Back when Joe Biden was vice-president, the Obama/Biden administration sent thousands of firearms across the U.S.-Mexico border and into the hands of the drug cartels as part of Operation Fast & Furious. It seems hard to believe that Biden could top that exercise in stupidity, but with the collapse of the Afghan government in the wake of the pullout of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, he’s truly outdone himself.
As Reuters reports, some Taliban fighters are giving up their AK-47s and swapping them out for American-made battle rifles; just a small part of the booty left behind as the military scrambled to exit the country ahead of Biden’s self-imposed deadline of September 11th.
Video and pictures published by the Taliban on Twitter and elsewhere show fighters carrying M4 carbines and M16 rifles discarded by Afghan army units. Other images show Taliban forces capturing abandoned government vehicles.
The U.S. guns are more accurate and have greater range than the their AK-47s, but on their own may not deliver much added capability on the battlefield.
“Some of the hardware might be useful to have if looking to intimidate rival warlords, but that’s about it,” said Grant Newsham, a retired United States Marine Corps colonel. “They’ve done rather well with what they already had.”
Still, the image of U.S.-made weapons in the hands of the Taliban as it sweeps aside the Afghan National Army – funded with billions of dollars from the U.S. government over the past two decades – is a propaganda coup for the militants.
“We don’t have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone but certainly, a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban, and obviously, we don’t have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport,” Sullivan told reporters at a White House briefing during which he faced an onslaught of questions over the Biden administration’s handling of the sudden troop withdrawal.
The Taliban, during their lightning advance over the past week to take control of Afghanistan, amassed a variety of weapons the US supplied to Afghan forces, including guns, ammunition and even Blackhawk helicopters.
… Sullivan blamed the Afghan troops for handing the weapons over without a fight despite widespread criticism from across the political and international spectrum of President Biden’s handling of the troop withdrawal.
“Those Blackhawks 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 and President Ghani who came to the Oval Office and asked for additional air capability, among other things,” Sullivan said.
The U.S. left Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield after nearly 20 years by shutting off the electricity and slipping away in the night without notifying the base’s new Afghan commander, who discovered the Americans’ departure more than two hours after they left, Afghan military officials said.
Afghanistan’s army showed off the sprawling air base Monday, providing a rare first glimpse of what had been the epicenter of America’s war to unseat the Taliban and hunt down the al-Qaida perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks on America.
… Before the Afghan army could take control of the airfield about an hour’s drive from the Afghan capital Kabul, it was invaded by a small army of looters, who ransacked barrack after barrack and rummaged through giant storage tents before being evicted, according to Afghan military officials.
“At first we thought maybe they were Taliban,” said Abdul Raouf, a soldier of 10 years. He said the the U.S. called from the Kabul airport and said “we are here at the airport in Kabul.”
Even if the lion’s share of weaponry seized by the Taliban was in the possession of the Afghan army, the buck still stops with Biden. It’s become increasingly apparent that there were plenty of intelligence and military officials warning Biden of the increasing likelihood of a “worst case scenario” if we stuck to the president’s self-imposed timeline, and that’s exactly what we have now. Biden assured the American people that we’d still be supporting the Afghan army as we withdrew our own relatively small number of forces from the country, but that didn’t happen. Instead of maintaining the air support and intelligence operations that aided the Afghan army in its fight against the Taliban, we cut them loose. Now we (and they) are going to be dealing with the consequences of Biden’s mistake for years to come.
If Joe Biden had any sense of shame, we’d never hear another word about a gun ban cross his lips. Instead, we’re likely to see the same man who helped arm the Taliban try as hard as he can to disarm the American people of the tens of millions of modern sporting rifles in their possession.