Black Hawk helicopter seized by Taliban crashes, killing three

Aircraft left behind when US withdrew from country last year

A US Black Hawk helicopter similar to the aircraft that crashed in Kabul at the weekend. AP
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A Black Hawk helicopter seized by the Taliban after the US withdrew from Afghanistan has crashed during a training session, killing two pilots and a crew member.

It went down because of a technical problem during a training exercise at the defence university in the capital Kabul on Saturday, the Afghan Defence Ministry said. Five crew members were injured.

When the US left the country last year, its military left behind billions of dollars worth of aircraft, vehicles, weapons and other hardware.

Much of the equipment is said had been rendered inoperable.

Some helicopters were also flown by former Afghan government forces to central Asian countries before the Taliban took full control of the country.

The Taliban have managed to repair some aircraft, including helicopters, which are believed to be now flown by pilots from the former government forces.

The regime showcased an array of equipment during a military parade on August 31 when the Taliban celebrated the first anniversary of their return to power.

Watch — ex-US military equipment worth billions now in Taliban hands

The US Department of Defence said last year that the Taliban are in possession of at least 34 US-supplied aircraft, many of which are Russian-designed Mi-17 helicopters bought for the Afghan army from suppliers in eastern Europe.

They may also have about five Embraer Super Tucano ground attack aircraft and a number of Cessna 208 Caravans, both propeller aircraft capable of firing rockets and missiles.

Scores of other aircraft were flown out of the country by fleeing Afghan pilots, to neighbouring Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

As many as eight UH-60 Black Hawks are in the hands of Ahmad Massoud, an anti-Taliban warlord who has decamped to the rugged Panjshir Valley in the north-east of the country.

Updated: September 12, 2022, 6:10 AM