More On: US military equipment
In a report released Tuesday, the Defense Department's inspector general said that more than $7 billion worth of US-supplied military equipment was in the hands of the Western-backed Afghan government when it fell last year. After the Biden bugout, much of this equipment fell into the hands of the Taliban.
The watchdog said that most of the money was spent on tactical ground vehicles like Humvees and mine-resistant MRAPs. The Afghan military already had about $4.12 billion worth of these vehicles when the Taliban took over Kabul on August 15, 2021.
The report also said that the lost equipment included military aircraft worth $923,3 million, "some of which were demilitarized and made inoperable during the evacuation," and aircraft munitions worth $294,6 million.
The figures came from the Pentagon's Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, which told the IG's office that "the Afghan forces were heavily reliant on U.S. contractor support to maintain both their aircraft and ground vehicle fleets, and without this continued support, the long-term operability of these assets would be limited."
The report also said that the Afghan military was in charge of 316,260 small arms worth $511.8 million at the time of its collapse. These included rifles, sniper rifles, pistols, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and howitzers. It was not clear what condition these weapons were in.
When the Taliban took over, the Kabul government also had equipment for communications, detecting explosives, night vision, and other types of surveillance.
The report also said that the US military had "removed nearly all major equipment" during the pullout, except for some tactical vehicles that were given to the Afghan Ministry of Defense at the beginning of last year and other old vehicles that were destroyed.
The watchdog found that "small amounts" of equipment that could not be taken out of Kabul's airport before the US finished pulling out on August 30 were also destroyed or made useless.
Between 2005 and 2021, the Defense Department spent about $84 billion on security assistance for Afghan forces. Of this amount, $18.6 billion went to buying weapons for the Afghan National Army, Afghan Air Force, Afghan National Police, and Afghan Special Security Forces.
Over those 16 years, the US spent $612 million on 427,300 weapons, including 258,300 rifles, 6,300 sniper rifles, 64,300 pistols, 56,155 machine guns, 31,000 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and 224 howitzers.
On the one-year anniversary of the end of the military pullout, Republicans have been critical of how President Biden handled it.
GOP lawmakers have said that the administration is "misleading" the American people and have promised to get answers from the White House if they win the midterm elections in November and take control of Congress again.
This week, the Republicans are also working on their own report about the chaotic withdrawal. In it, they will say that the administration made "catastrophic mistakes" in planning the pullout, which let the Taliban take power again and gave al Qaeda a new place to live in the war-torn country.