When President Brandon ordered an ignominious retreat from Afghanistan, he didn’t just leave behind American families and our national honor. He also left behind billions of dollars worth of weapons and military equipment. That equipment included (but is certainly not limited to):
- 2,000 Armored Vehicles Including Humvees and MRAPs
- 45 UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopters
- At least 600,000+ Small arms M16, M249 SAWs, M24 Sniper Systems, 50 Calibers, 1,394 M203 Grenade Launchers, M134 Mini Gun, 20mm Gatling Guns and Ammunition
- 16,000+ Night Vision Goggles
- Large Stockpile of Plate Carriers and Body Armor
And, again, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Scout attack helicopters, rockets, communications gear, thousands of trucks, and millions of rounds of ammunition were left too. During the chaotic NATO withdrawal, during which the Afghan military threw down its arms and ran at the first sign of danger, the Taliban was able to seize all of those highly useful weapons.
The Taliban, rather than secreting those war materials away, decided to parade them around Kabul over the past weekend, exposing the incompetence of America’s war planners to the world and showcasing their fancy, American-made armored vehicles. Watch that parade here:
According to the Washington Examiner, which reported on the parade, “The display included dozens of U.S.-made M1117 armored security vehicles driving slowly up and down a major road in Kabul, and Mi-17 helicopters were overhead. Many of the soldiers involved carried American weapons, including the M4 assault rifle.”
Reuters reports that the parade was meant to celebrate the recent graduation of 250 soldiers and that “Most of the weapons and equipment the Taliban forces are now using are those supplied by Washington to the American-backed government in Kabul in a bid to construct an Afghan national force capable of fighting the Taliban.”
The logical question is why those massive supplies of war material were left for the Taliban to take after our withdrawal. The logical decision, the path the military didn’t take, would have been to withdraw the equipment or, at the very least destroy it. Instead, other than destroying a paltry 70 MRAPs and 27 Humvees (out of 2000 total), the military left all of the equipment for the Taliban to use, which it now appears to be doing.
And while some commentators suggested at the time that the Taliban would be unable to use or maintain the high-tech, sophisticated equipment, that also might not be the case.
Rather than purge former ANA (Afghan National Army) soldiers, the Taliban has announced that it will integrate form pilots, mechanics, and other specialists into its new force. Those US-trained specialists, mechanics, and pilots could give it the know-how to fly the planes and helicopters we left, maintain the armored vehicles, and utilize the sophisticated communications gear.
Given that the US transferred somewhere around $28 billion of weapons and military gear to Afghanistan, those US-trained specialists will have quite a bit of equipment to maintain for the Taliban.
And it should be noted that this isn’t the first parade where the Taliban showed off its newly acquired American arms. Back in September, shortly after the withdrawal and collapse, the New York Post reported on a scene strikingly similar to this one:
The Taliban are now brazenly showing off the US military equipment — including Black Hawk helicopters, dozens of armored vehicles and weapons — abandoned by US troops amid President Biden’s chaotic final exit from Afghanistan.
[…]Videos showed heavily armed Taliban fighters standing on top of a long line of captured Humvees and other tactical vehicles as they drive along a highway.
In embarrassing scenes for the US, a Black Hawk helicopter even flies circles overhead.
Many Taliban militants could also be seen cradling American M16 rifles and other weapons used by US, NATO and Afghan forces during the 20-year war.
Apparently, Taliban parades with American vehicles is the “new normal” in President Brandon’s America.