September 25, 2021

US ‘war loot’ in Taliban possession? They are actually old Soviet tanks.

Issued: Modified:

A video has been circulating online since August 30 showing rows of tanks, with captions claiming that US military vehicles have fallen into the hands of the Taliban. However, they are actually old Russian tanks that were abandoned near the Kandahar airport in the south of the country after the end of Soviet military intervention in the country (1979-1989). Satellite imagery proves that these vehicles have not moved in years and are very usable.

Following the final withdrawal of US troops from Kabul airport on August 30, there has been a lot of speculation online about what they have left behind that the Taliban could seize.

This weapon can be divided into equipment that belongs to the US military and equipment that belongs to the Afghan army but which was provided by the US. The Pentagon has. Explained That troops either destroyed or disarmed the vast majority of US military equipment at Kabul airport – but not with Afghan military equipment, which is worth billions of dollars.

Online, people have been sharing videos they call ‘war loot’ now in the hands of the Taliban, often filmed by Taliban soldiers themselves. You can see some of this military equipment. This video, In which a man finds himself standing on top of a tank, surrounded by military vehicles.

French shared a video. Middle-right politician Eric Quetti In a tweet. “It is a great shame that the United States has left hundreds of tanks, helicopters and other war vehicles for terrorists,” he wrote.

Screen capture of Eric QT's tweet, posted August 31.  R France 24 Observers
Screen capture of Eric QT’s tweet, posted August 31. R France 24 Observers © Les Observateurs de France 24

The video was first shared on Twitter by users who wrote in Pashto, a language widely used in southern and eastern Afghanistan. This tweet. He said that this video was made at Kandahar airport. We can also hear this person saying ‘Kandahar’ in the first three seconds of the video.

Kandahar is located in southern Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan. It came under Taliban control on August 13. US troops had already evacuated Kandahar airport. Back in May.

France A team of 24 observers succeeded in geolocating. Exact location Where the video was made from. It was filmed southeast of Kandahar Airport and confirms the results of some fact-checking and OSINT Twitter accounts. ‘Cut’. To the left we can see standing tanks lined up in front of a row of trees in the background of the video, and the same light brown ground on the ground.

Google Earth screen capture with the following points: 31 ° 29'00 ”N 65 ° 51'50” E © FRANCE 24 Observers
Google Earth screen capture with the following points: 31 ° 29’00 ”N 65 ° 51’50” E © FRANCE 24 Observers © Les Observateurs de France 24

All these vehicles are Russian

Although the video shows tanks in Afghanistan, this is exactly what Ciotti corrected in his tweet. Military and military equipment experts immediately pointed out to Ciotti that the tanks were Soviet models. Nicholas Drummond.The British military veteran and ground warfare expert explained that the tanks seen in the video were T-54s and T-55s – models that were built in the mid-20th century.

The tanks are difficult to identify due to poor video quality, but appear to be a mixture of T-54 / T-55s and T-62s. The vehicles on the left are BMP-1 infantry combat vehicles. The vehicle with the cone-shaped gun tower is the BRDM. Behind the BRDM, finally, you can see the ZSU 23/4 anti-air artillery.

All these vehicles are Russian.

I would say that these vehicles were abandoned by the Russians after leaving Afghanistan in the late 80’s. The T-54/55 is the most produced tank in history, with about 100,000 built.

We can compare the models seen in the video to the Soviet models that Drummond talked about.

This is a picture of a Russian T-62 tank during the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1987, and the same model is seen in 00.04 seconds in a video filmed this week in Kandahar.

Video capture on the left, 1987 image on the right.  France 24 observers
Video capture on the left, 1987 image on the right. France 24 observers © Les Observateurs de France 24

Tank on the left, video from Kandahar on the right, Russian T-54 / 55s from the Afghan army.  France 24 observers
Tank on the left, video from Kandahar on the right, Russian T-54 / 55s from the Afghan army. France 24 observers © Les Observateurs de France 24

What we are seeing in the video is not a ‘weapon of war’ after the withdrawal of American troops, but what is left after the Soviet troops left the country between 1979 and 1989.

But one question remains to be answered: What is the condition of the tanks in the video? Are they in working order?

If we look at satellite images at different times of the day, we can see that the management of tanks has not changed since at least 2012.

Yandex, Google Earth and ESRI - France Three Screen Captures of Satellite Imagery with 24 Observers
Yandex, Google Earth and ESRI – France Three Screen Captures of Satellite Imagery with 24 Observers © Les Observateurs de France 24

The area filmed in the video could be a kind of tank cemetery for old, unusable Russian tanks. There are many such cemeteries across the country. The most famous one can be found. Near Kabul Airport, But there is one near Kandahar Airport. This article is written in Persian. please explain

So what has been described as ‘American war loot’ is actually a cluster of unused Soviet tanks that have been rotting there for years. It is in the Taliban’s interest, however, to persuade people to seize US military equipment used for their propaganda, such as CIA counterterrorism analysts. Explains AFP news agency

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