skip to main content

Taliban inaugurates new army with display of US equipment

The Islamic Emirate Army (IEA) – the new Afghan military under the Taliban government – has marked its inauguration by displaying a large number of mostly US-made assets that were seized during the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan in August.

During the event, which was held in Kandahar on 8 November, the IEA showcased helicopters, including several Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and Russian-made Mi-17 transport platforms, as well as dozens of US-made military vehicles.

The latter included platforms such as High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicles, and MaxxPro mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles. Footage of the parade also showed dozens of soldiers carrying US M4 carbines.

Most of these assets had been operated by the US-backed Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) prior to their collapse three months ago.

This was not the first time the Taliban had displayed captured military equipment. However, the event marked the formal inauguration of the IEA. One day earlier, Yaqoob Mujahid, acting defence minister, issued a decree renaming Afghan military corps as part of a revamp of the country's armed forces.

Pentagon Press Secretary John F Kirby confirmed to reporters on 15 November that the paraded equipment had previously been operated by the ANDSF but noted that the assets were “largely low-tech, vehicular kinds of equipment … that aren't going to pose a threat to US national security interests”.

A Pentagon spokesperson told Janes that since 2005 the US military had provided the ANDSF with “many thousands of small arms, ranging from pistols to medium machine guns”. The spokesperson added that following the collapse of the ANDSF “it is likely that large numbers of these weapons are now in the Taliban's hands”.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...