As President Biden continues his haphazard withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban retakes control of the country, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a veteran of the Global War on Terror and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined her colleagues in pressing the Pentagon on the status of American military equipment.
In a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Ernst and her colleagues write, “As we watched the images coming out of Afghanistan as the Taliban retook the country, we were horrified to see U.S. equipment – including UH-60 Black Hawks – in the hands of the Taliban.”
They go on to say, “It is unconscionable that high-tech military equipment payed for by U.S. taxpayers has fallen into the hands of the Taliban and their terrorist allies. 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.”
The senators are asking for information on the following:
- A full account of military equipment provided to the Afghan Armed Forces in the last year;
- All military equipment, owned by either the U.S. or Afghan Armed Forces, that were removed or destroyed prior to the U.S. withdrawal, or are rendered inoperable without U.S. logistics personnel;
- All U.S. military equipment that remains operational in Afghanistan;
- A list of what military equipment that has been seized by the Taliban;
- An assessment of how long it will take the Taliban to use each of the captured equipment;
- An assessment of the likelihood that the Taliban will seek to work with Russia, Pakistan, Iran, or the People’s Republic of China for training, fuel, or infrastructure necessary to utilize the equipment they do not have the capabilities to use on their own; and
- Any efforts by the administration, planned or underway, to recapture or destroy equipment that remains in Afghanistan and is at risk of being used by terrorist entities.
Yesterday, Senator Ernst sent a letter to both the Secretaries of State and Defense calling on the Biden Administration to provide answers on the safety of American citizens living in Afghanistan and details on the plans to get them out of Afghanistan.