by ELISSA SALAMY, The National Desk
WASHINGTON (TND) — Billions of dollars in equipment was left behind in Afghanistan following the U.S. withdrawal earlier this year, and now finding its way into the hands of the Taliban. Auditors at watchdog group Open the Books found billions of U.S. military gear and training were provided to Afghan security forces.
“The Biden administration didn’t foresee the collapse of Afghanistan into Taliban control, because we found that in the president's budget to Congress in 2022, that's this year's budget, initially they had earmarked an additional $3 billion for U.S. military aid,” said Open The Books’ Adam Andrzejewski to The National Desk’s Angela Brown.
What’s left behind in Afghanistan are things like rifles — 350,000 according to Open the Books — grenade launchers, military vehicles, and night vision equipment.
Over the course of 20 years, we provided 650,000 weapons into Afghanistan,” said Andrzejewski. “We turned the Taliban into a major U.S. arms dealer for the next decade.
In the event of a U.S. return to Afghanistan, Andrzejewski says it would “take its toll on our military, our human lives and our national treasure.”
“In November in Afghanistan, the Taliban, on the streets of the capital city of Kabul, held a military parade. In the skies were our aircraft and helicopters, on the streets were our armored vehicles and their soldiers marching in the parade we're carrying our rifles,” said Andrzejewski.
Andrzejewski said that a peace dividend was promised upon the exit from Afghanistan that would cut the military budget and free up billions of dollars.
“One week ago, the Democratic-controlled Congress signed by the president, the military budget is now $30 billion more than what it was in the last year of the Trump administration,” said Andrzejewski. “They’re actually spending more at the Department of Defense.”