Taliban unit mock iconic US Iwo Jima flag-raising photo from World War II

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In this February 23, 1945 file photo, US Marines raise a US flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima.

A Taliban propaganda photo shows members of the extremist group’s elite commando unit recreating the iconic photo World War II capturing US Marines raising the American flag after their victory on Iwo Jima.

The staged photo is the latest kick in the teeth from the Islamic militants, who have completely seized control of Afghanistan amid the withdrawal of US forces following a 20-year war.

The special unit seen in the photo — known as the Badri 313 Battalion — has emerged as the Taliban’s best fighting force, according to Marine Corps Times. The group is named after the seventh-century Battle of Badr.

“This is Joe Biden’s legacy for all the world to see,” said New York Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik in a tweet responding to the photo.

Propaganda photos of Taliban military patrolling Afghanistan streets in US equipment have also circulated around social media, confirming fears that the insurgents would steal the billions of dollars worth of equipment left behind.

Reports from the ground in Afghanistan have shown the insurgents flexing with their new gear.

A Taliban propaganda video also shows members of the elite team in the gear.

The US gave the Afghan military an estimated $28 billion in weapons between 2002 and 2017 — including seven brand new helicopters delivered to Kabul just a month ago. 

Other seized weapons possibly include 600,000 assault rifles, some 2,000 armored vehicles, and 40 aircraft, including Black Hawks, according to reports.

In this February 23, 1945 file photo, US Marines raise a US flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima.
In this February 23, 1945 file photo, US Marines raise a US flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima.
AP

The loss of US equipment is a major victory for the Taliban.

“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 added. “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.”

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