As thousands of foreigners and many Afghans fearing for their lives scrambled to get out of Kabul, an estimated $212 million (USD) worth US made weapons have fallen into Taliban hands.
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan in a sweeping offensive that culminated in the fall of the capital city Kabul on Sunday.
The insurgents easily defeated Afghan forces, and reports suggest they have since captured millions of dollars worth of US weapons left behind by fleeing soldiers.
Taliban has an estimated $212 million worth of U.S. military aircraft, vehicles, ammunition, and spare parts.
Makes Taliban arguably the best armed militant group in modern history. #Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/64aiMBwpeD
— Frud Bezhan فرود بيژن (@FrudBezhan) August 23, 2021
In recent propaganda videos mocking US, the Taliban are seen wielding M4 and M-16 assault rifles, wearing bulletproof vests and helmets with night vision goggles. Apart from these, sophisticated aircrafts, Black Hawk helicopters, A-29 Super Tocano bombers, armoured Humvees, and drones that were left behind by the fleeing Afghan forces are now under the control of Taliban.
Between 2002 and 2017, the US gave Afghan forces an estimated $28 billion in weaponry.
According to top military officers in India, some of these weapons might make their way to Afghanistan's immediate neighbourhood. The weapons are expected to be provided to terror groups operating in India, senior officers told ANI.
On Friday, Khalil Haqqani, a senior member of Taliban splinter group the Haqqani network and a designated global terrorist with a $5 million bounty on his head, was photographed in Kabul preaching to a packed mosque while holding a US-made M-4 rifle.
"Everything that hasn't been destroyed is the Taliban's now," a US official told Reuters, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
He appears to be flanked by armed guards also equipped with US military gear.
Another official told Reuters that estimates suggest the Taliban control over 2,000 armored vehicles, including Humvees, and up to 40 aircraft, including UH-60 Black Hawks, scout attack helicopters, and ScanEagle military drones.
While the group will unlikely be able to operate the aircraft, the seizures will serve as a propaganda tool.
"When an armed group gets their hands on American-made weaponry, it's sort of a status symbol. It's a psychological win," Elias Yousif, deputy director of the Center for International Policy's Security Assistance Monitor, told The Hill.
(With inputs from The Business Insider and ANI)