National security adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed the Taliban has seized a “fair amount” of U.S. military equipment in Afghanistan Tuesday, adding that the U.S. is unsure where much of the material has gone.
President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan left billions of dollars worth of firearms, vehicles and other military equipment in the hands of the Taliban. The “defense material” was intended for use by the Afghan government, but its military dissolved in the face of Taliban aggression in a matter of days. (RELATED: 7 Killed In Kabul Airport As Chaos Ensues. Flights Suspended, Then Restarted)
SULLIVAN: “We don’t have a complete picture of where every article of defense material has gone, but certainly a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban.” pic.twitter.com/FQmEcajqYS
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 17, 2021
Sullivan made the announcement during a White House press briefing, where reporters pressed him in particular on why the administration allowed the Taliban to acquire state-of-the-art military equipment such as Black Hawk helicopters.
Sullivan argued the U.S. provided the helicopters at the express request of the Afghan government before its collapse.
“The president had the choice of either not giving it to them or giving it to them in the hope that it would better service their country,” he said.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have slammed Biden’s handling of the withdrawal. Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse described the administration’s apparent lack of a plan to safely evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghan allies as “unacceptable.”
“The White House’s politically-driven timetable cannot outweigh American lives. America’s message, to our friends and to the Taliban, should be crystal clear: We will move heaven and earth to get every last American in Afghanistan back to American soil, period. That’s the only answer,” Sasse said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller.
Sullivan and White House press secretary Jen Psaki repeatedly declined to say whether Biden would fully withdraw U.S. troops on August 31 even if some Americans remained unevacuated. The State Department has already told U.S. citizens in Afghanistan that it cannot ensure their safety in traveling to the Kabul airport.
Pictures and video of Taliban fighters seizing U.S. weapons and military equipment have flooded social media in the wake of the Taliban’s rapid advance. The U.S. provided billions of dollars worth of military equipment to the Afghan military before its collapse.
Taliban fighters posing with US weapons in a base they just captured easily. This is what we spent a trillion dollars on! pic.twitter.com/OpWoKI66ur
— Gravel Institute (@GravelInstitute) August 14, 2021
The U.S. invested roughly $83 billion into training and equipping the Afghan military and police forces, according to the Associated Press.