Taliban parade in Kandahar and Kabul after US withdrawal

(Kabul) Horn concert in Kandahar, parades of their special forces at Kabul airport, omnipresent flags of the movement: The Taliban, new masters of Afghanistan, give up on Tuesday after the withdrawal of the last American soldiers from the country.

Posted on Aug 31, 2021 at 6:33 am Updated at 8:21 am

David FOX Agence France-Presse

In the capital, the main Islamist spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, led a group of officials to the edge of the airfield, this time replacing his generally indifferent expression with a big smile.

Taliban special forces known as “Badri 313” pose for photos in immaculate beige shoes and vests over their camouflage uniforms, raise American rifles and wave the white flag of their movement.

Kabul’s civil airport, long considered to be one of the safest places in the country, has been ransacked. Empty cartridges scatter the ground near all entrances.

In the two weeks after the Taliban captured the capital on August 15, the immediate vicinity of the airport was occupied by a large crowd trying to hopelessly board the international community’s evacuation flights organized by the United States.

But many more Afghans remained stranded at a number of Taliban checkpoints outside of this area. On Tuesday, all but one of these checkpoints on the road to the airport were dismantled.

The mood of the new masters of Afghanistan has also changed. Taliban fighters show their joy by shaking hands with motorists and their passengers.

“Cemetery of the superpowers”

In Kandahar (south), the cradle of the movement, thousands of supporters demonstrate happily on the streets at a concert of horns and “Allah Akbar” (God is the greatest). Many of them wave the Islamist flag.

“Today is the independence day of the Islamic emirate. We congratulate all Muslim brothers and the Afghan nation, ”said Abdullah happily in a video that was published on social networks. “We are waving the banner of the Prophet Mohammed and we will be waving it all over the world,” he continues.

The Taliban left Kandahar in 1996 before quickly capturing the rest of the country they held until 2001 when they were ousted from power by an international coalition led by the United States.

25 years later, crowds from surrounding villages invaded the provincial capital on Monday night as soon as the American withdrawal was announced, noted an AFP journalist. “We have defeated the superpower. Afghanistan is the cemetery of the superpowers, ”sang these armed men in traditional dress.

A dozen men and children were gathered in the back of a van belonging to the former Afghan police that was defeated by the Taliban. Groups of men have appeared on social networks dancing to music and applauding when it was banned by the Islamists during their first term in office.

However, the country’s new masters will not be able to rely on the former Afghan regime’s military aviation to defend themselves, for example, against possible attacks by the Islamic State group, which targeted the airport with almost 100 words last Thursday, including 13 American ones Soldiers.

Dozens of airplanes and helicopters donated by Washington to the Afghan regular army lie empty on the premises after being destroyed by American troops prior to departure.

Plane destroyed

73 aircraft have been “demilitarized”, that is, taken out of service, according to the head of the Central Command of the American Army, General Kenneth McKenzie. “These devices will never fly again,” he said. “They cannot be used by anyone. ”

The windows of their cockpits were clearly broken and their tires were flat.

About 70 mine-resistant MRAP armored vehicles – priced at $ 1 million each – and 27 light Humvee vehicles were decommissioned by the U.S. military after the two-week airlift was completed, and around 123,000 people evacuated from the country. the vast majority of them are Afghans.

The US also destroyed its C-RAM missile defense system, which stopped IS rocket bombardment at the airport on Monday.

“It is a complex and time-consuming process to take these systems apart,” said General McKenzie. “So we’re demilitarizing them so they’re never used again. ”

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