Taliban fighters are feeling angry and betrayed Wednesday after discovering that Afghan National Army helicopters abandoned at Kabul’s airport have been rendered inoperable by departing U.S. troops, according to a report.
An Al Jazeera reporter who toured a hangar on the military side of the airport said in a video that the terrorist group “expected the Americans to leave helicopters like this in one piece for their use.”
“When I said to them, ‘why do you think that the Americans would have left everything operational for you’? They said because we believe it is a national asset and we are the government now and this could have come to great use for us,” she continued.
A U.S. Department of Defense spokesperson told Fox News on Wednesday that “we disabled/demilitarized that equipment at Hamid Karzai International Airport prior to our departure.”
Meanwhile, the Taliban are hoping to get the commercial side of the airport reopened for flights in the coming days, Al Jazeera reports.
The flight carrying the last American soldier departed Afghanistan on Monday afternoon, marking an end to a nearly 20-year U.S. military presence inside the country.
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“There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure,” CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said of the closing down of evacuation operations. He acknowledged, “We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out.”
In addition to the people left behind in Kabul, McKenzie said the U.S. also left behind equipment such as the C-RAM (counter-artillery, artillery and mortar) system that was used to shoot down rockets, as well as dozens of armored Humvees and some aircraft.
The general added that the equipment had been disabled and in the end none of it was mission capable.
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Meanwhile, photos emerged Tuesday showing Taliban supporters in Afghanistan holding a mock funeral while hoisting coffins draped with flags from the U.S. and other NATO countries.
Reuters obtained some of the photos that were taken in Khost on Tuesday, less than a day after the last U.S. troop left the country after a nearly 20-year engagement.
The Reuters report said footage from the mock funeral was shared widely on social media.
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Taliban leaders took over control of the Kabul airport Tuesday and marked the departure of the last U.S. plane from the country by taking a symbolic walk across the airport’s sole runway, according to a report.
“The world should have learned its lesson and this is the enjoyable moment of victory,” Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, said in a livestream video. He spoke to reporters at the Hamid Karzai International Airport and said Americans “could not achieve their goal through military operations,” according to Al Jazeera.
The Biden administration has insisted that the U.S. is unwavering in commitments and placed much of the blame for the crisis in Afghanistan on the country’s military and the Trump administration.
“The previous administration’s agreement said that if we stuck to the May 1st deadline that they had signed on to leave by, the Taliban wouldn’t attack any American forces,” Biden said on Tuesday. “But if we stayed all bets were off. So we were left with a simple decision: Either follow through on the commitment made by the last administration and leave Afghanistan or say we weren’t leaving and commit another tens of thousands more troops going back to war. That was the choice. The real choice between leaving or escalating.”