WASHINGTON — National Safety Advisor Jake Sullivan said Tuesday a “fair amount” of military equipment the U.S. provided the Afghan National Safety Forces was seized by the Taliban in the militant crew’s rapid route of Afghanistan.
“We don’t have a total image, clearly, of where each article of protection materials has long past,” Sullivan said at a White Condominium press briefing, “nonetheless certainly a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban. And clearly, we don’t have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport.”
The U.S. pumped more than $80 billion in equipment and training into the Afghan safety forces since the start of the war in Afghanistan, which the U.S. launched to root out al-Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks.
Nonetheless despite those efforts, the Afghan military – which analysts said was unmotivated, disorganized and plagued by low morale – collapsed to the Taliban over the weekend without mustering a fight in most cities.
After seizing assist an eye on of Afghanistan, the Taliban released photos of U.S. Black Hawk military helicopters at the Kandahar International Airport that the U.S. had provided the Afghan army.
“These Black Hawks weren’t given to the Taliban. They were given to the Afghan National Safety Forces for them to defend themselves,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said conventional Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani requested the helicopters during a White Condominium visit with President Joe Biden in June.
“So the president had a preference. He couldn’t give it to them, with the risk that it may well fall into the Taliban’s hands eventually,” Sullivan said, “or he may give it to them, with the hope that they may deploy it in service of defending their country. Both of those alternatives had risks.”
Sullivan did no longer specify what various U.S. protection equipment is in the possession of the Taliban. He said the Afghan safety forces are no longer a “coherent entity” after giving way to the Taliban as Afghan leaders fled the country.
Biden and his administration has defended the U.S. military’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was lickety-split taken over by the Taliban, arguing the U.S. ought to no longer be “nation-building” and that terrorism rooted in Afghanistan no longer poses a major threat to the U.S.
Sullivan said the administration’s top precedence fair now is to make obvious the safe evacuation of Americans and others seeking to flee Afghanistan. He said the U.S. has been in contact with the Taliban to make obvious the safe passage of other folks to the Kabul airport, which he said is secured.
White Condominium press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration is monitoring the airport evacuations, no longer fair taking the Taliban’s “note” that they may let other folks freely travel to the airport.
“We are watching carefully. We’re in conclude contact and we are certainly assessing whether or no longer they are going to abide by their dedication,” Psaki said.
Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.