The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has confirmed in a new report that the military had abandoned roughly $7 billion worth of equipment in the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan.
As reported by Fox News, the report was mandated by an act of Congress after the fall of Afghanistan in August of 2021. After 16 years of the U.S. providing military assistance directly to Afghanistan, the equipment left behind for the rising Taliban forces included air-to-surface missiles, night vision equipment, and Humvees. From 2005 to 2021, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) received at least $18.6 billion worth of equipment while it was being trained by the U.S.
“After more than 16 years of combat operations, DOD estimates that $7.12 billion of this equipment remains in Afghanistan in varying states of repair,” said DOD spokesman Rob Lodewick, a Major in the U.S. Army. “It is important to remember that the $7.12 billion figure cited in the Department’s recent report to Congress corresponds to ANDSF equipment and not U.S. military equipment used by our forces.”
“Nearly all equipment used by U.S. military forces in Afghanistan was either retrograded or destroyed prior to our withdrawal and is not part of the $7.12 billion figure cited in the report,” he concluded.
In August of 2021, the Taliban suddenly began advancing on regional capitals throughout the country, after U.S. forces remained in Afghanistan past the original withdrawal date of May 2021 that had first been negotiated by the Trump Administration. Joe Biden then announced an arbitrary extension of the withdrawal deadline to September 11th, before scaling it back to August 30th. The Taliban forces ultimately entered the capital city of Kabul on August 15th, which led to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fleeing the country, marking the collapse of the government.
The disastrous withdrawal process for the remainder of August saw chaotic evacuation attempts, with panicked Afghani citizens storming the Hamid Karzai International Airport, and some ultimately getting killed in their attempts to flee the country. A suicide bombing struck the airport on August 26th, killing 13 U.S. servicemembers and hundreds of civilians. The Biden Administration subsequently faced widespread condemnation from both parties and from around the world for its poor planning and chaotic execution of the final withdrawal process.