Nikkei Asia reported Sunday that advanced sniper rifles, night vision goggles, and other top-shelf American military equipment left in Afghanistan during President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal are resurfacing in the hands of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists.
Nikkei Asia alleged the American gear has been used in lethal terrorist actions:
In some attacks, police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa determined that the TTP militants used advanced weapons and gadgets that had belonged to U.S. or Afghan forces to carry out nighttime ambushes. After one such attack in the suburbs of Peshawar on Jan. 14, Moazzam Jah Ansari, the provincial police chief at the time, revealed that the TTP had conducted a “coordinated” strike using high-tech equipment like thermal weapon sights.
The attackers killed three police officers, including a senior official.
Ansari said that TTP militants had used similar equipment in ambushes in Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu and Lakki Marwat, the most volatile districts in the province. Police statistics show 118 officers were killed in terror attacks in the province in 2022 alone.
Former Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad claimed last year that another militant group, the Baloch Liberation Army, was able to obtain weapons abandoned by Biden and used them to attack two Pakistani military camps.
TTP, sometimes known as the “Pakistani Taliban,” is a militant Islamist group that wishes to overthrow the Pakistani government and replace it with a “caliphate,” like the one created by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. TTP also threatens to attack the United States,= and claims to have done so on at least one occasion.
The U.S. State Department issued a joint statement last week with Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union states that “expressed grave concern about the increasing threat of terrorist groups in Afghanistan,” including TTP.
The joint statement called on the Taliban to “uphold Afghanistan’s obligation to deny these groups safe haven,” and noted their activities are affecting security far beyond Afghanistan’s borders.
The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) is a separatist group that seeks to break the large but sparsely-populated province of Balochistan away from Pakistan. Balochistan lies along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. In addition to attacking Pakistani security forces, the BLA sometimes attacks Chinese interests in the mineral-rich province.
Other analysts said there was evidence that “jihadi outfits in Indian-administered Kashmir” have obtained American hardware from Afghanistan, including extremely useful night vision gear.
The Taliban has denied providing TTP or the BLA with captured American equipment, but Nikkei Asia noted the TTP is producing propaganda videos that show its fighters training with American-made rifles that appear to have been taken from the U.S.-backed Afghan National Army. These weapons give the terrorists a considerable edge over the Pakistani police.
A Pakistani police official suggested to Nikkei Asia that the Taliban might have gifted TTP with some of its Biden loot as a reward for valuable TTP support when the Taliban began reconquering Afghanistan in 2021.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan (SIGAR) reported in February 2023 that at least $7.2 billion worth of American equipment was left behind in Afghanistan during Biden’s withdrawal.
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