A Pentagon report reveals that billions of dollars in weapons and military equipment transferred to the Afghan government were left behind in Afghanistan after the chaotic US withdrawal from the country.
A total of about $7 billion worth of equipment remained in the country after the Taliban takeover, according to the report prepared for Congress and obtained by CNN.
This includes nearly $1 billion worth of aircraft – rendered inoperable and abandoned at Hamid Karzai International Airport – some 22,000 military Humvees and nearly all communications equipment supplied during the conflict.
In the weeks following the US withdrawal and the collapse of Kabul, Taliban troops were happy to pose for photos with fancy night-vision goggles and drive abandoned vehicles.
This means that the equipment is now in the hands of the enemy the United States was trying to defeat.
A new report from the Pentagon has revealed the full extent of US military weapons and equipment supplied to the Afghan armed forces but left behind when President Joe Biden ordered the withdrawal of US troops last year. The United States left behind about $7 billion in equipment, he said
A Taliban fighter poses with an American-made Afghan Air Force Blackhawk helicopter at Kandahar airfield in August last year as weapons fell into the hands of the country’s new rulers.
Taliban forces showed off their new military gear at a victory parade in Kandahar last September as they celebrated the withdrawal of US forces and their capture of Afghanistan
Republicans have sounded the alarm over the abandonment of deadly technology, and former President Donald Trump has repeatedly condemned his successor for not releasing more equipment.
But the report says the Department of Defense has no intention of returning to Afghanistan to “recover or destroy.”
Instead, he describes how “much of the remaining equipment” requires “specialized maintenance that DoD contractors previously provided” to Afghan troops “in the form of technical knowledge and support.”
Even so, the list of equipment left behind reads like a Taliban weaponry wish list.
It includes a total of 9,524 pieces of air-to-surface munitions – which may include bombs, machine guns, air-to-surface missiles, rockets, air-launched cruise missiles, carried by warplanes – worth $6.54 million.
A Taliban fighter takes a photo of a damaged MD 530 helicopter that was abandoned at Kabul airport by retreating troops
Taliban fighters sit on an Afghan army Humvee on August 15. Much of the equipment the United States supplied to Afghanistan “fell into the hands of the Taliban”, according to a US official.
Last year, the Taliban released propaganda images of “special forces” clad in bulletproof vests with night-vision goggles, which may have come from abandoned Afghan army stores.
The United States left 78 planes in Kabul, according to the report.
And more than 40,000 of the nearly 100,000 vehicles provided to Afghan forces remain in the country.
“The operating condition of the remaining vehicles” is “unknown”, according to the report.
More than 300,000 of the 427,300 weapons delivered to Afghan security forces have been abandoned, as Kabul’s opposition to the Taliban crumbled and troops melted away.
The report also says that “almost all” of the 42,000 pieces of night vision, surveillance, “biometric and positioning equipment” were left behind in Afghanistan.
The Taliban released propaganda images of “special forces” wearing body armor with night vision goggles.
The extremists also released footage in August last year as they tested a captured $6 million US-made Blackhawk helicopter by taxiing it around an airfield.
A Russian Mi-17 helicopter is pictured alongside Taliban fighters after being seized from retreating Western troops
The Taliban have used weapons left behind by US troops (pictured: Taliban using a US armored vehicle) to crush the last pockets of resistance to their takeover of Afghanistan
At the time of the Taliban takeover, the Afghan army had more than 150 aircraft, according to a report released last month by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
It included four C-130 transport aircraft, 23 Brazilian-made A-29 ‘Super Tucano’ turboprop ground attack aircraft, 45 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and 50 smaller helicopters.
Afghan forces have also received more than 30 military versions of the Cessna single-engine fixed-wing aircraft.
The Taliban also showed advanced weapons weapons left behind by US troops last September as they attempted to crush the last pockets of resistance to its takeover of Afghanistan.
The rebels appeared to be overwhelmed by Taliban fighters using US armored vehicles, mortar missiles and high-powered artillery.
Videos showed armed Taliban wielding US military M4 and M16 rifles and wearing night vision goggles.