September 26, 2021

EXPO Magazine

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Afghanistan: Black Hawk helicopters, Humvees and Toucans, weapons fall into Taliban hands

Shows the militants from a video recently released on social media Taliban U.S. military equipment at Kandahar airport – watching how a Black Hawk helicopter flies.

A recently released video on social media shows Taliban militants flying the iconic US military equipment – a Black Hawk helicopter – at Kandahar airport. – Photo: Getty Images / via BBC

The four-blade multi-purpose plane was taxiing on the runway, but the maneuver sent a message to the world: the Taliban were no longer a group of organized soldiers handling Kalashnikov assault rifles in battered pickup trucks.

Armed militants support Afghan forces in the war against the Taliban outside the province of Herat, Afghanistan on July 10, 2021 – Photo: Jalil Ahmed / Reuters

Become. Since the capture of Kabul on the 15th, Taliban militants have been photographing a line of weapons and vehicles made in the United States.

Some of them were photographed in combat gear just like other special forces around the world. They don’t play with traditional long beards or regular clothes, and certainly don’t have rusty weapons.

Afghanistan Air Force receives A-29 Super Dugano before being defeated by the Taliban (2020 photo) -Photo: via Reuters / BBC

In several cities, weapons were defeated by Islamist militants while defeating Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDs).

Some on social media claim that the Taliban is the only militant group in the world with an air force.

How many planes does the Taliban have?

A The Afghan Air Force operated 167 aircraft, Including Attack on helicopters and planesAt the end of June, according to the report of the Special Inspector General for the Reconstruction of the US government agency Afghanistan (Cigar). The aircraft includes an A-29 Super Dugano light fighter aircraft made by Brazilian Embraer.

Photo shows Afghan troops with Humvees – vehicles now in Taliban control – Photo: via Reuters / BBC

But it is not clear how many planes the Taliban actually captured. Satellite images of the Kandahar city airport, provided by the US company Planet Labs to the BBC, show a line of Afghan military planes parked on the runway.

Picture taken six days after the city was taken over by Taliban events Five aircraft – At least Two Mi-17 helicopters, two Black Hawks (UH-60) and a third helicopter It could be UH-60, says Angat Singh, a military aviation expert at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, India.

On July 16 another satellite image taken very early was shown 16 aircraftNine Black Hawks and two Mi-17 helicopters and five standard wing aircraft. This means that some of these flights were flown out of the country or transferred to other air bases.

Even the Taliban Captured the remaining nine Afghan air bases, Including Herat, Coast, Kunduz and Mazar-i-Sharif — but satellite images of these airports are not available, so it is not clear how many planes they captured.

Taliban militants and local newspapers have published pictures of planes and drones seized at these airports.

But there is also the possibility of some planes being withdrawn from Afghanistan before they fall into rebel hands. Analysis of satellite images taken on August 16 from Thermus Airport in Uzbekistan shows two dozen helicopters, including MI-17, MI-25, Black Hawks, and several A-29 light attack and C-208 aircraft. New Delhi-based aviation expert who refused to be identified.

CSIS security advisers say the planes and helicopters may have belonged to the Afghanistan Air Force.

What other military equipment did the Taliban seize?

Although skeptical of the Taliban’s air force, experts acknowledge that they have experience handling sophisticated weapons, guns and vehicles. And there is a lot of such equipment in Afghanistan.

Between 2003 and 2016, the United States sent a large amount of military equipment to the Afghan forces that fought with it: 358,530 different brands of guns, more than 64,000 machine guns, 25,327 grenades and 22,174 Humvees, according to the U.S. government.

After NATO military forces ended their war role in 2014, the country’s security was left to the Afghan army. As the latter struggled to control the Taliban, the United States provided more military equipment and replaced old weapons.

In 2017 alone, Americans delivered about 20,000 M16 rifles. In the following years, the United States contributed at least 3,598 M4 rifles and 3,012 Humvees to the Afghan Defense Forces between 2017 and 2021.

The Afghan army had MSFV armored vehicles that were used for emergency operations. These 4×4 vehicles can be used to carry people or equipment.

What can the Taliban do with their new arsenal?

The capture of the planes may have been easy for the Taliban, but it will be difficult for them to operate and maintain, says Jonathan Schroeden, director of the CNA Advisory Council and a former adviser to US forces in Afghanistan. Parts require constant maintenance and replacement, and an Air Force depends on the team of technicians working to operate each aircraft.

Most of the planes were serviced by US private contractors before the Taliban attacked cities and provinces in August.

Jodi Vettori, a professor of global politics and security at Georgetown University and a US Air Force veteran serving in Afghanistan, admits that the Taliban had no experience operating the aircraft.

“Therefore, there is no immediate threat to the Taliban in using these aircraft,” he says, adding that the plane may have been partially wrecked before Afghan forces surrendered.

However, the Taliban will force former Afghan pilots to fly those planes, says Jason Campbell, a researcher at Rand Corporation and former Afghanistan director of the U.S. Secretary of Defense’s office.

“They’re going to threaten the pilots and their families so they can get some of these planes in the air, but their long-term prospects seem bleak.”

But the Taliban can operate Russian-made Mi-17s just as they have done in the country for decades. As for the rest of the air weapons, they can look to countries that support their maintenance and training.

Other weapons are much easier to use for rebels. Even Taliban infantrymen seem to be comfortable with the captured ground equipment.

Michael Kugleman, deputy director of the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., said the group ‘s approach to such modern weapons was a “huge failure.”

But the effects will not be limited to Afghanistan. There are fears that small arms could start appearing on the black market and trigger other uprisings around the world.

This is not an immediate risk, says Vettori, but a supply chain could appear in the coming months. Neighboring countries such as Pakistan, China and Russia have a responsibility to prevent this.

Although it is difficult to believe that they will not support ideologically similar groups around the world, Campbell says the Taliban are interested in projecting a more responsible side.

Another factor that plays a key role in how these weapons are used is the unity within the Taliban.

According to Vettori, dissident groups within the Taliban are likely to take up arms and decide to secede. It depends on how the leadership keeps the group together once the initial enthusiasm for taking control of Afghanistan is over.

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