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Retreat From Afghanistan Makes Taliban Best Armed Islamist Group on Earth

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When the Taliban assumed control of Afghanistan last month, the group took possession of a U.S.-funded weapons stockpile worth tens of billions of dollars.

The U.S. invested nearly $83 billion in bolstering the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, more than $24 billion of which went to funding weapons, vehicles, and other equipment, according to a Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction report published in July. The amount of funding for weapons, vehicles, and equipment is based on a 2017 Government Accountability Office estimate that roughly 70% of the investment went toward other budget items, such as training.

In the aftermath of the shocking collapse of the Western-backed Afghan government last month, U.S. defense officials estimated that Taliban militants took dozens of aircraft, including Black Hawk helicopters, and thousands of vehicles, communications equipment, and weapons.

Republican lawmakers demanded the Biden administration provide them with a full accounting of the equipment that was in the Taliban’s possession, while GOP members of the House Armed Services Committee introduced a bill requiring the White House to share the information with Congress.

“No one has any accounting of exactly what survived the last weeks of the collapse and fell into Taliban hands, and even before the collapse, [the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction] had publicly reported no accounting was possible in many districts,” Center for Strategic and International Studies analyst Anthony Cordesman told The........

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