Taliban forces held a military parade in Kabul on Sunday using American-made armored vehicles and Russian helicopters, showcasing their ongoing transformation from a rebel force to a regular standing army.
The Taliban acted as rebel fighters for two decades, but used up large stockpiles of weapons and equipment when the former Western-backed government fell in August to overhaul its forces.
Defense Ministry spokesman Inayatullah Khwarazmi said the parade was linked to the graduation of 250 newly trained soldiers.
The exercise involved dozens of US-made M117 armored protection vehicles being slowly driven up and down a major road in Kabul, accompanied by MI-17 helicopters. Many soldiers had American-made M4 assault rifles.
Most of the weapons and equipment the Taliban forces are now using have been supplied by Washington to the US-backed government in Kabul to build an Afghan national force capable of fighting the Taliban.
Those forces, except the Taliban, melted away as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan. capture of major military assets,
Taliban officials have said pilots, mechanics and other specialists from the former Afghan National Army will be integrated into a new army, which has also begun wearing traditional military uniforms in place of the traditional Afghan clothing usually worn by their fighters. Huh.
According to a report late last year by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (CIGAR), the US government transferred more than $28 billion worth of defense materials and services, including arms, ammunition, vehicles, night-vision equipment, to the Afghan government. did. aircraft, and surveillance systems, from 2002 to 2017.
Some of the planes were sent to neighboring Central Asian countries escaping from the Afghan army, but others have been inherited by the Taliban. It is not clear how many are operational.
As American troops departed, they destroyed more than 70 aircraft, dozens of armored vehicles and disabled air defenses before taking off from Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport. a chaotic evacuation operation,