An unpublished draft of a watchdog report obtained by Newsy provides a grim look back at what went wrong in Afghanistan.
The 62-page evaluation is from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. It reveals the situation on the ground today: Billions of dollars of American weapons lost and Afghan security forces missing, potentially joining terrorist groups.
The report says the "single most important factor" in the collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces was then-President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of Afghanistan. The report found fault with the Trump administration's 2020 agreement with the Taliban and with President Joe Biden's execution of the withdrawal.
Today, the status of Afghan personnel that the U.S. trained and the equipment the U.S. gave to them "mostly remains unknown."
According to the document, the Defense Department told the inspector general's office that there "currently is no realistic way to retrieve the material that remains in Afghanistan." That's 78 aircraft worth $920 million, some 9,500 air-to-ground munitions worth $6 million, more than 40,000 vehicles, over 300,000 weapons and nearly all night vision, surveillance, communications and biometric equipment, according to the Pentagon.
"It's not a perfect process," Pentagon Press Sec. John Kirby said. "Plans are not always perfectly predictive, and, as is a well-known, military maxim that plans don't often survive first contact and you have to adjust in real-time. And I think when you look at the images out of Kabul, that would have been difficult for anybody to predict."
Since the U.S. exit, the Taliban has been marshaling equipment once used to hunt them down. The watchdog report details Taliban fighters carrying American rifles and gear, patrolling in pickup trucks and armored vehicles likely supplied by the U.S., flying Mi-17 helicopters at a military parade and reportedly conducting their first airstrike in an enclave of resistance.
In another alarming finding, the draft indicates some Afghan forces the U.S. trained may have joined extremist groups. The Inspector General says there are "credible claims" that a few have joined ISIS-K, despite the Defense Intelligence Agency saying that no personnel have joined extremist organizations inside Afghanistan.
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