More than $7 billion worth of US-supplied military equipment was in the hands of the Western-backed Afghan government when it collapsed last year – and much of it fell into the hands of the Taliban after the Biden fight. the Defense Department’s inspector general said in a report released on Tuesday.
The watchdog noted the lost footage included $923.3 million worth of military aircraft, “some of which were demilitarized and rendered inoperable during the evacuation,” and $294.6 million worth of aircraft ammunition.
The bulk of spending, the report added, went on tactical ground vehicles such as Humvees and mine-resistant MRAPs — about $4.12 billion of which was in the Afghan army’s inventory when the Taliban invaded Kabul on Aug. 15, 2021.
The IG office added that the Pentagon‘s Office of the Undersecretary of Defense Policy, which provided the figures, had claimed that “Afghan forces have relied heavily on support from U.S. contractors to expand both their aircraft and ground vehicle fleets.” to be maintained and without this continued support, the long-term viability of these assets would be limited.”
The report also said 316,260 small arms — including rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and howitzers — worth more than $511.8 million were under the custody of the Afghan military at the time of its collapse, but the Condition of these weapons was unknown.
Communications, explosives detection, night vision and other surveillance equipment were also in the inventory of the Kabul government when the Taliban took power.
The report also noted that the US military had “removed almost all essential equipment” during the pullout, with the exception of a few tactical vehicles that were handed over to the Afghan Defense Ministry early last year, as well as other obsolete vehicles that were destroyed.
“[S]Small amounts” of equipment that could not be removed from Kabul Airport before the US completed its withdrawal on Aug. 30 was also destroyed or rendered unusable, the watchdog noted.
Between 2005 and 2021, the MoD spent around US$84 billion on security support for Afghan forces, with US$18.6 billion used to purchase weapons for the Afghan National Army, Afghan Air Force, Afghan National Police and Afghan Special Security Forces became.
In those 16 years, the watchdog noted, 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.”
The inspector general’s report comes amid Republican criticism of President Biden‘s handling of the military withdrawal on his anniversary.
GOP lawmakers have accused the administration of “misleading” the American people and have promised answers from the White House if they regain control of Congress in November’s midterm elections.
Republicans are also preparing their own report on the chaotic disengagement this week, which accuses the government of “catastrophic errors” in devising the disengagement plan that allowed the Taliban to return to power and gave al-Qaeda another foothold in the war to give to a broken country.