Former President Donald Trump said on Monday that the U.S. should demand that all of their equipment back from the Taliban, “or at least bomb the hell out of it,” in a statement emailed to supporters.
“Never in history has a withdrawal from war been handled so badly or incompetently as the Biden Administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Trump said. “In addition to the obvious, ALL EQUIPMENT should be demanded to be immediately returned to the U.S., and that includes every penny of the $85 billion dollars (sic) in cost. If it is not handed back, we should either go in with unequivocal Military force and get it, or at least bomb the hell out of it. Nobody ever thought such stupidity, as this feeble-brained withdrawal, was possible!”
According to reports, billions of dollars worth of weapons and equipment have fallen into the hands of the Taliban since the group swept through the country. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said earlier this month that “We don't have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone, 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.”
“When an armed group gets their hands on American-made weaponry, it's sort of a status symbol. It's a psychological win,” noted Elias Yousif, deputy director of the Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor, according to The Hill.
“Clearly, this is an indictment of the U.S. security cooperation enterprise broadly,” he added. “It really should raise a lot of concerns about what is the wider enterprise that is going on every single day, whether that's in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia.”
The Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng said in response to Trump on Twitter: “the Trump statement floating reinvasion so that we can go recover billions of dollars worth of military equipment reminds me of how while he was campaigning in 2015/6 on ‘getting out’ of Iraq, he kept accidentally(?) proposing reinvading Iraq”
He added: “This helps explain some of broader GOP proposal incongruence at this time (Kevin McCarthy, and so on) because they are in part following Trump’s lead, and there’s no actual proposal there beyond ‘I guess this sounds good maybe in the moment.’”
The Washington Post’s Dave Weigel commented on Trump’s statement, saying that “I don't think every Trump statement is newsworthy, but given that he's probably running in 2024 it's newsworthy that his Afghanistan position has evolved from ‘I will end the war, unlike Biden’ to ‘I will re-invade, unlike Biden.’”
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