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Putin: Western Weapons Supplied to Ukraine Found in Taliban’s Hands

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that some of the Western weapons supplied to Ukraine have reached the Taliban and been smuggled into the Middle East through illegal arms market, according to Reuters.

“Now they say: weapons are getting into the Middle East from Ukraine. Well of course they are because they are being sold,” Putin said on Friday, October 3, during a meeting in Moscow. “And they are being sold to the Taliban and from there they go onto wherever.” He did not provide further details or evidence.

Ukraine has received frequent shipments of military support worth tens of billions of dollars from its Western allies since Russia launched a massive military campaign into Ukraine in February last year. The U.S. alone has sent about $45 billion in arms and military assistance to Ukraine.

Although Ukraine says it holds firm control over supplied weapons, some Western security officials have asked Ukraine “to do more to tackle the broader issue of corruption.” In June 2022, the head of Interpol, Jürgen Stock, warned that some of the advanced weapons supplied to Ukraine “would end up in the hands of organized crime groups.”

In June, a senior Israeli military commander told Newsweek that his country is concerned about the risks of weapons supplied to Ukraine by Western countries ending up in the hands of Hezbollah and Hamas in the Middle East. He also alleged that some “small arms” the US and allies abandoned in Afghanistan have been seen in the hands of militants in the Gaza Strip.

When the U.S. and NATO troops withdrew from Afghanistan after the Taliban overtook power, more than $7 billion worth of foreign military equipment was left behind and ended up in Taliban control, according to a Pentagon report.

Earlier, security officials in Indian-controlled Kashmir told NBC News that some of the weapons left behind by the US in Afghanistan are being used by Islamist militant groups in Kashmir and elsewhere in the region.

The Taliban have denied allegations that the group has been selling weapons and military equipment left behind by the U.S. to militants in the region as “untrue” and “conspiracy.”