It has been one year since the beginning of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the full impact of it is still being calculated. In a new report from the inspector general, it has been revealed that the U.S. government left behind more than $7 billion worth of military equipment.
The report, which covers the period from April 1, 2022, through June 30, 2022, was released on Tuesday. It outlined some of what was left behind as U.S. troops left the region and the Taliban quickly took over.
According to the report, the Department of Defense estimated that U.S.-funded equipment worth $7.12 billion was part of the inventory of the former Afghan government before it fell to the Taliban.
Much of that equipment then fell into the hands of the Taliban, who have been in power since the withdrawal.
“This included military aircraft, ground vehicles, weapons, and other military equipment,” the inspector general’s report noted.
However, the report also noted that equipment left behind might have issues being operated without specific maintenance.
“The condition of these items was unknown, and the long-term operability of the vehicles was likely to deteriorate without U.S. contractor maintenance. The U.S. military removed or destroyed nearly all major equipment used by U.S. troops in Afghanistan throughout the drawdown period in 2021,” the report added.
But this did not stop Taliban fighters from parading through regions of the country showing off the U.S. military equipment they had last fall.
“Most of the weapons and equipment the Taliban forces are now using are those supplied by Washington to the American-backed government in Kabul in a bid to construct an Afghan national force capable of fighting the Taliban,” I24News reported.
Since the U.S. left Afghanistan, things also quickly changed under the new Taliban regime, as the report from the inspector general added.
“U.S. diplomats temporarily halted in-person, high-level engagements with the Taliban after the Taliban banned girls from attending secondary school in March. U.S.-Taliban dialogue resumed in June with discussions on women’s rights, terrorism, the economy, and U.S. assistance for victims of the recent earthquake,” the report reads.
As diplomatic relations have worsened, nearly no one is recognizing the Taliban government as legitimate either.
“No sovereign country recognized the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan this quarter, but some countries, including China, Russia, and Iran, permitted Taliban representatives to occupy and operate the Afghan embassies in their respective capitals,” the report added.
Meanwhile, ISIS-K is also on the rise in the region in the aftermath of the chaos of the withdrawal.
“ISIS-K was the most active terrorist group in Afghanistan this quarter, claiming 80 attacks—a 90 percent increase from the previous quarter—including some complex attacks, demonstrating the group’s capability to strike multiple targets in quick succession,” the inspector general’s report outlined.
Most of ISIS-K’s attacks are targeting Afghan minorities as well as stirring things up with the security forces of the neighboring nations, including Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan.
“Through these attacks, ISIS-K aims to undermine Taliban rule and attract new recruits,” the report added.
All this unrest is swirling in the country, and added to it is $7.12 billion worth of high-tech American weapons and equipment.
Many complained of this last year, as the withdrawal took place and then the after-effects were seen.
“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. 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,” Republicans wrote in a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Aug. 18, 2021.
Yet, a year later, there is very little the U.S. can do and things appear to just grow worse in the region.
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