Middle east

Defense Equipment May End up in the Hands of Taliban, Norwegian Military Warns

Previously, a trove of US defence equipment given to Afghan security forces had been confiscated by the Taliban* following an quick offensive that resulted in the fall of Kabul and the defection of the Western-backed government.

The Norwegian Armed Forces still has defence hardware lined up at the international airport in Kabul. The equipment was intended to be donated to the Afghan special forces, but now risks ending up in the hands of the Taliban, the newspaper Verdens Gang reported.

“The equipment we had intended to donate included a pair of light off-road vehicles, ATVs, a total of six armoured Toyota Land Cruisers, a number of containers, some gear and consumables,” Morten Anderssen, colonel and head of the logistics department at the Armed Forces’ Joint Operational Headquarters, told the newspaper.

Anderssen emphasised that the top priority is to get personnel out. Only then will the Armed Forces decide what to do with the materiel.

“We’ll have to decide whether we must try to get these Land Cruisers and any signature material, make it useless on the spot or accept that it will be used by someone else,” Anderssen said.

He said that the intention is to bring everything back to Norway, but emphasised that he cannot rule out that the equipment risks ending up in the Taliban’s hands. He stressed that there is no question of weapons, ammunition and combat vehicles.

Taliban fighters stand guard in front of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021.

According to Andersson, the general strategy has been to re-use everything of value. At the same time he admitted that some material has been left behind due to the cost of moving it, while some was given away or re-used by allies in Kabul.

In conclusion, Andersson emphasised that even in the worst-case scenario, the equipment won’t specifically increase the fighting ability of the Taliban.

This is not the first time members of the Western coalition have admitted the loss of hardware to the Taliban. Previously, a White House spokesman confirmed that a trove of US defence equipment that was given to Afghan security forces had been confiscated by the Taliban following its advancement that resulted in the fall of Kabul and the defection of the incumbent government.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has left the country to, in his own words, prevent a massacre, effectively resigning and thus leaving the country without an internationally recognised government.

The Taliban have grabbed power in Afghanistan two weeks before the scheduled completion of the US withdrawal after a costly two-decade war.

*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia and many other nations

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