More than $7 billion worth of U.S.-supplied military hardware, ranging from howitzers to sniper rifles, fell into the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan when the American-backed government in Kabul swiftly collapsed amid the U.S. pullout a year ago.
In a report released Tuesday, the Defense Department’s Inspector General said the U.S. government provided almost $85 billion in security assistance to Afghan forces from 2005 to 2021. About $18.6 billion of it funded the procurement of weapons and equipment over the years.
The Taliban seized more than $923 million worth of military aircraft; $4.1 billion worth of ground vehicles; and more than $511 million worth of weapons when they took control of Afghanistan, according to the report.
Also left behind were Humvees and heavy Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.
“The Afghan forces were heavily reliant on U.S. contractor support to maintain both their aircraft and ground vehicle fleets,” the Pentagon IG said. “Without this continued support, the long-term operability of these assets would be limited.”
The Defense Department also provided more than 427,000 weapons for the Afghan military and security forces, including more than 258,000 rifles; 56,000 machine guns; 244 howitzers; and 31,000 rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Pentagon officials told the Inspector General that more than 316,000 of the weapons — worth $511.8 million — were in Afghan military hands when the government fell.
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“Their operational condition was unknown,” the inspector general’s report stated.
The Taliban also seized an unknown quantity of other defense-related items such as communications equipment; explosive ordnance detection and disposal supplies, night vision devices, and other surveillance equipment, officials said.