Aug 19, 2021 - World

Taliban takes over U.S. war chest given to Afghan military

Picture of military vehicles lines up
Military vehicles transferred by the U.S. to the Afghan National Army in February. Photo: Afghanistan Ministry of Defense/via Reuters

The Taliban just gained a massive new war chest, complete with U.S.-made Humvees, planes, helicopters, night-vision goggles and drones, Reuters reports.

State of play: Video shows militants inspecting lines of vehicles and opening crates of new firearms, communications gear and even military drones. Some of the equipment was given by the U.S.

  • U.S. officials aren't just worried about the Taliban using the weapons against civilians. They're also concerned the equipment could be seized by ISIS or handed over to China or Russia.

Details: The equipment includes over 2,000 armored vehicles, and up to 40 aircrafts, Reuters notes, citing an intelligence assessment.

The Biden administration is considering launching airstrikes against the larger equipment, officials told Reuters.

  • Yes, but: They also fear that such a move could provoke the Taliban at a time where the U.S. is focusing on evacuating people from Afghanistan.

What they're saying: "Everything that hasn't been destroyed is the Taliban's now," one U.S. official told Reuters.

  • "We have already seen Taliban fighters armed with U.S.-made weapons they seized from the Afghan forces. This poses a significant threat to the United States and our allies," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Reuters.
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