Terrorists drive nice trucks, U.S. counter-terrorism officials have noticed.
Countless news videos and social media posts show Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists driving around in what appear to be new Toyota trucks.
The U.S. has asked Toyota to explain how hundreds, if not thousands, of the ubiquitous white pickups ended up in enemy hands.
ABC News tells us “Toyota Hilux pickups, an overseas model similar to the Toyota Tacoma, and Toyota Land Cruisers have become fixtures in videos of the ISIS campaign in Iraq, Syria and Libya, with their truck beds loaded with heavy weapons and cabs jammed with terrorists.”
The videos must make for effective propaganda. Thousands of Americans and Europeans are trying to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS.
Toyota says it does not know how ISIS obtained the vehicles, but is trying to assist the Terror Financing unit of the U.S. Treasury Department in its investigation.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say ISIS is stealing or capturing the Toyota trucks.
After all, ISIS also drives Humvees, mine resistant trucks and other vehicles given to U.S.-trained Iraqi forces, who tend to lose men, equipment and cities whenever they fight.
Videos released this summer show ISIS insurgents using former U.S. militarized vehicles to parade bodies of their enemies around.
It is believed about 2,300 militarized Humvees were lost by Iraqi forces during one battle this year.
It’s not just trucks. The Iraqi military loses a lot of weapons too. Reuters reports ISIS captured at least 40 M1A1 main battle tanks, 74,000 machine guns, and as many as 52 M198 howitzer mobile gun systems.
A U.S. general says “ISIS has captured thousands of American-supplied vehicles. So both sides travel in the same vehicles and use the same weapons.”
To destroy the tanks now being used by ISIS, the U.S. is sending the Iraqi military 175 M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, 55,000 rounds of main tank-gun ammunition, $600 million in howitzers and trucks, $700 million worth of Hellfire missiles and 2,000 AT-4 rockets.
Will the new equipment be lost too?
Maybe, but earlier this year Congress approved spending $1.2 billion more to toughen up Iraqi forces.
Maybe it isn’t Toyota who needs to answer difficult questions.