Watch how Afghan Taliban are building their own air force

A Taliban fighter leaves a helicopter left behind by the US forces.

KABUL — Just weeks after departure of the foreign occupying forces from the war-ravaged country, the Afghan Taliban have started putting together their own air force.

A short documentary made by Al Jazeera shows a team of Afghan experts working at the hangar to refurbish the destroyed military hardware left behind by the foreign forces. The Taliban have recruited a team of engineers, aviation experts and technicians to accomplish the task of revival of the equipment rendered useless by the Americans.

Left behind by the US troops at the time of their departure from Afghanistan in August this year, a variety of equipment can be seen scattered all over an airfield. Many destroyed helicopters can also be seen in the airfield that have even holes in the fuselage. The ones that are apparently intact have shattered glass and destroyed equipment. If you enter the cockpit, there is nothing inside.

Afghan engineers currently working on the revival project say they have already managed to repair dozens of aircraft.

Captain Shuja Mohammad, an aviation engineer, says: “Like this helicopter, we completed the hard lines, but some lines may be missing so the jet did not start. We will try to solve that maybe in two days.”

Major Farid Ahmad, who was hunting down the Taliban fighters until a few months ago, is now part of the elite squad of this new air force being built by the Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers.

He says: “When the Taliban entered Kabul, the first guarantee they gave was general amnesty. I am sure they will stand by their words. If we all left, who would have brought this airfield back to life? It doesn’t matter to me who runs the country, our duty is to protect the borders as well as assets and resources of Afghanistan.”

Dozens of aircraft, hundreds of armoured vehicles and tens of thousands of guns are in the equipment, which is now in the control of the Taliban.

According to some analysts, the Taliban have an arsenal comparable to some Central Asian states, but its technical capabilities are under question.

Dr Jonathan Schroden from CAN’s Countering Threats and Challenges Programme says, “The maintenance gets harder, the more complicated it becomes. So, the real question is not how much the Taliban can get these things off the ground one time or even a small number of times, the question is how long could they sustain those airframes without being able to do some of the higher-level maintenance that they require.”

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