Following the announcement that the US would be withdrawing from Afghanistan, the Taliban made several advances within the war-torn nation, eventually going on to take control of the country’s capital over a matter of days. The development came just months after US intel suggested it could take years before the group would be able to do so.
A trove of US defense equipment that was given to Afghan security forces has indeed been confiscated by the Taliban, a White House national security adviser has confirmed.
Jake Sullivan, who serves as a national security adviser to the Biden White House, confirmed during a Tuesday briefing that Taliban forces had managed to get their hands on “a fair amount” of US military equipment that was left behind by Afghan security forces since the militant group managed to gain control of Afghanistan.
“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,” Sullivan told reporters. “Obviously, we don’t have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport.”
— Bawi Singh (@BawiSingh) August 14, 2021
Sullivan’s remarks came as the official offered the American public the latest update on the developing situation in Afghanistan. Moments prior, Sullivan had refused to comment on the status of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, saying that “at this point [Ghani] is no longer a factor” after the leader abandoned his post and fled the country amid the Taliban’s arrival to the capital.
Other topics Sullivan weighed in on included the ties between the Taliban and the Daesh terrorist group, which he stressed are not likely to develop any kind of “symbiotic relationship” on account of the pair having a “fairly well-documented” history of fighting one another in the past.
“I do not foresee a symbiotic relationship there, though these are dynamic scenarios, so we will have to see how it plays [out],” he told reporters.
— Julian Röpcke (@JulianRoepcke) August 12, 2021
The briefing had also seen the adviser sidestep questions on whether US troops would remain past the August 31 deadline to ensure that all American civilians and visa-carrying Afghan nationals would be airlifted from Hamid Karzai International Airport. “I’m not going to comment on hypotheticals,” he stated.
The latest White House acknowledgement came after reports detailed that the Taliban had managed to confiscate an “enormous” load of American military hardware that included Humvees and even Black Hawk choppers. Since the US invasion of Afghanistan, the American government pumped hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild the war-torn nation.