On Sunday, Taliban forces held a very bone-chilling parade showing off their captured American-made armored military vehicles and Russian helicopters. The act was “a display that showed their ongoing transformation from an insurgent force to a regular standing army” writes CNN.
The Taliban are no longer terror insurgents fighting against American forces that had once freed Afghanistan from the Taliban. As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.
The parade was part of a graduation for 250 newly trained Taliban soldiers, said defense ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi. CNN reports, “The exercise involved dozens of US-made M117 armored security vehicles driving slowly up and down a major Kabul road with MI-17 helicopters patrolling overhead. Many soldiers carried American-made M4 assault rifles.”
Tragically, much of the weaponry taunted in the parade by Taliban forces were supplied by the United States to the American-backed government in Kabul during the past two decades. The equipment was to aid an Afghan national force and make it capable of fighting the Taliban.
As forces fled Afghanistan, some of the military equipment provided by western forces was flown into Central Asian Countries in an attempt to avoid it landing in the hands of the Taliban. It remains unclear exactly how much of what did end up in Taliban control is still operational.
American troops destroyed over 70 aircraft and dozens of armored vehicles, as well as disabled air defenses before flying out of Kabul during the frenetic evacuation. CNN reports “Taliban officials have said that pilots, mechanics and other specialists from the former Afghan National Army would be integrated into a new force, which has also started wearing conventional military uniforms in place of the traditional Afghan clothing normally worn by their fighters.”
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Pentagon, DOD Suddenly Realize They Left People Behind
NBC News reports, “The Pentagon does not have a good accounting of how many DOD civilians still have immediate family members in Afghanistan.”
Almost three months after the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Pentagon has come to the realization that Americans left behind need to get out. According to NBC News, “The Pentagon is stepping up efforts to get family members of U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, creating a database of the dozens who are trapped there.”
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl is asking military personnel and Defense Department civilians with immediate family members who remain in Afghanistan but want to leave to email his office. The email must include names along with “passport, contact and other personal information about the members so they can be added to the database.” The security of this database should come into question, especially when in August news that the biometrics system with our Afghan allies’ information fell into the hands of the Taliban.
Still, with all of the identifiable information, how are these family members going to be rescued? NBC News reports, “The Pentagon does not have a good accounting of how many DOD civilians still have immediate family members in Afghanistan.” Also, according to one official, “The U.S. military will not have a role in actually getting the people out of the country.”
Since the withdrawal took place, private citizens have come together to try to evacuate the friends, families and allies that the Biden administration left behind. The Biden administration has even been called out for taking credit for some of these successful missions in which they not only did not assist but actually tried to stop.
NBC News writes, “A defense official said the memo shows ‘a more deliberate effort at the DOD level’ to keep track of how many people are impacted. The official said there is real momentum to help get immediate family members out. ‘There is an increased desire to make sure that as we make this push that we have every situation accounted for,’ the official said, adding that they are trying to ‘expand the reach’ to make sure DOD personnel and their families are getting help.”
Where was this sense of urgency two and half months ago when these family members first went into hiding? Why wasn’t there a “deliberate effort” with “real momentum” and an “increased desire” to immediately help rescue those we left behind? Adding names to a database now, after the completed withdrawal, is unproductive especially since the U.S. military will have no role in evacuating the family members left in Afghanistan.
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