|Posted by JJ The Psychotherapist on August 21, 2021 at 11:25 PM|
Taliban Fighters Now Well-Equipped for Decades
As if the Taliban's total rule of Afghanistan wasn't bad enough—imposing its will and deadly tactics on innocent civilians, putting Americans remaining in the nation in risk, and delaying efforts to remove Afghans who offered crucial help, such as translators—it becomes worse.
The Taliban has also taken control of tens of billions of dollars in military equipment and supplies that had previously been under Afghan security forces' control. Between 2002 and 2017, the Afghans received almost $28 billion in equipment. After that, spending figures are harder to come by, but given that deliveries continued until just last month, it's reasonable to believe the total is considerably higher.
Indeed, the Taliban seized nearly everything needed to fully equip both an army and an air force, including 600,000 rifles and machine guns, 76,000 vehicles, including high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles, armored trucks, and pickups, radios, night vision googles, and drones, and 208 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
Millions of rounds of ammunition, spare parts, grenades, clothes, boots, meals, gasoline, and rockets were among the resources gathered in the operation, enough to support Taliban military activities for years.
While some have expressed concern about the Taliban's possible use of the planes left behind, Heritage Foundation senior fellow of defense John Venable recently highlighted why this should not be a major issue. Around 25% of Afghanistan's air force escaped to neighboring nations, escorted by Afghan pilots leaving the country. Those planes' fates are unknown. “Lack of spare parts, contract support, and maintenance means few flyable platforms” for the aircraft left behind, according to Venable.
The Taliban will struggle to keep even a handful of these planes flying for the same reasons the Afghan air force was decimated when the Biden administration withdrew all of the contractors who were doing maintenance on them. That is, if it has pilots who have been properly trained.
We also don't have to be concerned about the equipment's capture disclosing any American military secrets. Advanced technologies, like as F-35 jet fighters and Patriot missile systems, were not taken. The Taliban received rudimentary supplies, but they were better than nothing, and they received a lot of them.
There are several images of Taliban militants with the latest small weaponry from the United States military, such as the M4 carbine and the M16A4 rifle. These guns are considerably superior than the AK-47s they possessed previously, many of which dated from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.
The alleged acquisition of 16,000 night vision googles is also concerning, since it gives Taliban fighters the same capacity to operate at night, negating the usual edge that US forces have while operating in the dark.
Some have speculated that the US may try to destroy some of the high-value equipment left behind, such as helicopters and assault planes. Given the administration's trepidation in responding to the crisis thus far, that appears doubtful. It's not that it can't be done; the United Kingdom, for example, dispatched 300 special troops to Kabul to rescue its nationals, while US forces remain imprisoned at Kabul Airport.
While the Taliban and other opponents will not be able to deduce any secrets from the equipment, the seizure means the Taliban is now a far better-equipped combat force than it was two months ago. If the US or any other country attempted military operations against it in the future, they would be confronted with contemporary technology in a battle, something no soldier wants to face.
The Taliban may potentially sell or transfer some of this technology to transnational terror groups like ISIS or al-Qaeda for use against US people or partners.
It was too late to safeguard this equipment after the Taliban began their drive throughout the country. It was discovered in Afghanistan's hundreds of Afghan military units, depots, and warehouses. Indeed, when the decision was taken to pull all U.S. military personnel out of Afghanistan and contract assistance from the Afghan army—support that had previously enabled its air force and Afghan soldiers to recognize that Kabul was not going to aid them—the die was set.
When President Joe Biden prophesied that the Taliban would take over everything, he disregarded human nature. “The moral is to the physical as three to one,” Napoleon observed. Meaning that, despite the fact that the Afghan security forces allegedly numbered more than 300,000 people, such numbers were worthless in the face of a determined foe without morale and confidence.
When the contractors who kept Afghan planes in the air were unexpectedly withdrawn, a crisis of confidence erupted that spread like wildfire.
The Taliban will be a more formidable army for years to come because to this massive transfer of military hardware. It wasn't necessary for it to occur.