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Biden admin left $7 billion in military equipment in Afghanistan: Report

President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 29, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
April 28, 2022

President Joe Biden’s administration left roughly $7 billion in military equipment behind in Afghanistan after the deadly withdrawal in August that left the Taliban in control, a new Pentagon report reviewed by CNN on Wednesday showed.

According to the report, the U.S. gave the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces $18.6 billion in equipment between 2005 and 2021. Approximately $7.12 billion was still in Afghanistan after the withdrawal, including aircraft, air-to-ground munitions, military vehicles, weapons, communications equipment and more.

The report states that Biden’s Department of Defense does not plan to “retrieve or destroy” the billions of dollars worth of equipment that is now under the Taliban’s control.

Some of the equipment left in Afghanistan needs “specialized maintenance that DoD contractors previously provided…in the form of technical knowledge and support.”

The report further claims that five Mi-17 helicopters were formally transferred from Afghanistan to Ukraine this year, but they were already in Ukraine for maintenance prior to the withdrawal.

“These five helicopters were in Ukraine undergoing overhaul maintenance when the Afghan government collapsed, and have remained there since,” the report states.

U.S. officials also relocated from Afghanistan to Ukraine more than 15 million rounds of Ball rifle ammunition, over 99,000 40 mm high-explosive/fragmentation grenade cartridges and roughly 119,000 82mm mortar rounds.

Almost 80 aircraft worth $923.3 million were left at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, but the report states that U.S. troops demilitarized the aircraft and made them inoperable.  

Over 9,500 air-to-ground munitions worth $6.54 million were also left behind in Afghanistan, with the “significant majority” of “remaining aircraft munitions” being “non-precision munitions.”

More than 40,000 military vehicles were abandoned in the now Taliban-controlled nation, including 12,000 military Humvees. The report added that “the operational condition of the remaining vehicles” is “unknown.”

Of the 427,300 weapons the U.S. gave Afghan forces prior to the withdrawal, more than 300,000 remained after the Taliban took over.

“Nearly all” of the communications equipment that Afghan forces received from the U.S. military was left behind, including base-station, mobile, man-portable and hand-held commercial and military radio systems, as well as transmitters and encryption devices.

Almost 42,000 pieces of specialized equipment were also left in Afghanistan, including night vision, surveillance, and “biometric and positioning equipment.” Nearly 17,500 “pieces of explosive detection, electronic countermeasure, disposal and personal protective equipment” were also abandoned.

On Thursday, President Biden asked Congress for about $33 billion in additional security and economic assistance for Ukraine as it faces the ongoing invasion from Russia.

“The cost of this fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it to happen,” Biden said. “We either back Ukrainian people as they defend their country or we stand by as the Russians continue their atrocities and aggression in the Ukraine.”

Biden added “it’s critical this funding gets approved and approved as quickly as possible.”