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One Month, 700 Trucks: Afghanistan’s U.S. Military Vehicles Fall Into Taliban Hands


Sep 26, 2018
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Taliban insurgents secure Humvee trucks surrendered by Afghan troops
Taliban fighters inspect Humvees surrendered to them by Afghan security forces in June 2021.

An investigation of imagery posted on social media concludes that in the month of June alone the Taliban has captured a staggering 700 trucks and Humvees from the Afghan security forces as well as dozens of armored vehicles and artillery systems.

Those shocking numbers reflect that local defense forces in some districts are evaporating in the face of Taliban pressure—sometimes without a fight, due in part to the perception that the government is doomed due to the imminent U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan later this year.

And that in turn implies huge volumes of military equipment donated or sold to Afghanistan to help it fight the Taliban may instead continue pouring into that very group’s hands.

Summing up the Damage
The tally come from a open-source investigative report published at the Oryx blog by Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans. The continuously updated talley has catalogued hundreds of photos posted online by the Taliban of destroyed or captured Afghan military equipment. The blog was earlier distinguished for its detailed open-source investigation on equipment losses in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.https://www.forbes.com/sites/davida...leets-practice-sinking-each-other-in-the-med/

As of the evening of June 30, the study found evidence of 715 light vehicles falling into Taliban hands, with another 65 destroyed. Obviously, there are likely many more lost vehicles that gave gone uncounted due to not being recorded in photos or videos.

The confirmed vehicle losses notably include:

  • 270 Ford Ranger light trucks
  • 141 Navistar International 7000 medium trucks
  • 329 M1151 and cargo-bed configured M1152 Humvees. These variants feature enhanced armor protection and more powerful engines.
  • 21 Oshkosh ATV mine-resistant armor-protected vehicles

For context, in 2018 the Afghanistan’s’ armed forces reportedly operated 26,000 vehicles including 13,000 Humvees of various marks, while Mitzer writes that a total of 25,000 Humvees have been transferred to Afghanistan by 2021. During periods of intensified fighting, the Afghan government typically lost 100 Humvees a week.

An Afghan National Army Humvee jeep driv

An Afghan National Army Humvee jeep drives past a US army Blackhawk helicopter from Alpha Company ... [+]

If the Taliban can source the necessary fuel, its growing vehicle inventory could improve the group’s operational mobility, ie. its ability to mass forces across Afghanistan. The vehicles may also serve as carriers for heavy support weapons such as mortars, heavy machineguns and recoilless rifles. The Taliban has also used captured Humvees to infiltrate government perimeters to mount deadly suicide bombings.

Armored vehicles losses include a handful of old M113 APCs and Soviet tanks—but also 27 fifteen-ton M1117 armored cars armed with a machineguns and Mark 19 automatic grenade-launchers.

On Patrol with Afghanistan's Elite Military Forces

SHINDAND MILITARY BASE, HERAT, AFGHANISTAN - 2018/02/28: Afghan Commandos on a Mobile Strike Force ... [+]

As for artillery, alongside thirteen shorter-range mortars, the Taliban notably captured seventeen 122-millimeter D-30 towed howitzers—the equivalent of an artillery battalion. The Cold War howitzers aren’t hi-tech weapons but they remain deadly and can bombard targets up to 9.6 miles away with conventional shells—a capability likely to be exploited in an urban siege scenario.

The Taliban also destroyed (but didn’t capture) three Mi-17 and one UH-60A transport helicopter in June.

That said, so far documented losses don’t appear to involve sensitive technologies that could compromise U.S. military capabilities or pose a major terrorist threat such as shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles.

Back to the Fundamentalist Future in Afghanistan
Insurgencies that meet with sufficient success eventually attempt a risky transition to conventional warfare in which they tackle government forces head-on rather than relying on hit-and-run tactics.

That would be a familiar experience for the Taliban. Prior to the U.S. intervention late in 2001, the extremist group controlled the majority of Afghan territory, and possessed hundreds of armored vehicles and even an air force with jet fighters and transport aircraft, many flown by captive pilots made to serve under duress.

Fighting Intensifies Around Kabul

283892 01: Members of the Taliban army defend the area of a road leading toward Charikar and Bagram ... [+]

Supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, the Taliban was gradually prevailing in a protracted civil war with the opposing Northern Alliance. But after the 9/11 attacks the Taliban’s heavy weapons were swept away by U.S. bombing. The former de facto government went back to the hills and kept on fighting despite two decades of U.S. and Afghan military pressure.

When the U.S. reached an agreement with the Taliban in 2020, it notably did not involve the Afghan government—and despite a brief March ceasefire, the Taliban has generally carried on attacking government forces. The staggering equipment losses in June suggest that more and more Afghans are concluding that a Taliban military victory is inevitable. That could foretell the Taliban transitioning to a more conventional warfare oriented posture.

To be fair, Kabul could yet possibly reverse Taliban momentum in the war of perception. The Afghan military does have an improving combat aviation capability and an veteran core of special and quick reaction forces. And even should the Taliban eventually seize population centers, there are segments of Afghan society likely to continue resisting the Pashtun-dominated group, particularly amongst the Tajik and Hazara minorities heavily represented in the Northern Alliance of old.


KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- MAY 6, 2021: Afghan maintainers refuel and re-equip an A-29 aircraft before ... [+]

Regional actors around Afghanistan—think China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey and most Central Asian states—may also step into the void left by Washington, possibly fearing that a re-ascendant Taliban could inspire destabilizing Islamist extremist groups on their own soil or seeing an opportunity to cultivate more influence in the region.

Such assistance might secure the survival of the Afghan government or at least an anti-Taliban opposition, but seems unlikely to prevent the Taliban from remaining a powerful, if not dominant, actor in Afghan politics.

For now Kabul must seek to stem the bleeding of its inventory—not only to reverse mounting public perception of an inevitable Taliban victory following a U.S. departure, but to prevent its own arsenal from being turned against it.



Sep 14, 2017
United Kingdom
ANA clowns are just heroine drugs users, now simply imploding as all expected they were never going to be real soldiers only collaborators in terrorising there own locals. Guarding a few dirt roads ,


Jul 20, 2009
Saudi Arabia
For those who are posting silly comments above,

please understand that those weapons are akin to fuel, that NATO and Americans have left
to ensure there is plenty of fire once they leave.

American strategy is to deny access to Russia and China, they did that directly for 20 odd years,
now they are going to do it indirectly by making sure that piece of land is not accessible for anyone.


That Guy

Mar 29, 2013
any worthy communication systems in those vehicles? or any other precious items? In one pic, there was black hawk helicopter...
@Signalian @Bilal Khan (Quwa)
The black hawk belongs to the US Army Alpha company, read the text below the picture. The taliban don't have their hands on it.

In fact, the taliban tend to destroy any helicopters they see, because they know they can't operate them, and don't want them going back into government hands.

[Edit] frankly, the taliban need to be watched like hawks. Pakistan needs to make sure that these systems don't make their way to TTP and BLA hands.
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Mar 1, 2019
Such a waste of tax dollars lmao
The entire war was a misleading campaign forced upon the generals and top people where few were pushing it thinking this place had any value. Because think about it what value doesn't Afghanistan really have the answer is nothing and wasting years there was major miscalculation from a financial point of view.. Afghanistan is the definition of nowhere

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