The U.S. State Department on Tuesday reiterated that American forces had not left behind any equipment in Afghanistan during their hasty withdrawal, despite mounting evidence of U.S.-made weaponry being used by terrorists in Pakistan.
“We are aware of the reports of multiple attacks on Pakistani security forces and facilities earlier in November and we offer our condolences to the families of the victims, but I want to be very clear about this: there was no equipment left behind by American forces during the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” spokesperson Vedant Patel told a press briefing.
“I will also add that while large-scale military grant assistance remains suspended, we have partnered with Pakistan for more than 40 years to support law enforcement, rule of law, counter-narcotics efforts, and other areas in the security space, and will continue to value our bilateral relationship,” he added in reply to a query on Pakistani security forces alleging the recovery of American-made weapons from terrorists who attacked the Pakistan Air Force’s training base in Mianwali.
This is not the first time Pakistan has alleged that American weapons have fallen into the hands of militants, nor is it the first time Washington has denied it. Since the U.S. exit from Afghanistan in 2021, Pakistani officials—as well as independent media—have repeatedly pointing to militants taking up arms abandoned in the hasty withdrawal.
Refugees and asylum-seekers
To a question on Pakistan’s ongoing drive to deport illegally residing foreigners, Patel said the U.S. urged all states, including Pakistan, to “uphold their respective obligations in their treatment of refugees and asylum seekers and to respect the principle of non-refoulement.” Washington, he continued, strongly encouraged Afghanistan’s neighbors, including Pakistan, “to allow entry for Afghans seeking international protection and to coordinate with the appropriate international humanitarian organizations.”
Islamabad maintains its policy is only targeting undocumented migrants, while Afghans awaiting resettlement in foreign states and registered refugees are exempt from the deportation. However, various media reports have alleged that thousands of refugees have returned to Afghanistan, fearing harassment from security forces despite their documented status.
The State Department official was also questioned on the return of Nawaz Sharif to Pakistan last month. He reiterated that Washington does not support any particular political party or government over another. “[I]n the context of any election, it just continues to be paramount that elections are held in a free and fair manner and reflect the will of the people residing in that country,” he added.