Video shows Taliban fighters entering hangar full of abandoned helicopters moments after last US flight leaves

·3-min read

Minutes after US military forces completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan, armed Taliban fighters were seen entering a hangar at the Hamid Karzai International airport in Kabul where four heavy-duty Chinook helicopters are stationed.

The video captured by LA Times journalist Nabih Bulos shows members of the Taliban donning US military gear, including ballistic vests and helmets, entering a formerly Washington-controlled hanger to examine the helicopters left behind by the US.

As the last US soldier departed on a Boeing C-17 Globemaster before dawn on Tuesday, celebratory gunfire echoed across Kabul after the Taliban took complete control of the airport. The hasty withdrawal ended 20 years of America’s war in Afghanistan.

US central command chief Kenneth McKenzie assured on Monday that Washington had demilitarised some of the military equipment in Afghanistan, which they were unable to bring back.

“The last US soldier has left Kabul airport and our country gained complete independence,” Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf was quoted as saying.

Several Afghan nationals are trying to flee their country fearing for their lives over the collapse of law and order since the Taliban takeover of capital Kabul on 15 August.

The Taliban now has access to $85 billion worth US weapons, according to Republican congressman Jim Banks, who had earlier served in Afghanistan. The fighters have access to “75,000 vehicles, over 200 airplanes and helicopters, and over 600,000 small arms and light weapons. They have more Black Hawk helicopters than 85 per cent of the countries in the world,” Mr Banks warned.

According to the latest quarterly report from the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), since 2005 the US has provided at least $18 billion to the Afghan military for “equipment and transportation.”

Since the beginning of the evacuation on 14 August, at least 123,000 people have been airlifted out of Afghanistan by the US and its allied forces. On Monday, during the last leg of evacuation, five rockets fired towards the airport were intercepted by the US missile defence. The fresh attack comes after the Isis-K, the eastern wing of terror organisation the Islamic State, on 26 August killed over 180 people, including 13 US marines, outside the Kabul airport in a suicide mission.

President Joe Biden has vowed to keep up airstrikes against the terror outfit. “We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay,” he said.

However, the US drone strike last week targeting members of Isis-K reportedly killed 10 members of a family, including six children.

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