The Taliban held a parade on Wednesday with military equipment donated by the United States to the previous Afghan government, defeated after 20 years of war, in Kandahar, located in southern Afghanistan, the spiritual cradle of the Islamic movement.
A long line of “Humvees”, American off-road vehicles drove slowly on a large highway on the outskirts of Afghanistan’s second city. Many of them carried black and white Taliban flags attached to the antenna, an AFP journalist found.
The fighters sat in command of the trucks used by US, NATO and Afghan forces during the two decades of conflict, while others climbed on them in Ayno Maina, on the outskirts of Kandahar.
Taliban fighters parade through the streets of Kandahar. Photo: AFP
At least a Blackhawk helicopter flew over the city, which would lead to think that a former Afghan army pilot would be in command.
Kandahar is the cradle of the Taliban. In 1996, they left the southern Afghan capital before quickly conquering the rest of the country, which they ruled until 2001, when they were ousted from power by an international coalition led by the United States.
Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada lives there, the movement claimed on Sunday.
At the Kandahar cricket stadium, white-bearded Taliban officials sipped coffee under the canopies generally used by players and coaches.
Taliban fighters in the parade. Photo: AFP
Others, dressed in white, were sitting on the grass, while hundreds of supporters filled the stands.
Armed fighters, dressed in camouflage uniforms, stood in front of the crowd.
“Our common enemy, who had sworn to bring economic prosperity to our country, has not succeeded,” said Maulvi Saqeb, a Taliban recruiter.
“America has not been content to attack our young soldiers, America has corrupted our mediaIt has made our culture disappear, it has trampled our economy, “he added.
A helicopter with a Taliban flag was also seen in the parade. Photo: AFP
Rumors had spread that Akhundzada might appear in front of the crowd, but he did not show himself. The only one who spoke to the audience was the new governor of the area.
On Tuesday, thousands of faithful to the Islamic movement took to the streets of Kandahar, in a concert of car horns and shouts of “Allah Akbar” (Allah is the greatest), celebrating the departure of the last American military from Afghanistan.