The Taliban now have billions of dollars worth of US weaponry after the Afghan security forces trained to handle the military equipment collapsed.
Taliban have captured Black Hawk helicopters and A-29 Super Tucano attack planes.
Taliban militants have also been seen using M4 carbines and M16 rifles instead of their infamous AK-47s. Militants have also been seen using US humvees and mine-resistant vehicles.
However, capturing sophisticated aircraft provides the insurgents a propaganda boost and highlights the amount of money squandered on US military operations in Afghanistan over the past two decades.
“Having American-made weapons is a kind of status symbol for armed groups. An emotional triumph “Security Assistance Monitor deputy director Elias Yousif.
“This clearly indicts the US security cooperation business generally,” he said. “It should raise a lot of worries about what is going on in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and East Asia.”
Over the past two decades, the US has spent an estimated $83 billion on Afghan security forces.
Between 2003 and 2016, the US gave the Afghan troops 75,898 vehicles, 599,690 weaponry, 162,643 communications pieces, 208 planes, and 16,191 pieces of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance technology.
Among other things, the US supplied Afghan troops 7,035 machine guns, 4,702 Humvees, 20,040 hand grenades, 2,520 explosives, and 1,394 grenade launchers from 2017 to 2019. (SIGAR).
According to a second SIGAR assessment, Afghan forces had 211 US-supplied aircraft as of June 30.
At least 46 of those planes are currently in Uzbekistan after more than 500 Afghan soldiers fled the weekend when the Kabul government fell.
The Taliban now have a “good quantity” of weaponry, according to the Biden administration.
“We don’t have a full picture of where every piece of military equipment has gone,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday. “And we don’t expect them to give it up to us at the airport.”
Sullivan supported President Biden’s choice to leave the Afghan troops with advanced technology.
In July, the US announced intentions to deploy 35 Black Hawk helicopters and three A-29s to Afghanistan, even as the US troops left.
“The Taliban didn’t get those Black Hawks. On behalf of [Afghan President] [Ashraf] Ghani, who came to the Oval Office and requested more air capacity, among other things, “He stated.
“The president has options. He couldn’t give it to them and risk it falling into Taliban hands, or give it to them and hope they used it to protect their nation “Sullivan said. “Both choices were risky. To select. And he chose.”
According to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, choosing what weaponry to destroy, transfer to Afghan troops, or redeploy elsewhere in the Middle East was a “very careful” procedure.
The Taliban may be “eager” to utilize sophisticated U.S. weapons, like as planes, but even if they could recruit ex-Afghan pilots to fly for them, Yousif of the Center for International Policy believes they would be ineffective.
“They may be able to handle a few flights or run them in a limited capacity in the near term, but without long term sustainment, maintenance, servicing, that kind of stuff,” he added. “It took Afghanistan and the US a long time to build an indigenous aviation capacity, and even then they needed the US to keep the aircraft flying.”
Yousif’s first worry is the number of tiny weapons left behind.
Easy to maintain, utilize, and carry,” he added. “Small weapons are durable commodities that may be transferred or traded. We’ve seen it before: a war ends, and the weapons remain.”
A “complete accounting” of U.S. military equipment provided to Afghan troops over the last year, what the Taliban have taken, and plans to recover or destroy the equipment was requested by Republican senators on Wednesday.
“We were shocked to find U.S. weaponry – notably UH-60 Black Hawks – in the hands of the Taliban,” the 25 senators wrote to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
In addition, they said it was “unconscionable” that the Taliban and its terrorist supporters have access to high-tech military weaponry. “Securing US assets should have been a primary priority before announcing the departure from Afghanistan.”
General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, refused to comment on Wednesday, citing the military’s current emphasis on evacuation efforts. “We definitely have skills,” Milley told reporters.
“We certainly don’t want our stuff in the hands of individuals who will exacerbate bloodshed and instability within Afghanistan,” Kirby said in his own briefing. “There are many policy options, including destruction, and I would say that judgments regarding disposal of that level of weaponry in Afghanistan have not yet been taken.”
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