Radio Liberty’s most recent report claims that terrorists behind assaults within Pakistan have apparently received US weaponry that were left behind in Afghanistan. According to the research, the proliferation of these weapons has improved the military prowess of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a banned organization, and Baloch separatist organizations, leading to an increase in bloodshed in Pakistan over the past two years.
As US soldiers departed Afghanistan in 2021, they left behind a large amount of military hardware, including armored vehicles, communications equipment, and weaponry, valued at about $7 billion. During the turbulent retreat, the Afghan Taliban grabbed control of the weaponry, and according to radio reports, some of the American military hardware and weapons have turned up in Pakistan since the Taliban assumed control of Afghanistan. According to a researcher based in Sweden who tracks the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), these weapons have been used by armed groups fighting the Pakistani government, having a “terrifying” effect on the police force, which is not as well-equipped. This is especially true given the sophisticated combat weapons available to the TTP.
Regrettably, the Taliban and other extremist organizations now possess these weapons and are utilizing them to carry out attacks on targets in Pakistan and Afghanistan. As some of the American military hardware and weapons have been linked to Pakistan, where they have been utilized by armed organizations opposed to the Pakistani government, the issue has drawn the attention of Pakistani officials. For the past two years, there has been an increase in violence as a result of this influx of guns strengthening the military capacities of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a proscribed organization, and Baloch separatist organizations. Also, Pakistan’s security has come under serious threat due to the use of American weaponry in terrorist acts, which has also impacted Pakistan’s ties with the US. Officials in Pakistan have expressed alarm over the US’s failure to stop the supply of weapons from Afghanistan, which has a direct impact on the unrest there.
In conclusion, the surge in violence in Pakistan following the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan highlights the catastrophic consequences of leaving behind such a large quantity of military equipment and weapons. The inability of the US to control the flow of weapons has allowed extremist groups to gain access to sophisticated combat weapons, causing devastation to both Afghan and Pakistani security. It is high time for the US and other international actors to take responsibility and find solutions to address this alarming situation.
Research Associate, Pakistan House