Video footage shows the Taliban, advancing, inspecting long lines of vehicles and opening boxes filled with new firearms, communications equipment and even military drones.
A month ago, the Afghan Ministry of Defense published pictures on social media of seven new helicopters that arrived in Kabul from the United States.
Several days later, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed at his department headquarters, “They will continue to receive such support at a stable pace from now on,” according to “Reuters”.
But the Taliban then took control of most of the country and any weapons and equipment the Afghan forces left while they fled.
“Everything that was not destroyed is now in the hands of the Taliban,” a US official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. According to the agency, US officials confirm that they have fears that these weapons will be used to kill civilians or fall into the hands of other extremist groups such as the terrorist organization “ISIS”, and be used to attack US interests in the region or will be given to its opponents such as China and Russia.
Officials said that airstrikes against heavier military hardware such as helicopters have not yet been ruled out, but there is concern that this could antagonize the Taliban at a time when the United States is primarily aiming to evacuate people to safety.
Another official said that although specific figures were not available, the current intelligence assessment indicates that the Taliban have taken control of more than 2,000 armoured vehicles, including American Humvees, and as many as 40 aircraft, possibly including UH-60s. Black Hawks, attack helicopters and Scan Eagle military drones.
“We’ve already seen Taliban fighters carrying US-made weapons that they took from Afghan forces. This poses a serious threat to the United States and our allies,” Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, told Reuters by email.