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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Joe Biden’s parting gift to Taliban


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In April 2021, the Joe Biden administration announced the withdrawal of all U.S. troops, but then requested a funding increase for Afghan security forces to $3.33 billion and $14.3 billion in unspecified ‘direct war requirements’ that include Afghanistan. for the fiscal year 2022.

The takeover of Afghanistan by the Islamic terrorist organization Taliban and the resultant surrender of the Afghan security forces raises a question on whether it could mean changes billion of dollars the Biden administration requested for Afghanistan.

The Biden-Harris Administration had submitted to Congress the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget request of $752.9 billion for national defense, $715 billion of which is for the Department of Defense (DOD).

Biden administration sought $3.3 billion in the 2022 budget in operational support to sustain Afghan security forces — a 9.2 percent increase from 2021.

Biden’s decision to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan, the 2022 budget request of $42.1 billion supports this drawdown, the resulting force posture, and other contingency operations. The request supports the continued development of the Afghan army and police to serve as an effective security force that is able to battle terrorism and insurgent threats.

Through the Pentagon, the US government claimed it would continue to build partnerships using the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) ($3.3 billion) for the sustainment, infrastructure, equipment, and training requirements for an authorized force of up to 352,000 Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Ministry of Interior (MoI) personnel.

The U.S. allocation for 2022 is $3.3 billion. It will include $1 billion to support the Afghan Air Force and Special Mission Wing, $1 billion for fuel, ammunition, and spare parts, and $700 million to pay salaries for Afghan soldiers.

The $83 Billion figure covers a wide range of items. For example, the U.S. spent nearly $10 billion on vehicles and aircraft. It spent $3.75 billion on fuel for the Afghan military between 2010-2020 according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction SIGAR report. Separately, another $5.8 billion went into economic and government development and infrastructure since 2001, with the expressed goal of winning public support and blunting the Taliban insurgency.

Pentagon officials say the United States would still support Afghanistan through financial means, not boots on the grounds.

Interestingly, the US government built and trained the Afghan security forces at a two-decade cost of $83 billion. But the Afghan security forces collapsed so quickly and completely — in some cases without a shot fired — that the ultimate beneficiary of the American investment turned out to be the Taliban. They grabbed not only political power but also U.S.-supplied firepower — guns, ammunition, helicopters, and more.

Of the $145 billion the U.S. government spent in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, about $83 billion went to developing and sustaining its Afghan security forces (army and police forces) according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. The $145 billion is in addition to $837 billion the United States spent fighting the war, which began with an invasion in October 2001.

Taliban seized not only political power but also US-supplied firepower — guns, ammunition, helicopters, and more. The Taliban has now in possession of an array of modern military equipment.

The Afghan Air Force (AAF) operates three types of helicopters which include the 45 UH-60 Blackhawks, 50 MD-530s, and 56 Mi-17 helicopters besides its A-29 Super Tucano fighters (23 in number), C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, C-208 utility aircraft, and AC-208 fixed-wing aircraft.

As of 30 June 2021, the United States had obligated nearly $2.13 billion and disbursed about $1.78 billion of ASFF appropriated from FY 2019 through FY 2021 to build, train, equip, and sustain the AAF.

The AAF had 167 available aircraft among the 211 aircraft in its total inventory.

In just the last three months from April to July 2021, the US handed over to the Afghan National Defense and Security forces (ANDSF) six A-29 light attack aircraft, 174 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (Humvees), about 10,000 2.75 inch high-explosive rockets, 61,000 40-mm high explosive rounds, 9,00,000 rounds of .50 caliber ammo, and 20,15,600 rounds of 7.62 mm bulletsthe

The Taliban interestingly are geared up with American-supplied tools, without having to raise a single paisa for it. A gift from America. The Afghan security forces have meekly surrendered to the Taliban.

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