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The Taliban’s Not So Shiny And New Vehicles

How they didn’t get as cherry a deal as some might believe

Leo Shvedsky
September 13 2021

We’ve heard a lot lately about the Taliban and how they have taken possession of US military equipment. Some of that car equipment happened to be military vehicles and, being the car enthusiasts that we are, we wanted to take a slightly closer look at the some of the US-made military vehicles that the American military left behind - and why they may not be utilized for long.

So, let's start by focusing on the most iconic “military” vehicle of them all, the Humvee. The image of a Humvee barreling down a dusty road is what the vast majority of the public thinks of when they picture the military these days. But as much as it has become the symbol of military transport, the Humvee’s days are numbered.  

By cutting edge military standards, the Humvee is considered about as ancient as the blow guns those natives tried to kill Indiana Jones with that one time. Way back, a thousand years ago, in 1983, the military issued a contract worth more than $1 billion to the AM General Corporation to build 55,000 for an automotive machine called the High Mobility Multi-Purposed Vehicle, known simply as the HMMMWV. Yeah, that’s where the name comes from. Then we civilians decided to call our version The Hummer for some reason. We still haven’t figured that one out.

Hummer: Shutterstock

We all know that since then the squat and wide beast of an all-terrain vehicle took the world by storm, sometimes literally. But it started almost forty-years ago. Today, the US Army and Marine Corps are in the process of switching to a much more heavily armored and reliable vehicle called the JLTV. 

It’s estimated that the Afghani army left close to 3,000 of the ubiquitous military jalopies for the Taliban. At about $42,000 a piece, (which is how much these things sell for at public auction,) that adds up to $126,000,000 for the cars that did a poor job of protecting Tony Stark in Iron Man. But this is still even less of a boon than you would imagine it to be for the Taliban. Remember that forty-years old mark?

Humvee: Shutterstock

That means the Taliban now own the equivalent of a states worth of C-grade used car dealerships worth of cars. And if you’ve ever tried to maintain a forty-year old car with military-grade wear and tear, and what gear head hasn’t, then you’d know that the Taliban would need to spend far more than a $126,000,000 just to keep the fleet up and running. Plus, last we checked there weren’t any O’Reilly Auto Parts in Kabul. No, really, we checked and there aren’t any.   

So whatever it is they did end up with, and here’s a fairly comprehensive list compiled by the BBC, they’re going to be making a lot of calls to whatever their version of AAA is.



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