Iraq’s prime minister admitted that his country’s security forces abandoned “a lot of weapons,” including thousands of U.S. taxpayer-funded armored military vehicles, when they fled Mosul last year after the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) overran the city.
“In the collapse of Mosul, we lost a lot of weapons,” Iraq’s PM Haider al-Abadi said in an interview with Iraqiya state TV on Sunday, reports Agence-France Presse (AFP). “We lost 2300 Humvees in Mosul alone.”
Al-Abadi said his forces had also lost tanks and ammunition to the jihadists, notes NBC News.
“He did not make it clear how much of the equipment had been destroyed and how much of it was left behind, likely to be used by ISIS,” adds the article.
The prime minister reportedly blamed the U.S.-led coalition for losing the military equipment, saying that he asked them for assistance, but “they did not respond quickly.”
ISIS’s capacity to wage attacks and conquer territory likely benefited from the expensive loss in Mosul.
In December 2014, the U.S. Department approved the possible sale of 1000 armored Humvees with machines guns, grenade launchers, and other gear attached to it, estimated to cost $579 million.
Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, was seized by ISIS in June 2014. The Sunni terrorist group’s victory fueled an offensive that led them to overrun most of Iraq’s Sunni heartland.
In the process, the jihadists were able to get their hands on numerous weapons, ammunition, and other military equipment, most of it supplied to the Iraqi forces by the United States.
The Islamic State “Has used captured Humvees, which were provided to Iraq by the United States, in subsequent fighting, rigging some with explosives for suicide bombings,” notes AFP.
ISIS was able to seize Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s largest province of Anbar, in mid-May, along with the arms, ammunition, and other military supplies abandoned by the Iraqi forces.
The jihadist group has also been able to seize U.S.-funded weapons through corruption.
A November 2014 report by The New York Times revealed that ISIS has been able to acquire American weapons through the black market.
“Some of the weaponry recently supplied by the army has already ended up on the black market and in the hands of Islamic State fighters, according to Iraqi officers and lawmakers. American officials directed questions to the Iraqi government,” reported the Times.
Meanwhile, Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in northern Iraq complain that the Iraqi government is not supplying them with enough weapons to take on the enemy.