Taliban show off spoils of war as they fly US Black Hawk helicopter over Kabul
The Taliban is parading the military equipment it has captured since taking over Afghanistan.
At least one US Helicopter has been seen in recent days over Kandahar, where the Islamist militants have been celebrating their victory.
On Wednesday, a long line of green Humvees and armoured fighting vehicles drove in single file along a highway outside the city, which is seen as the spiritual birthplace of the movement.
A helicopter flew overhead trailing the Taliban’s black and white flag, as fighters wrapped in headscarves waved beneath.
At least one Black Hawk helicopter has been seen overhead, suggesting someone from the former Afghan army was flying the craft, since the Taliban do not have many pilots.
Many had expected the Taliban’s secretive supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada to appear but only the city’s new governor addressed the crowd.
It comes as a team from Qatar landed at Kabul airport, in an effort to make the venue operational again to allow aid in from abroad.
The United Nations has warned of a looming ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ in the battered country.
But there is some hope among the international community that a working airport in Kabul could allow aid in and potentially even restore a way out for those wanting to flee the new regime.
The Qatar Airways flight, the first to land in Kabul since US soldiers withdrew on Monday, brought a team of technical experts to work on the airport.
Talks are ongoing on who will now run the airport, as the Taliban transitions from insurgent group to government.
Their arrival in Kabul topped a lightning two-week offensive across the country, 20 years after the West sent armed forces into the country in the aftermath of 9/11.
The resulting war killed tens of thousands of Afghans and 457 British service personnel.
US President Joe Biden has repeatedly backed the decision to rush American troops out, and the chaotic evacuation after the Afghan government collapsed.
Mr Biden, who has been widely criticised over the withdrawal, branded the operation an ‘extraordinary success’ after more than 122,000 people were airlifted out in just over two weeks.
But countless Afghans and a few hundred Brits were left behind.
Many are terrified of a repeat of the Taliban’s initial 1996-2001 rule, which was notorious for its treatment of women and a brutal justice system that used stoning and amputation as punishments.
The group has repeatedly promised a more tolerant brand of governance this time around.
On Wednesday, they even approved Afghanistan’s first test cricket match since their takeover, raising hopes that international matches will continue under the Islamists’ rule.
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