The US had delivered military equipment to the Afghan National Army (ANA) just before the Taliban takeover, with the top 10 most expensive pieces alone totaling over $212 million dollars, according to a July 2021 report from the US government’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
In the past two decades, the US has spent billions of dollars on training and arming Afghan military forces in a bid to bring stability to the country. With the US withdrawing from the country, however, much equipment has been left behind, with some already falling into the hands of the Taliban after the extremist group seized control.
The SIGAR report outlined the below top 10 most expensive pieces of military equipment delivered in the second quarter of the year during the months of April and June 2021:
1. Six A-29 light attack aircraft: $133,512,720
2. Nearly 200 M1151 HMMWV vehicles: $41,499,000
3. Close to 100,000 2.75-inch rockets (ammunition): $18,480,479
4. Over 60,000 40mm high-explosive rounds of ammunition: $4,563,000
5. A total of 88,709 uniform shirts in various sizes: $3,597,150
6. Ammunition including 884,880 .50 caliber cartridges: $2,703,616
7. Over 300 hydraulic vehicle transmissions: $2,339,584
8. Eighty-one diesel engines: $3,145,233
9. Over two million 7.62 mm ammunition cartridges: $1,511,700
10. Nearly five million 5.56 blank ammunition training cartridges: $1,039,115
Taliban has an estimated $212 million worth of U.S. military aircraft, vehicles, ammunition, and spare parts.— Frud Bezhan فرود بيژن (@FrudBezhan) August 23, 2021
Makes Taliban arguably the best armed militant group in modern history. #Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/64aiMBwpeD
Videos of the Taliban parading in US-made armored vehicles, wielding US-supplied firearms and climbing on American Black Hawk helicopters after the defeat of Afghan government forces have surfaced in recent days.
In its 16-month withdrawal the Pentagon reportedly removed “huge amounts of its own equipment from Afghanistan, and handed some of it to the Afghan army,” AFP reported.
Over the course of the last few weeks the Taliban have seized control of most of the country, as well as any weapons and equipment left behind by fleeing Afghan forces.
Watch: #Taliban fighters seize hundreds of #US supplied firearms, as well as US-made vehicles and helicopters, from Afghan forces in a move that embarrassed the White House.https://t.co/DVuC6QEy1k pic.twitter.com/oosIymP8du— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) August 22, 2021
“Everything that hasn't been destroyed is the Taliban's now,” one US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
However, it remains unclear how much of the US-supplied equipment fell into the hands of the extremist group that took over the country a lot faster than Western powers had expected.
Current and former US officials said there is concern those weapons could be used to kill civilians, be seized by other extremists groups such as ISIS to attack US-interests in the region, or even potentially be handed over to adversaries including China and Russia, Reuters reported.
Experts said the situation in Afghanistan has shown the US needs to better monitor equipment given to allies.
UK-based Conflict Armament Researcher Justine Fleischner told Reuters that the US could have done more to ensure equipment delivered to Afghan forces was closely monitored and inventoried.
The Taliban also managed to seize US military biometric equipment, sparking fears it could be used to identify allies of the West, according to media reports.