Fact-checkers have flagged social media posts claiming the Taliban seized $83 billion of US weapons.
This is ‘misleading’ because it refers to the total cost the US spent on mobilizing the Afghan military, however, not every dollar went to weapons. Despite the inaccurate cost, the post remains true in the fact that the Taliban, an Islamist terrorist organization, seized American-made military weapons and equipment during the botched withdrawal.
“We don’t have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone,” said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan at a White House press briefing, “but certainly a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban. And obviously, we don’t have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport.”
Initial reporting by Reuters suggests the US fears its equipment will be used to attack Afghan citizens, or fall into the hands of other opposition such as the Islamic State, Russia, and China. According to the latest reports from the Government Accountability Office, the Taliban seized 22,174 humvees, 634 M1117s, 155 MxxPro mine-proof vehicles, 169 M113 armored personnel carriers, 42,000 pick-up trucks and SUVs, and 162,043 radios, 16,035 night vision equipment.
Along with a slew of weapons, including 64,363 machine guns, 358,530 assault rifles, 126,295 pistols, and 176 artillery pieces. The terrorist organization also seized a range of American helicopters, including 33 Mi-17s, 33 UH-60 Blackhawks, 43 MS530s, 4 C-130 transports, 23 Embraer EMB 314/A29 Super Tucanos, 28 Cessna 208s, and 10 Cessna AC-208 strike aircraft, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction.
“We have already seen Taliban fighters armed with U.S.-made weapons they seized from the Afghan forces. This poses a significant threat to the United States and our allies,” Representative Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.
ARTICLE: ANTOINETTE AHO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: SEATTLE TIMES
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