According to the district administration, foreigners appeared in Imam-Sahib over the past two weeks accompanied by local Taliban who had long settled in the district.
"Some local residents managed to shoot a few pictures of the foreigners on their phones; they appear to show mostly Europeans, although there are some people with a Pakistani look – or Punjabis, as the locals call them,” the official said.
According to Mahboob Saidi, the authorities established that these foreigners are military instructors who train Taliban fighters in modern warfare and handling new military equipment. In particular, the Taliban is preparing to set up large mines and other explosive devices to blow up cars. The head of the administration also said that residents were anxious about the arrival of these foreigners.
A security official in Kunduz province explained on condition of anonymity that such foreign instructors are to be found in Jangal District where they built block posts together with Taliban. According to incoming data, new foreign mercenaries arrive there daily, so it is difficult to estimate their numbers.
A representative of the local administration of Kunduz, Nematullah Timuri, confirmed the appearance of foreign instructors in the Imam-Sahib District and said that the Afghan National Army would conduct a military operation soon all over the region to reclaim the parts held by the Taliban.
Councillors of Kunduz province, in turn, say that foreign instructors have arrived not only in the Imam Sahib, but also in several other districts where Taliban has training camps for militants, and from which the trained militants are sent to other provinces.
A resident of Kunduz, who is working as a nurse and has contacts with Taliban militants, said on condition of anonymity that there are Arabs, French and citizens of other European countries among the foreign mercenaries who appeared in the Taliban camp. Some of them are dressed in the uniform of the Afghan National Army and the security forces. According to the source, these foreign instructors usually conduct military training in the forests near the border with Tajikistan.
One of the elders of the district, Haji Muhammad Gul, described the foreigners who appeared in the Imam-Sahib to our correspondent like this: "Some of them wear sunglasses. Someone has a black beard, another is red-haired. Some walk in Afghan clothes, American army boots or special sneakers to move through the mountains. We have not seen this kind of behaviour with other foreigners previously. And they now have backpacks." According to a local Elder, the foreigners met him personally. They were accompanied by local Taliban which the locals personally know well.
The district residents say that the militants maintain close contacts with the smugglers that often come to the province of Kunduz from neighbouring Tajikistan. Afghan police officers corroborated these accounts but refused to comment further on the issue.