UK and US embarrassment as weapons ‘gifted’ to Afghan forces used against them by Taliban

Taliban 'using Afghanistan equipment gifted by UK' says host

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Sky News’ Foreign Affairs Editor Deborah Haynes was asked by presenter Stephen Dixon why the Taliban were able to take over large portions of the country quickly considering the trillions of dollars spent enforcing Afghan security forces and stability across the country. Ms Haynes delivered the stark reality that analysts believe the Taliban have been able to seize many weapons from the UK and US from abandoned Afghan military bases which are now used for their campaign. She added some also believe Pakistan may be helping the Taliban as the group continue their move into Kabul.

The Taliban have made their way to the outskirts of Kabul as the evacuation of international delegates, ambassadors and foreign nationals begin to ramp up. 

The BBC reports the group do not want to take Kabul by force and say they do not want to see any innocent lives lost. 

Kabul remains one of the few places not under Taliban control after 20 provincial capitals were lost to them in less than two weeks. 

Ms Haynes was asked how the Taliban were able to secure control so quickly despite UK and US efforts over the past 20 years. 

She told Sky News: “The actual numbers of Taliban forces have always been fairly fluid when you speak to British and American officials.

“They sort of put the numbering around 75,000, there’s always a vague kind of figure attached to them and you contrast that to the numbers that they were saying only a few weeks ago in terms of the Afghan security forces being about 300,000 strong.

“Clearly that’s not been the case or at least if it has been they’ve either melted away, chosen not to fight or just not turned up.

“But in terms of the way that the Taliban have ordered themselves, a lot of analysts saying that they are receiving support from Pakistan and there’s no secret there that there’s a close relationship – or there has been historically –  between those two sides.

Afghan Peace Volunteer cuts interview short as she says the Taliban 'attacked Kabul'

“[But] a lot of it has been from taking over former Afghan bases and acquiring the equipment that the US, the UK, NATO has been gifting to the Afghan security forces and using that to help with their assault, which is slightly unfortunate.

“But that’s basically why they’ve managed to acquire so much hard military hardware.

“But this used to be a force that govern this country more than 20 years ago, so they have got experience of governing, they’ve got experience of commanding a military force and they’ve got a long history of fighting so that shouldn’t surprise.

“What is a surprise is clearly the speed and the strategy that they have used to great effect, the way that they’ve managed to not just regain their heartland in the south but go to the north and capture the whole of the North – no analyst was expecting that to happen.”

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The BBC suggests around $822billion has been spent by the US on the Afghanistan campaign.”

Ragıp Soylu, a journalist from the Middle East Eye, wrote: “Taliban and Afghan forces are clashing in the outskirts of Kabul, they aren’t in the heart of the city yet according to several reports.

“Green Zone is closed and Afghan presidency reiterates that the security in the city is jointly provided by international partners aka Americans.”

The US has sent over 5,000 troops to help with the evacuation following the increased Taliban conflicts in the country. 

The Trump administration negotiated with the Taliban in 2020 that all US forces would be withdrawn from Afghanistan as long as they do not harbour terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda. 

President Joe Biden pushed the date from May to September 11 but Taliban forces have exploited the situation to further their control and take back the country. 

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