Taliban Commandeers Black Hawk Helicopters

In Afghanistan, a viral video on social media appears to portray an American-made UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter taxiing down the runway at the Kandahar Airport.

According to Joseph Dempsey, who works as an associated for defense and military analysis at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Taliban “reportedly” captured a UH-60 Black Hawk at Kandahar, though it is “important to note it is only shown taxiing not flying.” Dempsey included a video with his post.

At this moment in time, it is not clear who was operating the helicopter in the video, and the approximately one-minute did not illustrate the helicopter departing from the ground.

The video surfaces after Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor for the Biden administration, admitted that the Taliban had taken a “fair amount” of American weaponry after talking control of Afghanistan earlier in the month.

“We don’t have a complete picture, obviously,” Sullivan remarked, “of where every article of defense materials has gone.” However, Sullivan admitted that “a fair amount of it” fell straight into the hands of the Taliban.

“We don’t have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport,” Sullivan continued.

Since 2001, the United States has spent roughly $83B on training and equipping Afghani forces, which included $2B on Humvees and $147M of Black Hawk helicopters. In addition, other videos and photos have surfaced that portray Taliban fighters using other weapons made by the United States or United States allies, including the lesser-known Badri 313 Battalion, as they patrolled various parts of Kabul.

Whatever has not been destroyed “is the Taliban’s now,” an anonymous American official remarked to Reuters.

The mass seizure of weapons, including advanced aircraft, has been characterized as a major propaganda tool for the Taliban, as insurgents are not believed to be able to operate the aircraft without proper training.

In a statement to The Hill, Elias Yousif, who is the deputy director of the Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor, remarked “when an armed group gets their hands on American-made weaponry, it’s sort of a status symbol,” given that “it’s a psychological win.”

Joe Biden has recently faced a barrage of criticism for how it has handled the Afghanistan crisis, including a refusal to extend his August 31 withdrawal date from the nation.

GOP Rep. Jim Banks (IN) fiercely criticized the administration earlier in the week due to the Taliban’s seizure of Black Hawk helicopters, alongside other military equipment, noting that the Taliban is now in possession of “more Black Hawk helicopters than 85 percent of [the world’s nations].”

Banks, who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014, also added that he acquired “American military equipment to equip the Afghans with,” adding that he finds it “shameful” that all the equipment has now “fallen into the hands of the Taliban.”