Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., attempted to spin reports of Taliban militants showing off their newly acquired U.S. weaponry, arguing that the equipment was actually “property of the Afghan government” when it was seized during the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
“Almost all of the American military equipment was removed from Afghanistan prior to this mission of evacuating from the Kabul airport,” Garamendi, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, told MSNBC on Monday. “Now, that equipment is gone.”
“There’s often the misunderstanding here about other American equipment,” he continued. “The U.S. has armed the previous Afghan government, 300,000 soldiers and all of the equipment that goes with it. We have been doing that for the last 20 years. With the collapse and total disappearance of the Ghani government, that equipment fell into the hands of the Taliban and they now have it. Indeed, it is American equipment, but it was the property of the Afghan government.”
The U.S. has provided an estimated $83 billion worth of training and equipment – including aircraft, armored vehicles, rifles, and tactical gear – to Afghan security forces since 2001. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces surrendered many of those weapons as the Taliban made their way through Afghanistan. After the central Afghan government collapsed to the Taliban on Aug. 15, pictures and videos have shown militants admiring their newly acquired weaponry. – READ MORE