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US ‘demilitarized’ over 150 aircrafts, vehicles before departing Kabul: Military

Published: Updated:

The US military disabled more than 150 manned aircrafts and vehicles when they left Afghanistan, online news media Insider reported on Tuesday.

The last manned aircraft left Kabul on Tuesday, signifying the end of an almost two-decade war in Afghanistan, according to US military general and head of US Central Command, Kenneth F. McKenzie.

The US military equipment that was left behind at the airport was brought out and other systems were purposely “demilitarized,” meaning that they were broken on purpose to ensure that they can never be used again, McKenzie told the Insider.

In this file photo taken on April 04, 2021 Afghan security forces stand on Humvee vehicles during a military operation in Arghandab district of Kandahar province. (AFP)
In this file photo taken on April 04, 2021 Afghan security forces stand on Humvee vehicles during a military operation in Arghandab district of Kandahar province. (AFP)

“We felt it more important to protect our forces than to bring those systems back,” he said, in reference to the demilitarization of equipment.

However, some equipment such as front-end loaders and fire trucks remained operational so that the airport could restart operations quickly.

The Taliban, which rapidly gained control throughout the country in a sweeping offensive last month, have already gotten their hands on some working systems, according to the Insider.

The extremist group managed to take a variety of US-made equipment and weapons, be it from military vehicles to rifles, when it took over the country and defeated the Afghan army, a force that the US government spent billions of dollars on.

Afghan security forces stand near an armoured vehicle during ongoing fighting between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters in the Busharan area on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, the capital city of Helmand province May 5, 2021. (File photo: AFP)
Afghan security forces stand near an armoured vehicle during ongoing fighting between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters in the Busharan area on the outskirts of Lashkar Gah, the capital city of Helmand province May 5, 2021. (File photo: AFP)

The Biden administration, which has come under immense criticism for its handling of their military’s Afghanistan withdrawal, has acknowledged that some US-funded combat equipment fell into the hands of the Taliban.

“We don’t have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone, but certainly a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban,” said White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan after a few days of the fall of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul.

Republican congressman Jim Banks said last week that the Taliban had access to over $85 billion worth of military equipment and blamed it on the Biden administration’s “negligence.”

“We now know that due to the negligence of [President Joe Biden’s] administration, the Taliban now [have] access to over $85 billion worth of American military equipment,” said Banks, also a veteran who served in Afghanistan during the 20-year war.

Despite about $89 billion budgeted by the US for training the Afghan army, it took the Taliban little more than a month to brush it aside, according to online news media the New York Times.

The disintegration of the Afghan military became apparent months ago when starving and ammunition-depleted forces were surrounded by Taliban fighters who promised them safe passage if they surrendered, leaving their equipment behind.

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