Taliban hold military parade with U.S., Russian hardware

The Taliban operated as insurgent fighters for two decades but have used the large stock of weapons and equipment left behind when the former Western-backed government collapsed in August to overhaul their forces. The parade was linked to the graduation of 250 freshly trained soldiers, a defense ministry spokesman said.

The exercise involved dozens of U.S.-made M117 armored security vehicles driving slowly up and down a major Kabul road with Russian-designed MI-17 helicopters patrolling overhead. Many soldiers carried American-made M4 assault rifles.

Most of the weapons and equipment the Taliban forces are now using are those supplied by Washington to the American-backed government in Kabul in a bid to construct an Afghan national force capable of fighting the Taliban.

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