The Taliban leadership in Afghanistan has published images of hundreds of military vehicles produced in the US in what appears to be an effort to mock the Biden Administration. The Islamic organization claims that in 2021, their engineers were able to fix a large number of the cars that the crumbling Afghan government troops had left behind. President Biden is currently dealing with fresh accusations that the American soldiers left equipment behind when leaving the nation.
On March 24, the Afghan Ministry of Defense, which the Taliban have controlled since August 2021, released a collection of images depicting hundreds of military vehicles, the most of which were produced in the US. The extreme organization bragged that “the technical team of the Abu Dojaneh Brigade of the Badr Army” had succeeded in reactivating up to 300 damaged vehicles.
The photos show rows of vehicles painted in the standard US military sand-colored desert scheme. According to the Taliban, the repaired vehicles include 150 “International Kamaz” trucks, 125 Humvees, two “assault tanks,” 15 Humvee ambulances, and 14 other vehicles they referred to as “Taylor” and “Purcliff.”
The majority of the vehicles appear to be International Workstar 7400-MV light tactical trucks or armored M1114 HMMWV utility vehicles with machinegun attachments. Both of these automobiles are American-made; the HMMWV is often used by the US military, and the former Afghan government purchased more than 3,000 of them for the Afghan National Army (ANA). Also, between 2016 and 2019, the US Army purchased 2,293 Workstar 7400s and sent them to the ANA.
The Taliban is making a great deal out of its new fleet of cars, but will ex-US vehicles that have been taken actually have a significant impact on their capabilities? In reality, the Taliban already possessed a large number of automobiles, primarily pickup trucks produced in Japan. They are typical in the area, and replacement parts are simple to get. They are also durable, easy to repair, and generally inexpensive to operate. It will be far more difficult to keep ex-US automobiles on the road. Since spare parts are no longer available, the Taliban will have to salvage other cars to keep others operating. Because an armored HMMWV would be a prestigious vehicle, especially if it were believed to have been taken from American soldiers.
As American soldiers departed Afghanistan via the Bagram and Kabul airbases, they likely left relatively few operational vehicles behind. In order to prevent any equipment from falling into the Taliban’s hands, ISAF soldiers created efficient procedures for “denying,” or destroying, any that couldn’t be evacuated.
The ANA, however, was a different story. The ANA panicked, crumbled, and dissolved away as US and coalition soldiers withdrew, leaving its equipment in undamaged. Our adversaries now own that stuff, and they will continue to use it for as long as they can.