The Taliban now has access to more than $85 billion worth of U.S. military equipment abandoned by the Afghan army.
Shortly after President Joe Biden abruptly withdrew U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the Afghan government collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country. When faced with advancing Taliban fighters, the Afghan military also shrunk away despite two decades of U.S. time, effort, and taxpayer dollars poured into military equipment designated for the Afghans.
The Taliban quickly seized this bureaucratic void and took over the capital city of Kabul where thousands of pieces of American weaponry and military tools were lying in wait.
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., warned that “due to the negligence of this administration,” the Taliban possess more than $85 billion worth of U.S. military equipment including 75,000 vehicles, more than 200 airplanes and helicopters, and more than 600,000 small arms and light weapons.
“The Taliban now has more Black Hawk helicopters than 85 percent of the countries in the world,” Banks said.
The Taliban now have more Black Hawk helicopters than 85% of countries in the worldpic.twitter.com/ZeoPl3kyj4
— Bruno Maçães (@MacaesBruno) August 26, 2021
In addition to weaponry and other heavy machinery, Banks said the Taliban also has access to tools such as night-vision goggles, body armor, medical supplies, and biometric devices containing fingerprints, scans, and other biographical information of the United States’ Afghan allies.
“This administration still has no plan to get this military equipment or these supplies back,” Banks said after receiving a briefing on the situation.
The Biden administration lamented the loss over the last two weeks but has yet to name any specific plans to recover any of the losses.
“We don’t have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone, but certainly, a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said shortly after the collapse.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on the Taliban’s seizure of billions of dollars worth of military equipment: "The Defense Department has been working to account for all of the defense articles that… may have fallen into the hands of the Taliban." pic.twitter.com/aClAnew2XJ
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) August 19, 2021
“We obviously don’t want to see our equipment in the hands of those who would act against our interests, or the interests of the Afghan people,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a press briefing.