By Thomas Catenacci
The Taliban has seized a variety of high-tech weaponry, 25 Republican senators said in a letter to the White House demanding a full accounting of the lost equipment.
The GOP senators led by Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Member Marco Rubio said they were “horrified” to see U.S. weaponry such as UH-60 Black Hawk combat helicopters in the Taliban’s possession, in the letter sent to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday. The lawmakers asked for detailed information about the seized equipment and an assessment of whether Russia, China and Iran could get their hands on the technology.
“We write with grave concern regarding the status of U.S. military equipment left behind in Afghanistan as a result of our poorly executed withdrawal from the country,” they wrote to Austin.
“It is unconscionable that high-tech military equipment paid for by U.S. taxpayers has fallen into the hands of the Taliban and their terrorist allies,” the letter continued. “Securing U.S. assets should have been among the top priorities for the U.S. Department of Defense prior to announcing the withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
Taliban enjoying the $400,000 Humvee we left them pic.twitter.com/OjjjEbbd4Q
— Ethan Klein (@h3h3productions) August 17, 2021
Top defense officials have repeatedly refused to answer questions about the weaponry, artillery, vehicles and equipment Taliban fighters have taken during their swift takeover of Afghanistan.
However, an anonymous defense official said the insurgents had accumulated a massive array of U.S. equipment in an interview with the Associated Press. The Taliban even obtained American biometric devices that contain information about former Afghan soldiers, a Joint Special Operations Command official told The Intercept.
Rubio and the other Republicans made a series of demands, asking Austin for a full account of military equipment given to the Afghan army, the estimated amount of operational weapons that were left behind in Afghanistan and a list of the equipment the U.S. believes was taken by the Taliban. They also asked for information on any efforts the Biden administration is planning to recapture or destroy the remaining equipment.
House Republicans to propose bill forcing Biden administration to reveal how much US weaponry Taliban seized during takeover
Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee plan to offer legislation that would require the Biden administration to reveal how much U.S. equipment was taken by the Taliban.
The Republicans told the Daily Caller News Foundation that they would introduce the bill during the upcoming full committee markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) early next month. Since the U.S.-backed Afghanistan government’s sudden collapse on Sunday, the Taliban has reportedly seized an enormous stockpile of American weaponry, equipment, vehicles and artillery, the Associated Press reported.
“The Biden-Harris administration has failed to provide an accounting of U.S. equipment now in the hands of the Taliban,” Armed Services Ranking Member Mike Rogers said in a statement to the DCNF.
“Republican Members on the Armed Services Committee demand to know this information and we plan to offer legislation at our markup to require the Biden-Harris administration to detail what they have lost to the Taliban,” he said.
The Pentagon has refused to respond to questions regarding the Taliban’s seizure of billions of dollars worth of weapons the U.S. previously gave to Afghan security forces. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said Wednesday that he “preferred not to discuss” any potential actions the U.S. could take to ensure American equipment stayed out of the Taliban’s possession.
The #Taliban not only seized appr. a hundred US humvees and (MaxxPro) MRAPs at Kunduz airport, but also several US ScanEagle drones.
Billions of US tax payer $ going to Islamist extremists, thanks to the administration's hasty withdrawal without a peace deal or follow up mission. pic.twitter.com/Fb5MTpdLKK
— Julian Röpcke (@JulianRoepcke) August 12, 2021
Videos shared on social media purportedly showed Taliban fighters sifting through hundreds of American guns, sitting on helicopters given to the now-defunct Afghan military, driving U.S. military vehicles and holding high-tech drones. One image appeared to show the Taliban operating a stealth U.S. helicopter in the skies of Kabul on Wednesday.
More than 20 Senate Republicans led by Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Member Marco Rubio wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday, demanding more information about the equipment taken by the Taliban. The Republicans confirmed that the insurgents had possession of UH-60 Black Hawks.
“It is unconscionable that high-tech military equipment paid for by U.S. taxpayers has fallen into the hands of the Taliban and their terrorist allies,” the letter said. “Securing U.S. assets should have been among the top priorities for the U.S. Department of Defense prior to announcing the withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
The NDAA is the annual appropriations legislation that outlines the federal government’s defense budget.
The Pentagon did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
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