The Taliban described themselves as “feeling angry and betrayed” after learning that the U.S. military sabotaged the helicopters that got left behind when they officially left Kabul, Afghanistan. The helicopters are reported to no longer be in working condition, many having been deliberately made inoperable just prior to the military’s departure.
A reporter from Al Jazeera spoke to Taliban combatants as they wandered for the first time into the U.S. half of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, sharing video of the frustrated Taliban who expected the U.S. military to leave the helicopters in working condition.
The reporter asked Taliban inspectors why they expected the helicopters to be left in working order. The response was that the helicopters were a gift to the Afghan government from the U.S. and now that they militarily conquered and became the ‘Afghan government’ they had entitlement to all such equipment. One Taliban member lamented that the helicopters could have been of “great use for us.”
Photos of the damaged equipment are now circulating through social media, showing helicopters with smashed windows, indicators, and control panels. The U.S. military also removed most of the guns and weapons they could from the helicopters before departing.
— Oun Abbas (@OunJaffery) August 31, 2021
On Tuesday, the Washington post noted that although it’s true that the Taliban took possession of $85 billion in abandoned military equipment, that figure represents the amount of money spent on the war since it’s start in 2001.
The $85 billion was spent on the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces over the course of the conflict, with an estimated $24 billion of that being actual equipment assets, according to the Government Accountability Office. Most of the funds were used by the Afghan national police.
It still remains unclear just how much equipment the Taliban was able to capture. The most prominent prize they have right now are several Black Hawk helicopters, including several new ones delivered to the region just last year. It’s unclear how long it will take the Taliban to competently use the helicopters, as they have no known pilots qualified to operate them and they targeted Afghan military pilots for execution early on.
As a parting gift to the Taliban, the U.S. military ‘demilitarized’ 27 Humvees, 70 MRAPs and 73 aircraft in the final moments of departure, the helicopters that so upset the Taliban being amongst that figure.
The last flight out of Kabul, Afghanistan left on Monday afternoon, and the country now has no official American military in place. This is despite promises from Democrat President Biden to maintain a military presence until all Americans had been safely evacuated. There are still several hundred Americans stranded in Afghanistan, surrounded by hostile Taliban.
Author: Harry Thacker