President Joe Biden's national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, revealed last week that the Taliban have seized a significant amount of U.S. military equipment originally supplied to Afghan security forces. The U.S., he reported, is unsure exactly how much of the American military hardware has been lost to the hands of terrorists.
"We don't have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone," Sullivan told reporters at a White House briefing, "but certainly, a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban. And obviously, we don't have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport."
In a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, a number of "horrified" GOP senators responded, calling for a full accounting.
"It is unconscionable that high-tech military equipment paid for by U.S. taxpayers has fallen into the hands of the Taliban and their terrorist allies," the letter states. "Securing U.S. assets should have been among the top priorities for the U.S. Department of Defense prior to announcing the withdrawal from Afghanistan."
American Family News spoke Brigadier General Don Bolduc (USA-Ret.), who served ten tours with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2013. He concurs with lawmakers who signed the letter, stating that "a full accounting is absolutely necessary."
"Watching Afghanistan melt away in 72 hours has been incredible, [considering] the billions of dollars spent [to secure the South Asian country]," the former commanding officer admits. "[The government owes] it to the American people to have a full accounting, as fiscal responsibility should be the priority. The days of throwing money away has to stop."
While Bolduc recognizes that the Taliban have taken control of both ground and air weapons, he is still able to minimize the threat to a degree.
"Although they'll use it to the best of their ability, the Taliban do not have the ability to maintain [the weaponry] they've seized," he states, explaining he witnessed that in his first rotation in Afghanistan when "Soviet equipment was parked all over the place without much use to the Taliban."
"The lack of response and weak leadership from elected officials such as President Biden and the Democrats is what caused [the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan]. Our service men and women deserve better." - Don Bolduc
Some 'ugly truths' Americans need to know
Regarding the chaos surrounding the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Bolduc places the blame at the feet of the previous Obama-Biden administration – pointing out "ugly truths" he says no one wants to be talk about.
"[The Obama administration] changed a winning strategy to a losing strategy, which resulted in the Taliban and al-Qaeda taking almost all of the rural area," he tells AFN. "They had control of this war from 2008 to 2016 – [and] nothing about Afghanistan should be a mystery to the current president."
He discloses another fact: "The other thing no one is seeing in the news [or] talking about is the fact that – consistently, from 2005 and on – assessments about the performance of the Afghan national military fighting against the Taliban were very poor. This was consistently reported to the chain of command in the Pentagon and at the national security level."
The retired general argues that it was "well known" that the Afghan National Army – left to its own devices – didn't have the ability to beat the Taliban. In fact, he reveals there were instances when the Afghan military simply stopped fighting.
"Not because of cowardice," the former commanding officer admits, "but because there were Afghans who didn't want to fight against other Muslims, regardless of whether … they were Taliban or al-Qaeda."
Editor's note: Bolduc – a 33-year veteran of the U.S. Army – is currently running as a Republican for a seat in the U.S. Senate, representing New Hampshire. He has been endorsed by individuals such as Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin (USA-Ret.); and groups such as Vets for Trump.