The US left $7 billion of military gear in Afghanistan, report says

The US left $7 billion of military gear – including 78 aircraft, 12,000 Humvees and thousands of air-to-ground weapons – in Afghanistan after Biden’s chaotic 2021 withdrawal, according to Pentagon report

  • Pentagon report details billion of dollars in arms left in Afghanistan after exit
  • It was prepared for Congress, and obtained by CNN 
  • It says $7 billion in hardware was left behind last year after chaotic withdrawal 
  • That includes $1 billion of aircraft and some 22,000 military Humvees
  • The details will provide ammunition for critics who say President Biden should have done a better job of ensuring weapons did not fall into Taliban hands 
  • Some 9,524 air-to-ground munitions were also left in the country

A Pentagon report reveals that billions of dollars in weapons and military equipment transferred to the Afghan government was left behind in Afghanistan after the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from the country.

In all, about $7 billion worth of hardware remained in the country after the Taliban seized control, according to the report prepared for Congress which was obtained by CNN.

That includes almost $1 billion of aircraft – rendered inoperable and dumped at Hamid Karzai International Airport – some 22,000 military Humvees and almost all the communications equipment supplied during the course of the conflict.

In the weeks after the U.S. withdrawal and the collapse of Kabul, Taliban troops delighted in posing for pictures with sophisticated night vision goggles and driving abandoned vehicles.

It means the equipment is now in the hands of the foe that the U.S. was trying to vanquish.

A new Pentagon report revealed the full extent of U.S. weapons and military equipment supplied to the Afghan armed forces but left behind when President Joe Biden ordered the withdrawal of American troops last year. The U.S. left behind about $7 billion in gear, it said

A Taliban fighter poses with a US-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 hardware during a victory parade in Kandahar last September as they celebrated the retreat of U.S. forces and their capture of Afghanistan

Republicans have raised the alarm about leaving behind deadly technology and former President Donald Trump has repeatedly condemned his successor for failing to bring out more of the gear. 

But the report says the Defense Department has no plans to return to Afghanistan to ‘retrieve or destroy.’

Instead it 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 wishlist of armaments.

It includes a total of 9,524 air-to-ground munitions – which can include bombs, machine guns, air-to-surface missiles, rockets, air-launched cruise missiles, carried by warplanes – valued at $6.54 million.

A Taliban fighter takes a picture 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 US has given Afghanistan has ‘fallen into the hands of the Taliban,’ according to a US official

The Taliban last year released propaganda footage of body armour-clad ‘special forces’ with night vision goggles, which may have come from abandoned Afghan army stores

The U.S. left 78 aircraft in Kabul, according to the report. 

And more than 40,000 of almost 100,000 vehicles supplied to Afghan forces remain in the country. 

‘The operational condition of the remaining vehicles’ is ‘unknown,’ the report is quoted as saying.

More than 300,000 of 427,300 weapons delivered to Afghan security forces were left behind, as Kabul’s opposition to the Taliban crumbled and troops melted away.

The report also said ‘nearly all’ 42,000 pieces of night vision, surveillance, ‘biometric and positioning equipment’ had been left in Afghanistan.

The Taliban has released propaganda footage of body armor-clad ‘special forces’ with night vision goggles.

The extremists also released footage in August last year as they tested a captured $6m US-made Blackhawk helicopter by taxi-ing it around an airfield. 

A Russian Mi-17 helicopter is pictured alongside Taliban fighters after it was seized from retreating western troops

The Taliban used weaponry left behind by American troops (pictured: Taliban using US armoured vehicle) to crush the last pockets of resistance to its takeover of Afghanistan 

At the time of the Taliban takeover, the Afghan military had more than 150 aircraft, according to a report published 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 choppers.

Afghan forces were also given more than 30 military versions of Cessna single-engine fixed-wing aircraft.

The Taliban also showed off advance weaponry weaponry left behind by American troops last September as they tried to crush the last pockets of resistance to its takeover of Afghanistan.

The rebels appeared outgunned by Taliban fighters using US armored vehicles, mortar missiles and high-powered artillery. 

Videos showed Taliban gunmen brandishing US military M4 and M16 rifles and wearing night-vision goggles. 

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