The US military disabled a series of aircraft and armored vehicles as well as a high-tech missile defense system at Kabul airport before leaving on August 30, a US general said.
The head of Central Command, General Kenneth McKenzie, said that 73 aircraft at Hamid Karzai International Airport were “demilitarized” by US troops before they concluded a two-week evacuation from Afghanistan after when the Taliban took control.
The US military is certain that the weapons left behind will not fall into the hands of the Taliban after the complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, General Frank McKenzie said.
“Those planes will never be able to take off again… Anyone can’t operate them,” he said.
With the US now completing a historic airlift in early August, many officials in the administration of President Joe Biden expect Afghan forces to be able to hold back the Taliban after years of training, at least for the time being. until the American troops left. However, things did not go as planned when most of the equipment that the US provided to the Afghan forces fell into the hands of the Taliban.
According to the Inspector General’s recent report on the reconstruction of Afghanistan, the US-backed Afghan military possessed more than 150 aircraft before the Taliban took over. The US has also provided them with 600,000 infantry weapons, 162,000 communications equipment and 16,000 night vision goggles since 2003, according to Reuters.
In addition, the US troops left behind 70 MRAP mine-resistant armored vehicles, each worth $1 million, and Humvees and 73 aircraft. All of the above vehicles were disabled before the US troops left the Kabul airport.
The US also left behind two C-RAM systems – counter-missiles, artillery and mortars, which were used to protect Kabul airport from missile raids. This complex helped the US military successfully shoot down five missiles from the Islamic State on August 30.
“We decided to keep C-RAM running until the last minute. Destroying these systems is a complicated and time-consuming procedure, so we disabled them so that no one can use them anymore. We feel it’s more important to preserve our forces than bring those systems back with us,” McKenzie said.