Afghanistan: Taliban Helps Itself To £62 Billion Of Military Equipment After International Withdrawal
Taliban fighters have managed to take possession of billions of pounds worth of military gear left behind by Afghan and international troops following the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Equipment understood to have been acquired by the Taliban includes armoured Humvee trucks, high-spec rifles, body armour and ammunition. Even more worryingly, unverified footage filmed in the city of Kandahar and posted on social media appeared to show Taliban fighters piloting a black hawk helicopter.
According to one US congressman, the total value of military equipment now in Taliban hands could add up to as much as £62 billion.
The BBC reports that based on the number of aircraft operated by Afghan government forces ahead of the Taliban’s takeover, the group may now be in possession of a 150-strong fleet, including helicopters and cargo jets. However, satellite imagery taken of airbases over the past month suggests some of these aircraft were either flown out of the country or moved elsewhere prior to the Taliban surge.
Of particular concern is the risk that a number of biometric devices left in the country could be used by the Taliban to identify Afghans who worked alongside the government and international troops, putting them at risk of reprisals.
Republican House representative Jim Banks, who collated the information on military equipment reported by the Daily Mail, said ‘unbelievably, and unfathomable to me and so many others, the Taliban now has access to biometric devices. This administration still has no plan to get this military equipment or supplies back.’
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that while some equipment may indeed have fallen into the hands of the Taliban, he did not believe that anything ‘lethal’ or ‘sensitive’ would have been left behind.
Following a deadly suicide bombing in Kabul on Thursday, the United States confirmed it was performing controlled explosions of its own military equipment in preparation for the final exit of troops from Afghanistan this week.
If you’d like to help those who’ve been affected by the recent devastating events unfolding in Afghanistan, you can make a donation to the UN Refugee Agency United Kingdom here
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