Taliban show off US plunder as first flight lands in Kabul since pullout

The Taliban on Sept. 1 paraded some of the military hardware they captured during their takeover of Afghanistan, as a team from Qatar landed at the trashed airport in Kabul - a first step towards getting the facility back up and running as a lifeline for aid.


The Qatar Airways flight, the first to land in Kabul since the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan on Aug. 30, brought a team of technical experts to work on the airport, a source close to the matter told AFP.

The goal was to resume flights for aid, after the United Nations warned of a looming "humanitarian catastrophe" in war-ravaged Afghanistan, and to provide a way out for those wanting to flee the new regime.

Talks are ongoing on who will now run the airport, just one of the many daunting challenges facing the Taliban as they transition from insurgent group to governing power.

The Islamist hardliners - who have not yet announced their new government - are celebrating the U.S. withdrawal as a historic victory after taking control of Afghanistan a fortnight ago.

Their arrival in Kabul capped an astonishing two-week offensive across the country, ending their 20-year insurgency.


On Sept. 1, a long line of green Humvees and armoured fighting vehicles drove in single file along a highway outside Kandahar - the spiritual birthplace of the militant movement - many flying white-and-black Taliban flags.

A helicopter flew overhead trailing the Taliban's standard as fighters wrapped in headscarves waved beneath.

At least one Black Hawk helicopter has been seen flying over Kandahar in recent days, suggesting someone from the former Afghan army was at the controls as the Taliban lack pilots.

Word had spread that the Taliban's secretive...

Continue reading on: