Taliban seizes $5 billion in abandoned American PowerPoint slides

No slide left behind.

By Cat Astronaut

Just months after the United States’s controversial withdrawal from Afghanistan, Taliban operatives have seized over $5 billion worth of Microsoft PowerPoint slides left behind by American troops, sources say.

“This is a tragedy of the highest order,” Maj. Jim Lancaster, who served two tours on staff at Bagram Air Base, said. “I personally know over 10,000 innocent slides that couldn’t get out in time, and that’s not even counting backups and drafts.”

In a rush to meet the withdrawal date of August 30, senior US leaders in Afghanistan had to make tough decisions about which briefing products to take with them, and which to leave behind.

“Of course, you need to get the classified slides out first,” US CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said. “But then there’s also the unclassified slides that have really neat graphics and flow charts and stuff that someone obviously put a lot of effort into. You’d hate to see all that solid staff work go to waste.”

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Many veterans have refused to stand by while the slides they worked with in Afghanistan fall into Taliban hands. One group of former staff officers has been launching daring rescue missions into Afghanistan’s conference rooms to save as many slides as possible.

“I worked side-by-side with these slides, and I won’t just sit around while the Taliban makes God-knows-what kind of formatting changes to them,” retired Maj. Henry Tressel said. Tressel co-founded Task Force Calibri, which has rescued over 500,000 slides to-date. “Whether they’re PowerPoint slides, or Excel spreadsheets, or even PDFs, we owe it to them to get them home to American briefing rooms and workspaces where they belong.”  

At press time, the Taliban announced they would return nearly 40 million seized slides to US officials because the font size was wrong. 

Cat Astronaut is a demobilized mobile infantryman and the creator of Ye Olde Tyme News.

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