Three Small Details in Photo of First Taliban-Trained Pilots Could Be Damning for Biden


It’s been a year and a half since the Biden administration’s disastrous pullout from Afghanistan, and a new photo released by the Taliban is rubbing salt in the wound.

When the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan in August 2021, it left a staggering amount of military equipment in the country to be used by the Taliban, including hundreds of aircraft.

Now it seems that the Taliban is putting those abandoned aircraft to good use.

Last week, the Taliban released a photo of three pilots who had just completed their training. According to journalist Asaad Sam Hanna, these men are the Taliban’s “first three pilots in Afghanistan.”

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At first glance, this picture seems quite humorous. The barefoot pilot, what looks like a Christmas tree in the background, the rather workaday setting, and the pilots’ garb give the impression that this is not exactly a cutting-edge or elite air force.

But if you look a little closer, there are three small details that make all the difference to the Biden administration.

The certificates the three men are holding have images of what appear to be MD-530 helicopters, which were used by the U.S. in Afghanistan. According to the BBC, the U.S. military abandoned some of them in Kabul.

If those are indeed MD-530s on the certificates, it is a pretty safe assumption that the Taliban is training in captured U.S. helicopters and intends on actually using them for military purposes.

Now, this image is not really a cause for alarm. The Taliban “air force” is not going to be much of a threat when compared to the might of the U.S. Air Force.

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But that is not the point here. The point is that this photo is a further reminder to Biden and to the American people of just how embarrassing the withdrawal from Afghanistan was.

We left the country after 20 years there in disorganized, deadly fashion and lost everything we had worked so hard to achieve. The army that we had spent years and millions of dollars training crumpled in a matter of days, and we abandoned not only military supplies but many Afghans who had been our allies against the Taliban.

Now, the very same group that we fought to remove from the country is back in power, almost as if nothing had ever happened, and they are using our own military hardware to enforce their brutal regime.

These three new pilots will likely use captured U.S. equipment to terrorize the Afghan people into submission.

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History will remember this moment as a massive embarrassment for the Biden administration and for America at large. The country that was once the mightiest in the world became the laughingstock of the world overnight.

This photo is a painful reminder of just how far the United States has fallen under the leadership of an incompetent president.

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Peter Partoll is a commentary writer for the Western Journal and a Research Assistant for the Catholic Herald. He earned his bachelor's degree at Hillsdale College and recently finished up his masters degree at Royal Holloway University of London. You can follow him on Twitter at @p_partoll.