The Taliban is holding a military parade with US-made weapons in Kabul as a demonstration of strength

KABUL, November 14 (Reuters) – Taliban forces held a military parade in Kabul on Sunday using captured US-made armored vehicles and Russian helicopters in a display showing 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 large stockpile of weapons and equipment left behind when the former Western-backed government collapsed in August to revise their forces.

The parade was associated with the graduation of 250 newly trained soldiers, Defense Ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi said.

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to reuters.com

The exercise involved dozens of U.S.-made M117 armored security vehicles driving slowly up and down a major Kabul road with MI-17 helicopters patrolling above. Many soldiers carried American M4 assault 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. .

A military helicopter is pictured during the Taliban’s military parade in Kabul, Afghanistan on November 14, 2021. REUTERS / Ali Khara

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, which has also begun to wear conventional military uniforms instead of the traditional Afghan clothing normally worn by their fighters.

According to a report late last year by the Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction (Cigar), the U.S. government transferred to the Afghan government more than $ 28 billion in defense supplies and services, including weapons, ammunition, vehicles, night-vision devices, aircraft, and surveillance systems from 2002 to 2017.

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. Read more

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to reuters.com

Additional Reporting from Kabul Bureau Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

.

Leave a Comment