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Taliban flaunts newly seized US military hardware in victory parade

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JAVED TANVEER/AFP via Getty Images

The Taliban did a victory lap this week after U.S. military forces were officially withdrawn from Afghanistan. In the days following the U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan, the Taliban held parades with American military hardware to celebrate the United States withdrawal after nearly 20 years of military engagement.

On Monday, the last American military plane departed Afghanistan, marking the formal ending of the Afghanistan War, which was the longest war in U.S. history. The Taliban held parades highlighting newly seized U.S. military equipment, including Black Hawk helicopters, armored tactical vehicles, and firearms.

There was a cavalcade of captured Humvees driving in a procession outside Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city. There was also a U.S. Black Hawk helicopter flying overhead with the Taliban flag.

According to Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction quarterly reports, the United States sent 1,178 Humvees to the former Afghan government between April 2020 and July 2021, which have a total cost of more than $278 million, Barron's reported.

According to CBS News, the price tag for a UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter is $5.9 million.

One video shows Taliban militants holding U.S. firearms investigating a hangar at the Hamid Karzai International Airport, which had four CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, according to New York Times reporter Christiaan Triebert.

It is not immediately known the exact amount of viable weapons that the U.S. left behind in Afghanistan because of President Joe Biden's chaotic evacuation, but one U.S. intelligence official told Reuters that the Taliban likely controls "more than 2,000 armored vehicles, including U.S. Humvees, and up to 40 aircraft potentially including UH-60 Black Hawks, scout attack helicopters, and ScanEagle military drones."

The BBC reported that the Afghan Air Force was operating 167 aircraft, including attack helicopters and planes, at the end of June, according to a report by the U.S.-based Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Before the Taliban was able to capture the capital of Kabul, Afghan soldiers fled to neighboring Uzbekistan with 22 military planes and 24 helicopters, the New York Post reported.

"The kinds of equipment we're talking about, while certainly there's a lethality component to it, it doesn't pose a threat to the United States, it doesn't pose a threat to neighboring nations," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said. "These are not the kinds of things that the Taliban can make great strategic use out of."

Last week, former President Donald Trump blasted the Biden administration for leaving so much U.S. military equipment for the Taliban.

"And not, nobody can even comprehend that much equipment. Thousands of vehicles," Trump said. "It should be bombed. We cannot let them have that equipment."

"I want every single nail, screw, and bolt," he said of U.S. equipment in Afghanistan. "I then would have, with the exception of Bagram, which I would have kept, I would have bombed all of the bases, because I don't want to give those bases to Russia, China, or even the Taliban. I would have bombed every base."

In the city of Khost on Tuesday, Taliban supporters held mock funerals with coffins draped with the flags of the United States, NATO, and European nations, according to Reuters.

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