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Pic: Taliban release photo wearing US gear while mocking iconic WWII Iwo Jima photo

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima. (Joe Rosenthal/Released)
August 21, 2021

A Taliban unit wearing American-made gear posted a photo apparently mocking the iconic World War II photo of Marines raising the United States flag on Iwo Jima.

According to Fox News, the photo was shared on a propaganda channel linked to the Taliban fighting unit known as the Badri 313 Battalion. In the image, the unit is seen raising the Taliban flag in a manner similar to the United States Marines who raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.

“This is a real photo of the Taliban wearing United States Military gear and openly mocking us,” Jonah Schulz, Ohio congressional candidate, wrote on Twitter, sharing a comparison of the two photos. “This is what Joe Biden and the Dems have reduced us to. The world now views us as a paper tiger that will run off with our tail between our legs. Joe Biden is a disgrace to our Nation.”

On Tuesday, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said President Joe Biden’s administration doesn’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,” he continued. “And obviously, we don’t have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport.”

Fox reported that the Badri 313 is a special unit of Taliban fighters that are made to appear more like American troops, including wearing camouflage, combat boots, and body armor. The Taliban fighters also carry M4 carbines and operate armored Humvees.

“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.

“Clearly, this is an indictment of the U.S. security cooperation enterprise broadly,” he continued. “It really should raise a lot of concerns about what is the wider enterprise that is going on every single day, whether that’s in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia.”

This week, a new United Nations report revealed that the Taliban are going door-to-door in a hunt for Afghans who helped U.S. and NATO forces throughout the 20-year military mission in Afghanistan and are threatening allies’ family members.

The report conducted by the Norwegian Center for Global Analyses, a group that provides intelligence research for the U.N., said the Taliban have been going door-to-door and “arresting and/or threatening to kill or arrest family members of target individuals unless they surrender themselves to the Taliban.”