It is reported that the militants fled with up to £ 13bn of abandoned weapons and vehicles, including 200,000 guns and 20,000 Humvees seized from the Afghan army.
US intelligence officials fear there are around 150 helicopters and planes for use by Taliban insurgents, including 45 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
Social media images appear to show activists taking a Black Hawk helicopter for a ride near Kandahar, MailOnline reports.
The helicopter was rolling on the tarmac but it did not leave the air.
It is still unclear whether the activists were trained to fly the helicopter.
Seven Black Hawk helicopters, which cost around $ 21 million each, arrived in Afghanistan last month.
More than 200,000 firearms have been donated to the Afghan army, including M24 snipers and assault weapons, according to a Defense Ministry report.
The United States has also funded more than 20,000 humvees and 40,000 light tactical vehicles, including Ford pickup trucks, to the Afghan Defense Force.
The distinctive white flags of the Taliban are often flown on four-wheel-drive military trucks.
Afghan troops also received around 1,000 tow trucks, including hundreds of anti-mine ambush-protected vehicles.
It comes after images released by the Taliban’s propaganda arm showed their fighters armed with American rifles and mounted in American armored vehicles.
Fighters in the Badri 313 special forces unit appear to view their stolen US equipment as trophies having seized them from the retreating Afghan army as they headed for Kabul.
Activists painted the slogan “Victorious Force” on the side of an American-made M1117 armored transport – estimated to cost around $ 800,000.
Taliban fighters donned American-style military uniforms with helmets that appear to feature night vision goggles.
The insurgents appeared to be holding US-made M4A1 rifles, valued at around $ 700 each, in their arms.
The new “Victory Force” unit is the latest brazen taunt of the United States whose confused withdrawal from Afghanistan has been credited with returning power to the Taliban.
The consequence of the rapid withdrawal led to the collapse of the Afghan army and handed over billions of pounds of equipment to the Taliban as they attacked arms caches.
Taliban fighters are now regularly seen rocking US military-grade assault weapons.
Everything that was not destroyed now belongs to the Taliban
American civil servant
The United States has spent around £ 13 billion to arm and equip the Afghan army since 2005 – and officials have admitted that whatever was left behind and not destroyed is now in the hands of the Taliban.
Many of these weapons were simply dropped or even surrendered as Afghan forces collapsed – sometimes fighting – against the advancing Taliban.
The planes, heavy armor and high-tech equipment were removed, but the weapons that had been donated to the Afghan army were abandoned.
“Anything that has not been destroyed now belongs to the Taliban,” a US official told Reuters.
And there are concerns that some of the weapons may fall into the hands of dissident terrorist groups – such as ISIS – or even Russia and China.
Getting an accurate count of all the weapons in Afghanistan after nearly 20 years of constant warfare is very difficult – but according to an official U.S. report from 2017, there could be as many as:
- 208 aircraft
- 75,898 vehicles
- 599,690 weapons
- 162,643 elements of communication technology
- 16,191 pieces of surveillance equipment
Elias Yousif, deputy director of the Security Assistance Monitor at the Center for International Policy, told The Hill: “When an armed group gets its hands on American-made weapons, it’s kind of a status symbol. It is a psychological victory.
“Obviously, this is an indictment against the US security cooperation enterprise at large.
“This should really raise a lot of concerns about the larger business that goes on every day, be it in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia. “
Taliban forces have banned Afghans from Kabul airport after refusing to extend the withdrawal period for Western forces.
Thousands of people are trying to flee Afghanistan as they try to escape the ruthless Taliban regime – for fear of mass executions, torture, retaliation and oppression.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said no evacuation flights from Afghanistan would be allowed after August 31 – and warned that any delay would break the precarious truce at the airport and risk falling back into the war.
Terrorist leaders have previously warned that “there would be consequences” if Western forces crossed the “red line” and did not leave in time.
And Mujahid confirmed at a press conference today: “August 31 is the allotted time and after that it’s something that goes against the deal.
“All people should be deported before that date. After that, we don’t allow them anymore, it won’t be allowed in our country anymore, we will take a different position. “
He said Afghan nationals would no longer be allowed to go to Kabul airport and warned that the terrorist group was “not in favor” of letting Afghans leave the country.
At the same time, it was reported that CIA Director William Burns met with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul on Monday, two US sources told Reuters.
Countries have evacuated nearly 60,000 people in the past 10 days and troops are desperate to meet the deadline agreed with the Taliban for the withdrawal of foreign forces.
The White House reiterated that the rescue operation will not be extended beyond the end of the month.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the evacuation effort was “hours now, not weeks” as he conceded that the UK’s involvement would end when the US would leave.