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US left behind $7 billion of military gear after troops withdrew: Pentagon

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(Last Updated On: April 28, 2022)

A new Pentagon report has revealed that the US left $7 billion of military gear – including 78 aircraft, 12,000 Humvees and thousands of air-to-ground weapons – in Afghanistan after President Joe Biden’s chaotic 2021 withdrawal.

The US handed the equipment to the previous Afghan government over the course of 16 years, CNN reported.

According to the report, seen by CNN, the US Defense Department has no plans to return to Afghanistan to “retrieve or destroy” the equipment.

The US gave a total of $18.6 billion of equipment to the former Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) from 2005 to August 2021, according to the report. Of that total, equipment worth $7.12 billion remained in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal was completed on August 30, 2021.

It included aircraft, air-to-ground munitions, military vehicles, weapons, communications equipment and other materials, according to the DoD report.

Quoting the report, which was submitted to Congress, CNN stated: “Much of the remaining equipment” left in Afghanistan requires “specialized maintenance that DoD contractors previously provided” to Afghan forces “in the form of technical knowledge and support.”

The Department of Defense was required to submit a report to Congress “regarding the disposition of United States property, equipment and supplies provided to” Afghan forces that “were destroyed, taken out of” or “remain in Afghanistan.”

The report also says that five Mi-17 helicopters that had been in Afghanistan were officially transferred to Ukraine in 2022, though they were already in Ukraine for maintenance before the US left Afghanistan. The Department of Defense notified Congress of its intent to transfer the helicopters in January 2022, before Russia’s invasion of the country had begun, and Ukraine signed a letter of acceptance on March 11, 2022.

“These five helicopters were in Ukraine undergoing overhaul maintenance when the Afghan government collapsed, and have remained there since,” the report states.

Other materials previously procured for Afghanistan by the US but not sent to the country, has been given to Ukraine, including about 37,000 122mm howitzer rounds, the report states.

The US has also transferred ammunition, grenade cartridges, and thousands of high-explosive mortar rounds to Ukraine from material that was previously procured for Afghanistan, the report states.

According to the report, aircraft worth $923.3 million remained in Afghanistan after withdrawal.

The US left 78 aircraft procured for the government of Afghanistan at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul before the end of the withdrawal. These aircraft were demilitarized and rendered inoperable before the US military left, the report states.

A total of 9,524 air-to-ground munitions, valued at $6.54 million, remained in Afghanistan at the conclusion of the US military withdrawal.

Over 40,000 of the total 96,000 military vehicles the US gave to Afghan forces remained in Afghanistan at the time of the US withdrawal, including 12,000 military Humvees, the report states.

“The operational condition of the remaining vehicles” in Afghanistan is “unknown,” the report states.

More than 300,000 of the total 427,300 weapons the US gave to Afghan forces remained in Afghanistan and “nearly all” of the communications equipment that the US gave to Afghan forces, including base-station, mobile, man-portable and hand-held commercial and military radio systems, and associated transmitters and encryption devices also remained in Afghanistan at the time of the withdrawal, the report states.

“Nearly all” night vision, surveillance, “biometric and positioning equipment” totaling nearly 42,000 pieces of specialized equipment remained in the country, and “nearly all,” of the explosive ordinance disposal and demining equipment, including 17,500 “pieces of explosive detection, electronic countermeasure, disposal and personal protective equipment” also remained in Afghanistan, according to the report.

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US, UAE diplomats meet to discuss Afghanistan

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(Last Updated On: April 13, 2024)

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West met with UAE’s deputy envoy for the United Nations, Mohammad Abu Shahab, discussing the latest developments in Afghanistan, it was announced on Friday.

The sides also discussed empowering Afghan women and girls, and the full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2721, co-penned by the UAE and Japan, UAE Mission to the UN said in a post on X.

The 2721 UNSC resolution adopted in December last year, calls for the appointment of a UN special envoy for Afghanistan, a suggestion objected by the Islamic Emirate.

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Top former US general claims Daesh-Khorasan is ‘on the upswing’

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(Last Updated On: April 13, 2024)

Retired General Joseph Votel, former chief of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), has claimed that Daesh-Khorasan is on the upswing, and that the US doesn’t have much on the ground to help reduce the risk.

“ISIS-K is on the upswing right now,” Votel said, Business Insider reported. “And we don’t have much on the ground to help reduce that risk that this organization poses.”

Before withdrawal from Afghanistan, Washington had significant intelligence capabilities on the ground and the ability to conduct kinetic strikes against the group. But this “mowing-the-grass” approach to counterterrorism, Votel said, has since paved way for a stronger and more resilient Daesh-K that’s focused on projecting its influence elsewhere.

The US still has the ability to gather meaningful intelligence in the region, although Votel said these capabilities are likely diminished from what they previously were. But it’s very important, he stressed, that the US continues to dedicate resources toward the threat and make it a priority.

One way for the US to do this is to work with regional partners around Afghanistan, such as Pakistan or states in Central Asia, to increase collaboration and the exchange of information with regard to violent extremism, Votel said. Another method would be for lawmakers to reauthorize a powerful surveillance tool known as Section 702, which is set to expire later this month.

“It doesn’t take very long for these organizations to rise up and become more capable,” retired Gen. Joseph Votel, who oversaw military operations in the Middle East in the 2010s, said.

This comes as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) says that Daesh has been suppressed and does not have the ability to launch attacks from Afghanistan against any country.

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Lightning strikes in Helmand kill one, injure three

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(Last Updated On: April 13, 2024)

One person has died and three others have been injured by lightning strikes in southern Helmand province, officials said.

Abdul Bari Rashid, director of information and culture in Helmand, told Ariana News that lightning occurred in the provincial capital Lashkargah, and Gereshk and Babaji districts.

According to him, one person died in the lightning and three others including a woman and two children were injured.

Meanwhile, floods triggered by heavy rains have caused financial losses in Sangin district of Helmand.

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