It seems the Taliban are flying the not-so-friendly skies of Afghanistan in U.S. Black Hawk helicopters, compliments of the Afghan National Security Forces.
The Taliban has reportedly scooped up $85 billion worth of American war materiel.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. doesn’t have a “complete picture” of the military equipment that has fallen into the hands of the Taliban.
“Those Black Hawks were not given to the Taliban. They were given to the Afghan National Security Forces to be able to defend themselves at the specific request of President Ghani, who came to the Oval Office and asked for additional air capability, among other things,” Sullivan said at a press conference.
The Afghan National Security Air Forces had 167 “usable / In-country” aircraft as recently as last June, according to the U.S.-based Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction report.
That figure included 33 Black Hawks, 33 AC-208 planes, three C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, 33 Mi-17 Helicopters, 23 A-29 light attack planes, and 43 MD-530 helicopters. That’s just the tip of what was left behind.
A mind-blowing graphic in today's Times on what $85bn worth of lost equipment means in practice for the Taliban: pic.twitter.com/GDcuNQbb6P
— Will Brown (@_Will_Brown) August 29, 2021
The Talib Times, which claims to be the “official news” Twitter profile of the “Islamic Emirate Afghanistan” (yes, the Taliban is on Twitter and Donald Trump is not), tweeted an unverified video of the Taliban parading a Black Hawk chopper over Kandahar. The unsubstantiated video looks more like a scene from the movie Scarface.
Our Air Force!
At this time, the Islamic Emirate's air force helicopters are flying over Kandahar city and patrolling the city. pic.twitter.com/rlE6nUldZf
— Talib Times (@TalibTimes) August 30, 2021
Congressman Jim Banks, a former military sales officer during the Afghanistan War, had something to say about all the equipment left in Afghanistan.
“I acquired American military equipment to equip the Afghans with — you can imagine how shameful I find it that today all of that equipment has fallen into the hands of the Taliban,” Banks stated at a press conference.
“The Taliban now have more Black Hawk helicopters than 85 per cent of the countries in the world,” Banks continued.
Tomorrow marks the deadline for all Americans, civilian and military, to be out of Afghanistan. The U.S. has reportedly evacuated 122,000 people from Afghanistan, including 6,000 Americans. The State Department suggests 300 American are left behind in Afghanistan.