The Taliban have seized a staggering quantity of weapons and military equipment as checkpoints and districts have collapsed. According to Forbes magazine, in June alone, 715 Humvee tanks, armored vehicles and artillery systems fell into the hands of the Taliban. Most of these weapons and equipment are supplied by the United States. A small part of it is the Soviet heritage in Afghanistan.
Another alarming news is that the Taliban are hiring a number of army soldiers as advisers, guides and trainers. These soldiers have surrendered to the Taliban in the past two months.
Prior to May, Taliban fighters only had access to ordinary high-speed vehicles and motorcycles. These vehicles are available to the public in the open market. The number of armored vehicles and Humvee tanks the group had acquired as a result of the war was not reported to be alarming.
Also, the weaponry used by this group were not very advanced. Night cameras, “Bezbezak” and Drone, which are modern warfare devices, were limited to this group. The most common weapons used by the Taliban in the past were RPG rockets, mortars, pistols, Kalashnikovs and magnetic and improvised explosive devices.
The Taliban’s acquisition of 715 Humvee tanks, armored vehicles, artillery systems and other light and heavy weapons and ammunition is of great concern. This number of weapons and military equipment may increase in the coming days and weeks.
Popular sources say the Taliban have released only part of the surrendered soldiers and retained the rest to train, advise and guide their fighters.
Unlike in the past, the Taliban has so far shown no interest in destroying weapons, ammunition tanks and armored vehicles. The group oversees them in order to be able to use these military vehicles and weapons in the war against the government.
In some cases, checkpoints and districts have been reported to have been handed over to the Taliban without the slightest resistance or clashes by government forces. Taliban fighters have taken control of these checkpoints and districts with all their facilities. Government forces leaving checkpoints and districts have taken no measures to prevent the Taliban from obtaining government weapons and military equipment. Some of these weapons are so new that they were not even opened.
Some police forces have been involved in the arms trade in the past. For example, Aminullah Amarkhail, a former Ghazni police commander, revealed in 2015 that dozens of weapons and a significant amount of police ammunition had been sold to the Taliban. At the same time, dozens of military vehicles were similarly handed over to the Taliban.
In this way, the Taliban have been equipped with an alarming quantity of weapons and military equipment. If in the past this group relied on outside to provide military equipment, now it has provided part of it from inside. For a government that needs international assistance to arm its forces, the possessions of this quantity of weapons and military equipment to the enemy is a matter of great concern.
It is estimated that there are weapons and ammunition worth $5 billion in the country’s army forces. For the Taliban, this quantity of weapons and ammunition is tempting. However, we must be careful as not to let the situation get to the point where this huge military capital is lost by the army.
A government that relies on outside aid to meet its needs must be careful about taking care of its weapons and ammunition depots. Vulnerable warehouses must also be evacuated or destroyed before they can be captured by the Taliban. It is very dangerous for Taliban fighters to gain access to weapons of war that can only be used by governments and legitimate armies.
There is no doubt that the Taliban’s acquisition of state-of-the-art weapons and equipment will change the game to the detriment of the government. In case of negligence, the mistake of handing over the checkpoints and districts with all its equipment to the Taliban may be repeated many times. If checkpoints and districts are to be intentionally abandoned, it is best to plan ahead for the transfer or destruction of weapons and ammunition. Otherwise, Taliban fighters will be equipped with the same weapons and equipment as the country’s army. This situation will change the equation of war to the detriment of the government.