A video recently posted on social media showed Taliban fighters looking on as an iconic piece of US materiel (military hardware) — a Black Hawk helicopter — was piloted across Kandahar airport. The four-blade multi-purpose aircraft was just taxiing on the tarmac, but the exercise sent a message to the world: the Taliban were no longer a group of ragtag soldiers wielding Kalashnikov assault rifles on battered pickup trucks. Elsewhere, since the fall of Kabul on 15 August to the hard-line Islamist group, the Taliban’s fighters have been pictured showing off a host of US-made weaponry and vehicles. Some of them were seen in complete combat gear in social media posts and couldn’t be distinguished from other special forces from across the world. There was no characteristic long beard, or traditional salwar kameez outfit, and certainly no rusted weapons. They looked the part. They seized these weapons after troops from the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (Ands) surrendered one city after the other. Some on social media said this made the Taliban the only extremist group with an air force.