The Taliban seized both political power and significant US-supplied firepower in an Afghan whirlwind takeover, and recovered guns, ammunition, helicopters, and other modern military equipment from the Afghan army that surrendered it.
But the equipment Tullivan has acquired isn’t worth more than the $ 80 billion claimed this week by social media users and politicians such as Senator Marsha Blackburn, Congressman Lauren Bobert, and former President Donald Trump.
Since 2001, the United States has spent $ 83 billion on the development and maintenance of Afghan security forces, most of which has not been directed to equipment. Also, the Taliban cannot use all American equipment that has been supplied to Afghanistan for more than 20 years.
Let’s take a closer look at the facts.
Claim: Taliban fighters currently own US military equipment worth $ 80 to $ 85 billion.
Fact: These numbers have risen significantly, according to a report from the Special Inspector General for Reconstruction of Afghanistan (SIGAR), which oversees US taxpayer money spent in conflict.
On the last day of August, when US troops completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan, social media users began claiming that the “Taliban’s new arsenal” was worth $ 85 billion. Trump amplified the falsity in a statement on Monday, saying, “All equipment should be required to be returned to the United States immediately, including all penny costs of $ 85 billion.”
Their $ 85 billion numbers are similar to those from July 30th Quarterly report From SIGAR outlining that the United States has invested approximately $ 83 billion in the construction, training and equipment of Afghan security forces since 2001.
However, according to SIGAR’s report and Defense Policy Analyst Dan Grazier on the Project On Government Oversight Project, the funding includes more than 20 years of troop salaries, training, operations, infrastructure, and equipment and transportation. I did.
“We have spent more than $ 80 billion in support of Afghan security forces,” Grazier said. “But that alone does not cost all equipment.”
In fact, only about $ 18 billion in total was spent on Afghan army equipment between 2002 and 2018. This is the June 2019 SIGAR. report Indicated.
another estimate According to a 2017 Government Accountability Office report, approximately 29% of the amount spent on Afghan security forces between 2005 and 2016 funded equipment and transportation. Transport funds included equipment, contract pilots, and planes to transport staff to meetings.
If that percentage is maintained for the entire 20 years, it means that the United States has spent about $ 24 billion on equipment and transport of Afghan troops since 2001.
But even if that is true, many military equipment will become obsolete after years of use, according to Grazier.In addition, the U.S. military has previously Discard unnecessary gear And recently invalid According to Admiral Frank Mackenzie of the US Central Command, dozens of humvees and aircraft are no longer available.
No one knows the exact value of the U.S.-supplied Afghan equipment secured by the Taliban, but defense officials say Confirmed That’s important.
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