Afghan forces abandoned military equipment not US: top security official

US left only a limited amount of equipment and aircraft in Kabul, says NSC spokesperson John Kirby

Web Desk
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby speaks during a news conference at the White House. — AFP/File
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby speaks during a news conference at the White House. — AFP/File

  • US did not leave behind any military equipment for terrorists, says John Kirby.
  • NSC spokesperson says all military equipment was for Afghan defence forces.
  • "President Biden realises Pakistan still facing threats; committed to  cooperation." 

WASHINGTON: A senior US security official has blamed the Afghan forces for abandoning military equipment when the Taliban took over the country.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson John Kirby said the US did not leave behind any military equipment for terrorist organisations in Afghanistan.

The US official’s statement came after interim Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar and Ambassador Masood Khan reportedly said the weapons left behind by America had fallen into the hands of terrorists.

The equipment — which includes a wide variety of items, from night vision goggles to firearms — is now "emerging as a new challenge" for Islamabad as it has enhanced the fighting capabilities of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), AP quoted PM Kakar as saying in his interaction with a select group of journalists on Monday.

Kirby, however, denied this and said the US had left only "limited" equipment and aircraft in Kabul. At the airport, he said, America had left trucks and technical and firefighting equipment.

When a journalist drew his attention to reports that the $7 billion worth of weapons in Afghanistan had fallen into the hands of terrorists, the NSC spokesperson said the military equipment being talked about had been actually handed over to the Afghan defence forces.

All that military equipment was for the Afghan defence forces, as it was the US mission to build their capacity and enable them to fulfil their country’s security responsibility themselves, said Kirby, adding that it was the Afghan forces that had abandoned the said equipment.

Pakistan has been facing threats of terrorism for a long time, and one significant reason for this is its border with Afghanistan, the NSC spokesperson remarked.

When asked why US President Joe Biden had said Pakistan was the most dangerous country having nuclear weapons, Kirby responded, "President Biden realises Pakistan is still facing threats and is committed to continuing cooperation with Pakistan."

He added that the US would continue to work on all issues with Pakistan, including current security threats.

When asked if President Biden would discuss Kashmir and human rights violations in India during the G20 summit, and how the White House viewed the fact that Pakistan had proposed multiple times to engage in dialogue with India, he said Pakistan and India had to talk on all issues themselves.

"Discussing human rights violations is an essential part of President Biden’s foreign policy and he will never shy away from talking about human rights violations," Kirby said.

He added that President Biden had talked about human rights violations during Indian Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Washington and would not refrain from discussing the issue during his visit to India.