Afghan Taliban using captured US weaponry to launch attacks: report

Published: June 7, 2018
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

The Afghan Taliban frequently attacked outposts of the government during the last few years to capture expensive equipment which was then used to launch attacks against US forces in Afghanistan, reported USA Today.

According to the American publication, the problem has consistently dogged government gains in the war-torn territory, exemplified by the fact that the US military deployed warplanes to destroy at least 40 Humvee vehicles captured by the Taliban since January 2015.

USA Today noted that the insurgents routinely launched attacks to capture US-supplied equipment from Afghan security forces and disappeared into the countryside soon afterwards.

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Ever since the US gave more responsibility to troops of the Afghan government in combat operations outside Kabul, these attacks have regularly highlighted the failure of the Afghan forces to work independently.

Reports also indicated that the captured equipment is used to disguise fighters as American or Afghan military personnel in an effort to slip past guards to launch attacks on sensitive installations.

“In the event this type of military equipment is stolen, US Forces-Afghanistan and the Afghan national defence and security forces work quickly to reacquire the equipment or eliminate it from the battlefield altogether so as not to allow the enemy an advantage,” Lt Col Martin O’Donnell, a military spokesperson told US media.

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“Quick insurgent raids can capture expensive equipment. Staging raids to steal arms and equipment is ‘a pretty standard guerrilla tactic’,” said Seth Jones, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington.

Another alarming statistic highlighted in the report stated that the US has spent nearly $80 billion for capacity building of Afghan security forces since 2002.

The ability of Afghan troops, however, is severely limited and they still depend on US expertise sixteen years on, according to John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan’s reconstruction.

Since the departure of American combat troops in 2014, Afghanistan’s military has suffered high casualties and struggled to maintain control over remote towns and villages.

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According to the US publication, it is possible that some of the equipment may have been diverted to the Taliban by corruption in Afghanistan’s military.

Since 2005, the United States purchased 95,000 vehicles for the Afghan security forces, but the coalition command responsible for equipping the country’s army and police could not account for the entire inventory, according to a Pentagon inspector general’s report.

This article originally appeared in USA Today

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