“The Taliban Declares Its Readiness to Invade into Tajikistan” --  with this heading, Russian media outlets give a message from the telegram channel Reverse Side of the Medal that one of commanders of Jamaat Ansarullah radical group (banned in Tajikistan) Mahdi Arsalan has decaled his readiness to invade into Tajikistan.  

Russian media outlets say Mahdi and his militants are the Tajik Taliban and they now control several territories in northern Afghanistan bordering Darvoz district in the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) and Shamsiddin-Shohin district in Khatlon province  

Known in Afghanistan as the Tajik Taliban, the militants from Tajikistan are members of the Jamaat Ansarullah group, which was established by Tajik nationals a decade ago with the goal of overthrowing the secular government in Dushanbe.

Citing security sources in Tajikistan and northeastern Afghanistan, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on October 4 that the Taliban has provided Tajik militants based along the border with Tajikistan with new military vehicles, weaponry, and other equipment over the past two weeks.

RFE/RL says that according to an official with Tajikistan’s state border services, Tajik militants based in Afghanistan’s northern province of Badakhshan have been seen with U.S.-made weaponry and vehicles, including Humvees, with some of them wearing American combat gear.

The militants, who were previously seen carrying Kalashnikov rifles and driving old pickup trucks, received the new supplies during the past two weeks, according to the Tajik official, who spoke under condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

The new equipment is thought to have been seized by the Taliban from the former Afghan National Army during the Taliban’s lightning offensive across the country that ended when the hard-line Islamist group seized Kabul in mid-August.

Tajik and Afghan sources say at least 200 militants from Tajikistan are currently based along the border of the two countries.

RFE/RL says a former Afghan military officer based in Badakhshan confirmed the allegation.

Qadir Safa, the former head of Afghanistan’s Darwaz district, told RFE/RL that Ansarullah recruits fighters from Tajikistan.

In June, Tajik officials raised concern that one of the banned group’s commanders -- Mahdi Arsalan had been put in charge of security in five border districts in Badakhshan after they were seized by the Taliban.

Muhammadi Sharifov; photo / Radio Ozodi.

According to several sources in Tajikistan, Mahdi Arsalan’s real name is Muhammad Sharifov. Sharifov, 25, was born in the village of Sherbegiyon in Tajikistan’s eastern Rasht Valley.

According to RFE/RL, Tajik security officials said last month that they were reviewing reports that the militants were planning to infiltrate into Tajikistan.

Jamaat Ansarullah, also known as the Society of Allah’s Soldiers, Ansarullah was founded in 2010 by Amriddin Tabarov, who had been a field commander for anti-government Islamist forces during Tajikistan's 1992-97 civil war. Tabarov, also known as Mullah Amriddin, was killed by Afghan government forces in 2015.

Initially, Ansarullah’s members were former Tajik opposition fighters who refused to accept a 1997 peace agreement between the government in Dushanbe and the Islamist-led opposition.

The so-called new generation -- children and relatives of the initial members and supporters -- have since joined the group.

The group first came to light in September 2010 when the heretofore unknown organization claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on September 3 in Khujand.  An explosives-packed car rammed into the building of the Sughd regional organized crime control department, killing two officers and two civilians and wounding 28 people.  The suicide bomber was local resident Akmal Karimov, who was reportedly trained in al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Since its creation, Ansarullah has had links with other militant groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban.

Tajikistan’s Supreme Court officially banned Jamaat Ansarullah as extremist in May 2012 on the basis of a suit filed by the Prosecutor-General’s Office.