US left behind $7 billion of military gear after troops withdrew: Pentagon

A new Pentagon report has revealed that the US left $7 billion of military gear – including 78 aircraft, 12,000 Humvees and thousands of air-to-ground weapons – in Afghanistan after President Joe Biden’s chaotic 2021 withdrawal.

The US handed the equipment to the previous Afghan government over the course of 16 years, CNN reported.

According to the report, seen by CNN, the US Defense Department has no plans to return to Afghanistan to “retrieve or destroy” the equipment.

The US gave a total of $18.6 billion of equipment to the former Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) from 2005 to August 2021, according to the report. Of that total, equipment worth $7.12 billion remained in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal was completed on August 30, 2021.

It included aircraft, air-to-ground munitions, military vehicles, weapons, communications equipment and other materials, according to the DoD report.

Quoting the report, which was submitted to Congress, CNN stated: “Much of the remaining equipment” left in Afghanistan requires “specialized maintenance that DoD contractors previously provided” to Afghan forces “in the form of technical knowledge and support.”

The Department of Defense was required to submit a report to Congress “regarding the disposition of United States property, equipment and supplies provided to” Afghan forces that “were destroyed, taken out of” or “remain in Afghanistan.”

The report also says that five Mi-17 helicopters that had been in Afghanistan were officially transferred to Ukraine in 2022, though they were already in Ukraine for maintenance before the US left Afghanistan. The Department of Defense notified Congress of its intent to transfer the helicopters in January 2022, before Russia’s invasion of the country had begun, and Ukraine signed a letter of acceptance on March 11, 2022.

“These five helicopters were in Ukraine undergoing overhaul maintenance when the Afghan government collapsed, and have remained there since,” the report states.

Other materials previously procured for Afghanistan by the US but not sent to the country, has been given to Ukraine, including about 37,000 122mm howitzer rounds, the report states.

The US has also transferred ammunition, grenade cartridges, and thousands of high-explosive mortar rounds to Ukraine from material that was previously procured for Afghanistan, the report states.

According to the report, aircraft worth $923.3 million remained in Afghanistan after withdrawal.

The US left 78 aircraft procured for the government of Afghanistan at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul before the end of the withdrawal. These aircraft were demilitarized and rendered inoperable before the US military left, the report states.

A total of 9,524 air-to-ground munitions, valued at $6.54 million, remained in Afghanistan at the conclusion of the US military withdrawal.

Over 40,000 of the total 96,000 military vehicles the US gave to Afghan forces remained in Afghanistan at the time of the US withdrawal, including 12,000 military Humvees, the report states.

“The operational condition of the remaining vehicles” in Afghanistan is “unknown,” the report states.

More than 300,000 of the total 427,300 weapons the US gave to Afghan forces remained in Afghanistan and “nearly all” of the communications equipment that the US gave to Afghan forces, including base-station, mobile, man-portable and hand-held commercial and military radio systems, and associated transmitters and encryption devices also remained in Afghanistan at the time of the withdrawal, the report states.

“Nearly all” night vision, surveillance, “biometric and positioning equipment” totaling nearly 42,000 pieces of specialized equipment remained in the country, and “nearly all,” of the explosive ordinance disposal and demining equipment, including 17,500 “pieces of explosive detection, electronic countermeasure, disposal and personal protective equipment” also remained in Afghanistan, according to the report.