The terrorist group acquired almost $7.2 billion worth of military equipment.
- A February report from Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) claims the Taliban now has nearly $7.2 billion worth of ammunition, weapons, and aircraft left from Biden’s 2021 Afghanistan military withdrawal.
- “In March 2022, DOD submitted a report to Congress that includes estimates on the status and condition of U.S.-provided weapons and equipment left in Afghanistan following the withdrawal,” the report reads.
- The materials now in Taliban possession include “at least 78 aircraft worth $923.3 million, 9,524 air-to-ground munitions valued at $6.54 million, over 40,000 vehicles, more than 300,000 weapons, and nearly all night vision, surveillance, communications, and biometric equipment provided to the ANDSF [Afghan National Defense and Security Forces] were left behind,” the report continues.
- A Department of Defense (DoD) spokesperson told SIGAR that there “currently is no realistic way to retrieve the material that remains in Afghanistan, given that the United States does not recognize the Taliban as a government.”
- The report notes that with the materials, the Taliban now “patrol in pickup trucks and armored vehicles likely procured by the U.S.”
- The Taliban’s special operations units, Badri 313, “wear helmets with night vision mounts likely provided by the United States, and carry U.S.-provided M4 rifles equipped with advanced gunsights.”
- SIGAR’s report also describes the Taliban’s use of “more advanced U.S.-provided equipment,” such as Mi-17 helicopters.
AFGHANISTAN CONGRESSIONAL HEARING:
- The House Foreign Affairs Committee began hearings on the Afghanistan military withdrawal on March 8, with Republicans examining the “stunning failure” of Biden’s leadership.
- “What happened in Afghanistan was a systemic breakdown of the federal government at every level – and a stunning failure of leadership by the Biden administration,” Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) told Fox News.
- “As a result, the world watched heartbreaking scenes unfold in and around the Kabul airport. I want every gold and blue star family member, and every veteran out there who watch this hearing to know: I will not rest until we determine how this happened – and hold those accountable responsible,” the chairman added.
- The hearings will include witness testimonies from army medic, Former Specialist Aidan Gunderson; Sergeant Tyler Vargas-Andrews, who was injured; executive chairman of volunteer organization Allied Airlift 21 Francis Q. Hoang; and others.
- The State Department refused to audit the $1 billion spent in Afghanistan since the withdrawal.
- SIGAR requested information on the collapse of the Afghan government, population risks, U.S. compliance in denying funds to the Taliban, and humanitarian programs.
- “The State Department and USAID refused to answer nearly all of SIGAR’s quarterly data requests regarding agency-supported programs in Afghanistan this quarter,” SIGAR’s report stated. “State and USAID claimed without basis that US programming in Afghanistan is unrelated to reconstruction activities.”