During President Joe Biden’s hasty — and badly botched — withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan last year, billions of dollars in weapons and military equipment were left behind, according to a new Pentagon report.
“In all, about $7 billion worth of hardware remained in the country after the Taliban seized control, according to the report prepared for Congress which was obtained by CNN,” the Daily Mail reported.
“That includes almost $1 billion of aircraft — rendered inoperable and dumped at Hamid Karzai International Airport — some 22,000 military Humvees and almost all the communications equipment supplied during the course of the conflict,” the UK paper wrote.
CNN sought to explain the situation, saying “$7 billion of military equipment the US transferred to the Afghan government over the course of 16 years was left behind in Afghanistan after the US completed its withdrawal from the country in August.”
“The US gave a total of $18.6 billion of equipment to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) from 2005 to August 2021, according to the report,” CNN reported. “Of that total, equipment worth $7.12 billion remained in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal was completed on August 30, 2021. It included aircraft, air-to-ground munitions, military vehicles, weapons, communications equipment and other materials, according to the DoD report.”
“Much of the remaining equipment” that was abandoned in Afghanistan requires “specialized maintenance that DoD contractors previously provided” to Afghan forces “in the form of technical knowledge and support,” the report says.
CNN also cited a Defense Department spokesman who said other equipment left behind was disabled or destroyed, although at the time of the withdrawal, there were no reports of such actions.
“The $7.12 billion figure cited in the Department’s recent report to Congress corresponds to ANDSF equipment and not U.S. military equipment used by our forces,” Army Major Rob Lodewick, a Defense Department spokesperson, said in a statement to CNN. “Nearly all equipment used by U.S. military forces in Afghanistan was either retrograded or destroyed prior to our withdrawal and is not part of the ‘$7.12 billion’ figure cited in the report.”
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.