Afghan Officials Downplay Growing Taliban Fleet of Seized Humvees

Number of Vehicles Looted by Taliban Fighters in Dispute

Officials from the national government are trying to downplay the severity of the problem, but local Afghan officials warn that the Taliban are seizing a growing fleet of US-made Humvees, and using them on the front lines in battles against Afghan forces.

National government officials say the problem is very limited, and say only “dozens” of vehicles have been lost. The Interior Ministry tried to revise that number down even further to nine total Humvees lost.

That runs directly contrary to reports from local officials, and one Helmand Province MP reported some 35 Humvees were lost in a single battle in that province, just one of several high-profile losses of vehicles this year. Taliban officials refused to put a number on it either, but confirmed that the vehicles had become a significant part of their arsenal.

That’s a problem that’s increasingly true across the Middle East, as many Islamist rebels are awash in US-made weapons and vehicles, both seized in fighting and given to them by US allies. ISIS in both Syria and Iraq has an arsenal made up in large measure of US-made vehicles, including Humvees and tanks.

The Afghan special forces sought to downplay the risk of the Taliban having so many Humvees, saying they won’t last more than a few weeks because the Taliban doesn’t have access to the spare parts needed to keep them running. How brittle the Humvees given to the Afghan military are is uncertain, but elsewhere the vehicles seem to last years, not a matter of weeks.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.