Taliban soldiers drove U.S. vehicles through Kandahar City on Wednesday in a victorious display of their takeover of Afghanistan after U.S. forces completed their withdrawal.
The Taliban troops were seen aboard several pickup trucks and Humvees which appeared to still be in good condition on September 1.
The celebratory showcase came a day after Taliban fighters took full control of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, where they inspected military hardware left behind by U.S. forces. Footage filmed by Taliban soldiers at the airport showed burnt firearms and a helicopter with destroyed avionics.
Marine General Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, previously said dozens of military equipment, vehicles, and aircraft have been ‘demilitarized’ prior to U.S. withdrawal, rendering them useless to Taliban soldiers.
He said: ‘It’s a complex procedure, complex and time-intensive procedure to break down those systems so we de-militarized those systems so that they’ll never be used again, and we just felt it more important to protect our forces than to bring those systems back.’
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the U.S. was ‘not overly concerned’ about the Taliban’s seizure of American weaponry.
He said: ‘They can inspect all they want, they can look at them, they can walk around, but they can’t fly them.’
‘The only thing that we left operable are a couple of fire trucks and some forklifts so that the airport itself can remain more operational going forward.’