After the fleeing Afghan forces and the US military had left behind high-grade military weapons and gear in Afghanistan after the Taliban captured the country, allegations have now surfaced on social media that Pakistani traders are selling them in the market. A Pakistani journalist claimed that military vests advertised by Pakistan based company were actually American military vests left behind in Afghanistan, but the company has denied the allegations and have claimed that they manufacture the products in Pakistan itself.
On Sunday (September 12), Pakistani journalist Hamza Azhar Salam claimed that Afghan and Pakistani traders have been making loads of money by selling the military gear abandoned by the American troops. “Getting ads for American military vests on Instagram for sale in PKR. Seems like they left a lot of stuff which now has to be sold,” Salam said. He added, “Afghan and Pakistani traders dealing in such items are making a killing according to many news reports and sources.”
Hamza Azhar Salam shared three screenshots of an Instagram advertisement, run by a page titled Specter Defense (@specter.defense). The page, which identifies itself as an outdoor and sporting goods company, boasts 1.4K followers on the social media site. As per its Instagram account, Specter Defense has been selling ‘Breached Vest’ for PKR 7000, Buddy Coyote USA version for PKR 18000 and Military Model 1 vest (Local Version) for PKR 9000. According to WHOIS, the domain is registered in the name of one Khadija Batool in Pakistan.
Specter Defense rejects claims, says their products are made in Pakistan
However, the company has denied the claims that they are selling items left behind by American forces in Afghanistan and claims that they manufacture the gear seen in the ads. In an email response, Specter Defense claimed that the products sold by the company are made in Pakistan. It claimed, “We understand this stuff is new for most Pakistanis and keeping in view the current situation across the border a common man or a journalist who has no background knowledge would straight come to the point of conclusion without any in-depth analyses or confirmation. We are proudly producing all our gear in Pakistan.”
Furthermore, it claimed, “Our international presence started in Feb 2020 with exports to the US, France, Canada, and some other countries of Europe and we recently introduced our products to the local community. Keep that in mind these products are not for general wear or in some cases protection but more for training at range and sports. We are offering these products to LEAs and security forces as well.”
It is also important to note that the Instagram account of Specter Defense has been posting the images of the vests since May this year, months before US forces had left Afghanistan. Its Facebook account also had posted images of similar items much earlier. The company also have a website showcasing its products. Therefore, it can be concluded that the company actually manufactures the items it is selling, and they are not the items left by US forces in Afghanistan, as claimed by the Pakistani journalist.
It is also notable that Afghanistan is ruled by the Taliban now, which has captured all the military and other items left behind by Afghan forces, many of which were supplied by Americans. Therefore it is unlikely that the Taliban will allow the sale of the items in the open market. Even though the Taliban has deep relations with Pakitan, the possibility of a small Pakistani accessing American gear in Afghanistan is very slim.
US left behind weapons, ammunition; Pakistan vowed to reorganise Taliban military
After the capture of Afghanistan, a large number of biometric devices, along with weapons, vehicles, and ammunition left behind by American and fleeing Afghan forces were captured by the Taliban. With the US-built military devices, the Taliban now potentially has the access to the biometric database of Afghans. Some devices that stored local copies for such databases became easily accessible to the new Taliban regime.
Earlier, citing a top-level Pakistan official, Reuters reported that the Pakistanis had decided to send security and intelligence officials, including the head of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, to Afghanistan to help the Taliban reorganise their military. Pakistan intended to help the radical Islamic outfit to re-organise its army and also provide necessary training to the Taliban, largely made up of Pashtun fighters trained in Pakistan madrasas.