As the Taliban wallow in advanced military hardware that the United States gave the Afghan government in hopes of preventing a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, one option reportedly under consideration is to use airstrikes to destroy the equipment.
The evaporation of Afghan resistance left the Taliban with “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,” according to Reuters.
“Everything that hasn’t been destroyed is the Taliban’s now,” an anonymous U.S. official told the outlet.
The weapons could be used to ensure Taliban dominance over any Afghan citizens who rise up against the new government, shared with terrorist groups or given to American enemies.
Airstrikes are under consideration, Reuters reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials — but timing is an issue.
The U.S. is currently focused on getting out its citizens, and destroying military hardware would be likely to end any Taliban acquiescence in that effort.
However, the concern for the loss of weapons is rising.
“We have already seen Taliban fighters armed with U.S.-made weapons they seized from the Afghan forces,” Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas told Reuters.
“This poses a significant threat to the United States and our allies.”
Retired U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command from 2016 to 2019, said many high-tech items that fell into Taliban hands lack sensitive U.S. technology.
“In some cases, some of these will be more like trophies,” Votel said.
His concern was the use of guns against any internal resistance.
A hint of how the Taliban might use its weaponry and power came in a report from Amnesty International, cited by The Washington Post.
The report said that after the Taliban took over a village 150 miles from Kabul last month, Taliban fighters killed nine men.
“The coldblooded brutality of these killings is a reminder of the Taliban’s past record, and a horrifying indicator of what Taliban rule may bring,” Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International, said in a statement.
The report said the Taliban tortured some of the victims before killing them.
When Taliban fighters were asked why the men were killed, one replied, “Everyone dies. … It is the time of war,” the report said.
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