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Pakistan asks for international attention to US military equipment in Afghanistan

A day after the US government denied it had left military equipment in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry expressed concerns over the U.S. weaponry left in the country after its chaotic withdrawal in 2021.  

Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, the ministry’s spokesperson, asked for international attention to the matter in a press conference on Monday, September 8, claiming that the American weapons are reportedly in the hands of extremist groups. 

As evidence, Ms. Baloch referenced a recent incident where assailants from Tahrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacked military outposts in Kalash in the northwestern region of Chitral. The hours-long skirmish left four Pakistan soldiers and 12 militants dead.

Yesterday, John Kirby, the US National Security Council spokesperson, said that his country has not left behind any operational military equipment or weaponry in Afghanistan. The usable military gear currently present in the country, Mr. Kibry said, is what the U.S. had transferred to the former government of Afghanistan long before the withdrawal of its troops.

Ms. Baloch said that the incident in Chitral had been brought to the Taliban’s attention, claiming that militants crossed the border from Afghanistan and carried sophisticated weaponry “We do not blame anyone, but weapons left in Afghanistan require global attention since they have fallen in the hands of terrorist groups now,” she said. 

The presence of U.S. military equipment, now under the Taliban’s control, has sparked global concerns, particularly at the regional level. Anwarul-Haq Kakar, Pakistan’s acting prime minister, had previously voiced concerns that the U.S. equipment in Afghanistan was now empowering insurgents, posing serious security challenges for the region. 

Earlier this year, NBC News reported that Kashmiri militants had secured US weapons previously stationed in Afghanistan. 

Reports suggest that the U.S. had transferred an estimated $18.6 billion worth of military equipment to the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) over a span of 16 years. A significant portion of this equipment, worth $ 7.2 billion, remained in the country following the United States’ departure in August 2021.