High-tech helicopters belonging to the elite US Army unit whose members killed Osama bin Laden have been spotted at Kabul’s airport.
Black Hawk helicopters and AH/MH-6 ‘Little Bird’ helicopters belonging to the 160th Special Operations Airborne Regiment (SOAR), also known as the Night Stalkers, have both been snapped at Hamid Karzai Airport in recent days.
The Black Hawk’s nose was covered with canvas, in what may have been an attempt to hide its classified features, while the Little Birds were snapped covered with a black tarpaulin, behind a Turkish Airlines airliner.
At least eight of the Little Birds belonging to the regiment, also known as the Night Stalkers, have arrived at the airport in recent days, according to The Drive.
Their double-rotored MH-47 Chinook choppers have also been spotted there.
The impressive aircraft were spotted even as President Biden refused to send US troops into Kabul on rescue missions, citing fears of a Taliban or ISIS attack on them.
British and German forces have both been deployed into Taliban territory to rescue their citizens as well as refugees. The US military has also launched several less ambitious missions, with the growing fleet of Night Stalker aircraft a possible sign of things to come.
A Black Hawk helicopter belonging to the 160th Special Operations Airborne Regiment (SOAR) has been spotted at Kabul Airport
MH-6 Little Bird choppers belonging to the same regiment – pictured here covered in black tarpaulin – have also been spotted at Hamid Karzai
A third photo showing Black Hawks and Chinooks belonging to the Night Stalkers regiment at Kabul Airport
Little Birds – named because of their small size – are small enough to be stuffed into C-130 Hercules aircraft – and flown within minutes of being unloaded.
They are small, highly maneuverable choppers that can be flown into tight spaces, and which are packed with fearsome weaponry, including machine guns and missiles.
Both the Little Birds and larger Black Hawk choppers use 7.62mm and .50 caliber machine guns to make ‘strafing runs’ while on missions.
MH-60 Black Hawks and MH-47 Chinooks are larger types of helicopters capable of in-flight refueling, making them ideal for longer missions.
Top secret stealth Black Hawks were used in the mission to kill bin Laden. One crashed during the mission, and was blown up by US troops in a bid to hide its secrets.
A Little Bird chopper is pictured. They are small, packed with weapons, and highly-maneuverable
It is likely that the 160th SOAR and the special operators they carry will be the last Americans to leave Hamid Karzai International Airport.
At some point, the US will end its patrol at the airport, requiring a speedy getaway in an easy to maneuver aircraft flown by highly-trained service personnel.
After president Biden announced U.S. troops would withdraw from Afghanistan, Kabul airport has been filled with Americans and American allies attempting to flee the Taliban-controlled region safely.
Kabul airport is currently surrounded by the Taliban and presents U.S. troops a special challenge if they were required to go behind enemy lines to recue any Americans trapped in Kabul.
The 160th SOAR currently have a fleet o MH-47 Chinooks (pictured) in Afghanistan that could be utilized at any time
American troops have not ventured past Kabul to assist Americans who couldn’t get to the airport, with Biden coming under increasing pressure as UK and German forces were revealed to have sent forces into Taliban-controlled territory to evacuate citizens and embassy workers.
On Friday the White House confirmed that the U.S military used three military helicopters to rescue 169 Americans outside Kabul Airport who were trapped at a nearby hotel.
When asked why the U.S has not extended their perimeter beyond Kabul airport Biden said it was to avoid the risk of having U.S. forces and civilians of being attacked by terrorist groups, including ISIS.
‘The reason why we have not gone out—it’s likely to draw a lot of unintended consequences,’ he said Friday.
But British and French allies have gone beyond the boundaries of Kabul airport and sent troops into the city to help recover their citizens.
Evacuees load on to a U.S. Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul
Washington officials have no firm number for how many Americans are in Afghanistan but on Friday, they suggested for the first time that military chiefs would send helicopters to retrieve anyone who is stuck behind enemy lines in Kabul if the signal is raised.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, speaking shortly after President Joe Biden, said troops simply hadn’t received a request from Americans trapped in Kabul to rescue them.
The military has brought Night Hawk team members into Kabul in what appears to be preparations to bolster its rescue efforts. The helicopters were used to kill Bin Laden in 2011.
‘The President was clear we’ll do whatever we have to do. There have been sporadic reports of some Americans not being able to get through checkpoints. By and large, Americans are able to get to the airfield.
‘There hasn’t been that demand signal. Most Americans are getting through the checkpoints and getting on. I’m not suggested that in every case it’s going unimpeded.
‘We will obviously do whatever we can and if there’s a need to do this, and it’s an operation that we can talk about, we’ll talk about it.’
President Biden has insisted that ‘every American who wants go leave’ will be able to, promising ‘we will get you home, and claimed he has not been criticized by foreign governments for his handling of the crisis, despite admonishment from the world’s press for it.
No one from the White House, Pentagon or State Department can give a firm number on how many Americans are still trapped in Afghanistan and with every passing minute that they are not saved, the likelihood of them becoming Taliban hostages grows.
Last week, Biden said he believed that up to 15,000 Americans may be trapped in Afghanistan, as well as up to 65,000 Afghanis the US wants to resettle.
So far, 28,000 have been airlifted out of the country.
The US is telling its citizens they must navigate their way through the fighters and crowds to somehow get to get to the front of the line at the airport, where around 50,000 are waiting to board flights.