A member of the Taliban was pictured back in February wearing a set of PVS-7Ds and using an M16A2 equipped with a Thermal scope as reported by Military Times. The article was sourced from a UN report which outlined the rise of STANO (Surveillance, Targeting And Night Observation) equipment by the Taliban.

The night vision devices allow the Taliban to “effectively harass isolated Afghan National Defence and Security Forces checkpoints” and “has proven to be a successful tactic in both gaining and holding territory, as well as being a catalyst for demoralizing the Afghan Forces at such checkpoints,” the report detailed.

Dated but dangerous. The 1PN51 reticle at night.

To be fair, this isn’t anything new. The Taliban were known to be using Russian and Chinese made NVGs, most notably in their attack on PNS Mehran in Karachi while I was just over the border in Afghanistan. The reports showed what looked like current generation monoculars in some of the photos of the aftermath. Weapon mounted units were also in theater, including the aging 1PN51 weapon mounted Gen 1 scope that mounts on the siderail of the AK. Having used one in the past, the image tube is dated compared to the PVS-14 but it gets the job done.

So while the threat level is nothing new, its definitely a data point. The Taliban by hook and crook (and if you’ve lived in Afghanistan any amount of time, you know its more crook than hook) are closing the gap with the national security forces and exploiting the advantage operating at night offers.

You might want to consider doing the same while you’ve got the chance. And keep in mind- like any piece of equipment, STANO is an enabler, not a crutch. Without the prerequisite skills, it won’t do you much good.

Got that dirt time? 

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