No one is surprised that the US left behind a lot of military equipment when we vacated Afghanistan. We weren’t even able to get all of our people out, not to mention a lot of allies. Nevertheless, the scale of what we essentially handed over to the Taliban is pretty shocking. CNN predicts the Department of Defense report which added up all the losses will focus attention back on a low point in President Biden’s tenure.
Approximately $7 billion of military equipment the US transferred to the Afghan government over the course of 16 years was left behind in Afghanistan after the US completed its withdrawal from the country in August, according to a congressionally mandated report from the US Department of Defense viewed by CNN…
The huge value of the hardware left behind will serve to refocus attention on the chaotic and hasty Afghanistan withdrawal that has been heavily criticized by lawmakers from both parties.
So what all did we leave behind? It’s a very long list.
Aircraft worth $923.3 million remained in Afghanistan. The US left 78 aircraft procured for the government of Afghanistan at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul before the end of the withdrawal. These aircraft were demilitarized and rendered inoperable before the US military left, the report states…
A total of 9,524 air-to-ground munitions, valued at $6.54 million, remained in Afghanistan at the conclusion of the US military withdrawal…
Over 40,000 of the total 96,000 military vehicles the US gave to Afghan forces remained in Afghanistan at the time of the US withdrawal, including 12,000 military Humvees, the report states.
And it just keeps going: 300,000 weapons, all of the communication and encryption gear, 42,000 pieces of night vision equipment, 17,500 pieces of EOD equipment. The decision to leave Afghanistan without removing that equipment was effectively a huge transfer of American military gear to the enemy.
For comparison purposes, the total support military support for Ukraine has thus far been around $3.5 billion:
The $3.5 billion includes $550 million to replace supplies President Biden authorized sending in February and the first week of March. Those so-called “drawdown” packages included “Javelins and other anti-armor systems, small arms, various calibers of ammunition, and other essential nonlethal equipment,” according to a Congressional Research Service report published this week.
The bill also allows Mr. Biden to keep sending more supplies. On Wednesday, shortly after Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, delivered a virtual address to Congress, Mr. Biden announced a third package, worth $800 million, that will be replaced using funds approved in this bill.
The CNN report just came out this afternoon so I’m not seeing a lot of reaction to it yet. I’ll try to add an update later if I see anything.