A report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found President Joe Biden’s deadly Afghan withdrawal in 2021 left at least $7.2 billion worth of military equipment under Taliban control, including missiles, aircraft, biometric devices, and communications gear.
The report, ordered by Congress after the withdrawal that left 13 U.S. troops dead, found Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan left $7.2 billion worth of military equipment under Taliban control. The Wall Street Journal reported the initial findings Monday. “The final tally of military equipment abandoned in Afghanistan can’t be confirmed, in part, because the electronic database used to track the material crashed in early 2021.”
Over the course of two decades since the United States tried to democratize the nation, American taxpayers provided the Afghan military with $18.6 billion in equipment, the report found.
The report also admitted some senior Afghan officials didn’t foresee that Biden would actually execute the hasty withdrawal. “The character of the withdrawal left many Afghans with the impression that the U.S. was simply handing Afghanistan over to a Taliban government-in-waiting,” the report said.
In addition, the report slammed the Pentagon for refusing to cooperate with the investigation. The Pentagon placed the blame for its lack of cooperation on “a lack of oversight.”
The Defense Department was not forthcoming either, according to the Journal:
Years of poor accountability on weapons and equipment provided to Afghanistan and a lack of systemic planning were important factors in the military collapse there, according to the report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. The report, which was ordered by Congress, also calls out the Department of Defense for delaying answering official inquiries, missing deadlines and providing incomplete answers to questions.
Notably, the investigators said U.S. policy failures in Afghanistan could be used as a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in Ukraine.
“Given the ongoing conflict and the unprecedented volume of weapons being transferred to Ukraine, the risk that some equipment ends up on the black market or in the wrong hands is likely unavoidable,” the report said. “There is an understandable desire amid a crisis to focus on getting money out the door and to worry about oversight later, but too often that creates more problems than it solves.”
American lawmakers have earmarked more than $110 billion of taxpayers’ funds for the defense of Ukraine’s border.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.
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