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Taliban Fighters Parade Kabul Airport, Inspect 'Disabled' US Choppers

Only one checkpoint on the road leading to the airport remained in place on Tuesday.

Published
World
2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Taliban fighters pose for a photograph in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 19 August. Image used for representational purposes.</p></div>
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Hours after the last of United States troops withdrew from Afghan territory, Taliban leaders marched through Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport, strengthened by fighters in special forces combat kit, inspecting US helicopters, AFP reported.

Taliban's special forces unit "Badri 313" posed for photographs flaunting US weapons and waving Taliban's white flag, as empty bullet casings were strewn across the floor near airport entrances.

While a group of officials from the militant organisation, led by Taliban's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid promenaded on the runway.

As per the AFP report, only one checkpoint on the road to the airport remained in place on Tuesday, 31 August.

These scenes came in the background of the United States' announcement of the completion of its withdrawal from the Afghanistan, twenty years after its invasion of the war-torn country.

In a video that emerged online on Tuesday, several Taliban fighters were seen entering a hangar in Kabul's airpot and inspecting the Chinook helicopters.

Journalist Nabih Bulos captured the 28-second video and was recorded saying, "Now, they (Taliban) are taking over."

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Aircrafts, Rocket Defence System Disabled: US General

Meanwhile, a US general stated on Tuesday, that the military had disabled many of its aircrafts and armoured vehicles, and rendered a high-tech rocket defense system useless before their exit, AFP reported.

Kenneth McKenzie, the Central Command head said that 73 aircrafts stationed at the Kabul airport were "demilitarised".

"Those aircraft will never fly again... They'll never be able to be operated by anyone," he stated, adding, "Most of them are non-mission capable to begin with," AFP quoted.

In an official statement earlier in the day, he had said,

"Tonight’s withdrawal signifies both the end of the military component of the evacuation but also the end of the nearly 20 year mission that began in Afghanistan shortly after 11 September 2001."

Pentagon had assembled a force of around 6,000 troops to occupy and operate Kabul's airport when the airlift commenced on 14 August. Further, it had left around 70 MRAP defence vehicles, McKenzie informed, which were now useless.

"We elected to keep those systems in operation up until the very last minute," McKenzie added, AFP quoted.

Background

The Taliban's forceful takeover of Afghanistan on 15 August has jolted the country into a humanitarian crisis, with many citizens desperately queuing at the Kabul airport to flee the hardline Islamist rule.

As it took the reigns of the nation, the militant organisation, in an attempt to dispel the fears of a rule of terror and orthodoxy, had promised security for all.

However, a leaked UN document had subsequently indicated that the Taliban had been conducting "targeted door-to-door visits" to their opponents – persons who worked with the US and NATO forces alongside the Afghanistan government, AFP had reported on 20 August.

As chaos ensued in Afghanistan, countries have been scrambling to evacuate their citizens from the crisis-ridden nation.

(With inputs from NDTV and AFP)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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