The Taliban has wound up with a massive amount of US military equipment that was originally given to the now-defunct Afghan government. According to a report from Reuters, the Biden administration is considering bombing some of the larger equipment.
The report cited unnamed US officials who said bombing equipment such as helicopters has not been ruled out. But the US fears that such an action would antagonize the Taliban. Washington is reliant on the Taliban to allow US citizens to travel to the Kabul airport to be airlifted out of the country.
Up to this point, the Taliban has been cooperating with the US and there have been no reports of Americans being stopped or harassed on their way to the airport, according to the Pentagon. But if the US starts launching airstrikes, that would change.
Citing a US intelligence assessment, the report said the Taliban has wound up with over 2,000 armored vehicles and over 40 aircraft, including helicopters, planes, and drones. The officials said the US is worried that the equipment could be handed over to China or Russia.
Before Kabul fell to the Taliban, the US stepped up airstrikes in Afghanistan and was targeting some of its own equipment that had been left behind. “Everything that hasn’t been destroyed is the Taliban’s now,” one US official told Reuters.
Besides destroying equipment, the recent airstrikes also killed civilians. In one instance in Lashkar Gah, the US bombed a health clinic and a school, killing 20.