Pentagon press secretary John Kirby tells CNN that military equipment shown in a viral video at a hangar at the Kabul Airport in Afghanistan has been “demilitarized” and is now “unusable.”
The comments refer to an online video of Taliban fighters entering a hangar at the airport and inspecting United States military equipment, including a Chinook helicopter.
“They can inspect all they want. They can look at them, they can walk around, but they can’t fly them. They can’t operate them,” he explained.
“We made sure to demilitarize, to make unusable, all the gear that is at the airport,” Kirby said, adding that there were only “a couple of fire trucks and some forklifts” that were operational.
The press secretary said the Pentagon is “not overly concerned about these images of them walking around.”
Kirby’s comments, of note, reference the weapons and equipment “at the airport.”
Some of the equipment captured by the Taliban wasn’t necessarily in that particular hangar in that particular airport.
The Sunday Times outlined the Taliban’s huge gains, including Humvees, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, drones, anti-aircraft guns, rifles, helicopters, and fixed-wing aircraft.
The $85 billion estimate has been disputed in part because the figure includes the cost of training and housing Afghan police over a 20-year presence in the country.
One video, posted by the Talib Times, an outlet claiming to be the English-language official account of the Taliban-run Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, purports to show Taliban members flying a Black Hawk.
The video has not been verified as to the contents.
The BBC over the weekend reported that the Taliban had taken video of a Black Hawk helicopter “taxiing on the tarmac.”
But equipment with such levels of sophistication is likely not to be simply piloted and operated without significant training, and will likely not properly run without necessary software programs and updates.
General Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, confirmed Kirby’s claims that the aircraft in the viral video at least had been “demilitarized.”
“Those aircraft will never fly again,” he said. “They’ll never be able to be operated by anyone.”
The Los Angeles Times reported on Taliban fighters entering the airport hangar and described them using already-seized American weapons in celebration.
As if to symbolize the dizzying turnabout, the group’s foot soldiers surged onto the airfield wearing U.S.-supplied uniforms and carrying once-coveted U.S.-made weapons and gear such as night-vision goggles. They fired salvos into the air and shouted “Allahu akbar!’’
Former President Donald Trump on Monday suggested that any military equipment left behind for the Taliban be returned.
“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,” he added.
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