On Thursday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official mocked the U.S. departure from Afghanistan and shared a video purporting to show Taliban militants using the wing of an abandoned warplane as a swingset.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao tweeted, “The graveyard of EMPIRES and their WAR MACHINES. Talibans [sic] have turned their planes into swings and toys…..”
While the exact origin of the plane wing in the video is unclear, Lijian’s tweet comes days after the last U.S. troops withdrew from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan, concluding a nearly 20-year military mission.
While the U.S. had overthrown the existing Taliban government near the start of the Afghan mission, the Taliban maintained an insurgency that lasted throughout the past two decades. In the final weeks of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, the Taliban seized control of the country from the U.S.-backed Afghan government. The city of Kabul fell back under Taliban control for the first time in nearly 20 years, even as U.S. troops were still in the country.
The U.S. military abandoned tons of equipment, ground vehicles and aircraft in Afghanistan as they worked to complete their withdrawal from Taliban-occupied Kabul.
Lijian’s tweet is not the first time China has alluded to the rapidly changing conditions in Afghanistan.
The Chinese government has made other indications of support for the Taliban in recent weeks. In July, even before the collapse of the U.S.-backed Afghan government, Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi met publicly with Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and said the Taliban would be important to establish peace in Afghanistan.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also recently said China is the Taliban’s “main partner” to rebuild Afghanistan.
Lijian previously tweeted about new shipments of Chinese food and medical supplies to Afghanistan.
“China has decided to urgently provide 200 million yuan (31 million US dollars) worth of grains, winter supplies, vaccines, and medicines to Afghanistan according to the needs of the Afghan people,” Lijian tweeted.
In another ahead of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Lijian tweeted, “September 11 marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 incident. The #US is the culprit of the #Afghan issue.”