Americans who trained Afghan pilots and ground crews are now raising the alarm about their safety. Though some flew out of the country, others are still in Afghanistan, hiding from the Taliban. And they are desperate to get out, fearing the Taliban may learn their identities and retaliate.
As videos emerged of Taliban fighters carrying US-made M4 and M18 assault rifles and M24 sniper weapons, the US conceded it does not have the “complete picture” while adding that “a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban”.
“Obviously, we don’t have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us,” Jake Sullivan, White House National Security Advisor said.
Taliban fighters were seen reportedly climbing on American Black Hawk helicopters as the Afghan troops were pushed back from major areas in Afghanistan.
— C4H10FO2P (@markito0171) August 14, 2021
Now a video surfaced where the Taliban tried to fly the Black Hawk helicopters or should I say drive them!
— Jahid Jalal -جاهد جلال (@A_Jahid_Jalal) August 25, 2021
Reporters are claiming they are able to fly them but the video doesn’t give enough confidence.
reporters are claiming they are able to fly them: https://t.co/68dPwKzBB7
— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) August 25, 2021
I would say hell no, they are running a Blackhawk down a taxi way. That is not flying.
That is like saying you are dating someone because you sat next to them on the Metro.
The U.S. provided an estimated $83 billion worth of training and equipment to Afghan security forces since 2001. This year, alone, the U.S. military aid to Afghan forces was $3 billion.
Putting price tags on American military equipment still in Afghanistan isn’t an easy task. In the fog of war – or withdrawal – Afghanistan has always been a black box with little sunshine.
This month, the Taliban seized Black Hawk helicopters and A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft. As late as last month, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense posted photos on social media of seven newly arrived helicopters from the U.S., Reuters reported.
Black Hawk helicopters can cost up to $21 million. In 2013, the U.S. placed an order for 20 A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft for $427 million – that’s $21.3 million for each plane. Other specialized helicopters can cost up to $37 million each.
The Afghan air force contracted for C-208 light attack airplanes in March 2018: seven planes for $84.6 million, or $12.1 million each. The airplanes are very sophisticated and carry HELLFIRE missiles, anti-tank missiles and other weaponry.
Mark Van der Veen offers some of the most analytical and insightful writings on politics. He regularly opines on the motives and political calculations of politicians and candidates, and whether or not their strategy will work. Van der Veen offers a contrast to many on this list by sticking mainly to a fact-based style of writing that is generally combative with opposing ideologies.