Pentagon says military aircraft left at Kabul airport was disabled

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 9:16 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) - Hours after the U.S. Military officially withdrew from Afghanistan Monday, video surfaced of Taliban fighters celebrating at Kabul’s airport.

The militants can be seen sitting inside cockpits of airplanes and helicopters the U.S. provided to the Afghan Air Force.

While U.S. forces were able to get some of the equipment out of the country, much of it was abandoned.

The Pentagon says troops disabled the gear before they left Afghanistan.

“They can inspect all they want, they can look at them, they can walk around, but they can’t fly them,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said. “They can’t operate them. We made sure to demilitarize to make unusable all the gear that is at the airport. All the aircraft, all the ground vehicles, the only thing that we left operable are a couple of fire trucks and some forklifts so that the airport itself can remain more operational going forward. So I think we’re not overly concerned about these images of them walking around. But again, we did everything we could to make sure that that equipment couldn’t be used by them going forward.”

Taliban fighters have plenty of weapons, ammunition and vehicles provided by the U.S. that they seized from military bases in other parts of Afghanistan as they took over the country.

The group has pledged to allow people who still want to leave, but couldn’t make it to the airport, to do so.

There are still as many as 200 Americans, and more Afghans, who are trying to get out.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the U.S. is working with its allies to help reopen Kabul’s airport to commercial flights as soon as possible, but it’s not clear when that will happen.

Taliban special force fighters gather inside the Hamid Karzai International Airport after the...
Taliban special force fighters gather inside the Hamid Karzai International Airport after the U.S. military's withdrawal, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. The Taliban were in full control of Kabul's airport on Tuesday, after the last U.S. plane left its runway, marking the end of America's longest war. (AP Photo/Khwaja Tawfiq Sediqi)(Khwaja Tawfiq Sediqi | AP)

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