The Taliban reportedly held a parade featuring US military equipment abandoned during the Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan over the summer.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby previously described equipment seized by the Taliban as “unusable.”
According to a report by Agence France-Presse, the military parade featured U.S. armored Humvees and helicopters, rolling down the streets of Kandahar, a city they describe as “the militants’ spiritual heartland.”
Reuters describes the show of military weapons as evidence that the Taliban is undergoing a “transformation from an insurgent force to a regular standing army.”
They have “used the large stock of weapons and equipment left behind when the former Western-backed government collapsed in August to overhaul their forces,” the outlet notes.
Reuters goes on to define the military equipment being operated by the Taliban during the parade.
They describe “dozens of U.S.-made M117 armored security vehicles,” “MI-17 helicopters patrolling overhead,” and many soldiers carrying “American made-M4 assault rifles.”
The MI-17s are a Soviet-designed Russian military helicopter.
Reports began surfacing of the Taliban getting their hands on American military equipment quickly after the United States withdrew from Afghanistan.
The overall net worth of that equipment has been disputed, as figures for funding the Afghan army included not just weapons, but the cost of training and other items.
What isn’t disputed, however, is that equipment was left behind for the Taliban to acquire.
Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby admitted the Biden administration didn’t have “any policy solutions” to recoup or destroy the weapons.
“I don’t have an exact inventory of what equipment the Afghans had at their disposal that now might be at risk,” he said.
He can start with a baseline of all the equipment that appeared in the Taliban’s military parade.
Kirby, in an interview with CNN in late August, described equipment being inspected by Taliban fighters at a hangar at the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan as having been “demilitarized” and thus “unusable.”
Parading these items through the streets is certainly no indication that the Taliban has the ability to actually fire the weapons.
However, Kirby very clearly insinuated the vehicles were inoperable.
“They can inspect all they want. They can look at them, they can walk around, but they can’t fly them. They can’t operate them,” he explained.
“We made sure to demilitarize, to make unusable, all the gear that is at the airport,” Kirby said, adding that there were only “a couple of fire trucks and some forklifts” that were operational.
The video above doesn’t show any fire trucks or forklifts.
Kirby, of course, has an out with the media, as he can simply feign ignorance and note that it is impossible to link this equipment to the airport.
Regardless, the Taliban are clearly driving US military vehicles. And they’re now, according to these reports, flying Russian helicopters. How long will American helicopters remain “unusable”?
Fox News reported in September that “most of the American and Afghan military equipment at Kabul’s airport was destroyed by U.S. forces.”
“That’s not the case for the rest of Afghanistan,” the report at that time reveals. “There are thousands of Humvees, aircraft and other critical pieces of military equipment left behind now in the hands of the Taliban.”
Reuters reports that a good portion of the weapons in the hands of the Taliban came from Washington.
“Most of the weapons and equipment the Taliban forces are now using are those supplied by Washington to the American-backed government in Kabul in a bid to construct an Afghan national force capable of fighting the Taliban,” they write.
Heckuva job, Brandon.
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