New Delhi: Afghanistans military has laid down its weapons, and the Taliban have wasted little time in collecting them, raising concerns about how easily troves of US-made arms, military aircraft, and armoured vehicles have fallen into enemy hands and the new capabilities they bring, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Scores of videos have emerged of Taliban fighters rejoicing near abandoned American helicopters, carrying US-supplied M24 sniper rifles and M18 assault weapons, stacking other small arms and materiel in unending piles and driving Humvees and other US-made military trucks.
The Taliban have seized airplanes, tanks and artillery from Afghan outposts and from evacuating US personnel, revealing one of the heavier costs of a troop withdrawal amid a collapse of Afghanistan’s government and army.
“We obviously don’t want to see our equipment in the hands of those who would act against our interests, or the interests of the Afghan people,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a press briefing this week.
The US sent nearly 600,000 small arms, 76,000 vehicles and 208 airplanes to Afghanistan’s military and police from 2003 to 2016, according to a 2017 Government Accountability Office report, one of the few such compilations.
The most recent quarterly report of the US-led military coalition documented deliveries of 174 Humvees, nearly three million rounds of ammunition, and nearly 100,000 2.75-inch rockets during the period.