Report: US Has Lost Track of Weapons Given to Afghanistan

Image: Report: US Has Lost Track of Weapons Given to Afghanistan Members of the Afghanistan National Policemen fire their AK-47 rifles during a shooting course taught by U.S. Marines at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province. (Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images)

Monday, 28 Jul 2014 09:42 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The United States supplied almost three quarters of a million weapons to Afghanistan's army and police since 2004, but the military cannot track where many of those arms have gone, a new report found.

According to a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the weapons included 465,000 small arms, in addition to rifles, machine guns, and grenade launchers. The Obama administration also supplied more weapons than needed, such as 83,000 excess AK-47 assault rifles, Buzzfeed reported.

"U.S. and coalition-provided weapons are at risk of theft, loss, or misuse," the report said.

"We're very concerned," added John Sopko, the Inspector General, "that weapons paid for by U.S. taxpayers could wind up in the hands of insurgents and be used to kill Americans and Afghan troops and civilians."

Training and equipping the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army was a central tenet of President Barack Obama's strategy in Afghanistan. Though a 2010 law required the Pentagon to set up systems to track and monitor the weapons being delivered, the audit says the two databases designed are not synchronized or linked, and tens of thousands of weapons have missing or duplicated information, Buzzfeed reported.

The report also focused on a lack of accountability on the part of the government of Afghanistan and its police. In one Afghanistan national police garrison, the only inventory available was an incomplete, handwritten list of serial numbers, the audit said, according to Buzzfeed.

"The Afghan government is responsible for the accountability of its weapons once they are transferred to their possession, as are all receiving nations of U.S. foreign military sales," Pentagon spokesman Maj. Bradlee Avots told Buzzfeed.

He added that the Pentagon is working to rectify the problems with its databases, and also that the Defense Department is looking into ways to ensure that Afghanistan performs an inventory check before new guns are supplied by the United States.

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