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Video: Taliban now has nearly $7.1 billion worth of US artillery, assault weapons, and choppers

Taliban members are seen at the airport in Kabul (Credit Image: © Saifurahman Safi/Xinhua via ZUMA Press/TNS)
November 06, 2022

A total of $7.1 billion worth of weapons and military vehicles the U.S. donated to the now-defunct Afghan government was left behind when the Taliban seized control of the country in the summer of 2021.

In an inspector general report filed one year after the U.S.-backed Afghan government collapsed, Pentagon Inspector General Sean O’Donnell assessed that $7.12 billion of U.S.-donated weaponry was in the Afghan government’s arsenal when the Taliban took over. According to the report, the Taliban has since claimed much of that abandoned arsenal.

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 U.S. withdrawal, including aircraft, air-to-ground munitions, military vehicles, weapons, communications equipment and more.

Among the abandoned arsenal was $923 million worth of aircraft, including helicopters and planes. The arsenal also contained $4.12 billion in ground vehicles, such as Humvees, Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (M-RAP) vehicles and other tactical vehicles.

The arsenal also included $511.8 million worth of rifles, pistols, machineguns, rocket propelled grenade launchers and howitzers.

While the aircraft may be difficult for the Taliban to use, the ground vehicles and small arms could be easily adopted into the Taliban’s military. Taliban forces put some of this firepower on display in military parades marking the one-year anniversary of the final U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The abandoned arsenal also contained night vision goggles, body armor, communications equipment, explosive ordnance detection and disposal equipment and surveillance equipment.

The inspector general report also looked into the presence of designated terrorist organizations in Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal. The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) believes there Afghanistan Islamic State affiliate known as ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K) probably has at least 2,000 members in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) likely has about 200 members in the country. The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (commonly referred to as the Pakistani Taliban) likely has about 4,000 members operating in Afghanistan.