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Sunday, March 26, 2023

The United States has no information on negotiations between Russia and the Taliban on the supply of weapons

At a Friday press briefing, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby commented, at the request of media, on news reports that Russia is turning to the Taliban for weapons left in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of American troops. Journalists also wondered how worried the United States was about Russia trying to get its hands on the weapons.

In response to these questions, John Kirby said he had no information on whether or not the Taliban were considering the possibility of transferring missiles and ammunition to Russia. “But if this information turns out to be true, then of course it will contradict what the Taliban are stating as their goals,” Kirby said. “I would say this: if the Taliban are sincere in their desire to receive international recognition and support from the international community, to receive financial assistance and support and to be recognized as the governing body in Afghanistan, they must first start by treating their wives and daughters with dignity.

Kirby also dwelt on the type of weapons remaining in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of American troops.

“Yes, there were weapons that belonged to the Afghan National Security Forces, that they had received from the United States, but that belonged to the Afghans, and that the Afghans gave up when they decided they were not going to not fight for their country. And some of those weapons, some of them, according to our assumptions, could end up in the hands of the Taliban,” Kirby said. He also clarified that the United States has no information on exactly where these weapons systems are stored, what they are and how they are used.

“And there’s certainly no indication that the Taliban are ready to export these weapons,” Kirby again stressed.

“But what I can tell you for sure is that when we left Afghanistan in August last year, all the equipment that we used and had to leave at the airport was disabled. by the Taliban – airplanes, ground vehicles…I think, the only thing they have left is a few cars that they use to run the airport and use them for airport tours and stuff like that,” said Kirby.

“If the Taliban are serious about international recognition and want to be seen as the interim government of Afghanistan, they have to start fulfilling their obligations,” he said.

Recall that in April 2022, the American media quoted a Pentagon report to the American Congress, which indicated that “from 2005 to August 2021, the United States provided the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) with equipment and weapons for a total amount of 18.6 billion dollars”. . At the same time, after the withdrawal of US troops on August 30, 2021 from Afghanistan, weapons worth $7.12 billion remained, including aircraft, air-to-surface munitions, military equipment, communications equipment and other materials.

Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Army Maj. Rob Lodevik explained that

“The $7.12 billion figure quoted in a recent departmental report to Congress refers to ANDSF equipment, not US military equipment. Virtually all equipment used by U.S. forces in Afghanistan was removed or destroyed prior to our withdrawal and is not included in the report’s “$7.12 billion” figure.”

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