‘Unconscionable’: Taliban has seized UH-60 Black Hawks, other high-tech American equipment, Republicans say in letter to White House


Thomas Catenacci, DCNF

The Taliban has seized a variety of high-tech weaponry, 25 Republican senators said in a letter to the White House demanding a full accounting of the lost equipment.

The GOP senators led by Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Member Marco Rubio said they were “horrified” to see U.S. weaponry such as UH-60 Black Hawk combat helicopters in the Taliban’s possession, in the letter sent to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday. The lawmakers asked for detailed information about the seized equipment and an assessment of whether Russia, China and Iran could get their hands on the technology.

“We write with grave concern regarding the status of U.S. military equipment left behind in Afghanistan as a result of our poorly executed withdrawal from the country,” they wrote to Austin.

“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 letter continued. “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.”

Top defense officials have repeatedly refused to answer questions about the weaponry, artillery, vehicles and equipment Taliban fighters have taken during their swift takeover of Afghanistan.

However, an anonymous defense official said the insurgents had accumulated a massive array of U.S. equipment in an interview with the Associated Press. The Taliban even obtained American biometric devices that contain information about former Afghan soldiers, a Joint Special Operations Command official told The Intercept.

Rubio and the other Republicans made a series of demands, asking Austin for a full account of military equipment given to the Afghan army, the estimated amount of operational weapons that were left behind in Afghanistan and a list of the equipment the U.S. believes was taken by the Taliban. They also asked for information on any efforts the Biden administration is planning to recapture or destroy the remaining equipment.

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