White House admits US does not have ‘complete picture’ of what’s happened to military equipment in Afghanistan

‘Those Black Hawks were not given to the Taliban. They were given to the Afghan National Security Forces to be able to defend themselves,’ the President’s National Security Adviser says

Bevan Hurley
New York
Tuesday 17 August 2021 23:00 BST
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White House says 'fair amount' of US weapons now in Taliban hands
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President Joe Biden’s top security adviser has admitted the US military has lost track of a “fair amount” of the billions of dollars of military equipment it gifted to the Afghan military.

"We don’t have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defence materials has gone,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday.

“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.”

The Afghan army melted away in the face of Taliban advances across the country in recent days, leaving Black Hawk helicopters, drones, humvees and mine-resistant armoured vehicles for the Taliban to claim.

“This is, I think, a very good example of the difficult choices a president faces,” Mr Sullivan said.

“Those Black Hawks were not given to the Taliban. They were given to the Afghan National Security Forces to be able to defend themselves at the specific request of President (Ashraf) Ghani, who came to the Oval Office and asked for additional air capability among other things.”

President Ghani fled the country on Sunday as the Taliban took control of Kabul.

Last week, the Taliban seized billions of dollars of US military equipment from Kunduz Airport as they swept through the country to take control of key cities.

German journalist Julian Röpcke of Bild posted photos of equipment seized by the group.

Among the equipment taken were MaxxPro MRAP vehicles, ScanEagle Drones and humvees. Mr Röpcke chided the Biden administration’s “hasty withdrawal” without securing a peace deal or a follow-up mission.

Afghan forces surrendered in Kunduz this week as the Taliban continue to take multiple cities as the United States plans to withdraw from Afghanistan.

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