White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communication John Kirby on Wednesday denied reports that the U.S. abandoned around $7 billion worth of advanced weaponry in Afghanistan when it exited Afghanistan, maintaining the equipment had been “handed over” to Afghan forces.
“There was no equipment left behind by American forces,” he told a press briefing. “There was a small amount of equipment and some aircraft at the airport when we finished our evacuation efforts, but they were all rendered unusable as we left,” he said, adding the only equipment the Taliban could avail was some tow trucks, trucks with ladders on them, and some firefighting equipment.
According to Kirby, the equipment people believed had been left behind by Americans had actually been transferred to the Afghan National Security Forces before Washington’s withdrawal. “As the Taliban advanced on Kabul and other places throughout the country, they [Afghan forces] abandoned that equipment, not the U.S.,” he said.
To a question on President Joe Biden, last year, describing Pakistan as “one of the most dangerous nations in the world” due to its nuclear weapons, the official stressed that Washington was aware of persistent threats of terrorism in the country, especially along its shared border with Afghanistan. “We’re going to continue to work with Pakistan—to the degree that they’re comfortable with, of course—to help address those kinds of security threats to their own people and to their own borders because it’s not an insignificant threat,” he said.
“There is a lot of danger that’s still posed to the Pakistani people, and the president understands that, and he’s committed to continue to work with Pakistan,” he added.
To another question on whether Biden—who is to attend a G20 summit in New Delhi from Sept. 9-10—would discuss the issue of India-held Kashmir with Indian leaders, Kirby clarified that America’s stance on Kashmir remained unchanged. “We believe that the tensions there are best resolved by the parties themselves,” he said.
Responding to a follow-up query on whether Biden would take up India’s rights abuses in Kashmir with P.M. Narendra Modi, Kirby maintained human rights were a cornerstone of the U.S. president’s foreign policy. “He never shies away, nor will he ever shy away from raising concerns about human rights with his counterparts overseas,” he said. “And that was the case when Prime Minister Modi visited Washington not long ago, and it will be the case going forward. I mean, he absolutely will not shy away from mentioning our concerns and raising our concerns about civil and human rights all around the world, including there,” he added.