Psaki Grilled on Whether US Is 'Less Safe' With Military Equipment in the Hands of the Taliban


White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki repeatedly avoided saying whether Americans are less safe now that the Taliban has access to U.S.-made weapons in the wake of the collapse of Afghanistan’s government.

During a press briefing on Monday, NBC News’ Peter Alexander asked, “Are Americans less safe now because the Taliban now has access to billions of dollars worth of American-made weaponry?”

Psaki responded by saying the U.S. military is working to “reduce the amount of military equipment” that “anyone on the ground has access to” as part of its withdrawal.

She also noted that the Biden administration had to decide whether or not to provide military equipment to the Afghan National Security Forces so they could fight. However, she noted that security forces melted away as the U.S. withdrew.

“The third piece I would note, that’s very important here, is that we have not assessed that any group on the ground, whether it’s ISIS-K or the Taliban, has the ability to attack the United States,” she said, adding, “There is a difference between the threat that is posed to U.S. men and women serving or people who are gathering outside of the gates in Kabul and whether these individuals can attack the United States.”

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Alexander asked, “But at the end of the day, whether or not it’s the United States that’s under risk as a function of this, are Americans around the globe — I mean are western interests now more at risk because the Taliban has new access to all this weaponry?”

The press secretary responded by saying the U.S. has “an enormous amount of leverage” and that the “world will be watching.”

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“Our objective was not to leave them with any equipment, but that is not always an option when you are looking to retrograde and move out of a war zone,” Psaki added.

However, she did not explicitly answer whether the Taliban’s access to U.S.-made weaponry would put Americans at risk or not.

Psaki’s comments come as reports indicate the Taliban has seized billions of dollars worth of American-made military equipment such as small arms, Humvees, aircraft, and drones after the Afghan military collapsed earlier this month.

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