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Taliban Armed With American Weapons, Vehicles 

Taliban Armed With American Weapons, Vehicles 

Taliban forces are conquering Afghanistan with the very same equipment the US provided to help defeat them. 

Reports and photos confirm the insurgents have their hands on M4 carbines, M16 rifles, Black Hawk helicopters, A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft, Humvees, and other armored vehicles. Experts worry the Taliban may have seized biometric devices capable of identifying Afghans who assisted American forces. 

“We don’t have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone,” admits National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. “And obviously, we don’t have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport.”

It is unclear if the Taliban will be able to use or maintain the more advanced equipment, but simply having it sends a clear signal to the rest of the world. 

“When an armed group gets their hands on American-made weaponry, it’s sort of a status symbol. It’s a psychological win,” explains Elias Yousif, deputy director of the Center for International Policy’s Security Assistance Monitor.

Of primary concern are small arms, which are easy to use and even easier to sell.  

“It is unconscionable that high-tech military equipment paid for by US taxpayers has fallen into the hands of the Taliban and their terrorist allies,” writes Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). “Securing US assets should have been among the top priorities for the US Department of Defense prior to announcing the withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

The Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan is sure to stain President Joe Biden’s reputation even though former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump supported troop withdrawal.

“The problem of the US withdrawal is that it sent a nationwide signal that the jig is up – a sudden, nationwide signal that everyone read the same way,” says Stephen Biddle, a professor of international and public affairs at Colombia University.

In other words, the announcement that US troops would be leaving the region emboldened Taliban insurgents and stole the fire from Afghan government troops (if there was any fire to begin with).

“Morale, discipline, leadership, [and] unit cohesion are more decisive than numbers of forces and equipment,” notes retired Army Lieutenant Doug Lute. “As outsiders in Afghanistan, we can provide materiel, but only Afghans can provide the intangible moral factors.”

Since 2001, the United States has invested more than $980 billion training and equipping Afghan soldiers, fighting the Taliban, and attempting to rebuild the nation’s government. This includes paying the salaries of Afghan soldiers and delivering more than 75,000 vehicles, 599,000 weapons, 162,000 pieces of surveillance equipment, and 200 aircraft.

In April 2021, under pressure to follow through with Trump’s plans to remove US troops from an ‘endless war,’ President Biden announced the withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan to be complete by September 11th. 

By May, the Taliban had started to make major territorial gains in northern Afghanistan. By August, they had seized control of several provincial capitals. On August 15th, Taliban forces captured Kabul and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled in a helicopter packed with cash.

“Clearly, this is an indictment of the US security cooperation enterprise broadly,” argues Yousif. “It really should raise a lot of concerns about what is the wider enterprise that is going on every single day, whether that’s in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, [o] East Asia.”

Despite its obvious failures, the Biden Administration continues to insist that troop withdrawal was conducted in the best way possible. Deciding what equipment to destroy and what equipment to give Afghan forces as US forces departed was a “very deliberate” process, said Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby. 


Billions in US weaponry seized by Taliban 

A Look at Afghanistan’s 40 Years of Crisis – From the Soviet War to Taliban Recapture 

Billions spent on Afghan army ultimately benefited Taliban 

Here’s all the US military equipment that likely ended up in Taliban hands 

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  1. Anonymous

    Send the Hadji Moslems the Covid Virus!

  2. Anonymous

    Send the Covid Virus to the Afghans!

  3. WildMann9

    Another lost Nation Building Effort

  4. John J

    Biden is a useless coward and is making America the fool of the world. 20 years of wounded and dead U.S. military personnel and billions of taxpayer dollars and now they are using OUR weapons for more destruction

    • Ben

      What’s your solution, 20 more years of dead and maimed soldiers? I’d like to say I’m shocked by the pro war hawk views of this website, but I’m not.
      Rest easy, None of the weapons they have can hurt us on American soil. They have the weapons because Afghan Security Forces turned them over to the Taliban. Had we not left the Security Forces weapons, you would also be telling us how it should have been done.

      What do John and trump have in common? They both think they know more than the Generals.

  5. charles hollis

    This is an unmitigated disaster. Biden and his whole administration need to be impeached and imprisoned and required to collectively reimburse the American taxpayers for the billions of dollars worth of military equipment seized by the Taliban after our disastrous retreat from this battlefield.

    • Dan Tyree

      They can thank retard joe for the gifts

    • Ben

      Charles wins the “Tell me you have never been in the military without telling me you’ve never been in the military… contest.”
      Congratulations !

  6. Arthur J Jurczak

    No problem, just treat them like our oun troops. No repair /or spare parts.

  7. Ben

    I don’t see how any of this is really an issue… well, except for a talking point for the right. None of these weapons are able to negatively impact us here on American soil. The Taliban is the de facto government and in control of the entire Country. They are able to purchase whatever weapons they want, from who ever would like to sell to them.

    Trump ended the war and negotiated our withdraw. We are no longer at war with this nation. We should not care what small arms, or short range aircraft they are in possession of, or who it belonged to previously.

    There are only two reasons to write this article.
    1) Angling to go back into Afghanistan.
    2) Political hit job stroking fear from the American people.

    I have a feeling that if we rounded up all the military hardware before we left, you’d be writing about how we left Afghan Security Forces with no equipment. We left them well stocked and you wrote an article stoking fear for political points.

    I do like that this site has gone from being Infectious disease experts to being foreign policy experts and experts in military strategy. It’s good to be able to read all these expert opinions on such a wide array of topics.

  8. frank stetson

    You guys are great at hurling stones, really bad at suggesting solutions.

    So, what would you have done? I mean Trump telegraphed our departure over a year ago meaning the Taliban had plenty of time to plan, gather resources and money for more resources, basically anyone who hates America could pitch in and help them. Plenty of time.

    During the year, Trump did absolutely nothing to prepare. But how would you leave the Afghan army versus our equipment? What would you have done given the situation of a public preannouncement of the plan, the timetable, etc.? Did you want to continue flying missions after our ground troops were gone?

    Yes, the speed of the collapse, the extraction, all Biden blunders. But it is not his alone; he was set up by Trump who set the plan, the timetable, and then did absolutely nothing to prepare. We can go farther back and include everyone up to Bush Jr., but it’s these two last Presidents that share responsibility for the current sad state of affairs. IMO.