The Taliban* has laid its hands on huge stockpiles of US-made arms, prompting fears that Afghanistan would now turn into a hornet’s nest should these weapons start circulating among various jihadi and terrorist actors on the ground. What measures could be taken to prevent the proliferation of sophisticated arms?
While it is not clear exactly how many weapons have fallen into the hands of the Afghan insurgents, the current intelligence assessment is that the Taliban’s war chest now includes at least 2,000 armored vehicles, up to 40 aircraft, supposedly including UH-60 Black Hawks, ScanEagle military drones, scout attack helicopters, thousands of rifles, and potentially, night-vision goggles, according to Reuters.
Social media platforms are awash with images and videos allegedly showing the Afghan militants holding US-made M4 carbines, standing near Humvees, and even flying in choppers. All in all, Washington has spent an estimated $83 billion on training and equipping Afghan government forces, according to The Hill. Of this sum, the US gave Kabul approximately $28 billion in weaponry between 2002 and 2017. Everything that has not been destroyed is believed to have fallen into the Taliban’s hands.
US Weapons in the Hands of Terrorists
On 18 August, a group of 25 Republican Senators sent a letter to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin requesting a full account of US military equipment left behind in Afghanistan, after National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitted a day…