The surprise takeover of Kabul by Taliban Muslim militias endowed their army with an as-yet-unspecified amount of war material, but Defense Department officials made approximations.
Intelligence agencies estimate that the haul could contain more than 2,000 armored vehicles, 40 aircraft of various specifications, and ScanEagle military drones, according to Reuters on Aug. 19.
Among the armored military vehicles are so-called multi-purpose 4×4 Humvees, powerful UH-60 Black Hawks helicopters, reconnaissance attack helicopters, communications equipment, and huge quantities of weapons.
“Everything that hasn’t been destroyed is the Taliban’s now,” commented an official who preferred to remain anonymous, referring to the U.S.-supplied material and war equipment abandoned by the Afghan army.
Between 2002 and 2017, the U.S. provided the Afghan army with defense supplies valued at about $28 billion, Reuters reported.
It also provided 208 aircraft between 2003 and 2016, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).
In addition to 600,000 long-range infantry firearms, such as rifles, 162,000 communications equipment and 16,000 night-vision goggles.
Also, the disaster specialists and strategists are worried about the fate of a large amount of military equipment in the hands of the Taliban.
The conjecture is that it could pass into the hands of U.S. enemies, who would take advantage, either Russia or the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
In the same scenario are terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS, and the Taliban who already possess them.
For his part, Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed the risk posed by such weaponry in an email.
“We have already seen Taliban fighters armed with U.S.-made weapons they seized from the Afghan forces. This poses a significant threat to the United States and our allies,” he said.
The Taliban’s shocking advance on Kabul, the Afghan capital, has caused much criticism from various quarters. As for the war teams, 25 Senate Republicans demanded more information from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
“It is unconscionable that high-tech military equipment paid for by U.S. taxpayers has fallen into the hands of the Taliban and their terrorist allies,” said the letter sent from the Senate.
It added: “Securing U.S. assets should have been among the top priorities for the U.S. Department of Defense prior to announcing the withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
“The Biden-Harris administration has failed to provide an accounting of U.S. equipment now in the hands of the Taliban,” said House Armed Services Committee member Mike Rogers on Aug. 18.
Faced with the deterioration of the U.S. image as a result of these events, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented what he considered to be the most viable way to solve this problem: “We should put pressure on them, we should inflict costs and pain on them.”
And he stated in one of his tweets: “This Administration begged. They apologized. They didn’t project American strength. The Taliban saw they were weak and drove a truck through it.”