From 2002 to 2017, the United States provided about $28 billion worth of weapons to the Afghan military.
Having taken control of most of the territory of Afghanistan, the Taliban militants also seized weapons and equipment left by the retreating Afghan army.
There are videos showing the Taliban moving through the country, inspecting long rows of cars and opening boxes with new firearms, communications equipment, and even military drones.
“Everything that was not destroyed now belongs to the Taliban,” an anonymous U.S. official told Reuters.
Current and former U.S. officials have expressed fears that these weapons could be used to kill civilians, captured by other armed groups, such as the Islamic State, or even transferred to opponents, including China and Russia.
Officials said that the possibility of airstrikes on larger equipment, such as helicopters, is not ruled out. Still, there are fears that this could generate opposition from the Taliban while the U.S. is trying to evacuate people.
According to another source, although there are no exact figures yet, intelligence believes that the Taliban control more than 2,000 armored personnel carriers, including American Humvees, and up to 40 aircraft, including UH-60 Black Hawks helicopters, reconnaissance attack helicopters, and military ScanEagle drones.
“We have already seen Taliban fighters armed with American weapons, which they captured from the Afghan forces. This poses a significant threat to the United States and our allies,” said Congressman Michael McCaul, the leading Republican on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Between 2002 and 2017, the United States provided about $ 28 billion worth of weapons to the Afghan military, including small arms, missiles, night-vision goggles, and even small drones for intelligence gathering.
But the most notable manifestation of U.S. military assistance is aviation, including Blackhawk helicopters.
According to the Accounting Chamber of the U.S. government, in the period from 2003 to 2016, the United States provided 208 aircraft units to the Afghan forces.
According to current and former officials, although the fall of helicopters into the hands of the Taliban is a concern, this technique requires frequent maintenance, and many helicopters are difficult to pilot without serious training.
At this stage, weapons and equipment, such as night-vision goggles, are more of a concern.
Since 2003, the United States has provided at least 600,000 infantry weapons to Afghan forces, including M16 assault rifles, 162,000 pieces of communications equipment, and 16,000 night-vision devices.
“The ability to conduct operations at night really fundamentally changes things,” one congressional aide told Reuters.
Retired U.S. Army General Joseph Votel and other experts believe that captured small arms such as machine guns and mortars, as well as artillery pieces, including howitzers, can give the Taliban an advantage against any resistance that may appear in historical strongholds of the fight against the Taliban, such as the Panjshir Valley northeast of Kabul.