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Policy Brief

Weapons in Afghanistan: The Taliban’s Spoils of War

Following the announcement of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban quickly seized control of the country. The seemingly rushed and chaotic nature of the US’ withdrawal also allowed the Taliban to seize large quantities of small arms and light weapons (SALW) left behind. This policy brief explores the purposes for which the Taliban use these newly acquired ‘spoils of war’, ranging from fighting rival group ISK-P and controlling territory to financing their activities and propaganda purposes. It finally provides recommendations on how to contain the flow of SALW in and out of Afghanistan, and draw lessons on how to better manage future withdrawal of international troops in other countries.