(ConservativeHub.com) – The Taliban managed to seize control of Afghanistan weeks before the Biden administration completed its botched withdrawal and evacuation of the war-torn nation. As a result, US citizens and Afghan allies remain stranded in the country. Like the Russians before them, US military forces also left millions of dollars in advanced weaponry in Afghanistan — a fact the Taliban recently displayed with pride.
In a show of power, Taliban officials conducted a military-style parade in Kabul on Sunday, November 14. The cavalcade included newly captured American armored vehicles and Russian gunships.
Aside from the apparent use of political theater, the ceremony showed the growing military might of the Taliban. It also reflected the extremist group’s rise from a small insurgent force to a governing political organization backed up by an impressive standing army.
If the Taliban wanted to signal its growing strength, the procession of American-made M1117 Guardian armored security vehicles certainly did the trick. The squadron of Soviet-designed and American purchased Mil Mi-17 helicopters soaring overhead drove the point home, as did marching troops carrying US-manufactured M4 Carbine assault rifles, a shorter and lighter version of the M16A2 assault rifle.
Reports also say that the previous week, the Taliban held a similar parade in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second largest city.
Not the Taliban’s First Time Benefitting From a Past War
The former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in late December 1979. Soviet troops supported Afghan’s communist regime’s efforts to push back an anti-communist-led rebellion launched by Muslim guerrilla forces. The Afghan war eventually settled into a stalemate of sorts.
In 1988, the Soviet Union started preparing to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Mikhail Gorbachev, the former General Secretary of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party, and his Politburo reportedly felt bad about leaving the country and decided to compensate their “Afghan friends” by providing the means to continue their battle with anti-communist elements.
As a result, Soviet troops handed over their bases and a nationwide arsenal of military equipment and advanced weaponry. Former Soviet Gen. Boris Gromov was in charge of the withdrawal. Years later, he wrote of leaving barracks in a pristine condition, complete with made-up bed and slippers. “The barracks had all the necessary equipment [and] water supply [systems] worked without a hitch,” he recounted.
The Taliban eventually reaped the benefits of those abandoned Soviet weapons, garrisons, and other military supplies when it rose to power in Afghanistan in 1996.
If the past is any indication of future behavior, the Taliban could destabilize the region. What do you think? Should the global community fear a stronger Taliban?
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