The Taliban appear to be mocking the United States in a new propaganda photo. The image, which some have called “humiliating,” shows an elite Taliban fighting unit donned in U.S. military gear and hoisting up the flag of the fundamentalist Islamic group in nearly the exact same pose that U.S. Marines hoisted up the American flag during World War II.
The Badri 313 Battalion is reportedly the Taliban’s special commando unit, which was allegedly named after the Battle of Badr where the Prophet Mohammad led the Muslim community to a major military victory with just 313 men in 624 CE.
A propaganda photo shows members of the Badri 313 Battalion wearing what appears to be U.S. military gear raising up the Taliban flag in a similar fashion to the six U.S. Marines who raised the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.
Taliban fighters release photo mocking iconic photo of US Marines raising the American flag on Iwo Jima during Worl… https://t.co/FfGA8BdyAj
— Mike Sington (@Mike Sington)1629569355.0
There were heated reactions to the Taliban seemingly mocking the iconic U.S. military photograph.
Tom Bevan, the co-Founder of RealClearPolitics, wrote: “The humiliation continues.”
Conservative commentator John Cardillo declared: “The Taliban is wearing our gear, mocking Iwo Jima. Biden must resign or be impeached and removed.”
Army Ranger and UFC fighter Tim Kennedy exclaimed: “Taliban soldiers wearing all U.S. supplied equipment MOCK iconic World War II image of American Marines raising flag on Iwo Jima as soldiers don US military gear in propaganda footage. It is straight up NUKE time.”
Former Navy SEAL Jonathan T Gilliam said: “This just keeps getting worse and worse! #Taliban mocks iconic Iwo Jima picture wearing US gear left behind by the @JoeBiden woke administration.”
James Glancy, ex-member of the Royal Marine Commandos, reacted by saying: “The Taliban ‘Special Forces – Badri 313’ are just mocking America now with their PR machine.”
The Taliban also published a propaganda video this week with the Bardi 313 Battalion wearing what appears to be U.S. military gear, including tactical helmets, night-vision goggles, and modern firearms.
بدري ۳۱۳ قطعه
د ارګ او د کابل ښار د حساسو سیمو امنیت په غاړه لري https://t.co/dSSgnuAUbM
— Qari Saeed Khosty (@Qari Saeed Khosty)1629215523.0
A photo posted by Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group, shows Taliban fighters “with their new American gear” and a militarized Ford pickup truck.
An AFP tweet shows “Taliban fighters carrying M4 and M18 assault rifles and M24 sniper weapons, driving around in iconic US Humvees.”
Videos posted on social media show that the Taliban has seized thousands of firearms, ammunition, body armor, and other military equipment.
Taliban with their new American gear.
(pic: @AsaadHannaa) https://t.co/CJFnpLMU5X
— ian bremmer (@ian bremmer)1629552703.0
Taliban’s arms seizures embarrass US.
Social media images show Taliban fighters carrying M4 and M18 assault rifles… https://t.co/g5ShObHYIZ
— AFP News Agency (@AFP News Agency)1629340069.0
The U.S. gave Afghan forces an estimated $28 billion in weaponry between 2002 and 2017, according to Business Insider.
“Everything that hasn’t been destroyed is the Taliban’s now,” an anonymous U.S. official told Reuters.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan said this week that the Taliban now controls a “fair amount” of the weapons supplied to the Afghan government.
“We don’t have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone. But certainly a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban,” Sullivan said, “and obviously we don’t have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport.”
The Taliban likely have possession of 2,000 armored vehicles, including U.S. Humvees, and up to 40 aircraft, including UH-60 Black Hawks, scout attack helicopters, and ScanEagle military drones.
“When an armed group gets their hands on American-made weaponry, it’s sort of a status symbol. It’s a psychological win,” Elias Yousif, deputy director of the Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor, told The Hill.