The United States abandoned weapons worth more than $7 billion in Afghanistan.

After retreating its forces from Afghanistan in August 2021, the US left behind more over $7 billion in military equipment, according to the Pentagon.

Taliban fighters, mainly carrying US weapons, patrol in the capital Kabul, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021. 
Photo: AP .

According to a report filed to Congress by the US Department of Defense (DoD), between 2005 and 2021, the US delivered a total of $18.6 billion in weapons to the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF). According to CNN on April 27, figures from the research show that $7.12 billion in military equipment remains in Afghanistan after the United States withdraws all forces from the country by August 30, 2021.

Many planes, military vehicles, guns, ammunition, communication equipment, and other military supplies have been left in Afghanistan by the US.

There are 78 aircraft with a total value of 923.3 million USD outfitted by the US for ANDSF, which are now based at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. According to the DoD report, the US military damaged these aircraft and they could no longer function.

The US also abandoned 12,000 Humvee armoured vehicles in Afghanistan. The Department of Defense stated that the operating status of the vehicles was “unknown.”

The US military reportedly left behind over 300,000 light weapons and other types of ammunition worth $ 48 million. After the US pullout, nearly all communication and night surveillance equipment is in Afghanistan.

The weapons are currently in the hands of the Taliban, but there are no plans for the Pentagon to return to Afghanistan to “recover or destroy” them.

Observers are concerned that the Taliban administration will sell the arsenal of US weapons and equipment it has seized on the black market throughout the area, reaping great profits for decades to come.

According to Colin Clarke, head of strategy and research at The Soufan Group, organisations like the Taliban do not normally sell the resulting light weapons right away. However, if the Taliban are unable to access foreign funds and humanitarian aid, the situation may change. At the time, selling guns was a plausible alternative for the Taliban to generate a significant amount of revenue to administer the country.

Guy Lamb, director of the University of Cape Town’s Department of International Violence and Security Studies, is concerned that US weaponry left in Afghanistan could find up in the hands of other violent groups both inside and outside of Afghanistan. Pakistan is among them.

However, according to the Pentagon assessment, much of the US military equipment remained in Afghanistan requires “specialist maintenance” that the Taliban are almost unable to execute.

Expensive weaponry, such as A-29 aeroplanes or Black Hawk helicopters, necessitate intricate maintenance and repair techniques and are quickly disabled if spare parts from the United States are unavailable.

In October 2001, the United States dispatched forces into Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban, launching the longest and most expensive war in history, with roughly $2.3 trillion poured into the country over a 20-year period.

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