LR Podcast S2 E19: Why the Afghanistan debacle matters

It has provided our enemies a tremendous windfall in advanced armaments.
“The Taliban has seized US weapons left in Afghanistan worth billions — possibly including 600,000 assault rifles, some 2,000 armored vehicles, and 40 aircraft, including Black Hawks, according to reports.

The US gave the Afghan military an estimated $28 billion in weaponry between 2002 and 2017 — including seven brand new helicopters delivered to Kabul just a month ago.

The war chest also included the supply of at least 600,000 infantry weapons — including M16 assault rifles — as well as 162,000 pieces of communication equipment and 16,000 night-vision goggles.

In just two years from 2017 to 2019, the US gave 7,035 machine guns, 4,702 Humvees, 20,040 hand grenades, 2,520 bombs and 1,394 grenade launchers, The Hill noted, citing a report last year from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

“Everything that hasn’t been destroyed is the Taliban’s now,” one US official told Reuters, speaking on the condition of anonymity.” Excerpt from NY Post article from Taliban has billions in US weapons, including Black Hawks and up to 600K rifles

The situation creates a potential hostage situation that could dwarf the Iran hostage crisis. (In 1979 Iranian militants took over the American embassy in Tehran and held them for 444 days.) The White House claims that between 100 and 200 Americans were left behind in Afghanistan. Every one is a potential hostage and bargaining chip to be used by the Taliban to gain monetary and other concessions Endangers Afghan Christians, women, and gays Undermines our standing in the world, especially with our allies and with Taiwan.
“Several MPs said constituents, particularly former service personnel, had been in contact, with “heart-rending” stories of friends and former colleagues in Afghanistan who were now in immediate danger, piling pressure on the government to act faster to help save them.

Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the foreign affairs select committee, said he was “extremely angry” at Biden’s criticism of Afghan soldiers, calling those troops “incredibly brave” and saying the US withdrew “like a thief in the night” with no proper handover. The former Treasury minister Huw Merriman, who chairs the transport select committee, called Biden a “total blithering idiot” for blaming Afghan forces. “Makes me wonder if he is the Siamese twin of Donald Trump. Tony Blair left us with this mess and we did not try hard enough to clear it up,” he tweeted. Another former minister, Simon Clarke, said it was the end of an American era. “The more you reflect, the more you realize the speech [Biden] gave last night was grotesque. An utter repudiation of the America so many of us have admired so deeply all our lives – the champion of liberty and democracy and the guardian of what’s right in the world,” he said.” –Excerpt from The Guardian article from 17 Aug 21 article: UK politicians decry Joe Biden’s defense of Afghanistan pullout

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