US Scrapping Military Equipment in Afghanistan: Report

June 20, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

The U.S. is scrapping military equipment in Afghanistan–$7 billion worth–in order to complete its drawdown by the end of 2014, according to a report.

Department of Defense officials said more than 170 million pounds of equipment in Afghanistan is no needed or is too expensive to fly home, reported The Washington Post on Thursday. The operation involves scrapping around 20 percent of American military equipment in the country.

The Pentagon has weighed giving some of the equipment to Afghanistan, but there are complicated rules that govern equipment donations to other countries, according to the Post. Officials also have fears that the Afghan military won’t be able to maintain it.

As a result, the equipment will be cut into scrap metal and sold in Afghanistan.

“We’re making history doing what we’re doing here,” Maj. Gen. Kurt J. Stein, who heads the 1st Sustainment Command, told the Post. “This is the largest retrograde mission in history.”

The move is not without controversy, however.

There are concerns that the American-backed Afghan troops who are being attacked on a daily basis by insurgents might need the equipment, concerns on whether getting rid of the equipment would harm U.S.-based defense manufacturers, and what to do with Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles. Some 2,000 of the 11,000 vehicles, or MRAPs, which cost $1 million each, are being scrapped.

“MRAPs have served us well in the current war, but we will not need all that we bought for Iraq and Afghanistan in the future,” Alan Estevez, with the secretary of defense for logistics and materiel readiness, told the newspaper “It is cost prohibitive to retrograde and reset MRAPs that we do not need for the future.”

The report comes as Taliban fighters canceled peace talks with coalition forces in Qatar on Thursday.

“There is nothing scheduled that I am aware of,” a source in Qatar told Reuters on Thursday.