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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

Go deeper

Oct 19, 2021 - World

WHO, UNICEF to launch polio vaccine drive in Afghanistan

Afghan boys return to their homes after attending school in Chashma Dozak area of Badghis province on Oct. 16. Photo: Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will launch a house-to-house vaccination campaign to inoculate children in Afghanistan against polio, the UN announced Monday.

Why it matters: The campaign, which begins Nov. 8 with the Taliban's backing, is the first such vaccine drive in over three years to reach all Afghan children, the press release noted.

Biden says presidency "will be determined" by outcome of spending plans

President Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after addressing the House Democratic Caucus on Thursday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden told the House Democratic caucus Thursday "my presidency will be determined" by the votes he wants in the next week on his $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion and $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.

Driving the news: Biden made the comment, according to a source in the room, as he tried to rally support for the $1.75 trillion package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acted immediately, calling for a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill later in the day.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
13 mins ago - Energy & Environment

China declines to speed emissions cuts in new UN pledge

A view of the skyscrapers in the haze in Shanghai, China, in December 2020. Photo: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Chinese leaders are sticking with a prior target to bring the country's carbon emissions to a peak before 2030, according to documents filed with the United Nations Thursday under the Paris climate agreement.

Why it matters: The new documents come just days ahead of the UN climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow. China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, and its emissions path is key to whether the temperature-limiting goals of the Paris agreement can remain within reach.