House Republicans demand a response from the Secretary of Defense regarding U.S. military equipment seized by the Taliban

Two top Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are asking the Pentagon to explain plans to prevent billions of dollars worth of US weapons from being used by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“As a direct result of the Biden administration’s inadequate planning and implementation of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban are now armed with important weapons of U.S.-made weapons. To make matters worse, the Biden administration It doesn’t seem to have any clues about the number or number of weapons platforms currently owned and operated by the Taliban. ” Republican lawmakers wrote In a letter to the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

The letter to Austin was sent by the person in charge. James Comer (R-Ky.), The Commission’s top Republicans, and lawmakers. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.), Ranking members of the National Security Subcommittee, reported in news reports a number of weapons and military equipment seized by terrorist groups when the United States and its allies withdrew earlier this month. There is.

Photos of Taliban members with American M-4 carbines and M-16 rifles, rather than AK-47s and AKMs, are circulated. Other images and videos show the Taliban surrounding the US Blackhawk helicopter and the A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft.

Comer and Grothman say they are concerned about the seizure of biometric devices that can scan irises and fingerprints to identify people. Intercept last week. “This information is likely to be used to attack US allies,” the two lawmakers wrote.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter to Secretary Austin.

A military vehicle that was transferred from the United States to the Afghan Armed Forces in February 2021. (Via Afghanistan Ministry of Defense / Reuters)

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a press conference on Monday: Obviously, we don’t want to see weapons and systems in the hands of people who use them in ways that harm our interests or the interests of our partners and allies. ” Today’s policy solution on how to or can be addressed in the future. “

Kirby went on to say that some equipment was pulled down during the Biden administration, starting with the Trump administration.

“Even in the last years and months of the previous administration, President Trump decided to drop to a force of 2,500, so a great deal of equipment, weapons and resources were withdrawn … and mid-April. After the president decided to complete this drawdown … a very large part of the retrogression was the disposal of weapons and equipment, systems and vehicles. Some of them were destroyed and some were taken home. And some were redeployed to the area, and yes, some were handed over to Afghanistan, and although we are currently working to better understand what it looks like. , There is no concrete solution for what we can or will do about this. “

The Afghan Reconstruction Special Inspector’s Office, established by Parliament in 2008, states that approximately $ 83 billion has been spent on the development and maintenance of Afghan police and troops for over 20 years. Between 2003 and 2016, the United States transferred nearly 600,000 weapons, 76,000 vehicles, 163,000 communications equipment, 208 aircraft, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment to the Afghan army. According to a report by the Government Accountability Office 2017..

Between 2017 and 2019, the United States provided Afghan troops with 4,702 humvees, 2,520 bombs, 1,394 grenade launchers, 20,040 grenades, and 7,035 machine guns, the Afghan Reconstruction Special Inspector’s Office said.

Comer and Grothman provide a complete list of all U.S. military equipment provided to the Afghan National Security Forces, the amount of military equipment that has since been abolished, and a complete description of U.S. military equipment, including documentation and information on the plan. Demanding, or current efforts to recapture, destroy, or abolish military equipment. “

“Does the Biden administration plan to prevent the Taliban from using our weapons against the United States and its allies and selling them to foreign enemies such as China, Russia, Iran and North Korea? I’m wondering, “they wrote.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.