Guns, Black Hawks, Humvees, drones: Taliban and China reap bonanza of U.S. military hardware

by WorldTribune Staff, August 20, 2021

The Taliban is showing off the huge cache of U.S. weaponry they have obtained courtesy of Team Biden.

The current intelligence assessment, according to a Reuters report, was that the Taliban control more than 2,000 armored vehicles, including U.S. Humvees, and up to 40 aircraft potentially including UH-60 Black Hawks, scout attack helicopters, and ScanEagle military drones.

U.S. military vehicles in Afghanistan. / Video image / Reuters

In Kabul, a Taliban commander showed off a fleet of U.S. humvees that are now in the terror group’s possession after being left behind by the U.S. and fleeing Afghan forces.

An army of terrorists in suicide vests, considered the Taliban’s special forces, marched through the city of Zabul equipped with U.S.-made assault rifles with thermal sights and night vision goggles.

Since 2003 the United States has provided Afghan forces with at least 600,000 infantry weapons including M16 assault rifles, 162,000 pieces of communication equipment, and 16,000 night-vision goggle devices.

“The ability to operate at night is a real game-changer,” one congressional aide told Reuters.

Small arms seized by the Taliban such as machine guns, mortars, as well as artillery pieces including howitzers, could give the terror group an advantage against any resistance that could surface in anti-Taliban strongholds such as the Panjshir Valley northeast of Kabul.

U.S. officials said the expectation was that most of the weapons would be used by the Taliban themselves, but they are also likely to share the equipment with China.

Andrew Small, a Chinese foreign policy expert at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said the Taliban was likely to grant Beijing access to any U.S. weapons they may now have control over.

Video showed the advancing jihadists inspecting long lines of vehicles and opening crates of new firearms, communications gear and even military drones.

“Everything that hasn’t been destroyed is the Taliban’s now,” one U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

A major concern is that the weapons left behind could have been seized by other terror groups such as Islamic State and will be used to attack U.S.-interests in the region, or handed over to adversaries including China and Russia.

The bumbling Biden administration reportedly has not ruled out launching airstrikes against the larger equipment that it left behind, such as helicopters.

“We have already seen Taliban fighters armed with U.S.-made weapons they seized from the Afghan forces. This poses a significant threat to the United States and our allies,” Representative Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, told Reuters in an email.

Between 2002 and 2017, the United States provided the Afghan military with an estimated $28 billion in weaponry, including guns, rockets, night-vision goggles and even small drones for intelligence gathering.

Between 2003 and 2016 the United States provided Afghan forces with 208 aircraft, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

U.S. officials said that between 40 and 50 aircraft had been flown to Uzbekistan by Afghan pilots seeking refuge. Even before taking power in Kabul over the weekend, the Taliban had started a campaign of assassinating pilots.

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