Taliban a 'major U.S. arms dealer' after weaponry left behind in Afghanistan, watchdog warns
“The Taliban is going to be selling tickets to their terrorist gun show," head of Open the Books warns.
This week’s Golden Horseshoe is awarded to the Biden administration for the billions of dollars in military equipment left behind for the Taliban after the botched U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The spending watchdog Open The Books found $89.2 billion in military equipment, including training, was provided to Afghan security forces during America’s longest running war.
The sophisticated military equipment left behind included Blackhawk helicopters, attack aircraft, tens of thousands of vehicles, and 650,000 weapons.
"The hasty withdrawal of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan turned the Taliban into a major U.S. arms dealer for the next decade,” Open The Books CEO and Founder Adam Andrzejewski told Just The News. “The Taliban is going to be selling tickets to their terrorist gun show."
The equipment left behind includes 650,000 weapons, including 350,000 M4 and M16 rifles, 65,000 machine guns, 25,000 grenade launchers, and 2,500 mortars and howitzers, Andrzejewski said.
The watchdog found the United States provided 75,000 military vehicles including 50,000 light- and medium-tactical vehicles, 22,000 Humvees, and 928 mine-resistant vehicles to Afghanistan since 2001.
Andrzejewski detailed other military equipment provided to the Afghan National Army and security forces.
It included 110 Black Hawk helicopters, which cost $21 million each; 20 A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft, which cost $21.3 million each; and 7 C-208 light attack airplanes at $12.1 million each. Those airplanes, he noted, are very sophisticated and carry anti-tank missiles and Hellfire missiles.
Other U.S.-funded surveillance and reconnaissance equipment included six Aerostat surveillance balloons, valued at $8.9 million each; eight ScanEagle drones valued at $1.4 million each; and over 16,000 night vision devices valued at approximately $80 million.
Andrezejewski said President Biden did not anticipate the collapse of the Afghan Nation Army and his initial budget to Congress included billions more for the forces.
“In fact, Biden's budget to Congress FY2022 had $3 billion more for the Afghan forces. The president never saw the swift collapse of the national army and was caught completely flat-footed,” he said.
Biden this week signed the $787 billion National Defense Authorization Act which for FY2022 funds the the Department of Defense, for Department of Energy national security programs, and for the Department of State.
“The Act provides vital benefits and enhances access to justice for military personnel and their families, and includes critical authorities to support our country’s national defense,” Biden said.
"The Biden Administration promised a 'peace dividend' from leaving Afghanistan. However, the National Defense Authorization Act just increased funding of the U.S. military by $30 billion,” Andrzejewski said. “There's no peace dividend, as the world is much more unsafe today because of the botched withdrawal."