Multiple disturbing and shocking reports have detailed this week that literally billions of dollars in US weaponry and military equipment were left behind amid the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Taliban have been proudly sporting these weapons, even in some cases posing with US-supplied air force hardware liked Black Hawk helicopters.
Biden admin officials says they are still mulling plans to bomb and destroy US equipment in the country from the air. "Everything that hasn't been destroyed is the Taliban's now," one official told Reuters.
There's growing pressure for the White House to do something in this regard, given not only the number of viral media stories detailing the Taliban's new US arsenal, but especially that Congress is getting involved, with a group of Senators this week led by Marco Rubio writing a scathing letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
"As we watched the images coming out of Afghanistan as the Taliban retook the country, we were horrified to see U.S. equipment – including UH-60 Black Hawks – in the hands of the Taliban," the letter said.
"It is unconscionable that high-tech military equipment paid for by U.S. taxpayers has fallen into the hands of the Taliban and their terrorist allies," the senators added. "Securing U.S. assets should have been among the top priorities for the U.S. Department of Defense prior to announcing the withdrawal from Afghanistan."
According to what administration insiders told Reuters, they described that "launching airstrikes against the larger equipment, such as helicopters, has not been ruled out, but there is concern that would antagonize the Taliban at a time the United States' main goal is evacuating people."
I’d like a refund for all my taxes that went to giving the Taliban Blackhawk helicopters. pic.twitter.com/XWphdEElg8— Being Libertarian (@beinlibertarian) August 14, 2021
Should the Pentagon wait till evacuation efforts from Kabul international airport are complete, however, there's a greater likelihood the Taliban would have already hid or secured much of the equipment.
Meanwhile it appears the Taliban may even have drones in their possession:
Another official said that while there are no definitive numbers yet, the current intelligence assessment was that the Taliban are believed to control more than 2,000 armored vehicles, including U.S. Humvees, and up to 40 aircraft potentially including UH-60 Black Hawks, scout attack helicopters, and ScanEagle military drones.
Likely the more sophisticated aircraft could be inoperable, given the significant maintenance, parts, and pilot know-how required to fly.
There remains the possibility that defected pilots who formerly received training from either the US or Pakistan could fill the gap, however. But for something as sophisticated as a Black Hawk, without the constant rotation of parts and upkeep by trained personnel, it's unlikely the Taliban will ever get them in the air.