Last Updated on August 18, 2021
Major General Hank Taylor was asked about abandoned Afghan military equipment during a Pentagon press conference on Monday. Taylor is a logistics expert on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and is the current director of operations in Kabul. An unidentified reporter asked the general if the U.S. had conducted any airstrikes over the last 24 hours. He also asked if any steps were being taken to prevent equipment from being captured by the Taliban. “Is the U.S. taking any other sort of steps to prevent aircraft or other military equipment from falling into the hands of the Taliban?” Taylor was asked.
“No strikes have been conducted in the last 24 hours, but the commander on the ground continues to maintain that capability if required to do so,” Taylor replied. “I don’t information on the second part of the question,” he added in regards to the question about equipment. “So there’s no, no U.S. action is being taken to prevent equipment from falling into the hands of the Taliban by destroying it or anything else?” the reporter followed up. “I don’t have the answer to that question,” the general affirmed.
Q: "Is the U.S. taking any other sort of steps to prevent aircraft of other military equipment from falling into the hands of the Taliban?"
Major General Hank Taylor: "I don't have the answer to that question."
Full Pentagon briefing here: https://t.co/VVL5NduAHW pic.twitter.com/unapyd2ACy
— CSPAN (@cspan) August 16, 2021
Around $83 billion of the $145 billion the U.S. government spent trying to rebuild Afghanistan went towards building up and maintaining Afghanistan’s military and police forces. Almost all of the Afghan army’s equipment has either been captured or destroyed after the army disintegrated in the face of the Taliban advance.
Taliban fighters have posted several propaganda videos with captured U.S.-made and donated equipment. Militants have posted several videos of large weapons caches looted from across the country, as well as hundreds of Humvees and armored vehicles. The militants have also seized sophisticated military vehicles such as UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and Scan Eagle UAV drones.
#Taliban seized Blackhawks on #Kandahar airport pic.twitter.com/Uv9iIo1HDu
— C4H10FO2P (@markito0171) August 14, 2021
Several Afghan army units also fled across into neighboring countries in recent weeks, including Iran. Multiple vehicle columns consisting of Humvees and armored vehicles were admitted to Iran as the Afghan army collapsed. Former Afghan troops also fled into neighboring Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Along the border with Uzbekistan, a large number of Afghan military vehicles were abandoned on a bridge while the soldiers and militia members manning them were allowed to enter the country. The bridge, known as “the Friendship Bridge”, is the same bridge Soviet troops used to withdraw from Afghanistan in 1989.
Long abandoned convoy of ANDSF/Dostum's militia still at the bridge at Uzbekistan border zone. Looks like Uzbek authorities took in the soldiers/militiamen but didn't allow the vehicles inside. #Balkh
— FJ (@Natsecjeff) August 15, 2021
President Trump mentioned abandoned Afghan military equipment in a statement on Monday. “Can anyone even imagine taking out our Military before evacuating civilians and others who have been good to our Country and who should be allowed to seek refuge? In addition, these people left topflight and highly sophisticated equipment. Who can believe such incompetence? Under my Administration, all civilians and equipment would have been removed,” said Trump.