The Taliban have seized power in Afghanistan two weeks before the U.S. was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war.
The insurgents stormed across the country, capturing all major cities in a matter of days, as Afghan security forces trained and equipped by the U.S. and its allies melted away.
During the capture of provincial capitals and Kabul, the Taliban made some expensive captures, Here’s a look at some of them:
US Military Biometric Devices
The Taliban have seized US military biometrics devices that could aid in the identification of Afghans who assisted coalition forces. The devices, known as HIIDE, for Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment, were seized while the Taliban were making advances last week, a report in The Intercept said.
The report said that the seized devices contain identifying biometric data such as iris scans and fingerprints, as well as biographical information, and are used to access large centralized databases. However, it’s unclear how much of the US military’s biometric database on the Afghan population has been compromised.
During the capture of northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, Taliban fighters entered the palace of a prominent Afghan warlord and US ally- General Abdul Rashid Dostum. Videos circulating on social media online show the fighters entering the ostentatious property of General Dostum and can be seen sitting on the opulent furniture and pretending to drink from a gold tea set.
General Dostum, 67, is one of the country’s most notorious regional strongmen and had been among the Taliban’s fiercest enemies, Al Arabiya said.
Huge Cache of Weapons
The Taliban’s social media is awash with videos of Taliban fighters seizing weapons caches — the majority supplied by Western powers. Footage of Afghan soldiers surrendering in the northern city of Kunduz shows army vehicles loaded with heavy weapons and mounted with artillery guns safely in the hands of the insurgent rank and file. The Taliban is also seizing weapons from the residents as Taliban said that they no longer require weapons for their protection.
Experts say that the Taliban’s haul of American weapons and equipment taken from the Afghan military could worsen instability in the region if they fall into the hands of extremists.
The Taliban have captured US-made Afghan military helicopters at Kandahar airport, which used to be one of the most important US bases in the country, AFP reported. In footage posted on Taliban social media accounts Saturday, an insurgent is seen walking around a US-made Black Hawk military helicopter, which is in brown-green camouflage with Afghan Air Force markings, purportedly at a Kandahar airport hangar.
He then walks out and another Black Hawk is seen in the distance on the tarmac. As he walks to the side of the hangar, two Russian military helicopters are seen as another person is heard saying “Mashallah” — an Islamic term of praise.
It also seized one of the four attack helicopters donated by India to Afghanistan after they took over the airport in Kunduz. Pictures and videos on Twitter show Taliban cadres standing next to a Mi-24 attack helicopter.