Lawmakers Question When Discarded U.S. Military Equipment is Used in Terror Attacks

Taliban holds a military parade with equipment captured from U.S. army in Kandahar, Afghanistan on November 8, 2021.

Taliban holds a military parade with equipment captured from U.S. army in Kandahar, Afghanistan on November 8, 2021. Murteza Khaliqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Reports to Congress could be mandated down the line.

Legislation introduced by a group of almost a dozen Republican senators on Wednesday would require the national security director to report any time U.S. military equipment ditched in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria is used in terrorist attacks against Americans and allies—or deployed in nearby places.

Those who crafted this two-page bill—Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Mike Braun, R-Ind., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Steve Daines, R-Mont., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, John Hoeven, R-N.D., Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska—said it marks their aims to ensure oversight following the nation’s frenzied withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The military likely left tens of millions of dollars worth of aircraft, armored vehicles and technology-based systems during its departure last year.

“While there was a significant effort to destroy a portion of the military equipment left behind in the chaotic withdrawal from Kabul, the rapid fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban resulted in insurgents scoring an untold cache of weapons and other equipment,” Thune wrote. “As the nation seeks answers for the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, this bill would provide important accountability for the equipment left behind and, most importantly, it would provide information to underscore the unacceptable risk of inadvertently arming terrorists by abandoning military equipment.”

Specifically, the legislation would direct the making of comprehensive reports “not later than 30 days after any element of the intelligence community” determines that any item the military deserted or left unsecured in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria is used against the U.S. or others.

The reports would need to include details about equipment used in the attack, the date when and location where said equipment left U.S. custody, attribution for the orchestrators of the attack and the total number of deaths and casualties caused by the incident, according to the bill. 

It was referred to the Select Committee on Intelligence.