Taliban Holds Parade for ‘Islamic Emirate Army’ with Captured American Gear

People watch a Taliban military parade of the Al-Badr unit in Kandahar on November 8, 2021
JAVED TANVEER/AFP via Getty Images

The Taliban held a military parade for its “Islamic Emirate Army” in the city of Kandahar on Monday, featuring U.S.-made weapons, armored fighting vehicles, and helicopters seized after President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The parade route followed the main road in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city. Taliban fighters posed with their captured gear while religious music played from loudspeakers.

The Kandahar parade was the public debut of the rebranded Taliban military. All eight of Afghanistan’s military corps were renamed by the decree of Taliban Defense Minister Yaqoob Mujahid on Sunday, giving them names more agreeable to the extremist group’s history and ideology.

The 205th Atal Corps stationed in Kandahar was renamed “Al Badr” by Yaqoob’s order, a name often used by Muslim militant groups that refers to an important battle detailed in the Quran.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Wednesday urged Afghan military pilots who fled during the Taliban takeover to return and put their skills at the service of the new regime.

“My message is, there is no security problem for them in Afghanistan, there is no plan of arresting them, national amnesty is announced,” Mujahid said.

“It is regrettable that a number of pilots have gone, or they are going,” he added.

Mujahid was responding to a report on Tuesday that a large group of Afghan pilots who fled to Tajikistan during the Taliban advance were evacuated to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with belated American assistance. The pilots have been under detention in Tajikistan for the past three months.

Earlier reports said that about 150 Afghan pilots and their dependents took refuge in Tajikistan, but the Pentagon estimated there were 191 passengers aboard the flight to the UAE. The discrepancy was not explained.


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