BREAKING - Taliban Snatched 'Enormous' Amount of Costly US Military Hardware
On Sunday, pro-Taliban social media accounts published footage of militantsposing next to US-made Black Hawk helicopters, hours after the insurgents captured the Afghan capital Kabul without a fight.
The Taliban's* accumulation of US-supplied Afghan equipment after the fall of Kabul is enormous, the news agency AP has quoted an unnamed American defence official as confirming on Monday.
Entering the Afghan capital without a fight on Sunday, Taliban militants seized both political power and the costly US-supplied military hardware, including Humvees and Black Hawk helicopters.
According to AP, the Afghan Army's sudden and rapid collapse resulted in a situation where "the ultimate beneficiary" of the hefty American investment in the country "turned out to be the Taliban".
Over the past twenty years, the US government has pumped about $145 billion into efforts to rebuild Afghanistan, according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, a congressional watchdog that has tracked the Afghan war since 2008.
The watchdog's data shows that the $145 billion is part of the $837 billion the US spent on the war, and that $83 billion went to developing and sustaining Afghanistan's Army and police forces.
"The $83 billion invested in Afghan forces over 20 years is nearly double last year's budget for the entire US Marine Corps and is slightly more than what Washington budgeted last year for food stamp assistance for about 40 million Americans", AP noted.
The news agency cited Doug Lute, a retired US Army lieutenant general who helped direct Afghan war strategy under former US Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, as suggesting that one of the reasons the Afghan forces collapsed was the absence of morale in their ranks.
"The principle of war stands — moral factors dominate material factors. Morale, discipline, leadership, unit cohesion are more decisive than numbers of forces and equipment. As outsiders in Afghanistan, we can provide materiel, but only Afghans can provide the intangible moral factors", Lute asserted.
The remarks come after footage of what appears to be Taliban fighters posing next to US-made Black Hawk combat helicopters appeared on the internet on Sunday, shortly after the insurgents captured the Afghan capital Kabul.
The helicopters, which are best known for featuring in the 2001 Ridley Scott thriller "Black Hawk Down", are estimated to be worth several million dollars each.
Similar images also emerged from cities across Afghanistan, earlier seized by the Taliban, showing the militants posing with captured weapons and patrolling in the vehicles that were once used by Afghan spies or elite forces. Additionally, the insurgents captured tactical vehicles, Humvees, small arms and ammunition to the tune of millions of dollars.
*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other nations.
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