Afghan fighters from the Northern Alliance are reported to have attacked Taliban tanks on horseback

American Special Forces in Afghanistan say that anti-Taliban forces are making cavalry-style charges against the Taliban.

Marine General Peter Pace, vice chairman of the US military Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: “This is opposition forces riding horseback into combat against tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

“These folks are aggressive. They’re taking the war to the enemy. We are supporting them as best we can.”

A Pentagon spokesman said the US was providing the Afghan fighters with food for their horses, but he said there were no plans for American forces to saddle up.

According to the Imperial War Museum, the last documented large scale use of horses by frontline soldiers was in the World War II when Russian forces had a number of cavalry units on the Eastern Front.

Horses, donkeys and mules are reported to be proving useful in the rocky terrain of Afghanistan to move aid and ammunition supplies.