Taliban hails ‘our Air Force’; More Black Hawks than most nations; Trump demands return of all military equipment

by WorldTribune Staff, August 31, 2021

The Taliban announced they are now flying American Black Hawk helicopters that were left behind by the Biden administration.

The Talib Times — which claims to be the English-language official account of the Taliban-run Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan — tweeted video on Monday of what it described as “Our Air Force At this time, the Islamic Emirate’s air force helicopters are flying over Kandahar city and patrolling the city.”

The Talib Times shared footage showing what it said was the ‘first flight of Black Hawk.’ / Twitter

The Taliban, by some estimates, has more Black Hawk helicopters than 85 percent of the world after Team Biden abandoned $85 billion worth of military equipment.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitted that Team Biden doesn’t have a “clear picture” of just how much missing military inventory could now be in the hands of the Taliban.

Multiple outlets have estimated the figure includes 22,000 Humvees given to Afghan forces between 2003 and 2016. Taliban fighters have since been pictured riding atop the vehicles in Kabul.

Equipment given by the U.S. to the Afghan Army, now likely to be in hands of the Taliban, also includes 50,000 tactical vehicles, 1,000 mine resistant vehicles and 150 armored personnel carriers.

Aircraft likely left for the Taliban to use includes four C-130 transport aircraft, 23 A-29 Super Tucano turboprop attack aircraft, and 50 MD530 choppers.

The U.S. also donated at least 200,000 firearms to the Afghan army, including M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, mortars and rocket propelled grenades.

The Talib Times also shared footage of other military items the Taliban claims to have seized at Kabul airport.

“Taliban have seized more Planes, Helicopters, Weapons and American equipment in Kabul Airport,” the Twitter page said alongside the images.

Former President Trump on Monday said the U.S. should respond with “unequivocal military force” if the Taliban refuse to return the billions of dollars worth of military equipment that was left behind in Afghanistan or “at least bomb the hell out of” the hardware.

“Never in history has a withdrawal from war been handled so badly or incompetently as the Biden Administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. In addition to the obvious, ALL EQUIPMENT should be demanded to be immediately returned to the United States, and that includes every penny of the $85 billion dollars in cost,” Trump said in a statement.

“If it is not handed back, we should either go in with unequivocal Military force and get it, or at least bomb the hell out of it. Nobody ever thought such stupidity, as this feeble-brained withdrawal, was possible!” he added.

Some reports noted that it appeared a person was hanging from one of the airborne Black Hawks.

“Another landmark picture taking the world in a new era of terror,” tweeted Indian TV host Sudhir Chaudhary, the editor-in-chief of Zee News and WION. “Taliban hang a person, presumed to be an American interpreter, from a U.S. Black Hawk helicopter. The leftover U.S. helicopters will now be used in #Afganistan like this.”

Meanwhile, if leaving billions in military hardware and pallets of U.S. cash for the Taliban wasn’t enough, Team Biden has actually said it has not ruled out giving direct aid to the terrorist organization.

“When it comes to our economic and development assistance relationship with the Taliban, that will be about the Taliban’s actions,” Sullivan said. “It will be about whether they follow through on their commitments, their commitments to safe passage for Americans and Afghan allies, their commitment to not allow Afghanistan to be a base from which terrorists can attack the United States or any other country, their commitments with respect to upholding international obligations. It’s going to be up to them, and we will wait and see by their actions how we end up responding in terms of the economic and developmental assistance relationship.”

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