NEWS & ANALYSIS

Taliban Seize Billions in U.S. Weapons


Billions of dollars in U.S. weapons are now in possession of the Taliban following the quick collapse of the Afghan government.

Weapons seized by the Taliban include Black Hawk helicopters and A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft.

Photos show Taliban fighters clutching U.S.-made M4 carbines and M16 rifles instead of their infamous AK-47s, The Hill reports. Taliban fighters have also been spotted with U.S. Humvees and mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles.

Over the last 20 years, the U.S has spent an estimated $83 billion training and equipping Afghan security forces.

While it remains unclear exactly how many weapons are now in possession of the Taliban, the Biden administration acknowledged it’s a “fair amount.”

“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,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday. “And obviously, we don’t have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport.”

“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 [Afghan] President [Ashraf] Ghani, who came to the Oval Office and asked for additional air capability, among other things,” Sullivan said.

“So the president had a choice. He could not give it to them with the risk that it would fall into the Taliban’s hands eventually, or he could give it to them with the hope that they could deploy it in service of defending their country,” Sullivan continued. “Both of those options had risks. He had to choose. And he made a choice.”