Choppers, rifles, humvees: What Taliban captured during Afghanistan blitzkrieg

Published on Aug 18, 2021 10:27 AM IST

As last week dawned, many clung to hope that the Taliban could be held back, though key trade routes had been seized and border crossings overtaken. But then, in just a week, militants won city after city, toppled the government and captured Kabul.

A Taliban fighter holds a rocket propelled grenade as he stands guard at an entrance gate outside the interior ministry in Kabul on Tuesday. (AFP Photo)
A Taliban fighter holds a rocket propelled grenade as he stands guard at an entrance gate outside the interior ministry in Kabul on Tuesday. (AFP Photo)
By | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

In just a week, the Taliban, the new rulers of Afghanistan, captured city after city and finally took Kabul under control, thereby completing their victory. The stunning pace at which the insurgent force seized trade routes and overtook border crossings and sent shockwaves across the globe.

This win came just weeks before the complete withdrawal of US and Nato soldiers. And it was made possible by the US-made weapons, which were seized by the Taliban fighters as they overran the country.

The captured equipment include rifles and body armour suits, and some expensive weapons system. Here's the list:

  • The Taliban fighters are seen roaming around with firearms and vehicles that US troops used or provided to the Afghan national security forces. Some videos have emerged which show them using advanced UH-60 Black Hawk attack helicopters.
  • The insurgents also captured the palatial residence of Afghan warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum, who has been fighting the Sunni Pashtun group for decades. The residence was captured during the Taliban offensive in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif.
  • Some Taliban fighters were also seen trading their Russian-made AK-47 rifles for US guns. They were seen carrying M4 carbines and M16 rifles discarded by Afghan army units.
  • Footage of Afghan soldiers surrendering in the northern city of Kunduz showed army vehicles loaded with heavy weapons and mounted with artillery guns in the hands of the insurgent rank and file.
  • In the western city of Farah, fighters patrolled in a car marked with an eagle swooping on a snake - the official insignia of the country's intelligence service.
  • Among other equipment, the Taliban fighters got their hands on humvees, small arms and light weapons, as well as shoulder-mounted drones grenade launchers.
  • The Taliban also gained control of Mi-24 helicopters gifted by India to Afghanistan. Some fighters clicked photographs standing right next to the chopper when the city of Kunduz fell. The rotor blades of the attack helicopter were missing in the photo, indicating that the Afghan forces removed them to prevent the Taliban from using them.
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