US spends $17 billion to arm struggling Afghan armed forces as Taliban surges

The United States has spent more than $17 billion to provide weapons, ammunition, and other military equipment to Afghanistan’s struggling defense forces, even as the number of Afghans enlisted in these services dips amid a resurgence in Taliban-backed violence, according to new figures published by a government oversight body.

The United States has spent nearly $13 billion to arm the Afghan National Army as of May 31, 2016 and another $4.2 billion on weapons for the Afghan National Police, according to figures from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

The latest tally of U.S. expenditures for these forces comes amid a new surge of violence in Afghanistan caused by the Taliban, which President Obama said had been “toppled” on Monday.

As the United States continues to send great amounts of taxpayer aid to the war-torn country, the strength of its security forces have reached new lows, casting doubt on the ability of American and allied forces to completely hand off security control of the country.

The combined strength of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces stood at 319,595 as of April 2016. This is a significant decline from February 2014 when the force strength was 338,108, according to figures published by SIGAR.

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