The Biden administration has been smartly erasing all public records detailing the $83 billion U.S. investment toward buying weapons and training Afghanistan's armed forces.
According to reports, federal agencies have been asked to scrub all information detailing the mammoth investment from the website as the Biden administration continues to face backlash over its Afghanistan evacuation.
Video footages on social media showing Taliban fighters standing aboard abandoned and captured Humvees and armored SUVs prove the extent of the investment made by the United States made over the years. The Taliban are believed to have captured hundreds of millions of weapons, aircraft and choppers since taking over Kabul on August 15.
Trying to Save Themselves
In a last ditch effort to save themselves from further face loss, the Biden administration is now erasing all available records of the colossal $82.9 billion investment in training Afghan army since 2001. Over the past few days the Taliban fighters have captured weapons and equipment worth tens of millions of dollars.
However, U.S. officials have claimed that the aircraft were disabled before the departure of international troops but other photographs of them flying black hawk helicopters and driving Humvees and armored SUV tell a different story.
The total amount of hardware in the form of air defense vehicles like aircraft and choppers and weapons supplied to Afghanistan is staggering. The United supplied a whopping 208 aircraft and almost 76,000 vehicles, along with 600,000 weapons between 2003 and 2006, according to a 2017 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
However, this record may soon disappear from the government's website, with a huge portion already gone. The administration although is giving a different reason, that of the safety of the Afghan allies, behind the decision to erase all the details.
"The safety of our Afghan contacts is of utmost importance to us," said a spokesperson.
"The State Department advised other federal agencies to review their web properties for content that highlights cooperation/participation between an Afghan citizen and the USG or a USG partner and remove from public view if it poses a security risk," he added.
The details of the total spending on arms, aircraft, choppers, armored vehicles and on training the Afghan army were available on the government website till sometime back.
However, Forbes reported that visitors to the website of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, over the past couple of days, could see only 404 error messages when they clicked on the links to reports detailing the spending and misuse of funds.
"In recent days, some SIGAR reports have been temporarily removed from the agency's public website due to ongoing security concerns in accordance with guidance received from the U.S. Department of State," said a spokesperson for SIGAR, according to Forbes.
SIGAR is giving a different version buy not too many will buy it given the backlash the Biden administration has been facing lately. "This is in line with actions taken by other U.S. federal agencies and is out of an abundance of caution," he added.
The report comes amid huge looting by the Taliban, who have amassed an entire arsenal after ploughed across the country and capturing 10 major airfields from Bagram to Mazar-i-Sharif.
On Tuesday, propaganda videos posted by the Taliban emerged showing the triumphant jihadists clambering into the cockpit of a $14 million Hercules transport jet.
At the time of the capture of Kabul, the Afghan Air Force had to its possession 167 aircraft, including 108 helicopters and 59 planes, according to an official U.S. government inspection but now that has gone to the Taliban. This tells the extent of military investment by United States had made over the years, which it lost in no time.