Since June of this year, the United States military has been stockpiling gear from Afghanistan at a strategically-located depot in Kuwait. The gear will be sent across the border into Iraq to fight against the severely underestimated Islamic State (ISIS, Daesh, ISIL).
So far there are reportedly 3,100 vehicles stationed there, according to U.S. News and World Report. Most of the vehicles are MRAPs — mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles that are specifically designed to withstand IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and that have been characteristic of the prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority of those vehicles are remnants from the Afghanistan war.
The U.S. had originally planned to sell or give away as much as $7 billion worth of equipment it had in Afghanistan supporting the war effort there.
Since 2012, the United State has been either destroying, selling, or shipping as much as $7 billion worth of military gear in Afghanistan as they decrease their military presence there. However, the need for the equipment has resurfaced again with the subsequent rise of ISIS and has the U.S. refocusing its efforts in Iraq yet again.
According to U.S.News and World Report, a decision as to how much of the equipment in Kuwait will be shipped into the Baghdad war zone and how much of it will be shipped back to the U.S. will be made by U.S. Central Command.
The U.S. already has approximately 1,700 boots on the ground in Iraq, with as many as 1,300 set to deploy in the coming days. Last week, the Pentagon announced Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered 1,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division deploy to Baghdad and other parts of Iraq.
No timeline has yet been set with regard to the United States’ strategy to defeat the Islamic State insurgents.
Adelle Nazarian is on Twitter @AdelleNaz