Kabul [Afghanistan], August 18 (ANI): United States, at the time of the withdrawal of its troops from Afghan soil one year back, left military equipment of USD 7 billion worth in the hands of the Taliban, media reports said citing sources.
This comes amid Republican criticism of US President Joe Biden's handling of the military pullout on its anniversary.
In August 2021, the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan and ever since the outfit has been the country's de facto authorities. US troops left military equipment worth billions to the former Afghan government much of it ended up with the Islamic Emirate.
According to a report from the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, the majority of this equipment went into tactical ground vehicles like Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) and High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV; colloquial: Humvee), which cost about USD 4.12 billion, reported Khaama Press.
"The DoD estimated that US-funded equipment valued at $7.12 billion was in the inventory of the former Afghan government when it collapsed, much of which has since been seized by the Taliban," the report wrote.
"This included military aircraft, ground vehicles, weapons, and other military equipment."
Moreover, the report also said that 316,260 small arms -- including rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and howitzers -- worth USD 511.8 million were under the care of the Afghan military at the time of its collapse, media portal said citing New York Post.
In addition many other high-tech weapons including communications, explosive detection, night-vision and other surveillance equipment were also in the Kabul government's inventory when the Taliban took over which apparently fell into Taliban's hands as the outfit took over Kabul.
"The condition of these items was unknown, and the long-term operability of the vehicles was likely to deteriorate without US contractor maintenance," the report elaborated. "The US military removed or destroyed nearly all major equipment used by US troops in Afghanistan throughout the drawdown period in 2021."
Defence experts have also commented on the Taliban seized weaponry, as they urges that these the US military equipment should be preserved in good condition under the Islamic Emirate rule.
They stressed the importance of these weapons and said that these weapons are crucial for Afghan people to be used for security purposes.
Yousuf Amin, a military expert as quoted by Afghanistan's local media outlet TOLOnews said, "The military equipment of America, which is in the hands of the Islamic Emirate, should be kept properly, because it is the property of the Afghan people, and it should be used for the security and peace of Afghanistan."
Bringing to light the facts around US' troop withdrawal from Afghan soil, the report noted that between 2005 and 2021, the Defense Department spent around USD 84 billion in security assistance to Afghan forces, with USD 18.6 billion going to buying weapons for the Afghan National Army, Afghan Air Force, Afghan National Police, and Afghan Special Security Forces.
Over those 16 years, the watchdog found, the US spent $612 million on 427,300 weapons "including 258,300 rifles, 6,300 sniper rifles, 64,300 pistols, 56,155 machine guns, 31,000 rocket propelled grenade launchers, and 224 howitzers." (ANI)