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Taliban Hold Parade With US-Made Weapons In Show Of Strength

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Taliban forces staged a military parade in Kabul on Sunday.

Taliban forces staged a military parade in Kabul on Sunday using captured US-made armored vehicles and Russian helicopters in a demonstration that showed their ongoing transformation from an insurgent force to a standing regular army.

The Taliban operated as insurgent fighters for two decades, but used the large stockpile of weapons and equipment left behind when the former West-backed government collapsed in August to reshuffle their forces .

The parade was linked to the graduation of 250 freshly trained soldiers, Defense Ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi said.

The exercise involved dozens of US-made M117 armored security vehicles slowly ascending and descending a major road in Kabul with MI-17 helicopters patrolling above. Many soldiers carried American-made M4 assault rifles.

Most of the weapons and equipment that the Taliban forces now use are those provided by Washington to the US-backed government in Kabul for the purpose of building an Afghan national force capable of fighting the Taliban.

These forces dissolved with the flight of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani from Afghanistan – leaving the Taliban to take control of important military assets.

Taliban officials said pilots, mechanics and other specialists from the former Afghan National Army would be integrated into a new force, which also began wearing conventional military uniforms in place of traditional Afghan clothing normally worn by their fighters.

According to a report released late last year by the Special Inspector General for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan (Sigar), the US government has transferred to the Afghan government more than $ 28 billion in items and services from defense, including weapons, ammunition, vehicles, night vision devices, aircraft and surveillance systems, from 2002 to 2017.

Some of the planes were flown to neighboring Central Asian countries fleeing Afghan forces, but the Taliban inherited other planes. We do not yet know how many are operational.

As US troops left, they destroyed more than 70 planes, dozens of armored vehicles and deactivated air defenses before taking off from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul following a chaotic evacuation operation .

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by DAILYNEWSCATCH staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)

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