Taliban’s US-sourced war chest of high-tech weapons in chilling pictures
Taliban chef says US exit is ‘our happiest moment’
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The terror group now has access to around 2,000 armoured vehicles and up to 40 aircraft, a US official said. Pictures have recently emerged of Taliban fighters armed with M4 carbines and M16 assault rifles.
Tactical equipment such as night-vision goggle mounts, plate carriers and camouflage uniforms have also fallen into the hands of the Taliban.
An unnamed official said: “Everything that hasn’t been destroyed is the Taliban’s now.”
The US has pressed ahead with its controversial decision to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan following 20 years of fighting.
Joe Biden went through with a move by his predecessor to hand control to the Afghan army, but the speed of the unprecedented Taliban takeover has thrown the country into chaos.
Military personnel had hoped to bring back or destroy weapons left in the region but faced a race against time.
Since 2005, the US provided at least $18billion to the Afghan military for “equipment and transportation,” according to the latest Congress report
And since 2003, the US has provided allied forces in Afghanistan with at least 600,000 infantry weapons, 162,000 pieces of communication equipment and 16,000 night-vision goggles.
The arsenal of military equipment left on the ground reportedly includes Black Hawk helicopters and A-29 Super Tocano bombers.
It is unlikely that members of the Taliban will have the skills to maintain or training to operate such aircraft – but it is understood they would be seen as a “trophy” for the terror group.
US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, conceded a “fair amount” of military materials were now in the possession of the Taliban.
Speaking last week, he said: “We don’t have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defence materials has gone.
“But certainly a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban.
“And obviously, we don’t have a sense that they are going to readily hand it over to us at the airport.”
The Pentagon press secretary John Kirby attempted to downplay the situation.
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He said the decision on what equipment to withdraw and what to destroy had been “very deliberate”.
Retired US army General Joseph Votel, a former head of Central Command in Afghanistan from 2016 to 2019, said most of the hardware left behind would not be equipped with sensitive technology.
General Votel added: “In some cases, some of these will be more like trophies.”
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