Chris Lange, FISM News
The Taliban recently delved into its stash of some $7 billion worth of U.S. weapons left behind in Afghanistan to wage battle against Iranian border guards.
Violence erupted in the Nimroz province of Afghanistan Saturday in a political dispute over water rights, resulting in three deaths.
Among the several images and video clips of the violent skirmish posted on social media was a clip showing Taliban fighters using a Humvee fitted with an M240 machine gun that astute observers noted looked quite familiar.
Task and Purpose reported that the tactical vehicle was, without doubt, among the haul of U.S. military equipment left behind by the U.S. in the 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal and seized by the now-ruling Taliban.
— War Noir (@war_noir) May 27, 2023
The video footage also showed Taliban militants using American AK-style rifles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) to attack Iranian border guards.
BILLIONS IN EQUIPMENT LEFT BEHIND
FISM reported in April 2022 that the Department of Defense acknowledged that $7.12 billion in equipment that the U.S. had given to the former Afghanistan government had been captured by the Taliban. The figure did not include equipment U.S. forces left behind amid the chaotic withdrawal that resulted in the deaths of 13 U.S. service members.
Shortly after the U.S. pullout, images of Taliban members holding U.S.-made M4 carbines and M16 rifles emerged on social media along with reports that militants were also spotted with U.S. Humvees.
The Taliban also seized Black Hawk Helicopters, A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft, and night vision goggles, among other items, according to an Aug. 2021 report by The Hill.
That same month, House Republicans on the Oversight Committee sent a letter to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asking the Pentagon to detail its plans to recover or destroy the seized weapons.
“As a direct result of the Biden Administration’s poorly planned and executed U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban is now armed with a significant arsenal of U.S.-made weaponry,” Committee chair James Comer (R-Ky.) and Rep. Glenn Grothman (Wis.), the ranking member on the National Security subcommittee, wrote in the letter. “Worse, it would appear the Biden Administration has no clue what or how many weapon platforms are now owned and operated by the Taliban,” the missive continued.
The Defense Department, as it turned out, had no plans to try to destroy or recover any of the equipment.
Republicans have repeatedly excoriated the Biden administration, both for the botched withdrawal and subsequent lack of transparency. Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken produced a long-requested July 2021 dissent cable from the U.S. embassy in Kabul following months of stonewalling and under threat of contempt of Congress charges.
The United States spent an estimated $83 billion training and equipping Afghan security forces in the two decades leading up to the 2021 pullout.