Journalist Hollie McKay was in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif when Afghan security forces fled ahead of advancing Taliban fighters last weekend. In the aftermath, the road out of town was littered with U.S.-made armored vehicles that the had left behind.
“On that road there is a lot of equipment that has been abandoned,” McKay said by phone from neighboring Uzbekistan. “It was sort of unclear to me whether (the vehicles) were already destroyed by the soldiers, or that they were functioning and that the Taliban hadn’t quite figured out how to use them. But there was certainly a good bunch of them along that single road into Uzbekistan.”
Similar scenes have been repeated across the country: In the weeks before the Taliban seized Kabul, retreating Afghan forces ditched billions of dollars’ worth of U.S.-supplied military hardware — from assault rifles to Black Hawk helicopters.
The Taliban wasted no time in gloating over their new war booty. posted to social media show Taliban posing with captured aircraft, trucks, Humvees, artillery guns and night-vision goggles. Such equipment could be used to suppress internal dissent or fight off their rivals.