Trump claimed without evidence that China and Russia are examining helicopters the US abandoned in Afghanistan to steal their secrets

·2 min read
Donald trump during an interview on full measure
Former President Donald Trump. Full Measure
  • The US left aircraft, vehicles, guns, and other equipment in Afghanistan during the troop pullout.

  • Trump claimed Sunday that China and Russia were studying abandoned Apache helicopters.

  • A Pentagon spokesperson told Insider: "No Apaches were left behind in Afghanistan."

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Former President Donald Trump has claimed, without providing evidence, that China and Russia were seizing helicopters abandoned by the US military in Afghanistan and plundering their secrets.

During its swift pullout from Afghanistan, the US military left behind aircraft, land vehicles, guns, and scores of other equipment.

"I guarantee that China, Russia already have our Apache helicopters, and they're taking them apart to find out exactly how they're made. They're the best in the world by far," Trump said during an interview on "Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson" that aired Sunday.

"And they're taking them apart so they can make the exact same equipment. They're very good at that. It's a disgrace."

Speaking from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump offered no evidence for his remarks, but when asked if he still received US intelligence briefings, he said: "I get if I want. I get what I want. I hear what's going on."

"By the way, you don't need intel briefings. All you have to do is read the news or turn on the television," he said.

A Pentagon spokesperson told Insider, "No Apaches were left behind in Afghanistan."

In the interview, Trump went on to slam the Biden administration's handing of the Afghanistan pullout.

"It's the most incompetently handled withdrawal in history. There's never been anything like this, where we gave them $85 billion worth of brand-new, beautiful equipment," he said.

Trump's reference to the $85 billion worth of equipment is inflated: As The Washington Post previously reported, that figure appears to be a high estimate for all spending appropriated for Afghanistan since 2001, and only a fraction of that went to equipment. The value of the equipment left behind in Afghanistan and seized by the Taliban is also unclear.

The US military said last month that it had permanently disabled more than 150 vehicles and aircraft before it left so they could "never be used again," though Taliban fighters have been able to capture other arsenal.

Earlier this month a Times of London journalist reported that the Taliban used US-made weapons and handcuffs in their battle for Panjshir, the last Afghan province resisting their rule.

Republicans, including Trump, have blamed President Joe Biden for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, while Biden officials have blamed Trump and Afghan forces.

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