The Taliban is reportedly “angry” and feels “betrayed” after it discovered that Afghan national army helicopters left behind in Kabul had been disabled by the US military, but other reports say the Taliban seized at least 48 aircraft.
Apparently, if reports are true, the Taliban expected to inherit an Air Force for their cooperation with US forces. However, there appear to be conflicting stories coming out of Afghanistan regarding how many operable aircraft the Taliban was able to seize in the wake of departing the US military leaving equipment behind.
According to an Al Jazeera reporter who spoke on video while touring a hanger at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul following the withdrawal of the United States military, the Taliban “expected the Americans to leave helicopters like this one in one piece for their use.”
“When I said to them, ‘why do you think that the Americans would have left everything operational for you’? They said because we believe it is a national asset and we are the government now and this could have come to great use for us,” the reporter continued.
“They are disappointed, they are angry, they feel betrayed because all of this equipment is broken beyond repair,” the reporter added.
“There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure,” CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, USMC, said, according to Fox. “We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out.”
McKenzie stated that troops demilitarized 73 aircraft before departing this week, the Daily Mail reported.
Before the fall of Kabul, Uzbekistan had confirmed at least 46 Afghan aircraft arrived in the country to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Taliban.
An official US government inspection on June 30, reported that the Afghan Air Force was operating 167 aircraft, including 59 planes and 108 helicopters.
While General McKenzie specified the number of aircraft his troops disabled and other reports say that aircraft left at the airport in Kabul were inoperable, there was no specific report as yet on how many operable aircraft may have fallen into the hands of the Taliban by US officials.
Other reports made a day earlier say the Taliban has at least 48 operable aircraft that they may have seized from other airports and military bases, according to the Daily Mail.
If the Taliban do have 48 operable attack aircraft, it would give them an Air Force larger than at least 10 NATO member countries including Slovenia (37), North Macedonia (20), Albania (19), Bosnia (19), Lithuania (10), Montenegro (10), Estonia (6), Latvia (4), Iceland (0) and Luxembourg (0).
Hungry (53) and Slovakia (50) both have barely a few more aircraft than the Taliban.