(UnitedVoice.com) – When the United States pulled out of Afghanistan in 2021, a report indicated the military left $7 billion in weapons behind. It took just weeks for the government to fall to the Taliban, leaving the equipment in the hands of the enemy America had battled for two decades. New reports indicate some of those weapons are now being used in a new conflict.
American Withdrawal From Afghanistan
Biden agreed with former President Donald Trump about the US withdrawing from Afghanistan. The 45th president had brokered an agreement with the Taliban at the end of his administration, promising America’s military would leave the country after 20 years. When Biden took office, he broke the agreement by extending the deadline but ultimately decided his predecessor was right and it was time to end the seemingly endless war.
The US set a deadline for the end of August and then rushed to withdraw. The harried exit has been criticized by many. Per Trump’s agreement. the weapons were supposed to be left to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) to defend the country from the Taliban and other terrorist organizations. But without America’s support, the ANDSF quickly fell. The Department of Defense (DOD) made it clear that it had no plans to either remove the equipment or destroy it.
In 2022, DOD spokesperson, Army Major Rob Lodewick, spoke to CNN and tried to downplay the decision to leave equipment behind. He said the $7 billion cited was for “ANDSF equipment and not US military equipment used by our forces.” Those weapons used by America’s troops actually were “either retrograded or destroyed prior to our withdrawal,” he explained.
Either way, the weapons left in the war-torn nation included military vehicles, helicopters, air-to-ground munitions, various firearms, and other guns. Now a conflict in Kashmir seems to demonstrate the decision to give any weapons to the ANDSF was a bad one.
According to a January 30 report by NBC News, sources have reported Pakistan-backed militants who are trying to annex Kashmir, an Indian-controlled region, are carrying M16s, M4s, and other American-made arms. The fighters are reportedly members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) groups, which the US has dubbed terrorist organizations.
Now those terrorists are reportedly benefiting from a flood of US-made weapons to the area. According to NBC News, in an email last year, Lt. Col. Emron Musavi, an Indian spokesperson, said the militants trained in Afghanistan with the Taliban, and he believes “they [had] access to the weapons left behind.”
There are concerns these weapons could start migrating to other problem regions like Syria. Jonathan Schroden, the director of the Center for Naval Analyses’ Countering Threats and Challenges Program, told NBC that he thinks “there hasn’t been enough time” for the weapons to spread farther.
Neither the Biden administration nor the Department of Defense has commented on the latest report.
Copyright 2023, UnitedVoice.com