Aug 31, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Pentagon: Military equipment left at Kabul airport is "unusable"

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby responded Tuesday to a viral video of Taliban fighters inspecting U.S. military equipment inside an evacuated hangar at Kabul's airport, telling CNN that the gear has been "demilitarized" and rendered "unusable."

Why it matters: The Biden administration has faced intense criticism over images of the Taliban seizing billions of dollars worth of U.S. military equipment supplied to the Afghan security forces, which collapsed as the U.S. withdrew from the country.

What he's saying: "[The Taliban] can inspect all they want. They can look at them, they can walk around, but they can't fly them. They can't operate them," Kirby told CNN.

  • "We made sure to demilitarize, to make unusable, all the gear that is at the airport," Kirby said. He added that the only items left operable were "a couple of fire trucks and some fork lifts" so that the airport can get back up and running.
  • "We are not overly concerned about these images of them walking around," Kirby added.

The big picture: Kirby, who has been fielding constant questions about the scenes of chaos in Kabul over the past few weeks, said that "the historians will write the chapters" about whether the war in Afghanistan ended in "defeat" for the U.S.

  • "What I can tell you is that we prevented Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for an attack on the United States," Kirby said. "In the process, U.S. forces, coalition forces, our NATO allies, and our Afghan partners made a lot of progress in that country."
  • Kirby added that the U.S. and the international community will now pressure the Taliban to uphold the promises they made ahead of the U.S. withdrawal.

Go deeper: What Taliban rule will look like in the new old Afghanistan

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