Report Shows Taliban Using Military Equipment Abandoned By Biden
The Taliban’s seizure of $7.2 billion worth of U.S. military equipment in Afghanistan continues to raise concerns about the potential misuse of the gear by the terrorist group following Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal of forces from the war-torn country in 2021. According to a Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report, the Taliban has come into possession of almost all night vision, surveillance, communications and biometric equipment previously provided to the Afghan defense forces.
Additionally, they have gained access to over 300,000 weapons, 40,000 vehicles, 78 aircraft and more than 9,500 air-to-ground munitions.
The report comes ahead of a public hearing on the Afghanistan withdrawal in the Republican-controlled House, which is expected to put the administration in the hot seat. The House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) has accused the Biden administration of stonewalling his committee’s efforts to obtain documents that could reveal the extent of the administration’s mishandling of the operation.
The SIGAR report paints a bleak picture of the situation in Afghanistan, with Taliban units patrolling the streets in U.S.-provided pickup trucks and armored vehicles. They are also using advanced U.S. military equipment, such as armored vehicles and Mi-17 helicopters. In addition, Taliban-run special operations forces have been seen wearing helmets with night vision mounts likely provided by the United States and carrying U.S.-provided M4 rifles equipped with advanced gunsights.
The report also highlights that the Taliban is recruiting former Afghan military personnel to join its air force and fly the abandoned U.S. planes. The pilots working for the Taliban are said to need jobs and reportedly view the Taliban as the most reliable employer in Afghanistan. This has raised concerns about the potential use of U.S. planes for terrorist attacks.
In addition to the potential misuse of the equipment, the SIGAR report also notes that a portion of the most advanced equipment and technology “remains vulnerable to exploitation by adversarial states.” This includes optical and communications equipment, computer software and hardware, and biometric data. The report warns that this could lead to the development of new weapons systems by adversarial states that could threaten U.S. national security.
Military and geopolitical experts are also concerned that the Taliban may sell some captured arms and equipment to augment its revenue flow. This could lead to a further proliferation of weapons in the region, which could have devastating consequences.
The SIGAR report has brought to light the potential dangers of abandoning U.S. military equipment in conflict zones and underscores the need for better planning and coordination in future military operations to prevent the misuse of U.S. military equipment.