The Taliban have held a military parade in Kabul, Afghanistan, to mark the 13th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The event featured an array of U.S.-made military vehicles and firearms and footage of the parade has emerged on social media. According to Al Jazeera, the parade has been seen as an important message from the Taliban, whose government has largely disappeared from Afghan daily life in recent years. Kabulis have largely relied on their own hardware and are aware of the foreign weaponry that has long been used by the Taliban.
Al Jazeera reported that more than 20 tonnes of weapons and vehicles — including a U.S.-made T-34 tank — were displayed during the event. Representatives of the Taliban state that their military forces have grown more capable of striking Kabul because of their current operations in Helmand, a province in southern Afghanistan. “We are showing the power of our military,” Karim Ahmad Jalali, the governor of Helmand province, told Al Jazeera. “We cannot commit to many things on TV, but with what we are showing you can see the fighting.”
The Taliban-sponsored parade comes as Taliban insurgents have stepped up their fight against the Kabul government. The insurgents claimed responsibility for a series of suicide attacks in Kabul on December 26, 2018 that led to at least 56 people killed and more than 140 wounded. U.S. military forces currently have 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, and President Donald Trump announced last week that another 2,000 will be sent there “to ensure that the Taliban do not have a chance to seize power.”