Pentagon refuses to answer question on Taliban obtaining US weaponry, equipment
Thomas Catenacci, DCNF
The Department of Defense evaded a question about whether it is acting to prevent the Taliban from obtaining U.S. weapons in Afghanistan.
A top U.S. military official said he doesn’t “have information” about an effort to seize military equipment the U.S. gave to the fallen Afghanistan government and has since been taken by Taliban insurgents, during a press briefing Monday. Major General Hank Taylor, the U.S. Strategic Command chief of staff, repeatedly evaded questions about the Taliban potentially obtaining scores of U.S. technology.
“I don’t have the answer to that question,” Taylor said after a reporter asked again about confiscated U.S. weaponry.
On Sunday, the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan officially collapsed after the nation’s president fled and insurgents laid claim to his presidential palace in the capital city of Kabul. The fall of the Middle Eastern country’s government, constructed by the U.S. over the past two decades, required seemingly minimal bloodshed, as many Afghan soldiers chose to lay down their arms, according to The Washington Post.
Videos and photos shared on social media portray Taliban fighters waving American equipment and sitting in helicopters provided by the U.S., The New York Times reported.
“The truth is: This did unfold more quickly than we anticipated,” President Joe Biden said on Monday.
In April, Biden ordered the remaining U.S. service members in Afghanistan to withdraw by Sept. 11, 2001. Since the announcement, the Taliban swept through the country, taking control of each of its provinces.
The U.S. devoted more than $83 billion to training the Afghan military and supplying it with modern weapons and equipment, according to the NYT.
The Pentagon didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.