Taliban 'angry and disappointed' after US disabled military equipment before leaving Kabul

2 September 2021, 14:34 | Updated: 2 September 2021, 16:11

A member of the Taliban standing next to a damaged helicopter at the airport in Kabul.
A member of the Taliban standing next to a damaged helicopter at the airport in Kabul. Picture: Getty

By Sophie Barnett

Taliban fighters are said to feel "angry" and "betrayed" by the US after discovering that military equipment left behind at Kabul airport had been disabled.

The US decommissioned 27 Humvees and 73 aircraft before leaving Kabul airport on Monday, August 30, to ensure they can never be used again.

In a report by Al Jazeera, the Taliban were said to be surveying the scene of the airport at Kabul following the evacuation of the Brits and US.

They said Taliban fighters were trying to "figure out" how to use the equipment left behind by troops.

"They are disappointed, they are angry, and they say they feel betrayed because all of this equipment is broken beyond repair," said the report.

It added that the Taliban group "expected" the Americans to leave helicopters in one piece for them to use as the new government in charge of Afghanistan.

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A helicopter displaying a Taliban flag flies above Taliban supporters gathered to celebrate the US withdrawal of all its troops out of Afghanistan.
A helicopter displaying a Taliban flag flies above Taliban supporters gathered to celebrate the US withdrawal of all its troops out of Afghanistan. Picture: Getty

One of the last things US troops did before leaving was to "demilitarise" the counter rocket, artillery and mortar system, making it in operable, officials said.

Marine Gen Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, said troops did not blow up equipment in order to ensure the airport could be left workable for future flights, once those begin again.

The military did leave some equipment for the Taliban in order to run the airport, including two fire engines, some front-end loaders and aircraft staircases.

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US secretary of state Antony Blinken said America will continue to try to get Americans and Afghans out of the country, and will work with Afghanistan's neighbours to secure their departure either over land or by charter flight once the Kabul airport reopens.

Mr Blinken said the US will work with Turkey and Qatar to help them get the Kabul airport up and running again.

"This would enable a small number of daily charter flights, which is a key for anyone who wants to depart from Afghanistan moving forward," he said.

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The evacuation of Afghanistan by British and US troops has been criticised by many, after thousands of people were left behind in Kabul.

Labour branded the events in central Asia as the "the biggest foreign policy failures in a generation."

On Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he was "not confident" about the number of people eligible to resettle in the UK who were left behind in Afghanistan.

When quizzed by MPs Foreign Affairs Select Committee he said he "couldn't give a definitive answer".

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Asked to confirm the Prime Minister's assertion that the "overwhelming majority of people who worked for us are out", he said: "I'm not confident with precision to be able to give you a set number, but I am confident that the Prime Minister is right, that we've got the overwhelming number out."

Earlier this week, Mr Raab told LBC the number of people left behind was in the "low hundreds" and pledged that the UK "will live up to all the commitments we've made".

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