The Taliban have armored vehicles, planes, helicopters, drones and modern weapons delivered by the Americans until last June. Experts seek to know the amount of the bill paid by the United States to equip the Afghan army.
The Taliban have an impressive military power, it is a fact. The American army left them a huge arsenal, that of their troops, but also the equipment given by the United States to the Afghan army. Arms deliveries even continued until the summer. In a report, the Sigar (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction), an official American watchdog, estimates the material delivered in just two months at $ 212 million, between April 30 and June 30, 2021.
In this list, ammunition of various calibers (from 5.56 for assault rifles to 70 mm rockets) for $ 28.3 million, military clothing for $ 3.6 million, spare parts (diesel engines and hydraulic transmissions, $ 5.48 million), but also armored vehicles and combat aircraft.
Before the summer, the United States delivered to the Afghan army six A-29 Tucano, planes intended for the fight against guerrilla and the training of pilots (133.51 million dollars), as well as 174 light armored M1151 Humvee ($ 41.5 million).
This amount is nevertheless a drop of water in the American expenditure to equip the Afghan army. To modernize and train it, the United States would have spent 83 billion dollars in twenty years.
In its latest report which takes stock of 20 years of presence in Afghanistan, John F. Sopko, head of the Sigar appointed by Barack Obama in 2012, estimates that each year, 300 million dollars were pocketed by the Afghan government to finance “a phantom army” and “by inflating the salaries of the national army Afghan and other forces “.
The number of combat rifles, handguns, explosives and ammunition is difficult to quantify. On images posted on social networks, the Taliban forces exhibit on social networks and in front of the media automatic weapons, M4 and M16, sniper rifles of the M24 SWS type (for Sniper Weapon System). For heavy equipment, many experts are trying to estimate the American expenditure to create a most modern Afghan army.
Aircraft, helicopters and combat drones
According to the specialized blog Oryxspioenkop.com, the Taliban would have in total got hold of 2082 Humvee, about fifty cannons or heavy mortars, 60 light tanks, 12 heavy tanks, two planes, 24 helicopters, including 4 “Black Hawks” and 8 MD 530F as well as seven Boeing drones ScanEagle.
This inventory was drawn up from images and videos disseminated by the media and the Taliban.
“Therefore, the number of aircraft captured is undoubtedly higher,” Oryxspioenko said, adding that “not all aircraft are operational. The number of planes captured by the Taliban does not therefore translate into an operational fleet. “.
This is the case with Russian Mi-17 Hip helicopters bought by the United States because they are cheaper and easier to fly than the UH-60 Black Hawks. The Afghan army is said to have a hundred, unveils an article from the Guardian.
But “this fleet requires repairs, maintenance and a supply of spare parts. A large part of the fleet could already be grounded,” said Alexander Mikheev, general manager of Rosoboronexport, to the Interfax news agency.
Afghans, however, have the skills to fly and maintain abandoned aircraft. To prepare for their departure, the Americans trained specialists in the various fields. Between 2015 and 2020, a US Air Force training unit trained pilots and technicians on the A-29 Tucano. Now autonomous, they have taken over to train in their turn, indicates the American site Military.com.
1000 billion dollars
The equipment is not as old as you might think. In its latest report which takes stock of 20 years of presence in Afghanistan, the Sigar specifies that each year, a third of the material was replaced.
All these elements give an idea of the complexity of accurately assessing American spending over two decades. Since the announcement of the withdrawal of American troops, many are trying to find out how much the American presence has cost. As the report Le Figaro, the US Department of Defense estimates military spending between October 2001 and September 2019 at $ 778 billion.
In a 2019 study, the Watson Institute at Brown University in Rhode Island estimated that the US military intervention cost a total of $ 978 billion, a figure closer to that of the trillion unveiled by Joe Biden on August 16. . A colossal amount that was used also made it possible to keep the American defense industry running, whatever the cost.