The U.S. military made sure some of its weapons wouldn't fall into Taliban hands while leaving Afghanistan, according to Gen. Frank McKenzie, U.S. CENTCOM commander.
The general, who announced the end of the U.S.'s twenty-year war in Afghanistan on Monday, explained that military forces destroyed dozens of MRAPs, Humvees, and aircraft before they left shortly after midnight Tuesday morning local time, which was President Joe Biden's self-imposed withdrawal deadline.
With the United States's now-completed withdrawal approaching in early August, many Biden administration officials expected the Afghan forces, which they trained for years, to be able to hold off the Taliban at least until after the troops had left. Instead, much of the equipment the U.S. had provided to the Afghan forces fell into the Taliban's hands but not the 70 MRAPs and 27 Humvees, both of which are military vehicles, and 73 aircraft they left inoperable.
"Those aircraft will never fly again when we left," McKenzie said of the aircraft. "They’ll never be able to be operated by anyone."
The U.S. left the C-RAM defense system, which prevented an attack on Monday, in place until the very end.
"Our C-RAMs were very effective in engaging the two rockets that did fall on the airfield," McKenzie explained. "We believe they probably kept them from doing more significant damage. We elected to keep those systems in operation up until the last minute. It’s a complex procedure, complex and time-intensive procedure to break down those systems. So we demilitarized those systems so that they’ll never be used again. We felt it was more important to protect our forces than bring the systems back."
Last week, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said they "don't have an exact inventory of what equipment that the Afghans had at their disposal that now might be at risk." He explained that the U.S. has a “vested interest, obviously,” in the matter but declined to share “any policy solutions." However, he said that “an awful lot of equipment, weapons [and] resources” had been removed from Afghanistan ahead of the final drawdown. Rep. Jim Banks, an Indiana Republican and Afghanistan veteran, estimated the price tag of U.S. equipment left behind at $85 billion.
The U.S.-backed Afghan military possessed more than 150 aircraft before the Taliban took over, according to the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction's recent report. The U.S. also provided them with 600,000 infantry weapons, 162,000 pieces of communication equipment, and 16,000 night vision goggles since 2003, according to Reuters.
During a Tuesday morning interview on CNN, Kirby said that the “only thing” the military left operable “are a couple of fire trucks and some forklifts so that the airport itself can remain more operational going forward.”
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Original Author: Mike Brest
Original Location: US military destroyed some of its own weapons on the way out of Afghanistan