'Bomb the Hell Out of It': Trump Urges Crackdown to Return US Military Hardware Seized by Taliban
05:49 GMT 31.08.2021 (Updated: 13:23 GMT 06.08.2022)
© AFP 2023 / BRANDON BELLFormer President Donald Trump looks on before speaking during a tour to an unfinished section of the border wall on June 30, 2021 in Pharr, Texas. Gov. Abbott has pledged to build a state-funded border wall between Texas and Mexico as a surge of mostly Central American immigrants crossing into the United States has challenged U.S. immigration agencies. So far in 2021, U.S. Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 900,000 immigrants crossing into the United States on the southern border.
Earlier this month, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan argued that although the Biden administration does not have a "complete picture" of where US weaponry in Afghanistan has gone, "a fair amount of it" is now in the Taliban's* hands.
Former US President Donald Trump has said Washington should demand that the Taliban return each and every piece of American military hardware, seized during its takeover of the country or crack down on the militant group.
"In addition to the obvious, all equipment should be demanded to be immediately returned to the United States, and that includes every penny of the $85 billion dollars in cost. If it is not handed back, we should either go in with unequivocal military force and get it, or at least bomb the hell out of it", Trump stressed in a statement on Monday.
He also lashed out at the Biden administration's handling of the US troop pullout from Afghanistan, noting that "nobody ever thought such stupidity, as this feeble-brained withdrawal, was possible".
The pullout was taking place amid increased military activities by the Taliban across nation which culminated in their takeover of the capital Kabul and the fall of the Afghan government on 15 August. This was followed by the evacuation of US nationals and allied Afghans, a process that the Pentagon announced had come to a close on Monday, in line with a deadline previously set by President Biden.
Trump's statement follows Republican Congressman Jim Banks telling reporters last week that the Taliban currently had access to at least $85 billion worth of US weaponry.
The claims followed National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting earlier in August that the White House doesn't have "a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of [US] defence materials has gone", but that "certainly, a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban".
30 August 2021, 08:33 GMT
Shortly after the fall of Kabul, several videos were shared on social media appearing to show what looked like Taliban fighters posing next to UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and apparently taking a joyride in one.
Over the last few years, the US Department of Defence has provided the Afghan security forces with over 7,000 machine guns, more than 4,700 Humvees, and at least 20,000 grenades, according to a recent Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) analysis.
A report issued by the Government Accountability Office in 2017 claims that from 2013 to 2016, the Pentagon delivered about 76,000 vehicles, 600,000 weapons systems, and 208 aircraft to Afghan troops.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.