During an interview on Fox News, the Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby explained away the equipment the U.S. military left in the hands of the Taliban by admitting that “while there’s certainly a lethality component to it, it doesn’t pose a threat to the United States, it doesn’t pose a threat to neighboring nations.”
On Monday, America’s 20-year conflict with the Taliban in Afghanistan ended when the last U.S. troops exited the country less than two weeks before the anniversary of September 11, 2001, a day made possible by the Taliban’s sheltering of Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda. The Taliban were able to take control of Afghanistan and acquire billions of dollars in American military equipment including helicopters, humvees, and other assorted arms that will help the terror group cement that control.
A New York Times infographic provides a full breakdown of the materials left behind, although Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post points out that a good portion may not be operational. While no American troops remain in Afghanistan, an undetermined number of Americans still remain there. Kirby estimates the number to be in the “low hundreds” but he has not provided any context for that estimate. Thousands of Afghan allies of the U.S. military also remain in the country.
On MSNBC on Tuesday, Kirby excused the military exit prior to a complete civilian evacuation by asserting that “we have Americans that get stranded in countries all the time.” Less than two weeks ago, White House press secretary Jen Psaki chastised a reporter for using the term “stranded,” even deeming it “irresponsible.”