Taliban swept through Afghanistan in a little over a week, claiming the capital Kabul on August 15. As a result of the escalation, many Afghans have fled the war-torn country, and the US administration has rushed to evacuate its embassy workers.
The Taliban were able to seize a large quantity of US defence equipment, including combat planes, weapons, and helicopters, during their takeover of the nation. The war chest also includes the supply of at least 600,000 infantry weapons, including M16 assault rifles as well as 162,000 pieces of communication equipment and 16,000 night-vision goggles.
In just two years from 2017 to 2019, the US gave 7,035 machine guns, 4,702 Humvees, 20,040 hand grenades, 2,520 bombs and 1,394 grenade launchers, The Hill noted, citing a report last year from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
“Everything that hasn’t been destroyed is the Taliban’s now,” one US official told Reuters, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Videos have already captured Taliban fighters triumphantly opening crates of seized weapons, including US-made M4 carbines and M16 rifles, The Hill reported. They’ve also been spotted with US Humvees.
US officials also fear that the weapons of war could be handed to US adversaries like China and Russia — or even to more terror groups like ISIS. “This poses a significant threat to the United States and our allies,” Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, told Reuters.
President Biden’s administration has not ruled out airstrikes to destroy the larger equipment like the helicopters — but fears it will antagonize the Taliban while people are still being evacuated, sources told Reuters.
On Wednesday, more than two dozen Republican senators demanded a “full account” of what’s been seized — and what plans are in place to get it back. “It is unconscionable that high-tech military equipment paid for by US taxpayers has fallen into the hands of the Taliban and their terrorist allies,” the 25 senators told Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ENGLISH.ALARABIYA.NET
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