Anyone who has seen the news lately knows America’s botched plan to remove its military from Afghanistan. As U.S. officials scramble to devise military and diplomatic strategies, hundreds of military-spec Ford Ranger pickup trucks, among other supplies and resources, have been left behind. Learn more about the unfolding situation below.
The United States’ recent departure from Afghanistan
The United States had been at war with Afghanistan since 2001, making it America’s longest war. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, former President George W. Bush signed a joint resolution into law allowing the use of force on those deemed responsible for the terror attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001.
Since then, American troops have served in Afghanistan in varying numbers over the past 20 years through four administrations. In November 2020, the Trump administration announced plans to halve the number of military personnel in Afghanistan by January 2021. After his inauguration, President Joe Biden announced his plans to withdraw from the country by September 11 this year.
Earlier this month, the Taliban took over Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, and the group now has control over many aspects of the country. It’s a scary time for Afghans, many of whom are desperately trying to flee their homeland.
The military left behind hundreds of Ford Ranger pickup trucks
When pulling troops out of Afghanistan, U.S. forces have left behind many important resources, giving the Taliban access to powerful vehicles and weapons that the U.S. military used. Over 900 military-spec Ford Ranger trucks remained in the country, and a whopping 877 have been captured, while 24 have been destroyed, Autoblog reports.
The U.S. military has used Ford Ranger trucks for years, and it tapped Ricardo, an upfitter in the United Kingdom, to outfit the trucks to make them more military-appropriate. The Ford Ranger Ricardo features a higher ride height, improved springs, and upgraded brakes.
They also come with Ricardo’s rollover protection system, though the U.S. government has kept details of this mechanism largely under wraps. These trucks are also outfitted with strong armor and bullet-proof glass to keep troops safe.
Other vehicles the United States left in Afghanistan
Other than Ford Ranger Ricardo models, hundreds of other High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) have been captured or destroyed. These vehicles are also known as Humvees, which the U.S. Army describes as “a lightweight, highly mobile, high-performance, diesel-powered four-wheel drive, air-transportable and air-droppable family of tactical vehicles. The HMMWV supports combat and combat service support units with a versatile, mission-configurable, tactical wheeled vehicle.”
In addition, the Taliban has seized over 300 Navistar International 7000- and 8000-series support vehicles. The 7000 series is a line of heavy-lift vehicles, and the U.S. Army ordered thousands of these trucks in 2005 and 2008. The Navistar International 8000-series, now called the International TranStar, is a line of Class 8 trucks mostly used for shipping.
Last, about 60 M1117 Armour Security Vehicles and a dozen tanks were left behind. According to Army Technology, the M1117 is also known as the Guardian, a 4×4 vehicle whose heavy armor protects its interior from gunfire and mines.
The situation in Afghanistan isn’t playing out the way the U.S. had hoped, and it’s impossible to say for sure how things will proceed. But the capture of these vehicles has only heightened the difficulty and terror of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.