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The calibre of weaponry America left behind in Afghanistan

The calibre of weaponry America left behind in Afghanistan

America’s Christopher Donahue, a major-general and the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps, based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina was the last American military officer to leave Afghanistan on Monday, August 30 2021 when the last set of US troops boarded a C-17 aircraft.

That flight brought an end to America’s military escapades in Afghanistan, which was first embarked upon to punish the attackers who destroyed the World Trade Centre in America on September 11, 2001.

The 82nd Airborne Division that Donahue commands is reputed for being America’s most strategically mobile division.

For the two decades that the American invasion of Afghanistan lasted, over 775, 000 American troops were deployed, according to USA Today, with deaths on both the civilian and military personnel sides, and displacements of millions of Afghans.

In addition, the military expedition cost America’s taxpayers about $83 billion, which was expended on training and equipping the over 300,000 Afghan soldiers who surrendered in a matter of days to the Taliban.

As evacuation of military personnel and willing Afghans wound down, the terrorists for whom the United States invaded the country in the first instance still showed their viciousness when on August 27, 2021, huge explosions rocked Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan leaving 13 US military personnel and about 170 Afghans dead.

As America departs, the most superior military country on earth left behind precious material, estimated by USA Today, Forbes, The Diplomat, and the Independent to be worth billions of dollars.

Read also: Afghanistan’s lesson for Nigeria: There’s no military solution to nation-building

The US left behind 70 Mines Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs). These kinds of vehicles are light tactical vehicles that are meant to protect military personnel against improvised explosive devices attacks and ambushes.

According to the sources mentioned above, an average MRAP costs about $1 million, implying the 70 America left behind cost about $70 million.

Locally made Nigerian version called EZUGWU Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) came through collaboration among Command Engineering Depot, Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), and Buffalo Engineering Technical Services Limited. The first set of EZEGWU was launched in November 2020 and deployed by Operation Lafiya Dole and Sahel Sanity against bandits, Boko Haram, and the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP).

Further, on the American weapons left behind for the Taliban, records also show the presence of 27 Humvees in Afghanistan following US departure. A Humvee is a high multi-purpose wheeled vehicle and it is presently being used by more than 50 countries and military organisations, according to Army Technology.

A Humvee costs about $300,000 which means the US gifted the Taliban with about $8.1 million worth of Humvee.

The US also left about 73 aircraft behind in Afghanistan. According to the available data, a new aircraft of the calibre left behind might cost as much as $30 million. In other words, the new Taliban government might have had their defense bolstered by about $1.5 billion worth of aircraft.
Although the United States disabled about 73 aircraft and helicopters, with about 93 aircraft and helicopters left behind in good stead, the report says Taliban now have more aircraft than twelve NATO member countries.

The above aircraft does not include others such as the A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft that Afghan pilots flew to the neighbouring Uzbekistan during the melee, according to the Diplomat.

“The Uzbek government might choose to return them to the Taliban, once it solidifies its control of the country; or to sell them back to the United States in exchange for some kind of political or financial incentive; or to simply keep them and use them to supplement its air force.

But again, none of those systems represents either a meaningful intelligence loss to neither the West nor a strategic threat”, the Diplomat reports.

There are others such as the counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar systems which cost about $10 million. This weapon detects and shoots down incoming rockets, artillery, and mortar rounds. Others are drones and night vision goggles.