Fate of military equipment ‘unsure’

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Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen said neither he nor military brass know what’s happened to around NOK 600 million worth of weapons, vehicles, communications equipment and other military hardware that had been provided to Afghanistan’s security forces. They either fled or surrended to the Taliban in recent weeks, leaving a fortune of modern equipment behind.

Nearly all of it was financed by taxpayers in NATO countries, with the US providing the most. Norway’s contribution has been valued at around NOK 600 million over the past 20 years. “The defense material was mostly acquired for the establishment and improvement of facilities and cooperative efforts to strengthen the Afghans’ own ability to secure communication and carry out operations,” Bakke-Jensen wrote in response to a request from newspaper Aftenposten over the weekend.

Lots of NATO weapons, vehicles and equipment can now be seen in photographs of the triumphant Taliban. Bakke-Jensen claimed, however, that it was “impossible” to evaluate how much of Norway’s equipment is now in the Taliban’s hands. The situation in Afghanistan, he noted, remains too chaotic and difficult to assess.

Norway budgeted as late as this year for another NOK 60 million to support Afghan security forces.

newsinenglish.no staff