FIRST ON CNN: US left $7 billion worth of military equipment in Afghanistan after 2021 withdrawal, Pentagon report says


This equipment is now in a country that is controlled by the very enemy the United States has been trying to drive out for the past two decades: the Taliban. The Department of Defense has no plans to return to Afghanistan to “recover or destroy” the equipment, reads the report, which was provided to Congress.

The United States donated a total of $18.6 billion in equipment to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) from 2005 to August 2021, according to the report. Of this total, equipment worth $7.12 billion remained in Afghanistan after the end of the US withdrawal on August 30, 2021. It included aircraft, air-to-surface munitions, military vehicles, weapons, communications equipment and other materials, according to the DoD report. .

The enormous value of the material left behind will serve to refocus attention on the chaotic and precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan that has been heavily criticized by lawmakers on both sides.

“Much of the remaining equipment ‘left in Afghanistan’ requires ‘specialized maintenance that DoD contractors previously provided ‘to Afghan forces’ in the form of technical knowledge and support,” the report said.

The Department of Defense was required to submit a report to Congress “concerning the disposition of U.S. assets, equipment, and supplies provided to” Afghan forces that “have been destroyed, removed from” or “remain in Afghanistan,” the report said, which is dated March 2022.

“The $7.12 billion figure quoted in the Department’s recent report to Congress is for ANDSF equipment and not U.S. military equipment used by our forces,” the Army Major said. Defense Department spokesman Rob Lodewick in a statement. “Virtually all equipment used by US military forces in Afghanistan was downgraded or destroyed prior to our withdrawal and is not part of the ‘$7.12 billion’ figure cited in the report.”

From Afghanistan to Ukraine

The report also says that five Mi-17 helicopters that were in Afghanistan were officially transferred to Ukraine in 2022, although they were already there for maintenance before the United States left Afghanistan. The Department of Defense notified Congress of its intention to transfer the helicopters in January 2022, before Russia began to invade the country, and Ukraine signed a letter of acceptance on March 11, 2022.

“These five helicopters were in Ukraine undergoing maintenance when the Afghan government collapsed, and have remained there ever since,” the report said.

Among other materials the United States had previously purchased for Afghanistan but not sent to the country, the United States donated “non-standard ammunition” to Ukraine, including approximately 37,000 122-mm howitzer shells. mm, indicates the report.

The United States also transferred more than 15 million Ball rifle rounds, more than 99,000 40mm high-explosive/fragmentation grenade rounds, and approximately 119,000 82mm high-explosive mortar rounds to Ukraine from of equipment previously purchased for Afghanistan, the report said.

This ammunition was transferred to Ukraine under presidential withdrawal authority, the report said.

US military equipment and weapons left behind

Aircraft worth $923.3 million remained in Afghanistan. The United States left 78 aircraft purchased for the Afghan government at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul before the withdrawal was completed. These aircraft were demilitarized and rendered inoperable before the departure of the US military, the report said. The US military evacuated non-combatants from Afghanistan in August, primarily through this airport.

A total of 9,524 air-to-surface munitions, worth $6.54 million, remained in Afghanistan at the end of the US military withdrawal. The “significant majority” of the “remaining aircraft ammunition stockpile is non-precision ammunition,” the report said.

More than 40,000 of the 96,000 military vehicles the US donated to Afghan forces remained in Afghanistan at the time of the US withdrawal, including 12,000 military Humvees, the report said. “The operational status of the remaining vehicles” in Afghanistan is “unknown”, the report said.

More than 300,000 of the 427,300 weapons the US donated to Afghan forces remained in Afghanistan at the time of the US military withdrawal, according to the report. Fewer than 1,537,000 of the “special ammunition” and “common small arms ammunition”, valued at a total of $48 million, are still in the country, the report said.

“Virtually all” of the communications equipment the United States has donated to Afghan forces, including base stations, portable, handheld, and commercial commercial and military radio systems, and associated transmitters and encryption devices , also remained in Afghanistan at the time of the withdrawal, the report said.

“Almost all” of night vision, surveillance, “biometrics and positioning” equipment totaling nearly 42,000 specialized pieces of equipment remained in the country, the report added.

And “almost all” of the explosive ordnance disposal and demining equipment, including 17,500 “explosive detection, electronic countermeasures, disposal and personal protective equipment” also remained in Afghanistan, according to the report.

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