U.S.-made weapons seized by Taliban could lead to regional arms bazaar

Published in Politico

With Robert Muggah

In brokering the surrender of entire Afghan army divisions over the past week, the Taliban took control of billions worth of American-made weapons and equipment, including small arms, Humvees, pickup trucks, aircraft and drones.

In the chaos of the moment, however, it’s unclear to U.S. officials how much equipment the Taliban has seized and how much sits unattended on bases and small combat outposts across the country. That uncertainty over the status of a massive arsenal is sparking fears of a regional arms bazaar that could be a boon to terrorist groups and insurgents.

“The Taliban has considerable experience handling and using a wide array of U.S.-manufactured weaponry, including heavy machine guns, mortars, howitzers, and Humvees,” said Robert Muggah, principal at the SecDev Group. “After all, they’ve been buying, pilfering and seizing them from ANDSF forces for almost two decades.”

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