As Taliban militants settled in at Kabul airport, RT’s Murad Gazdiev got an up-close tour of the mess the US left behind, and the last-ditch efforts the Americans made to disable military hardware.
The final American plane left Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Monday night, just short of the August 31 withdrawal deadline. Taliban militants immediately took control of the airport, and RT’s war correspondent Murad Gazdiev got an exclusive look inside the abandoned hangars on Wednesday.
Sabotaged Black Hawks, empty dog cages | RT’s @MuradGazdiev gives a tour of the US’ abandoned spoils in #AfghanistanFollow us on Telegram https://t.co/4xzXvnOzWvpic.twitter.com/OThwJZfcEt
US-made Black Hawk helicopters sat motionless inside, and close-up shots showed the last-minute efforts the US put in to make them inoperative. Sensors and engine components were removed, wires were cut, and racks where electronic systems once sat were stripped bare.
“The United States has said that all of the aircraft have been sabotaged. We can see certainly signs of that. Wires have been cut, there’re various eclectic blocs that are missing,” Gazdiev reported, adding that various equipment lying around the machines had apparently been smashed with a sledgehammer. Notably, the same policy of sabotage was not followed in the initial stages of the US’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Taliban fighters have made a show of joyriding over Kandahar in a captured Black Hawk helicopter.
Many of the Taliban members at the airport were also clad head-to-toe in US-made uniforms, and cradled American M4 Carbine rifles. This military clothing and weaponry was likely taken from the surrendering Afghan National Army, part of a total cache of around $85 billion worth of military equipment left behind by the US in Afghanistan.
The airport itself was left in disarray, with Gazdiev’s footage showing that even the flight info displays and vending machines had been smashed or thrown to the floor.
The Taliban’a commander of Kabul airport tells us US troops let their service dogs free as they evacuated.The dogs are being rounded up, and the Taliban plans to, in an ironic twist, put them back into service for the Islamic Emirate.(No, they weren’t sentenced to death) pic.twitter.com/0tmGqwB9lp
Throughout the airport, abandoned US clothing was heaped into piles, alongside trash, dog food, and the occasional grenade. The dog food was left behind along with a number of service dogs. Images of these animals, initially caged and then roaming around the airport, triggered online outrage earlier this week, and a number of charities claimed to be looking after them. The dogs were apparently turned loose by the departing US troops, one of the charities said earlier.
READ MORE: Service dogs LEFT FOR DEAD in Kabul by departing US troops – reports
Taliban members told Gazdiev that they have sent for dog specialists to capture the military service animals, but insisted that they would not be “sentenced to death.” Instead, they’ll be used by Taliban units, a source with the militants said.
Outside, workers pushed rolls of barbed wire off the tarmac, while the Taliban patrolled in a mix of US-made Humvees and Toyota pickup trucks.
A Qatari aircraft touched down in Kabul early on Wednesday morning, the first plane to land there since the US evacuation ended. Sources told AFP that the plane carried technical experts who would assist the Taliban with getting the airport up and running again. The future of the airport is unclear, and Qatar and Turkey are currently in discussion with the Taliban about managing the facility.
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