Taliban fighters parade US military equipment abandoned in the country.(Photo credit: Reuters)
According to a US Department of Defense (DoD) report obtained by CNN on 27 April, the US left behind $7.12 billion in military equipment in Afghanistan after their withdrawal from the country last year.
The abandoned arsenal includes aircraft, vehicles, weapons, ammunition, and communications hardware that had been given to the former US-backed government, the report said, adding that the US does not intend to “retrieve or destroy” any of the equipment.
The report also states that this was the remainder of a total $18.6 billion worth of equipment given by the US to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) between 2005 and 2021, most of which requires “specialized maintenance that DoD contractors previously provided … in the form of technical knowledge and support.”
According to a report by the US government oversight authority, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), most of the aircraft given to the former Afghan government, amounting to $923.3 million, will not be functional without the presence of US-funded contractors.
In addition to the aircraft, the US left behind over 40,000 military vehicles and 300,000 weapons upon their withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In September of last year, the Taliban discovered two large weapon stockpiles left hidden by US forces in the towns of Mazer-e-Sharif and Herat.
The caches contained hundreds of thousands of bullets, weapons, missiles and spare helicopter parts, and were allegedly left in the country as part of a contingency plan in case US troops were redeployed to the country, according to a report by British media.
On 14 November, the Taliban held a military parade in the Afghan capital Kabul using captured US military vehicles and Russian helicopters.
Following their defeat in Afghanistan last year, US forces staged a hasty and chaotic withdrawal from the country that saw people clinging to the undercarriage of military aircraft before plunging to their deaths.
Since the US withdrawal and the freeze on Afghanistan’s foreign reserves, the country has been undergoing a severe economic crisis, which has been worsened by the punitive economic sanctions imposed by Washington.