May 16, 2022

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The Taliban held a parade for its recently reestablished Islamic Emirate Army (IEA) featuring US military equipment that had been left behind in the pullout from Afghanistan. The parade featured the armored vehicles riding down Kandahar’s main street, while Taliban fighters posed on the vehicles and helicopters flew overhead. The parade was accompanied by religious music played from loudspeakers. The parade was a debut of the newly reformed IEA.


A statement for the Taliban government described the elements of the parade:

“All eight of Afghanistan’s military corps were renamed by the decree of Taliban Defense Minister Yaqoob Mujahid on Sunday, giving them names more agreeable to the extremist group’s history and ideology. The 205th Atal Corps stationed in Kandahar was renamed ‘Al Badr’ by Yaqoob’s order, a name often used by Muslim militant groups that refers to an important battle detailed in the Quran. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Wednesday urged Afghan military pilots who fled during the Taliban takeover to return and put their skills at the service of the new regime.”

A celebratory video released by the Taliban featured a troop-carrying helicopter.

The IEA was initially established in 1997 after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan following the end of the Afghan Civil War.  The IEA was dissolved in 2001 after the Taliban were deposed from power following the US invasion of Afghanistan. It was reestablished in 2021 after the Taliban’s victory in the War in Afghanistan on August 15th, 2021 following the fall of Kabul and the collapse of the U.S backed Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its Afghan National Army as a whole, with the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan after being out of power for 20 years.

The first incarnation of the IEA was equipped with 400 Russian-made T-54/55 and T-62 tanks and more than 200 armored personnel carriers.The Afghan Air Force under the previous Taliban maintained five supersonic MiG-21MFs and 10 Sukhoi-22 fighter-bombers. They also held six Mil Mi-8 helicopters, five Mi-35s, five L-39Cs, six An-12s, 25 An-26s, a dozen An-24 and An-32s, an IL-18, and a Yakovlev. Their civil air service contained two Boeing 727A/Bs, a Tu-154, five An-24s, and a DHC-6.

The IEA currently is equipped with approximately 2,000 vehicles fell into Taliban hands after the Fall of Kabul, including the Humvee, M1117 Guardian, MaxxPro MRAP and Oshkosh ATV. In terms of infantry equipment, captured items include the M4 carbine, M16 rifle, night-vision goggles, body armor suits, communication equipment and shoulder-mounted grenade launchers. These US-made firearms are reportedly replacing Russian-made AK-47s carried by most Taliban fighters. They also acquired UH-60 Black Hawks, Mil Mi-24s (most of them without engines), Mil Mi-8s/Mil Mi-17s, A-29 Super Tucanos, Cessna 208s, and C-130 Hercules.

Ariana News reported the following list of equipment held by the IEA:

– 22,174 military tactical vehicles
– 8,000 military trucks
– 634 armored 1117M tanks
– 155 armored vehicles
– 169 M113 military tanks
– 42, 000 Ranger and Hilux vehicles
– 33 (Mi-17) helicopters
– 33 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters
– 43 (MD-530) helicopters
– Four transport helicopters
– 23 (A29) fighter planes
– 28 transport planes
– 10 (AC- 208) military planes
– 16,243 telecommunication devices
– 16,035 night vision cameras
– 358,530 M16 firearms
– 126, 295 rifles
– 176 rocket launchers