After nearly 20 years of fighting the United States in Afghanistan, the victorious Taliban posed with captured American equipment at Kabul airport, staged a mock NATO funeral in Khost, and flew over Kandahar with a Black Hawk helicopter.
The last US troops left Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday, just before the clock struck midnight local time. On Tuesday morning, Taliban fighters strolled through the debris-littered airport they now controlled, posing for photos with captured vehicles, planes and equipment.
Taliban leaders have considered a “special forces” unit, equipped with weapons and equipment captured from the US-trained Afghan army, on the trail to Kabul.
“It is a historic day and a historic moment … we have liberated our country from a great power”, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, adding that the past two decades should serve as a “a great lesson for the other invaders, a lesson for the world.”
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Pentagon spokesman John Kirby admitted on Tuesday that many American equipment with “A component of lethality to her” fell into the hands of the Taliban, but said it did not pose a threat to the United States or neighboring countries.
“These are not the kinds of things the Taliban can make great strategic use of,” Kirby told reporters.
The Taliban thought otherwise, however, showing at least one newly acquired Black Hawk helicopter in the skies over Kandahar in a few videos. The second clip caused confusion on social media, as several US commentators claimed the figure hanging from the helicopter was of a running person.
The “Time for the talibés” However, the account that posted the video said no such thing. On closer inspection, the man appeared to be a Taliban fighter riding a rescue harness.
Meanwhile, in the southeastern town of Khost, a crowd of Taliban supporters staged a sim “funeral” for the fallen occupants, carrying coffins draped in American, NATO, British and French flags, as well as banners of the defeated Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – now replaced by the white flag of the Islamic Emirate of the Taliban.
The people of Kabul in large numbers attended the symbolic US and NATO funerals … it is interesting to note that the flags of the Taliban and the former government were present during the procession … pic.twitter.com/Q8Jkv1EZjH
– Mike Mihajlovic (@MihajlovicMike) August 31, 2021
The Taliban hold a mock funeral for British, US and NATO forces as thousands take to the streets to celebrate “victory” over the west after the last US flight took off. pic.twitter.com/oT1nqBro3u
– MassiVeMaC (@SchengenStory) August 31, 2021
The US withdrawal turned into a mad race to evacuate just over 6,000 US citizens – along with tens of thousands of Afghan civilians – on August 14, when the Taliban took control of Kabul without a fight and the Washington-backed government collapsed. It also became tragic last week, when up to 200 Afghans and 13 American soldiers died at the entrance to the airport, in a suicide bombing claimed by the terrorist group ISIS-K.
Interesting now … the flag pole that held and represented all NATO nations on the military side of Kabul airport. A symbol of total failure! pic.twitter.com/hEyUXHgHJR
– Brit & Co’wealth Military 🇬🇧 🇲🇾 🇳🇿🇨🇦🇦🇺 (@BritComMil) August 30, 2021
The Pentagon has acknowledged that some US citizens were unable to reach the airport and were left behind. The State Department was tasked with negotiating their safe passage out of Afghanistan.
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