WASHINGTON: Weapons captured by the United States have been regularly used by the Taliban in Afghanistan to attack government outposts, the US media reported on Wednesday.
According to USA Today, American warplanes destroyed about 40 US-supplied Humvees that the Taliban had captured from Afghanistan’s military over the past several years.
The newspaper further claimed that the report about this “recurring problem” was based on official statistics collected by the US and Nato forces in Afghanistan.
According to these statistics, Taliban fighters frequently capture US-supplied equipment and then disappear into the countryside. “The Humvees struck by American aircraft may only represent a fraction of the equipment now in Taliban hands,” the paper claimed.
While accounting for the US-supplied equipment, American investigators found that the militants not only capture the weapons they use but also buy these from the Afghan military.
The US [ircjased 95, 000 vehicles for the Afghan security forces, according to a recent report by the Pentagon inspector general. However, the coalition command responsible for equipping the country’s army and police couldn’t account for all of them.
Unarmoured Humvees that were often captured and sold to the Taliban cost the government about $70,000 each.
If the equipment can’t be recaptured with a ground attack it is destroyed from the air. The 40 Humvees were destroyed in US airstrikes since January 2015, shortly after US combat forces left Afghanistan and Afghan government troops took the lead in fighting the Taliban.
The newspaper noted that the captured American equipment “not only gives militants increased firepower or the protection but is often used by the Taliban to disguise themselves as American or allied Afghan forces in an effort to slip past guards”.
Last month, militants used a captured Humvee to launch an attack on Afghanistan’s interior ministry.
Since 2002, the United States has spent nearly $80 billion on building Afghanistan’s security forces, which consist of about 300,000 soldiers and police.