Members of the extremist Taliban group displayed heavy weaponry at a military parade on Wednesday to commemorate the end of the 20-year US occupation of Afghanistan.
Images posted on social networks show hundreds of militants on the streets of Kandahar, the country’s second largest city, with equipment used by the Afghan army.
Many of the armored vehicles and automatic weapons were produced by the United States in recent decades. The equipment was captured by the Taliban after the retaking of the capital Kabul.
Taliban military parade after end of US occupation of Afghanistan in photo of September 1, 2021 — Photo: Reproduction/Reuters
Mavlave Abdul Ghafor, Taliban governor of Kandahar, said the parade was prepared for Independence Day, as the group has called the departure of troops.
“Today you will see the parade of different military units,” Abdul said in a statement. “We congratulate all Afghans on this great victory and success.”
On Tuesday, the Taliban fired commemorative shots in Kabul and displayed coffins draped with US, NATO and allied flags in a symbolic “burial” of world powers.
Taliban militants ‘burial’ flags after troops leave Afghanistan
On Monday (30), the US ended the two decades of military occupation in Afghan territory and announced the departure of its last soldier, marking the end of the longest American war.
According to the Pentagon, more than 120,000 Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan in the past two weeks. About 500 citizens would have chosen to remain in the country.
Image shows last US military to board final flight from Kabul airport
America’s longest war claimed the lives of nearly 2,500 soldiers and nearly 240,000 Afghans and cost nearly $2 trillion.
After the Americans left, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that Afghanistan wants to maintain good relations with the Americans and the rest of the world.
The end of the American occupation came nearly 20 years after the invasion of Afghanistan, which was carried out months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The Taliban ruled the country since 1996 and was accused by the Americans of hiding and financing members of al-Qaeda, a terrorist group led by Osama bin Laden and responsible for the attack.
The extremist group was driven from power with the US invasion in 2001, and returned to command the country on August 15, 2021, after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and the group took over the capital Kabul.