September 23, 2021

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Reporter stays with Taliban fighters as they enter Kabul airport hangar – Fox News

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A reporter stayed with several Taliban fighters who were seen entering a hangar at Kabul airport to examine Chinook helicopters left behind following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to a report. 

Gunfire could apparently be heard as several Taliban fighters wielding U.S. supplied military gear and weapons casually walk around the hangar, which was previously under U.S. control, according to a video posted Monday by Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent Nabih Bulos.

“We’re here right now with the Taliban as they enter … what was only minutes ago … an American-controlled portion of the military airport,” Bulos said as he walked with the fighters in the video. “Now, they’ve taken over.”

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Taliban fighters from the Fateh Zwak unit, wielding American supplied weapons, equipment and uniforms, storm into the Kabul International Airport to secure the airport and inspect the equipment that was left behind after the U.S. Military have completed their withdrawal, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. (MARCUS YAM / LOS ANGELES TIMES)
Taliban fighters from the Fateh Zwak unit, wielding American supplied weapons, equipment and uniforms, storm into the Kabul International Airport to secure the airport and inspect the equipment that was left behind after the U.S. Military have completed their withdrawal, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. (MARCUS YAM / LOS ANGELES TIMES)

Bulos didn’t immediately respond to a late-night request for comment from Fox News. 

Earlier on Monday, the Pentagon announced that all U.S. troops have departed Afghanistan. The final C-17 carrying service members lifted off from the airport at 3:29 pm U.S. Eastern Time. 

The removal of U.S. troops met the Aug. 31 deadline the Biden administration agreed to with the Taliban — officially ending America’s longest war.

Bulos later posted another video of Taliban fighters celebrating the U.S. withdrawal by firing tracer rounds into Kabul’s night sky. 

“There’s a lot of heartbreak associated with this departure,” CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said of the closing down of evacuation operations. “We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out.”

The general added that the ISIS threat to the operation was “very real” until the end, with “overwhelming” U.S. airpower circling overhead in an attempt to prevent further attacks. 

He said a number of American citizens, likely numbering in “the very low hundreds,” were left behind, though he believes they will still be able to leave the country.

In addition to the people left behind in Kabul, McKenzie said the U.S. also left behind equipment such as the C-RAM (counter-artillery, artillery, and mortar) system that was used to shoot down rockets, as well as dozens of armored Humvees and some aircraft. The general noted the equipment had been disabled and none of it was mission capable.

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The U.S. provided an estimated $83 billion worth of training and equipment – including aircraft, armored vehicles, rifles, and tactical gear – to the Afghan military and security forces.

After the U.S. troop withdrawal, retired 2-Star Army General Vincent Boles told Fox News that the Taliban shouldn’t get too comfortable. 

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“Be careful what you ask for,” Boles said. “Now they have to show they can govern a nation and people that are very different than when they left power. Will the Taliban go forward to the future or pull Afghanistan back to the past? The answer will be in their behavior… behavior is believable.”

Fox News’ Tyler O’Neil and Michael Lee contributed to this report

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