Motorcycle riding, flag adorning Afghan vigilantes challenge Islamic State, Taliban

1Tired of the war and creeping militancy with the likes of the Taliban and now the Islamic State, a group of Afghans who call themselves the ‘Marg’ has vowed to fight off and challenge the various armed groups, Al-Jazeera reports.
‘Marg’ means “death” in Afghanistan’s main language Dari. The group that are being hailed as the vigilantes of Afghanistan plan to fill the shoes of United States after they pulled out most of the combat troops from Afghanistan late last year.
The vigilantes, clad in the Afghanistan national flag with their faces covered with black scarves, usually perform security checks while riding on motorcycles in the Balkh province.

PHOTO: AL-JAZEERA

Until when are we going to remain silent?
“We have witnessed enough of war, beheadings, killings, suicide attacks, and suppression of women for many years,” said Haji Mohammed Mahdiyar, the leader of Marg in Balkh province on Afghanistan’s northern border with Uzbekistan.
“Until when are we going to remain silent? It is now the time to stand up for our country.”

PHOTO: AL-JAZEERA

The Afghan army is slowly taking over security in most parts of Afghanistan after formal control was handed over by US-led troops last year. However, they have had little success in combating the Taliban in the countryside.
The Marg vigilantes identify themselves as a movement that opposes those who sympathise with religious hardliners and thugs.
“If we find out about a sympathiser of the Taliban and ISIL, or someone who wants to join them, we will kill that person without any doubt,” Mahdiyar said.
The group that was formed a year ago claims to have recruited over 5,000 members from five northern provinces in Afghanistan.
“We don’t have funds to buy weapons, but once we do we will not spare anyone who tries to wrongfully kill people in the name of Islam,” said Yad Ullah Khan, a Marg member. “To reach our people they will have to first fight us.”
As of now, about 300 commanders who were previously part of the Northern Alliance militia, are using personal arms and ammunition to train Marg members.
Most of the fighters under Marg’s banner were part of the mujahideen who fought the Soviet Union in the 80s, but don’t comply with the Taliban’s ideology.
“I fought in the Soviet War in Afghanistan in the past. I have been a mujahid and a part of the guerrilla war,” Mahdiyar said.
“If I have to repeat history to fight against IS and the Taliban, I will not hesitate to use the same tactics we used in the Soviet War. We’ve all come together to fight against those people who are destroying our country.”

Shahid Ghuman
Shahid Ghuman
Shahid Ghuman is versatile journalist. He have 20 years experience in journalism. Shahid Ghuman is not only journalists but also anchor and host of various television programs. He is Editor of CNN POINT.