M4s, M16s and other US-made weapons captured by Taliban reach terrorists in Kashmir: Report

A large stockpile of weapons that fell into the hands of the Taliban when US-led NATO forces withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021 has now arrived in India’s Kashmir. American broadcaster NBC News reports that Pakistan-backed terrorists operating in the region have been observed using M4 carbine assault rifles, M16 rifles and other US-made weapons and ammunition.

According to the report, a majority of such weapons seized so far have come from the Pakistan-backed Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist organizations operating in the Kashmir Valley.

Experts worry that the massive flow of US-made weapons to such terrorist groups in the Kashmir Valley could be the start of a global movement of weapons.

According to Lt. Col. Emron Mousavi, an Indian military spokesman in Srinagar, terrorists from both organizations were sent to Afghanistan to fight or train with the Taliban. After the withdrawal of US-led NATO forces, “it can be safely assumed that they have access to the remaining weapons.”

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However, when NBC News tried to contact government authorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan for comment, they reportedly did not respond.

In July last year, the Kashmir Police had claimed to have seized an M4 carbine assault rifle after an encounter between two JeM terrorists.

In January 2022, questions about the use of US-made weapons in Kashmir were raised again when a video of terrorists brandishing US-made guns was widely circulated on social media platforms.

Major General Ajay Chandapuria, General Command (GOC) of 19 Infantry Division stationed in north Kashmir’s Baramulla, in an interview with news agency ANI last year also said that hi-tech weapons abandoned by the Americans had reached Jammu and Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha said the government is aware of the issue and has taken steps to counter the entry of US weapons into Kashmir. “We are closely monitoring the situation and have taken steps accordingly. Our police and army are working,” Sinha told a news conference at his official residence in Srinagar last year.

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Ajay Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management, a New Delhi think tank, weighed in on the issue, saying that Pakistan-backed terror groups JeM and LeT both buy US weapons from the Taliban in Afghanistan. There are reports of camps or through smugglers in Pakistan.

In the 2021 withdrawal, the United States left $7 billion in military equipment in Afghanistan

Notably, a Defense Department report published in August 2022 found that roughly $7 billion in military equipment provided to the Afghan government after the U.S. completed its hasty withdrawal in August 2021 remained in Afghanistan.

A Forbes magazine report suggested that since 2001, the US has provided Afghan security forces with $83 billion worth of training and equipment. That year alone, US military aid to Afghan forces totaled $3 billion.

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US-made weapons and equipment captured by the Taliban were always likely to be sent to Pakistan for use against India.

Soon after the withdrawal of NATO forces, many in India expressed concern that these weapons could quickly find their way to Pakistan and then through Pakistan-sponsored terrorists to India, particularly Jammu and Kashmir. A report by ANI quoted top military experts as saying that the weapons would first be used by ISI-backed terror groups in Pakistan and then enter India.

“There are many inputs that weapons of American origin, especially small arms, are being sent to Pakistan. But as terrorist groups have been emboldened there by the Taliban’s victory, there is a possibility of these weapons being used for violence in Pakistan itself,” senior military officials told ANI while discussing the outcome of the Afghanistan war.


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