The Taliban have access to over $85 billion worth of military equipment due to the Biden administration’s “negligence,” Republican congressman Jim Banks said last week.
“We now know, that due to the negligence of [President Joe Biden’s] administration, the Taliban now [have] access to over $85 billion worth of American military equipment,” Banks, a veteran of the 20-year war in Afghanistan, said.
Over the past two decades, the US trained and supplied the Afghan armed forces with huge amounts of weaponry and equipment – most of which was seized by the Taliban when they took control of the country on August 15 after a months-long battle.
The Afghan army units had failed to put up much of a fight when the extremist group began gaining control of key cities with many abandoning their posts and or surrendering, according to US officials.
With little to no resistance, Banks said the Taliban were able to seize the military equipment left behind, including 75,000 vehicles, 200 airplanes and helicopters, and 600,000 small arms and light weapons.
The Afghan extremist organization now has more black hawk helicopters than 85 percent of the countries in the world, the congressman added.
More shockingly, Banks said, the Taliban also have biometric devices that have the fingerprints, eye scans, and the biographical information of Afghan citizens who collaborated with the US in their fight against the extremist group.
“But they don’t just have weapons. They have night-vision goggles, body armor, medical supplies and, unbelievably … the Taliban now [have] biometric devices which have the fingerprints, eye scans and the biographical information of the Afghans who helped us over the last 20 years,” the US veteran said.
The abandoned equipment may be used to target them or in attacks on Americans, Banks warned.
“If any of these weapons or this military equipment is used to harm, injure, or kill an American now or at any time in the future, the blood is on Joe Biden’s hands,” he said.
Several US officials have also warned that the weapons could be seized by other extremist groups, such as ISIS-K, or potentially handed over to US rivals like China and Russia.
Despite the threat, the Biden administration has given no indication of whether it would try to take back the equipment left behind, according to Banks.
US President Joe Biden is facing large bouts of criticism for the chaos that ensued when US troops began withdrawing from Afghanistan. US-led forces had been stationed in Afghanistan for two decades after the ousting of a Taliban government that sheltered the al-Qaeda militants who were behind the September 11 attacks in 2001.
After carrying out the largest non-combat military evacuation in history, the US announced that it had completed its withdrawal on Monday.