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How Your Tax Dollars Just Armed the Taliban with Billions in U.S. Weapons

Taliban U.S. Weapons
A candidates assigned to Delta Company, Officer Candidates Class-221, breaks the surface of the murky water of 'The Quigley' at Brown Field, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on March 15, 2016. The mission of Officer Candidates School (OCS) is to "educate and train officer candidates in Marine Corps knowledge and skills within a controlled, challenging, and chaotic environment in order to evaluate and screen individuals for the leadership, moral, mental, and physical qualities required for commissioning as a Marine Corps officer." (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Cpl. Patrick H. Owens/Released)

A common complaint among many U.S. citizens is where their tax dollars go. From high salaries for elected officials to government waste there are many legitimate concerns. Few, however, could be as upsetting as the some $83 billion that was spent equipping the Afghan Army and now as a result has supplied the Taliban with the latest weapons and military equipment they could have never otherwise acquired.

The ultimate beneficiary of America’s investment in the Afghan military is now clearly the Taliban, which has in a week been transformed from an insurgent force armed with whatever small arms it could acquire into a true modern army that includes not only firearms but helicopters and armored fighting vehicles. If the United States or its allies needed to return to Afghanistan, it would be far more difficult as the Taliban is both battle-hardened from two decades of conflict, but also now extremely well equipped and armed.

Wasted Resources?

As Time magazine and the Associated Press reported, the $83 billion invested in the Afghan military over the past two decades is nearly double last year’s budget for the entire U.S. Marine Corps, which should be seen as a significant certain. In essentially one week, the Taliban has received a hardware that could keep it in power for decades to come.

The money was also more than what U.S. lawmakers spent on food stamp assistance to aid about 40 million Americans last year.

This isn’t to say that the assistance was misplaced – at least not at the time. The money was used to create and maintain a stable democracy in the region. Instead, the money armed an enemy of democracy and the United States.

So how did this happen? The Associated Press quoted journalist Craig Whitlock, author of The Afghanistan Papers, who warned that the U.S trainers tried to force western ways on Afghan recruits and gave little afterthought on whether those soldiers would actually be willing to fight.

“Given that the U.S. war strategy depended on the Afghan army’s performance, however, the Pentagon paid surprisingly little attention to the question of whether Afghans were willing to die for their government,” Whitlock wrote.

Clearly, by what unfolded over the last few weeks, the Afghan soldiers weren’t willing to die for their government, or even to put up any resistance. Instead of a determined last stand in Kabul, they laid their arms down and melted away.

What Did the Taliban Gain?

In addition to the entire country, the Taliban now has a sizeable air force that could include more than 130 aircraft. As recently as last month, the Department of Defense (DoD) had pledged to provide even more aircraft, including 35 Black Hawks.

It was just last month too that a Taliban commander had told Sky News that his men had already captured a cache of supplies that including nearly 1,000 small arms, 30 Humvees, 20 pickup trucks and 15 armored vehicles. That is in addition to a shipping container seized by the militants, which reportedly included satellite phones, grenades, and mortars – all bearing labels stating, “Property of the USA Government.”

The good news is that the foreign aid to Afghanistan will come to an end. A stipulation in the fiscal year 2022 (FY22) National Defense Authorization Act, will essentially cut off any aid if Kabul were to fall. With Kabul now in Taliban hands, there will be no more equipment heading to Afghanistan.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.

Written By

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Francis X Bergmeister

    August 24, 2021 at 9:53 am

    Thank God Afghanistan does not have a coastline. If if it did am sure we would have given them aircraft carriers and submarines.

  2. Josey Yahoo

    August 24, 2021 at 1:04 pm

    This is just obscene, in my time we did not have all the high tech gadgets they do today, at the risk of dating myself, I carried only an M-16 with a M-203 grenade launcher attached and still, we were ORDERED to eave NOTHING behind that the enemy could use in ANY way whatsoever!
    Even the spent housing of a LAW (Light Antitank Weapon) was to be completely destroyed so it could not be even used to carry rice!
    Leaving behind such a cache of weapons is more than incompetence, far greater than gross negligence, at best a dereliction of duty and at worst, a treasonous act by the commanders, as an E-2 would not even make such a moronic call! That which could not be removed, would be destroyed, any high tech, beyond recognition or back engineering efforts, as it is NEVER wise to arm and/or educate your enemy!
    All of which would take place only AFTER all Americans and allies were secured!

  3. Rick

    August 24, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    “Clearly, by what unfolded over the last few weeks, the Afghan soldiers weren’t willing to die for their government, or even to put up any resistance.”

    Peter Suciu joins the Soviet Democrats trying to blame the ANA for this.

    That would be the same ANA who lost 57,000+ KIA over the last seven years as they did 100% of the fighting – almost twice the KIA we lost in WWI’s trench warfare. While at the same time,we were in the rear with the gear, and in that same seven years lost about as many KIA as Chicago loses in a couple of bad months.

    That was seven years of the ANA – without us fighting beside them – giving us a seven year reprieve from the Taliban running Afghanistan as a B ‘n B for multinational hajji terrorist groups. A sanctuary hajji country, where terrorists could build secure training bases and command centers to export terror to America again.

    But Suciu wants us to believe that Afghan cowards suffered those 57,000+ KIA while not even “or even offer resistance”.

    He’s mostly trying to provide cover for the political cowardice of US politicians.

    Facts and the history of the last seven years of the ANA fighting a war to secure us from the Taliban is the enemy of propagandists throwing shade to protect the political cowards and their American military geniuses who armed the Taliban.

    While giving them Afghanistan to once again use as the basis for exporting their terrorism to America and other Western countries.

  4. Johnny

    August 25, 2021 at 8:55 am

    Maybe someone with military experience can correct me, but my understanding is that we taught the Afghan military to fight while using air power. The air power was withdrawn by Buyden and thus the paradigm of all their training was no longer applicable.

    It is amazing to see the way this administration fluffs the pillows of people who want to murder us, but they throw the book at rowdy trespassers wearing costume horn helmets and shouting slogans.

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