ISLAMABAD: After the United States pulled out its troops from Afghanistan, it left behind military equipment and weapons worth $7 billion which later boosted the military capabilities of the banned Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Baloch separatist groups.
According to a report by Radio Free Europe (RFE), the US left behind weapons and equipment including firearms, communications gear, and even armored vehicles which gave the militants a “vast war chest.”
The report said that using the US weapons and equipment, both the TTP and Baloch separatist groups were waging insurgencies against the government in Pakistan, which has witnessed a surge in violence over the past two years. The RFE rejected Kabul’s claims that TTP was not using Afghan soil against Pakistan “as the presence of TTP, ISKP and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan was an undeniable reality”.
“These weapons have added to the lethality of such groups,” said Asfandyar Mir, a senior analyst at the United States Institute of Peace. Other experts say armed groups have obtained advanced US weapons and equipment like M16 and M4 assault rifles, night-vision goggles and military communication gear.
Abdul Sayed, a Sweden-based researcher who tracks the TTP, said the group’s access to sophisticated combat weapons has had a “terrifying” impact, especially on the lesser-equipped (despite US donations of modern equipment) police force in Pakistan.
According to the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS), a think tank in Islamabad, the number of terrorist attacks in the country increased by 27 percent last year compared to 2021. At least 419 people were killed and 734 were injured in 262 terrorist attacks last year.
The Taliban spokesperson however rejected claims that it has supplied TTP fighters with US weapons and equipment. “If some weapons are being smuggled, they are far fewer and not of much concern,” the report quoted Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman as saying. ‑‑APP