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31 August 2021updated 13 Sep 2021 5:55am

The US military arsenal now available to the Taliban

The Taliban may now be the only militant group in the world in possession of an air force.  

By Polly Bindman

Since the departure of US troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban appears to have come into possession of a huge arsenal of weapons and military equipment left behind by the US army. 

The Taliban’s new US arsenal
Weapons and vehicles transferred to Afghanistan by the US military between 2003-2016, and aircraft in possession of Afghan defence forces as of June 2021 reports

It is unclear exactly how much usable military equipment has been seized by the militant group in recent weeks, although it is possible to estimate the size of its potential arsenal using data that shows the transfer of US weapons to Afghanistan over the past few years. 

According to a 2017 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the US transferred around 75,898 vehicles, 599,690 weapons systems, and 208 aircrafts to the Afghanistan National Security Forces from 2003 to 2016. 

A more recent report from the Special Inspector General For Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) shows that in recent years, over 7,000 additional machine guns, 20,000 grenades and 4,700 Humvees have been transferred. 

This report also reveals the number of usable helicopters and aircrafts transferred to Afghanistan, making it likely the only extremist group in the world in possession of an air force. But it remains unclear exactly how many of these 167 aircrafts have been captured by the Taliban. 

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