Continuous negative reports and horrifying images out of Afghanistan this week have led to mounting criticism of the Biden administration’s rapid U.S. troop withdrawal from the war-torn nation.
Now, President Joe Biden’s national security team has made the humiliating admission that a “fair amount” of U.S. firearms and military equipment have fallen irretrievably into the hands of Taliban militants.
A crisis unfolds
National security adviser Jake Sullivan asserted that the White House does not yet have a “complete picture” regarding what happened to the weapons that U.S. forces had supplied to the Afghan army.
For his part, the president said that he planned for “every contingency” prior to implementing his plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, which brought America’s longest war to a devastating end with a Taliban coup on Sunday in the capital city of Kabul.
After the sacrifice of thousands of U.S. soldiers and the billions spent propping up the Afghan regime, the nation’s army collapsed with hardly any evidence of a fight. Americans and allies made a frantic attempt to evacuate at the Kabul airport amid the Taliban takeover.
Furthermore, Taliban fighters have apparently been picking up weapons left behind by American and U.S.-backed forces. The terrorist organization has reportedly upgraded its arsenal to include resources like M16 rifles and Black Hawk helicopters.
“We don’t have a complete picture”
“Those Black Hawks were not given to the Taliban,” Sullivan said. “They were given to the Afghan National Security Forces to be able to defend themselves.”
Nevertheless, Sullivan acknowledged that a “fair amount” of American arms are now in Taliban hands where they will likely stay.
“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,” he said. “And obviously, we don’t have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport.”
In addition to weapons and military equipment, as many as 15,000 Americans are feared to be marooned in Afghanistan with no clear way out.
Biden has been largely secluded throughout the ongoing crisis but emerged on Monday for a speech responding to the mounting criticism by generally casting blame on everyone but himself.