Searching for a good deal on a used treadmill? Look no further than Afghanistan, where the US military is selling off 2 million to 14 million pounds of its equipment every week, as it winds down operations there. There's just one catch, reports the Washington Post: most of the equipment is destroyed so parts can't be made into bombs. "Many non-military items have timing equipment or other components in them that can pose a threat. For example, timers can be attached to explosives. Treadmills, stationary bikes, many household appliances and devices, et cetera, have timers," explains a Pentagon spokesperson.
All the equipment would be too expensive to bring back to the US, so now a scrap yard near Bagram is piled high with air conditioners, trucks, and TVs that don't work. And the locals aren't impressed. "The Russians didn’t break their things before they sold them to us," says one customer. Meanwhile, the Post reports in a separate article, Afghanistan's army is struggling with broken equipment it can't fix. The US had previously been taking care of repairs, but since it stopped, corruption and an undeveloped local supply chain has made finding replacement parts difficult. "The Americans gave us the Humvees, but they didn’t give us the spare parts," says a local special forces leader. And it doesn't help that gear is being pilfered—one special forces commander just defected to a Taliban-aligned insurgent group, taking up to 30 guns, night-vision goggles, and a Humvee with him, Reuters reports. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)