According to a congressionally required report from the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. abandoned approximately $7 billion worth of military equipment in Afghanistan during the chaotic pullout in August. The Pentagon assessment showed that the U.S. left planes, air-to-ground bombs, military vehicles, and communications equipment behind. The report stated, “The U.S. gave a total of $18.6 billion of equipment to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) from 2005 to August 2021” and that “Of that total, equipment worth $7.12 billion remained in Afghanistan after the U.S. withdrawal was completed on August 30, 2021.”
The report also revealed that the haphazard Afghan pullout left 78 aircraft worth $923.3 million at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul and that the stranded aircraft were demilitarized and made unusable before the troops left Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. More than 40,000 military vehicles, including 12,000 military Humvees, were also abandoned in Afghanistan, according to the report, with the vehicles’ operating status “unknown.”
Afghanistan reportedly still has 9,524 air-to-ground weapons worth $6.54 million and the Taliban might have access to more than 300,000 weapons left in Afghanistan by the U.S., as well as more than 1.5 million rounds of ammunition worth $48 million. Almost all of the communications equipment provided by the U.S. to Afghan troops remained in the country after the U.S. withdrew and the Taliban gained control. Additionally, nearly 42,000 pieces of specialist equipment, including night vision and surveillance devices, are said to remain in Afghanistan.
The U.S. military was able to send about 15 million rounds of Ball rifle ammunition, over 99,000 40mm high-explosive/fragmentation grenade cartridges, and roughly 119,000 82mm high-explosive mortar rounds to Ukraine. The U.S. is also said to have deployed five Mi-17 helicopters from Afghanistan to Ukraine.
According to the report, the Pentagon has no plans to “retrieve or destroy” the military equipment but U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Frank McKenzie claimed that the military gear at the Hamid Karzai International Airport was destroyed or “demilitarized” in August. He also noted that the equipment will “never be able to be operated by anyone again.” However, in September, the Taliban displayed a Black Hawk helicopter, CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, armored tactical vehicles, and guns, among other high-priced U.S. military weaponry.