Departing Marines from the Kabul airport gave a one-finger salute to the Taliban and ISIS — scrawling obscene messages on the facility’s walls, but were told by commanders to erase the graffiti before they left, according to a report.
The Marines were ordered to destroy equipment the military was leaving behind at Hamid Karzai International Airport as the withdrawal was winding down, the Washington Post reported.
They smashed electronics with sledgehammers, shattered windows and stripped down armored vehicles to render them useless to the Taliban.
But many of the Marines still seething at the killing of 13 US service members outside the airport in an ISIS-K suicide bombing left some choice words for the terrorists.
Images on social media showed a group of Marines posing in front of a wall at the airport with the words “F–k isis, AFG 2021” scrawled across it in black paint.
In another picture, a serviceman stands before a tiled wall near a wash basin.
“F–k ISIS + Taliban” was written on the wall, along with a drawing of a penis.
A Marine told the Washington Post that they were ordered to wash the taunting messages away and clean up the debris before they left the airport.
“My boys had to go … pick up every last piece of … trash for who? The Taliban?” the Marine, who was not identified, told the newspaper.
“It was a slap in the face to us,” the Marine said.
Marine spokesman First Lt. Jack Coppola said the messages were painted over and trash was collected to ensure debris didn’t impact flights, but he didn’t say why the graffiti had to be removed.
The Marines, along with Army soldiers, were among the contingent of troops deployed to the airport to provide security and to help screen Afghans who were trying to flee the return of Taliban rule in the country.
After the extremist group’s fighters rolled into the capital Kabul, the Biden administration began a frantic effort to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies.
In the chaos, thousands of Afghans streamed to the airfield, braving Taliban checkpoints, to get on a flight out of the war-torn country.
Many of them gathered near Abbey Gate on the southeast border of the airport near a sewage canal.
Desperate Afghans stood on one side of the canal, the US military on the other.
Afghan refugees would show code words given to them by Americans, a Marine told the Washington Post.
After being given the OK, the evacuees would jump into the canal where they would be pulled to safety by the US troops.
It was there that the iconic image of a Marine hoisting an infant over razor-wire fence was taken.
The US service members saw children’s bodies floating in the canal, victims of periodic crowd surges, and heard the gunshots from the Taliban checkpoint nearby.
They learned to distinguish between the warning shots fired by the Taliban and other deadly gunfire.
”You’d know they were killing people when you’d hear a shot, then a pause, then a shot,” a Marine told the newspaper.
Despite the dangers, the military personnel sought out the assignment.
“We wanted to be there,” the Marine said. “And then we realize that maybe I don’t want to be here, watching these people wade through this s— river and wave papers, and I have to tell them no.”