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Are Leftover US Weapons in Afghanistan Being Used for Violence in India and Pakistan?

As per reports, the arms left by the United States at the time of its withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 are being used by Pakistani Taliban militants. The spillover of these high-tech weapons and night-vision devices has also made its way into Kashmir.

The weapons left by the United States at the time of its withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 have reportedly found their way into the hands of Pakistani Taliban militants.

As per a Nikkei Asia report, modern arms and “sophisticated” night-vision devices left by the US forces are being used by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to carry out attacks in Pakistan.

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2021, the TTP has returned to haunt Pakistan. Reports have also surfaced that these abandoned arms have found a way to militants in Kashmir in India.

Let’s take a look at how many weapons did the US leave in Afghanistan and how they have reached militants.

US left over $7 billion worth of weapons

According to a US Department of Defense report last year, the American troops had left $7.12 billion worth of weapons and equipment when it pulled out of Afghanistan amid the Taliban’s takeover.

Foreign Policy reported last April that $48 million worth of ammunition provided to the Afghan forces remained in the war-torn country when the US troops left.

The military equipment included 23,825 Humvees and around 900 combat vehicles.

Are leftover US weapons in Afghanistan being used for violence in India and Pakistan
The American troops had left $7.12 billion worth of weapons and equipment when it pulled out of Afghanistan amid the Taliban’s takeover. AFP File Photo

As many as 42,000 pieces of night vision, surveillance, biometric and positioning equipment were also left behind in Afghanistan, said Foreign Policy report.

“At least 78 aircraft worth $923.3 million, 9,524 air-to-ground munitions valued at $6.54 million, over 40,000 vehicles, more than 3,00,000 weapons, and nearly all night vision, surveillance, communications, and biometric equipment provided to the [Afghan defense forces] were left behind,” a report published by Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) this February said, citing Department of Defense data.

The visuals of the Taliban fighters parading with seized US weapons had gone viral in 2021.

The officials familiar with the defence department report had said that it was unlikely for the Taliban to use the US weapons which require technical support and specialised maintenance.

But they had also expressed concerns about the Taliban fighters using small arms including automatic rifles, reported Foreign Policy.

Is TTP using abandoned US arms?

Since the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan, the TTP has once again become active in the northwest tribal areas of Pakistan, part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Last year alone, TTP was responsible for over 150 attacks across Pakistan that killed dozens, Al Jazeera reported citing Pakistan’s monitoring agencies.

TTP has intensified these assaults, especially after the militant group ended its ceasefire with Pakistan last November.

According to the police in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in some of these attacks, the TTP used advanced weapons and devices that had belonged to the US or Afghan forces to conduct night-time ambushes, reported Nikkei Asia.

After an attack in Peshawar on 14 January that left three police officers dead, Moazzam Jah Ansari, the provincial police chief at the time had said that the TTP had carried out a “coordinated” strike deploying high-tech equipment such as thermal weapon sights.

Earlier in 2022, Pakistan’s then interior minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad had claimed, following attacks on two Pakistani military camps in Balochistan province, that the Baloch Liberation Army separatists had used modern weapons left by the US and its coalition troops in Afghanistan.

Last August, the tweets shared by War Noir, a weapons and conflict research group, showed TTP militants training with modern US-made weapons purportedly possessed by the Afghan army. These arms included M24 sniper rifles, M4 carbines with Trijicon ACOG scopes, and M16A4 rifles with thermal scopes.

Source : First Post



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