Video showing a U.S. UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter being test-ridden by the Taliban in an Afghanistan airport has emerged, giving deeper scars to the untimely plan to withdraw U.S. troops from the country.
The footage rolled with the Black Hawk moving around slowly in an airfield in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, and Taliban members walking about watching the short ride. There was no sign that the helicopter had lifted off the ground or was going to.
According to Reuters, the helicopter was among the $28 billion worth of weapons supplied by the United States to the Afghan military between 2002 and 2017. In addition, the outlet noted roughly 40 fixed-wing planes and choppers were captured last week.
The Afghan forces fled and left much of their weaponry behind, which the Taliban quickly appropriated.
The Drive speculated the video may be interpreted as another propaganda scheme by the militants, who had rapidly toppled the government on Aug. 14.
Last week a video had emerged of the Taliban enjoying the property left behind for them to take, including long lines of vehicles and opening crates of new firearms, communications gear, and even military drones.
At least four Black Hawk helicopters appear to be in Taliban control, according to experts and observers, including two at Kandahar airfield, the site of a key airbase that the U.S. supplied the Afghan government, the outlet reported.
The Drive also noted that satellite imagery from The War Zone seen from Planet labs showed that the total number of Black Hawk helicopters could likely be higher than reported by Reuters.
“Everything that hasn’t been destroyed is the Taliban’s now,” one U.S. official told Reuters, who wanted to keep his identity shielded.
Present and former U.S. officials were thinking of the probability that the seized weaponry would be used to murder people. In addition, it could be taken by other militant organizations such as the Islamic State to attack U.S. interests in the region, or even turned over to foes such as China and Russia.
On Aug. 25, more than two dozen Republican senators pressed for a “full account” of what was seized, and clarification of any plan to retrieve them back.
“It is unconscionable that high-tech military equipment paid for by U.S. taxpayers has fallen into the hands of the Taliban and their terrorist allies,” the Senators wrote in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
“Securing U.S. assets should have been among the top priorities for the U.S. Department of Defense prior to announcing the withdrawal from Afghanistan.”