The US Military is taking sides with Afghanistan instead of Pakistan in deciding whether to give old military items leftover from the Afghanistan War to Pakistan. The US denies that they ever were considering the idea, given Kabul’s downright opposition to the move, but many media reports have suggested that the US was considering the idea.
The U.S. military is denying what it calls “inaccurate media reports” that armored vehicles and extra military equipment leftover from the war in Afghanistan could be provided to neighboring Pakistan—after Kabul opposed the move described in the press.
“These reports are not correct,” the military said in a statement Thursday. The U.S. military in Afghanistan “does not provide or intend to provide any such equipment, including MRAPs, from Afghanistan to Pakistan.”
The military is trying to get rid of equipment it does not want or need—and would be expensive to transport home—as its draws down troops in Afghanistan. The Washington Post reported earlier this month that the Pentagon was considering giving Pakistan some of the $7 billion worth of excess military equipment, and that Islamabad was particularly interested in the Army’s mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs.
The U.S. is still waiting for Afghanistan to sign a security agreement that could allow a contingent of troops to remain in the country past the end of the year—the deadline for the end of formal combat operations. Since the future partnership between the two countries is in limbo until the agreement is signed, it’s no surprise the U.S. is seeking to reassure Afghanistan’s security forces of its support as it waits for a new Afghan president to be elected this spring.
“Our commitment to the Afghan people and the Afghan National Security Forces is unwavering,” Gen. Joseph Dunford, who commands the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, said in the statement. The U.S. military “remains committed to completing the transformation of the [Afghan National Security Forces] into a professional fighting force capable of meeting their security challenges.”
The military statement also ran through a laundry list of equipment the U.S. has given Afghanistan’s security forces. Over 12 years, the U.S. has provided $53 billion in equipment and support; 160 aircraft; 100,000 vehicles; 500,000 weapons; and 200,000 pieces of communications and night-vision equipment, with more still being delivered.