Of all the concerns about President Biden’s disastrous Afghan debacle, one of the most damning is how this profound policy failure has now armed a jihadist terrorist regime with billions of dollars’ worth of the latest U.S. military gear, including Humvees, (MaxxPro) MRAPs, Scan Eagle drones, and loads of Fords and Toyota vehicles.
As of Friday, Taliban fighters reportedly have captured armored vehicles, small surveillance drones, and several unflyable helicopters. But with the sudden fall of Kabul on Sunday, things could get far worse.
The Taliban may also be getting its own air force.
The #Taliban not only seized appr. a hundred US humvees and (MaxxPro) MRAPs at Kunduz airport, but also several US ScanEagle drones.
Billions of US tax payer $ going to Islamist extremists, thanks to the administration’s hasty withdrawal without a peace deal or follow up mission. pic.twitter.com/Fb5MTpdLKK
— Julian Röpcke (@JulianRoepcke) August 12, 2021
As Defense One noted:
The Afghan government also has 50 American-made MD-530 attack helicopters, which are armed with machine guns and rockets. Additionally, the Afghan Air Force flies American-made UH-60 Black Hawks and Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters, as well as C-130 and Cessna transports, and a small fleet of armed Cessnas.
— C4H10FO2P (@markito0171) August 14, 2021
But perhaps the most lethal, notes Defense One:
…are a small fleet of just over two dozen propeller-driven attack planes. These A-29 Super Tucanos were supplied to Afghan forces specifically so they can provide close-air support to their ground fighters. They can fire laser-guided and other types of bombs.
Most of these aircraft operate from just two air bases, according to Military Periscope, one in Kabul and the other in Kandahar. The Taliban took control of Kandahar on Friday, including the airfield.
And Kabul airport will likely soon fall to the Taliban as soon as the U.S. and international evacuation is complete. Defense One adds:
Over the last 20 years the U.S. has given the Afghan Air Force more than 130 aircraft. In July, the Defense Department said it was providing the Afghan Air Force more aircraft—including 35 Black Hawks and three A-29 Super Tucanos—in a sign of continued commitment to the Kabul government even as U.S. forces withdrew. Three of the Black Hawks were delivered last month.
What can be done? “We are always worried about U.S. equipment that could fall into an adversaries’ hands,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Friday, reported Defense One. “What actions we might take to prevent that or to forestall it, I just simply won’t speculate about today.”
To prevent these planes from falling into enemy hands, the U.S. could still bomb the aircraft or airfields, but Kirby declined to say if this was still an option.
“I’m not going to speculate about … the destruction of property,” Kirby said. ADN