It’s impossible to know exactly how much American equipment fell into the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan but the estimate numbers are staggering. Experts are working on the assumption that virtually all the heavy equipment provided to the Afghani military – like tanks, planes, and helicopters – have been captured. That totals up to “an estimated $83 billion.”
Shock and awe numbers
Forbes did a feature on the issue where they broke it down to a list of equipment along with the cost the government carries on the books for the items.
The numbers just keep going and going, like the Energizer bunny. They note that putting “price tags on American military equipment still in Afghanistan isn’t an easy task,” especially in “the fog of war or withdrawal.” After all, “Afghanistan has always been a black box with little sunshine.” It doesn’t help that the Imperial Palace is trying to pull a cover-up.
They made a couple of crucial reports on the subject disappear in the name of alleged national security but Forbes dug them up again. “This week, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com reposted two key reports on the U.S. war chest of military gear in Afghanistan that had disappeared from federal websites,” they report.
The first was a Government Accountability Office audit of U.S. provided military gear in Afghanistan dated August 2017 and the other a Special Inspector General For Afghanistan Reconstruction audit of $174 million in lost ScanEagle drones carried out in July of 2020.
According to the GAO, “the State Department requested we temporarily remove and review reports on Afghanistan to protect recipients of US assistance that may be identified through our reports and thus subject to retribution.” That’s bullcrap. These reports “only have numbers and no recipient information.”
As the report points out, between “2003 and 2016, the U.S. purchased and provided 75,898 vehicles and 208 aircraft, to the Afghan army and security forces. In “2017, the U.S. military lost $174 million in drones that were part of the attempt to help the Afghan National Army defend itself.”
But wait, there’s more! “From 2017 to 2019, the U.S. also gave Afghan forces 7,035 machine guns, 4,702 Humvees, 20,040 hand grenades, 2,520 bombs and 1,394 grenade launchers, according to the since removed 2020 SIGAR report.” Those are some staggering numbers.
The Taliban is now better armed than most countries because of Joe Biden’s incompetence. https://t.co/nwDWlgSDeq
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) August 23, 2021
Enough to supply an army
A quick scan through the list reveals some really interesting numbers lurking in the line items. For instance, armored personnel carriers cost between $170,000 and $333,333 each while “mine resistant vehicles ranges from $412,000 to $767,000.” Super-strength versions of the neighborhood tow truck cost Uncle Sam $880,674 each.
There was way too much light equipment to list but highlights include “at least 600,000 infantry weapons, including M16 rifles, 162,000 pieces of communication equipment, and 16,000 night-vision goggle devices.” Each “Aerostat surveillance balloon costs $8.9 million.” As “late at 2021, U.S. appropriations for the Wolfhounds radio monitoring systems approached $874,000.”
We just handed the Taliban everything from cargo trucks to Humvees to Black Hawk helicopters. It’s been confirmed that this month, “the Taliban seized Black Hawk helicopters and A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft.
As late as last month, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense posted photos on social media of seven newly arrived helicopters from the U.S.” The guys who crunch the numbers point out that “Black Hawk helicopters can cost up to $21 million” and “the U.S. placed an order for 20 A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft for $427 million – that’s $21.3 million for each plane.”
Then there are the fighter jets. Record numbers of goat humpers are signing up for a chance to learn to fly. “The Afghan air force contracted for C-208 light attack airplanes in March 2018: seven planes for $84.6 million, or $12.1 million each.
The airplanes are very sophisticated and carry HELLFIRE missiles, anti-tank missiles and other weaponry.” Along with those are a flock of “PC-12 intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance airplanes.” Those “use the latest in technology.” According to the experts, “Having these planes fall into Taliban control is disconcerting.”