Rep. Dan Crenshaw: Afghan Withdrawal Has Serious Global Consequences for Our Allies

Washington, DC – Over the past two decades, the US has spent over $80 billion in providing training and sophisticated weaponry, equipment, and aircraft to the Afghan military. With the collapse of the Afghan forces, some of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban. Afghan pilots are also reported to have used US military provided aircraft to flee the country. At the Pentagon Press briefing on August 18, Defense Secretary Austin confirmed reports of aircraft that were flown into Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. On the issue of weapons given by the US to Afghanistan, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan admitted at a press briefing at the White House on August 17 that, “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.”

In an off-camera press briefing earlier on August 18, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that with the reduction of troops to 2,500 by the previous administration, retrograde operations had already commenced. As part of the retrograde process this year, some equipment had been brought back to the US, some was deployed into the Central Command area of responsibility (AOR), some were destroyed, and some transferred to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). Kirby added, “We don’t obviously want to see our equipment in the hands of those who would act against our interest or the interest of the Afghan people, and increase violence and insecurity inside Afghanistan.”

For equipment still in Afghanistan not in the hands of ANSF, Kirby said, “There are numerous policy choices that can be made, to including — you know, up to and including destruction, and what I would tell you at this point is those decisions about disposition of that level of equipment in Afghanistan haven’t been made yet.”

In the Pentagon press briefing with Secretary of Defense Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley said regarding destruction of equipment, “we obviously have capabilities, but I’d prefer not to discuss any Operations other than what we’re doing right now in order to get our evacuation out and get that complete. And then there’ll be another time when we can discuss future Operations.”

While the Taliban lacks the training to fly Black Hawk helicopters and A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft – and cannot maintain and operate them due to unavailability of spare parts – the light arms, armored vehicles, and other gear could enhance their ability to inflict terror. There have been recent reports of arms, ammunition, and military equipment moving from Afghanistan across the border into Pakistan. There is a real concern about sophisticated US weaponry making its way into the hands of terror groups based there such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad.

In a comment to Global Strat View, Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) – a combat veteran and former Navy Seal – didn’t mince any words about the current situation and its impact on the region. “Joe Biden’s botched withdrawal has serious global consequences for our allies. We’ve abandoned vast amounts of advanced weaponry not just to the Taliban – but to their sponsor, Pakistan. It emboldens and can serve to arm terrorists worldwide, including in Kashmir. This makes critical American allies like India less safe and we need a full accounting of how Joe Biden allowed American weapons to fall into the hands of our adversaries. Both our adversaries and our allies learned this week just how feckless and incompetent the Biden Administration is, and the sacrificing of our weaponry to the Taliban and likely Pakistan is just one of the many failures of this withdrawal.”

Au Revoir, Editor

Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. ~ Robert Frost

The above lines were oft-quoted by Tejinder Singh, Founder and Editor of India America Today. He was born and brought up in the industrial town of Kharagpur, in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. Tejinder initially studied civil engineering at the elite Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Kharagpur, but journalism was his passion. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Osmania University, India.

A veteran multimedia political and business journalist, Tejinder lived in India, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, and Belgium, and was fluent in six languages.

Tejinder worked as EU Correspondent for APM Health Europe, and as a broadcast journalist with the BBC, South African Broadcasting Corp., and Flemish-English and Indian networks. He was the editor-in-chief for New Europe, The European Weekly, based in the EU capital of Brussels, Belgium from 1997 – 2009.

Tejinder moved to the United States in 2009, and founded India America Today in 2012. He was a White House, Pentagon and State Department Correspondent.

Tejinder was the National Press Club’s Chair of the Newsmakers Committee in 2010. He also served on the Broadcast Committee and the International Correspondents Committee. He served as vice president for print of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) from 2011-2012.

To those of us he worked with he was Tito, Teji, Tej. I have worked side by side with him at India America Today since 2014. He had a sharp wit, a disarming smile, and could file news stories with amazing speed, sometimes typing articles on his phone to get the news out quickly. Tejinder was unfailingly kind, caring, encouraging, and soft spoken, but wielded a pungent pen.

He is survived by his younger brother, Vikramjit Singh, in India.

Thank you all for the many messages, emails, and phone calls sharing memories of him and expressing condolences. We are including some of the messages here:

“I had many opportunities to interact with him and benefit from his keen intellect and encyclopedic knowledge during my tenure as India’s Ambassador to the US. I found him deeply involved in issues that concerned the welfare and interests of the Indian community in USA. An out of the box thinker, I was often benefitted by the ideas and suggestions he proffered on the issues we dealt with. His passing away leaves a void in the Indian-American media space and in our own hearts.” Indian Foreign Secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

“Tejinder reported the news with sagacity and skill. He pursued his questions doggedly, and he charmed with his pearly white smile. He made me think. He made me work. And he made me feel privileged to have the opportunity to speak for the U.S. government on the issues that meant so much to his readers. But the thing I will remember most about him was his manner. His dignity. He was a gentleman, through and through. And gentlemen are as rare today as they are important. I will miss that smile. I will miss that gentleman.” John Kirby, Pentagon Press Secretary.

“Tejinder was a bright light in the State Department briefing room, always there with a smile and an interesting question about whatever the news of the day was. He was incredibly kind and treated everyone else with respect, qualities that are far too rare in Washington. He was so welcoming to my parents when they came to visit, and they kept up with him on social media afterwards. I cannot believe that such a happy soul is no longer with us.” Marie Harf, former State Department Deputy Spokesperson.

“Tejinder covered the State Department for 11 years, participating in many State Department briefings both in person and also calling in every telephonic briefing. We already miss seeing his name in the question queue here today. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and colleagues as we grieve his loss. And I speak for my colleagues here when I say that he was such a pleasure to work with for all of us, and his presence will be sorely missed.” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Jalina Porter.

“I wanted to send my condolences for the loss of our colleague Tejinder Singh – he was such a vibrant, warm, and kind person and a true pleasure to work with. We were all saddened to hear the news of his death, which is a huge loss for the State Department press corps. I always enjoyed working with Tejinder; he always sent the most interesting questions, kept us honest in explaining our policies to the public, and of course served an integral role in keeping the Indian-American community informed. I miss him and I’m sending you my warmest thoughts as you and your colleagues grieve his loss.” Grace Chung, Press Officer, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA), U.S. Department of State.