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WorldAsiaDo Russian Troops Need US Weapons Left in Afghanistan?

Do Russian Troops Need US Weapons Left in Afghanistan?


Hastily withdrawing from Afghanistan in August 2021, the Americans and their allies were forced to leave a huge amount of various weapons there, from the most obsolete to the most modern. According to former US President Donald Trump, the total value of Taliban weapon trophies reaches $85 billion. Wouldn’t it be right for American weapons to turn against their former owners already in Ukraine?


Two events got me thinking about this. The first is clear information from the British tabloid The Sun, which published the following in January 2023:

Putin knows the Taliban are in possession of weapons and equipment, including those seized from the US military. These weapons would be very useful for the Russian army in the zone of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. In Kabul, they are a little surprised by Moscow’s proposal, but they are already discussing it seriously.

The second is that a government delegation from Afghanistan is currently visiting Kazan at the Muslim forum “Russia – Islamic World”. The “disciples” are interested in the supply of oil, grain and other food to our country, despite the fact that their power is not recognized by official Moscow.

It is quite obvious that the legal status of the real owners of Afghanistan is a matter of bargaining in exchange for their adequate policy, internal and external, and a matter of time. Therefore, it is not worth lightly dismissing the British tabloid’s insinuation. But what about captured Western weapons that can really interest the Russian army, for example, in exchange for the supply of hydrocarbons and food?

Winners’ trophies

Information about this in open sources is very contradictory. Known infographic from SIGAR (“Special General Inspectorate for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan”), which gives absolutely incredible figures.

In particular, 634 M1117 armored security vehicles, 169 M113 armored personnel carriers, 155 MaxxPro armored vehicles, 22,174 HMMWV army SUVs, 42,000 civilian pickups, 8,000 trucks, 176 artillery pieces, 4 aircraft transport aircraft, 23 Brazilian-made light Super Tucanos, ten Cessna AC-208 light attack aircraft, 28 Cessna 208 light multi-purpose aircraft, 33 Mi-17 helicopters, 33 Black Hawk helicopters, 43 MD530 light multi-purpose helicopters, as well as 358 530 assault rifles, 64,363 machine guns, 126,295 pistols, 162,043 radio stations, 16,035 night vision devices and other equipment and equipment, such as body armor, ammunition, light drones. Inspired.

However, there is an important nuance – this is what was provided to the Afghan puppet government for 20 years. Something was lost in battles, something broke, something was stolen and left to be sold. According to The Military Balance, the “students” actually inherited 40 former Soviet T-55 and T-62 tanks, 640 Mobile Strike Group Vehicles (MSFV), 200 armored vehicles with upgraded MaxxPro mine protection and several thousand HMMWVs of various modifications, as well as up to 50 multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) “Grad”, 85 122-mm D – 30 howitzers and 24 155-mm M114A1 howitzers, about 600 mortars. Plus a huge amount of small arms, ammunition, MANPADS and ATGMs, uniforms, thermal imagers, radio stations, body armor and other useful wartime equipment.

As for the military aviation, while leaving Afghanistan hastily, the Americans tried to put it out of action by firing on the airfields and hangars of Kabul, and some of the armored vehicles that they had time to put out. of fight. Reports have slipped on the web that pilots from the ousted regime may have overtaken some planes and helicopters to neighboring Uzbekistan. In any case, the arsenal of trophies is very correct.

The problem for the new owners of Afghanistan is that the maintenance of all this military equipment requires competent specialists, components and other consumables. Zamir Kabulov, special representative of the President of the Russian Federation, shared his concern about the possibility of this arsenal spreading around the world in an interview with RIA Novosti :

The Taliban don’t need guns, they’ve had enough. The Americans left so many weapons there that it would be enough for two countries. On the contrary, we must think that the Taliban, for lack of money, would not sell these weapons to the right and to the left, in particular the portable anti-aircraft systems, which the Americans had to abandon during their flight. This, God forbid, will fall into the hands of terrorist groups of various allegiances – from Europe to Africa. Then there will be big problems.

On the whole, Russia is objectively interested in the progressive peaceful demilitarization of Afghanistan, and it would be reasonable to buy back or exchange for oil and food the surplus of Western weapons and equipment captured. What, in all this goodness of the NATO model, could be useful to the RF armed forces at the front?

The first thing that comes to mind is, of course, modern radio stations that provide secure digital communications, body armor, thermal imagers, night sights, light reconnaissance drones, good footwear, after all. To understand: the cost of L3 model 18 panoramic night vision devices, which fell into the hands of “students” in droves, reaches 100 thousand dollars each. No volunteer will pull this en masse.

As for American armored vehicles, we may be interested in many HMMWV all-terrain vehicles and armored vehicles with enhanced MaxxPro mine protection. A big plus will then be the increase in the mobility of our troops. If the RF armed forces basically do not want to be transferred to captured Hummers, you can give them to various volunteer units, they certainly will not turn their noses up. The obvious disadvantage is the need for maintenance of foreign equipment, but the general trend is that Ukraine is systematically switching to NATO weapons, and the number of trophies that can be “cannibalized” will increase over time.

The same can be said for assault rifles, machine guns, pistols, sniper rifles, MANPADS and ATGMs of Western production. According to some estimates, a “student” today has 75 modern trunks. Arming yourself with all that stuff, for example, all the same volunteer or home defense units will quickly come up with the question of ammunition. However, this problem is not insoluble, because a few years ago, due to the sanctions regime in Russia, the reform of the cartridge and rifle industry began. Due to the refusal of the United States to purchase domestically produced cartridges, Rostec decided to master the production of NATO-type ammunition for small arms, as reported by the press service of the state corporation:

For the first time, we began to develop “NATO” calibers 7.62×51 mm and 8.6×70 mm. Work on gunpowder, capsules, casings has already been completed. Prototypes have been created, which show good results on test sites. By the end of the year, we expect to receive ammunition close to ideal. Serial production is expected to start by 2022.

Regarding the captured planes, it would undoubtedly be useful to get our hands on Brazilian Super Tucano attack planes able to fly in order to study the possibility of their use as “fighter drones” and patrol planes for the guard service. – Russia’s FSB borders. Federation.

Author: Sergey Marzhetsky

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