The Media Gets off it’s Ass, at least for one Falsehood *Updated*

*An even better article was just published today at LawfareBlog, outlining the myth-making occurring over divested equipment in Afghanistan.*

The media should consider it a duty, to dispel false political myths and memes….but it so often doesn’t.

Everyone by now has seen, I’m sure….the long and illustrious list of U.S. military equipment that “we” “left” behind. Below is what I posted on a fellow Blogger’s site:


In almost every instance, when we essentially invade a foreign nation and rebuild their military from the ground up…we equip them. We sometimes take different approaches with regard to standardized equipment [as in Iraq, where we tended toward ‘Soviet-bloc’ items*].

In AFG, we leaned heavily on U.S. equipment, and a smattering of Czech and Russian, especially with regard to airframes.

This equipment, again over the past almost 2 decades, has been Divested through the Foreign Military Sales Program [which ensures that only our export models of equipment is eligible]. The equipment left behind, for the most part anyway, was divested to the ANSF. We no doubt left some ancillary gear when we withdrew from various Forward Operating Bases and Bagram…nothing of great import.

All of this equipment was dropped in place by the surrendering and running ANSF….and now the Taliban are able to kit themselves out like westerners, on the cheap.

We saw this as well in 2014 in Iraq, where ISIS took control of the vast amount of equipment we had divested to them, and gifted by running and surrendering ISF.

Our media has generally done a poor job, as they always do…of educating our public on issues such as these, and this…they become fodder to be trafficked by folks who want. to try and score political points.

Today, the WaPo finally ran the claim being made by the Right, regarding this equipment….with the full implications that the current Administration simply ‘leaving it all behind’.

U.S. military equipment was given to Afghan security forces over two decades. Tanks, vehicles, helicopters and other gear fell into the hands of the Taliban when the U.S.-trained force quickly collapsed. The value of these assets is unclear, but if the Taliban is unable to obtain spare parts, it may not be able to maintain them.

But the value of the equipment is not more than $80 billion. That’s the figure for all of the money spent on training and sustaining the Afghan military over 20 years. The equipment portion of that total is about $24 billion — certainly not small change — but the actual value of the equipment in the Taliban’s hands is probably much less than even that amount.

22 thoughts on “The Media Gets off it’s Ass, at least for one Falsehood *Updated*

  1. Exactly what I’ve contended as well. The other day I received one of those “official” lists of equipment we allegedly left there… and right off the bat I was suspect. If nothing else, you don’t give state-of-the-art stuff to a Third World power without thinking that it might be used against you at some future date. A bunch of nite vision goggles you can get from any arms bazaar or surplus store.
    Perhaps you caught that final status report from the commander announcing to the world the last soldier had left. He ran a short list of the equipment they made totally inactive at the airport before they left. A rather large collection of MRAPs, Humvees, and a large number of fixed and rotary aircraft were completely disabled. Probably a modern version of that WW2 Phosphorous grenade that just melted everything.
    You are correct.. even my fave media sources did not provide any of this detail.

    Liked by 1 person

      • From what I can discern.. the Afghan military even had no jet technology.. all piston fixed wing aircraft.. and older chopper craft. I may make a post on this myself.. and I’ll cite your post here as well. Seems the prissies are getting worked up watching early morning Taliban video of them strolling around hangars dressed “as U.S. soldiers” in left equipment. Uh huh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t speak intimately on the aircraft aspect [I’ve always been a ground guy, beyond falling out of good airplanes]; but I know that a whole host of people who didn’t give a sh*t about our lives lost and tax dollars wasted, over the last 20 years…have now come out of the woodwork, now that there’s social media points to score and political narratives to protect.

        Piss on ’em, and their faux sanctimonious outrage.


  2. @Constitutional Insurgent

    The Chinese were reverse engineering our equipment during the Clinton administration.

    The Russian space shuttle looked an awful lot like our own. Not that it did them any good. Congress had too much say in designing the darn thing.

    Please note that you and Doug are stuck on a side issue. Biden encourages this sort of silly thinking. Instead of justifying what he did to get us out of Afghanistan, every time he makes a speech about how we got out of Afghanistan Biden spends all his time justifying getting out of Afghanistan. He can’t justify making the mess he made. He can only lie about it.

    What do guys do? Do you talk about what Biden did? No. You guys worry about the equipment we left behind, pooh-poohing its significance. Last time I checked, it was still a dumb idea to give homicidal maniacs military equipment, even second rate military equipment. Please note that in addition to that equipment we also gave that Taliban our military bases, and let them release a bunch of ISIS-K fighters, terrorist that they supposedly don’t get along with.

    None of that is what everyone is truly angry about. What people are angry about is that Biden pulled out our troops and then he had to reinsert them. He put us in a much weaker position. We lost our military bases, especially Bagram.
    1. He demoralized the Afghans military. They were fighting, and then they stopped completely.
    2. He conducted the airlift in Kabul instead of Bagram, making us dependent on the Taliban for security. How did that work? How many have to die before you figure it out?
    3. He got a bunch of people out of Afghanistan, but who knows how many of them worked with us? Many of them probably just want to come to America. They vetted these people just about as “expertly” as they are vetting the folks coming across our southern border. Think about it. Before any of these people got into the airport, they had to go through Taliban checkpoints. You want to try that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I give a shit what “people” are angry about. Looking over the breadth and scope of what gets trafficked over mainstream and social media…..most Americans are smart enough nor objective enough to matter in the least to me. I’m angry about the 2 lost decades for many young Americans and billions of our tax dollars.

      You don’t seem to care about that, because there are no political points for you to score. You exemplify this by you choice of words: you know that the equipment in question was divested to the ANSF…yet you continue with “Biden ‘gave’ it to the Taliban”. Specious, false and quite unbecoming of any rational adult. But, you keep doing you. I’ll keep knocking down perfidious narratives designed explicitly for political gain, and to sully subjects that are near and dear to me.

      A sad reminder of when we go to war, but the nation as a whole has to sacrifice not.


  3. As for the equipment?
    That’s just a sideshow compared to the loss of trust this fiasco has generated.
    That trust / word / promises broken by (unsurprisingly) Western politics.

    Meanwhile it’s still the service lives lost that matter to me.
    Lives that ‘our political gerbils’ sacrificed for no reason.

    BUT, no one in the West’s military / politics who was involved is coming out of this unscathed and it doesn’t bear thinking about what will happen next time. (And there will always be a next time).

    Probably when the Iran “freedom from tyranny” operation starts, I reckon everyone involved is going to find out the hard way that local assistance won’t be so forthcoming. Let alone US/NATO finding less commitment from member countries to join in another fiasco.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jeez… Tom.

    1. He demoralized the Afghans military. They were fighting, and then they stopped completely.
    The Afghan military had been “demoralized” since the early Trump years because their own government was corrupt as hell. Check the history.. the Afghan military had been losing ground to the Taliban solidly for the last two years of Trump. It certainly didn’t help when their leader left town.

    2. He conducted the airlift in Kabul instead of Bagram, making us dependent on the Taliban for security. How did that work? How many have to die before you figure it out?
    The military dismissed Bagram as being too large to secure, requiring far more personnel.. and… Bagram was out of town.. a large distance away from any urban area and would pose an exponential risk to those needing evacuation and having to make the longer trip. And let’s be clear… the Taliban would likely still have been in control of the route to and from Bagram and we would still need their cooperation. The negotiations with them worked. Were you sick that day and not paying attention? You’re just pissing in the wind with all this nonsense, Tom.

    3. He got a bunch of people out of Afghanistan, but who knows how many of them worked with us? Many of them probably just want to come to America. They vetted these people just about as “expertly” as they are vetting the folks coming across our southern border. Think about it. Before any of these people got into the airport, they had to go through Taliban checkpoints. You want to try that?
    And you have reached this conclusion by listening/reading what mindless Conservative talking head? This is pure “I hate Biden.” garbage and nothing even close to objective thought. My dislike for Trump was about the ineptness of him as a person and his mental aberrations and behavioral dysfunctions diagnosed by countless professionals.. including his niece. I’m not sold on a lot of Biden “stuff” but i certainly support his efforts as I definitely know they are the result of decades of service as an elected official in the Washington scene… and knows who to listen to and how to take advice. You feel better laughing at his occasional word flubs (like Trump) and restrained gait and call it all Alzheimer’s in action to make yourself feel better, then go for it. See what sticks in the end.

    Trump is NOT returning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doug, I have a great deal of benefit of the doubt to extend to folks like Tom, who may not have a very familiar understanding of the Afghanistan issue – our media does a consistently horrible job of educating the public on the facts of any issue, much less a military-centric one – however, that benefit of the doubt erodes rapidly when objectivity is nowhere to be found, but rather baseless, specious and disingenuous assertions that are the currency; and even more so when they’re clearly based on the partisan narrative script being trafficked on garbage sites.

      For example, when one claims to have served in uniform, yet seems to have no understanding that while a POTUS is ultimately responsible for our foreign policy, the vast majority of decisions do not cross his desk. A former service-member should either be intimately familiar with, or at least have a passing knowledge of the concept of Delegation of Authority. However, when that person traffics in “Biden released prisoners”, or “Biden left military equipment behind” or any of the myriad of other claims……not only are they often absurdly false, but they attribute the decision to POTUS, as opposed to the actual fact [in this case either GEN McKenzie, ADM Vasely or MG Donahue]. This is because, the author has no contextual position to proffer, but rather seeks crass political points….that ultimately don’t convince those who know better…or those who don’t already believe those claims to be true as proffered.

      You raise some good points:

      1- The ANSF/ANA was really never “moralized”, for a number of reasons that I can go into, but will curtail for this already long comment. This has been borne out at the very least, by the numerous SIGAR reports issued over the past 2 decades, that also don’t serve to reinforce the politically correct political narrative, thus will not be read by most. Further, the nail in the proverbial coffin is the capitulation agreement signed last year [thought we didn’t negotiate with “terrorists?”], that explicitly – by demand of the Taliban – excluded the Government of the Republic of Afghanistan [GiROA]. You know, our erstwhile ‘allies’.

      2- Bagram. My favorite. OK, you wanted Bagram to stay open….for what reason armchair commander? If to be able to still support the ANA with air support as the Taliban encircled Kabul, cool. We’d then have an evacuation under fire. Super. If to evacuate Americans from their instead of HKIA in Kabul….OK. Tell me how much lift capability we’d have to ferry those folks from Kabul to Bagram…since the weight of effort for our support [and really the only Center of Gravity for GiROA] was Kabul. Shift entirely from Kabul to Bagram? OK, we’re back to demoralizing the ANA forces again. And that doesn’t address the need for enough forces to adequately defend both locations. There’s really not a good option with regard to what airhead we kept open…..but I understand the calculus behind the decision [which Biden probably had a say in].

      3- I fully supported evacuating those Afghans that worked closely alongside us, and their families……not to mention of course, American Citizens. However, though I know their are outliers… sympathy wanes when some Americans did not heed the multiple warnings from the State Department throughout this entire year [remember the original withdrawal date was 1 May]. Big boy rules need to apply at some point.

      The bottom line is that Biden assumes full responsibility [which he has] for the actions taken, or not taken with regard to the ultimate withdrawal….but to not acknowledge the utter waste of live and treasure in the first place, by our generational occupation and pitiful attempts at in stilling a western-style democracy……should be a source of shame for any Patriotic American. To not acknowledge especially, that the actions of the previous Administrations “Set the Conditions” [another doctrinal term that should be familiar to anyone who has claimed to serve], is beyond the pale.

      Crass partisanship, devoid of context and used as garbage political fodder… beneath any rational adult.


    • Doug, you may find the following link of interest [as should anyone who is wondering how the Afghan government could have fallen so quickly:

      Portion from the link: “The events of the past weeks share many similarities with the Taliban’s initial rise to power over two decades ago and bore out key aspects of what my 2012 analysis suggested might happen. In fact, the Afghan security forces of 2021 were generally worse off than anti-Taliban forces were in the 1990s. While the density and distribution of Afghanistan’s population have not changed significantly since then, in 2021 — unlike in the 1990s — the Taliban enjoyed a presence throughout the country. That allowed them to pressure the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces in multiple locations simultaneously. As a result, the Afghan military had to try to cover large swaths of territory, move quickly to respond to the Taliban’s political and military threats, and attempt to hold its own in pitched battles and counterattacks.

      The Afghan security forces were not up to these tasks. The Taliban took a host of provincial capitals and Kabul itself in a matter of days, more quickly than even the most pessimistic, publicly available estimates predicted. The Afghan military lacked the capacity and cohesion required to stand firm and defend against fast-moving offensives across many fronts simultaneously. It had long been clear that it was an anemic force which was ill-prepared to take on a major challenge in a coherent and steadfast fashion. As many have noted, since summer 2013, when Afghan forces assumed the lead responsibility for security in the country, things got worse and worse. By 2021, the Afghan military was poorly organized, lacked the ability to provision and pay its soldiers consistently, and was inadequately trained.”


      • I’ll give them a check out. As much as I am very biased against Trumpian Republicanism I am no hardened Liberal either, hence my recent foray in being Independent. I am generally not partial to being fond of a collection of intellectuals exchanging abstract philosophies as I also generally think life need not be so complex to understand what’s going on given I’m more a humanist. Sounds like I’m more the “effete snob” (remember who used that term?) than them, but I am far more simple than that. Given the subjects we engage in I am as concerned with the “who” is giving the opinion.. and the source for their opinion… as I am of the opinion itself. I tend to follow more blogs that do not reflect my own opinion as I don’t thrive much in an echo chamber. Alternate opinion keeps me informed as to the current reasons and motivation for thinking as they do. Damn.. all this makes me sound elitist… and I am to myself as we all should be to ourselves.


      • Doug, I largely feel the same way. As an ardent Libertarian, I’m often accused of being everything from an effete snob, to always ‘working for the other party’ [the ‘other’ being the major party opposition to the major party minion doing the accusing].

        I enjoy a good, civil back and forth. I’ve always found echo chambers to be generally dull. Good-natured sparring with those who don’t agree with you, tests your own position, and makes if stronger in may cases.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The Armchair Strategist #2: Okay, Let’s Talk About All That Military “Stuff” We Left For The Taliban | The Independent Knight

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