Taliban fighters stood aboard Humvees and other abandoned US military equipment while a Black Hawk helicopter hovered overhead in Kandahar on Wednesday. A long line of military vehicles lined the road into the city, most of them flying the Taliban flag.
Among the light weapons left behind when US troops withdrew from Afghanistan were M16 rifles. Heavy weapons and machine guns were also abandoned, along with an array of vehicles.
The fact that at least one Black Hawk helicopter has been seen flying over Kandahar in recent days suggests that a former Afghan army pilot was at the controls. The Taliban apparently does not have any pilots within its ranks.
Kandahar is a stronghold of the Pashtun ethnic group. It is also the birthplace of the Taliban movement from which it rose to power in 1996. By 2001, when US-led international forces invaded Afghanistan, the Taliban controlled most of the country.