Red flags arise over massive cache of ‘sensitive’ US military weaponry, aircraft left behind in Afghanistan

As the Afghan National Army dissolved and fled in the face of advancing Taliban forces over the past month, they left behind billions of dollars worth of weapons supplied by the United States over the past two decades including advanced aircraft and other equipment reportedly deemed extremely sensitive.

“The Taliban captured an array of modern military equipment when they overran Afghan forces who failed to defend district centers,” The Associated Press reported Wednesday, adding that as Taliban forces advanced, their gains in U.S.-supplied equipment grew to include combat aircraft and huge caches of vehicles like Humvees, gear, and small arms.

The AP confirmed the massive losses of equipment with a U.S. defense official on Monday.

“The reversal is an embarrassing consequence of misjudging the viability of Afghan government forces — by the U.S. military as well as intelligence agencies — which in some cases chose to surrender their vehicles and weapons rather than fight,” the AP reported, noting that a similar situation occurred with U.S.-supplied forces in Iraq.

“Money can’t buy will. You cannot purchase leadership,” said John Kirby, the chief spokesman for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Videos posted online showed caches of weapons abandoned at the U.S.-NATO installation at Kabul’s international airport.

One, posted by Townhall’s Julio Rosas, purports to show video taken by a U.S. military contractor.

Another Twitter user posted a thread claiming that highly sensitive military equipment and aircraft has also fallen into the hands of the Taliban while also questioning why the equipment wasn’t dismantled and shipped out of Afghanistan months ago.

“Material Implications of Kabul,” the user began in a post containing photos. “That my friends, is the Taliban flying a US MH-60 stealth helicopter. We supplied the ANA special aviation and spec forces units with our top of the line gear (not second hand gear we pass to most allies), then left it all behind.”

“Why didn’t we fly them out? Helicopters have a limited range, and must be broken down and put in a plane for long range transport. The breakdown process takes days if not a week,” the user continued, adding that the military also did not utilize the option of destroying them, either.

“Why didn’t we blow them up? Even that is a big project taking days and supplies, while the US went from ‘it won’t happen!’ denial to ‘it’s already over! basically overnight, immediately shifting focus to ‘the poor refugees’ (who the Taliban claims to be pardoning),” said the user.

“And with stealth vehicles, you also want to remove the chassis panels cause their shape and material coating are themselves sensitive. Could have been done, IF the CIA didn’t drop the ball and think the Taliban was 90 days away three days ago,” the user wrote, adding: “Likely they decided ‘the Taliban already have them from other bases, the Chinese are gonna get the sensitive info no matter what we do, let’s just focus on the evacuation, we’ve already lost the stealth info.’ This is actually a huge deal.”

The user also noted that under normal circumstances, the U.S. does not sell the same kind of high-tech, sensitive hardware to allies that its military utilizes because the Pentagon does not want the technology to be leaked to Russia and China. But, the user added the U.S. made an exception with the “ANA” — Afghan National Army.

“And the Taliban has now captured actual American vehicles, planes, helicopters, tanks, and MRAPs, from hastily abandoned American bases. This is likely the single biggest intelligence disaster we’ve ever faced,” the user wrote. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they have an F-35 or even an F-22.”

Jon Dougherty

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