. No biometrics or other details were recorded.


[1] Interviews with Taliban official, Kabul, 3 December 2022; Taliban commander, Kabul, 5 December 2022; and Taliban commander, Kabul, 23 December 2022.