U.S. warplanes over the last few years have pulverized an estimated 40 American taxpayer-funded Humvees worth about $70,000 each that fell into the hands of the Taliban after the United States provided them to the Afghan security forces, USA Today reported this week.
“In the event this type of military equipment is stolen, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the Afghan national defense and security forces work quickly to reacquire the equipment or eliminate it from the battlefield altogether so as not to allow the enemy an advantage,” Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, a military spokesman, told the newspaper in a statement.
The U.S. military reportedly destroyed the military vehicles in airstrikes carried out since January 2015, soon after the American armed forces declared an end to their combat mission and transferred the lead of security operations to their Afghan counterparts.
In March, the Pentagon’s inspector general (IG) revealed that the Afghan government has improperly managed at least $3.1 billion provided by the United States for fuel, ammunition, vehicles, and other commodities for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), which includes police and army units.
The IG learned that American “officials did not have an accurate inventory” of the 95,000 military vehicles supplied to the ANDSF since 2005.
USA Today learned that American taxpayers have paid about $70,000 for each unarmored Humvee.
Since the war in Afghanistan began in October 2001, the U.S. has devoted about $80 billion to develop the ANDSF.
Referring to coalition data it obtained showing that the American military has destroyed U.S.-supplied humvees, USA Today reports:
The statistics highlight a recurring problem: Taliban fighters have frequently attacked Afghan government outposts throughout the country, capturing U.S.-supplied equipment and then disappearing into the countryside. They have also run off with weapons and other equipment.
The captured American equipment not only gives militants increased firepower or protection, but is sometimes used by the Taliban to disguise themselves as American or allied Afghan forces in an effort to slip past guards.
In early April, the New York Times (NYT) reported that the Taliban is “increasingly attacking” American troops using U.S.-supplied weapons and equipment that were either stolen from the international coalition or purchased from the Afghan military on the black market.
[Taliban jihadists] are using both tightly controlled American-made devices and gear that is widely available for purchase. In some cases, American officials said, the equipment was left on the battlefield by United States or Afghan troops, including those who were killed in action. In others, Afghan soldiers are believed to have sold the devices to the extremists.
While Trump administration officials argue that the president’s strategy is making progress in Afghanistan, the security conditions, particularly in the capital, have continued to deteriorate in recent months.
U.S. President Donald Trump inherited chaotic conditions in Afghanistan from his predecessor. Some analysts, like the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), believe that his strategy to end the war in Afghanistan needs time to take effect.