Afghanistan’s natural resources could end up benefitting America’s adversaries, according to Rep. Brian Mast.
The Florida Republican noted that making hypersonic weapons requires rare earth minerals. “And if China has the advantage of getting those because they’re buddy buddy with the Taliban, that puts the United States of America in a very bad place,” he said.
“Any extra dollar that the Taliban gets is a terrorist government having more dollars to go out there and conduct terrorism with,” he noted.
Mast is a decorated Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and lost both of his legs.
He said that as a person who “fought in Afghanistan, left limbs in Afghanistan, and unfortunately a lot of friends in Afghanistan, I can tell you that there’s a, a lot of reasons that we fought, and there’s a lotta reasons that we didn’t fight. And one of the reasons that we didn’t fight is to leave a, a treasure chest for our adversaries like China and others.”
The Biden administration has faced significant criticism for bungling the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The Taliban swiftly swept control in the country, seizing the capital city of Kabul in mid-August. The U.S. presided over a chaotic evacuation effort and pulled out of the country in late August even while Afghan allies and some U.S. citizens remained stranded there.
And now, nearly two months after completing the pullout, there are still Americans stuck there who want to get out.
The State Department notified congressional staff on Thursday that it is in contact with 363 American citizens in Afghanistan, 176 of whom wish to depart, two sources familiar with the call told CNN.
The U.S. also left military equipment behind which fell into the hands of the Taliban.