Republican lawmakers are demanding answers from the Department of Defense about Hamas terrorists’ apparent use of American-made weapons in their savage attacks on Israel.
House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)
wrote to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Monday regarding photos showing Hamas terrorists supposedly holding M4A1 carbines, “which were ‘specially designed for U.S. Special Operations Forces.'”
history of American weapons ending up in enemy hands and recent “reports that U.S.-manufactured weapons are being redistributed and resold in secondary markets to terrorist organizations,” the lawmakers demanded “transparency as to how the DoD ensures that military aid, including American-made small arms, are being carefully distributed, safeguarded, and tracked abroad to prevent further incidents.”
In the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan,
billions of dollars of weapons and military equipment were abandoned and later seized by the Taliban.
A U.S. official
told Reuters, “Everything that hasn’t been destroyed is the Taliban’s now.”
According to one intelligence assessment, 2,000 armored vehicles and 40 aircraft including UH-60 Black Hawks, scout attack helicopters, and ScanEagle military drones were left behind.
indicated there were more than 600,000 assault rifles, 162,643 pieces of communication equipment, and 16,191 night-vision goggles also left behind.
That doesn’t include the American weapons the Taliban inevitably lifted from Afghan forces.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction noted that from 2017 to 2019, the U.S. gave Afghan forces over 7,000 machine guns, 4,702 Humvees, 20,040 hand grenades, 2,520 bombs, and 1,394 grenade launchers. Ahead of the withdrawal, the U.S. also supplied Afghan forces with 211 aircraft.
noted that the Taliban, which was already at the center of a smuggling web that dealt largely in heroin and meth, now has weapons to sell to extremist groups. As a consequence, separatists in Blochistan and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan are now killing Pakistani cops with American-made rifles. Months ahead of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, there were also reports of American weapons in Gaza.
Iftikhar Firdous, editor of the Khorasan Diary, noted that terrorists were increasingly swapping out their Kalashnikov rifles for “M24 sniper rifles; M4 carbines with Trijicon ACOG scopes; M16A4 rifles with thermal scopes; M249 machine guns, AMD-65 rifles, M4A1 carbines, and M16A2/A4 assault rifles.”
Afghanistan is not the only potential source of American-made weapons for use by terrorists around the world.
The U.S. has provided more than
$43.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since its invasion by Russian forces in February 2022. This includes millions of artillery rounds, hundreds of millions of rounds of ammunition, tens of thousands of rockets, thousands of missiles, thousands of armored vehicles, tanks, aircraft, and more.
The committee members’ letter cited a June 15 Newsweek
report wherein a high-ranking Israel Defense Forces commander expressed concern that some weapons sent to Ukraine would end up in the hands of Hezbollah, Hamas, and other Middle Eastern groups.
A foreign intelligence source boosted this concern, alleging a Russian transport aircraft was seen in August 2022 dropping off weapons in Tehran, including U.S.-made Javelins and British anti-armor weapons.
When pressed in June about the possibility of “illicit diversion,” a U.S. State Department spokesman told Newsweek, “We are sending weapons to help Ukraine defend itself in an active conflict, and realistically must acknowledge that there is a risk these weapons could be captured if territory changes hands, as can happens in any war.”
The spokesman further suggested that Moscow “continues to push disinformation alleging illicit arms diversion by Ukraine to discredit Kyiv and discourage robust international support to Ukraine.”
A Pentagon inspector general report
obtained by Military.com through a Freedom of Information Act request in July — also referenced in the committee members’ letter to Secretary Austin — showed that in the opening months of the war in Ukraine, American military forces lost track of where military equipment being sent to the country was going. Apparently, some weaponry fell into the hands of Russians and criminals.
In one instance, a Russian-led crime outfit got their hands on weapons with which they reportedly intended to further destabilize Ukraine. In another instance, a group of volunteer Ukrainian fighters allegedly stole rifles and ammunition with the intention to sell them on the black market.
The Oversight Committee wants to drill down on the “DoD’s current procedures, policies, weapon-recovery measures, and collaborative efforts with U.S. intelligence agencies to safeguard military aid and weaponry abroad” in a staff briefing no later than Oct. 30.
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