Taliban forces have held a military parade in Kabul using captured US-made armored vehicles and Russian helicopters.
- The Taliban use weapons and equipment left behind after the Afghan government collapsed
- They say pilots and mechanics from the country’s former army will be integrated into the new force
- Traditional Afghan clothing is being replaced by conventional military uniforms for Taliban fighters
The exhibition demonstrated their ongoing transformation from a rebel force to a regular standing army.
The Taliban operated as rebel fighters for two decades, but have used the vast stockpile of weapons and equipment left behind when the former Western-backed government collapsed in August to overtake their forces.
The parade was associated with the graduation of 250 newly trained soldiers, Defense Ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi said.
The exercise involved dozens of M117 armored security vehicles – manufactured in the United States – driving slowly along a major Kabul road with MI-17 helicopters patrolling overhead.
Many soldiers carried American-made M4 rifles.
Most of the weapons and equipment that the Taliban forces now use are those that Washington has provided to the US-backed government in Kabul in an attempt to construct an Afghan national force capable of fighting the Taliban. .
These forces melted away with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s flight from Afghanistan – leaving the Taliban to take over major military assets.
Taliban officials have said pilots, mechanics and other specialists from the former Afghan national army would be integrated into a new force.
It has also begun to wear conventional military uniforms instead of the traditional Afghan clothing usually worn by its warriors.
According to a report last year by the Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction, the U.S. government transferred more than $ 28 billion ($ 38 billion) in defense supplies and services to the Afghan government from 2002 to 2017.
It included weapons, ammunition, vehicles, night-vision devices, aircraft and surveillance systems.
Some of the planes were flown into neighboring Central Asian countries by fleeing Afghan forces, but the Taliban have inherited other planes.
It is still unclear how many are in operation.
As US troops departed, they destroyed more than 70 planes, dozens of armored vehicles and deactivated the air force before flying out of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport following a chaotic evacuation operation.
Reuters / ABC