The Taliban has seized scores of American weapons and military equipment from Afghan security forces as the terrorist group accelerates its takeover following the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country.
Taliban terrorists are now in possession of U.S.-made military vehicles, anti-aircraft guns, armored tanks, and artillery. The munitions were provided to Afghan security forces to secure the country as the United States ends its two-decade war there. The Taliban have overwhelmed Afghan forces, taking over key Afghan provinces and using U.S. weapons to power the offensive.
"These captured systems will increase the mobility and lethality of the Taliban, making them a more formidable adversary," said Bradley Bowman, senior director of the Center on Military and Political Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. "We have already seen the Taliban using captured humvees to patrol Kunduz and Sar-e Pol."
With the situation in Afghanistan deteriorating, the United States announced that it is sending 3,000 troops back into the country to help evacuate the vulnerable American embassy in Kabul. President Joe Biden left for vacation shortly after the announcement. Vice President Kamala Harris dodged questions about the situation on Thursday afternoon, when a reporter asked if "Afghanistan is lost to the Taliban." Harris would not answer, but said she would be briefed on the matter.
Military experts fear Afghanistan will once again become a breeding ground for terrorists and militant groups like al Qaeda.
Annie Aleman, a GOP strategist with the American Security Project, predicted on Thursday that Kabul could soon fall to the Taliban.
"It is very reasonable to expect that Kabul will fall by the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this year," Aleman said.
Bowman said the situation warrants increased U.S. airstrikes in the country to ensure the Taliban cannot make further inroads.
"Concerns regarding the captured artillery have prompted U.S. airstrikes," Bowman said. "Hopefully those U.S. airstrikes will increase and continue beyond the August 31 deadline. American support for the Afghan security forces is not charity. It is helping a brave partner fight a common enemy over there so that they can’t target us here."
Biden administration officials, he said, "appear to have forgotten one of the core lessons of 9/11: What happens there can hurt us here."
The State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.