- The US permanently disabled over 150 vehicles and aircraft when the military departed.
- The last US military aircraft departed the airport in Kabul at around midnight on Aug. 31.
- Though the Taliban cannot use equipment left at the airport, they captured an arsenal when they defeated the Afghan army.
The last US military aircraft have departed Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, ending nearly two decades of war in Afghanistan, Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, said Monday afternoon.
Asked about military equipment left behind at the airport, McKenzie said that some was brought out. Other systems were “demilitarized,” meaning US forces purposely broke them to prevent them from being used.
The counter rocket, artillery, and mortar (C-RAM) systems, which were used to fend off a rocket attack on the airport on Monday, were kept online until the last minute and then demilitarized.
“We demilitarized those systems so that they’ll never be used again,” McKenzie said. “We felt it more important to protect our forces than to bring those systems back.”
The general further explained that demilitarized equipment included 70 mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles “that will never again be used by anyone,” 27 Humvees “that will never be driven again,” and 73 aircraft that “will never fly again.” Many of the aircraft were not mission capable anyway.
“They’ll never be able to be operated by anyone again,” he said.
McKenzie added that some systems, such as fire trucks and front-end loaders were left operational so that the airport could restart operations as soon as possible.
Though the Taliban, which seized control of Afghanistan earlier this month in a sweeping offensive, will be unable to use any of the systems the US military did not take with it when it departed the Kabul airport, the group managed to capture a large arsenal of American-made weapons when it defeated the Afghan armed forces, which the US has spent billions of dollars arming and equipping.
“We don’t have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone, but certainly a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said recently.
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