WASHINGTON — The Taliban recently uploaded a new propaganda video which features a long Taliban convoy moving freely during the daytime unopposed.
The video titled “Jihadic Process in Nimrooz and Rehabilitation” was published online at the end of September.
The video features a large gathering of Taliban militants and vehicles brandishing large white Taliban flags in the open at daytime. As the vehicles drive away in a column, multiple U.S. up-armored Humvees can be seen.
Some of the Humvees have been modified to carry old Russian anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, and SPG-9 recoilless rifles.
The full-length video is roughly 33 minutes long, yet Taliban social media acounts have been posting two-minute teaser trailers of the large Taliban convoy.
The convoy video comes as the U.S. and Afghan forces have dramatically increased the use of air power in the war-torn region. This year’s airstrike totals are the highest in nearly three years.
U.S. air power was drastically reduced in Afghanistan under the Obama administration as U.S. forces began to draw down in America’s longest war.
At the height of the war, U.S. aircraft flew 2,678 sorties a year with at least one munitions release, according to U.S. Air Forces Central Command data. Those numbers dropped to just 411 in 2015, but since then have steadily climbed to 761 so far this year.
The bold display by the Taliban highlights why the Defense Department has recently made changes to the rules of engagement that govern how and when the U.S. can strike Taliban targets.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that until recently U.S. forces were limited to striking the Taliban only if they were within a certain proximity to U.S. forces.
Those restrictions have been since removed, Mattis told lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.