Weapons paid for by US are Missing in Afghanistan: Did they go to the Taliban?

By Luke Johnson via RFE/RL

Weapons bought and paid for by the United States for Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have gone missing, according to a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction released on July 28.

The Department of Defense has provided the ANSF with 747,000 weapons since 2004 for approximately $626 million, and cannot account for all of their whereabouts due to poor recordkeeping.

The United States also provided Afghan forces with more than 112,000 excess weapons, and the Department of Defense has no authority to recapture or remove them, according to the report.

The Inspector General concluded that due to the Afghan government's inability to account for or dispose of the weapons, that there is "real potential for these weapons to fall into the hands of insurgents, which will pose additional risks to U.S. personnel, the ANSF, and Afghan civilians."

The report comes at a perilous moment in Afghanistan.

"The New York Times" reported on July 26 that Taliban fighters are making key advances near Kabul, beyond their strongholds.

The Afghan government also remains fragile, as a presidential election audit has been troubled with delays and sharp disagreements between the two candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani.

The report reveals that the Department of Defense's recordkeeping is loaded with discrepancies and errors.

Of 474,823 serial numbers in one database named OVERLORD, the Operational Verification of Reliable Logistics Oversight Database, 43 percent had missing information and/or duplication.

OVERLORD also had over 50,000 serial numbers with no shipping or receiving dates, raising questions concerning their whereabouts.

The Afghan government has no standardized accounting for the weapons, instead relying on documents, handwritten records, and some spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel.

The Inspector General visited the Central Supply Depot, controlled by Afghans with assistance from U.S. advisors, and found many discrepancies.

For instance, there were 740 missing M16 rifles, 112 missing M23 pistols, and 24 missing M2 machine guns.

The excess arms provided to Afghans have resulted in 83,184 more AK-47 rifles, 5,186 more RPK machine guns, and 5,834 more GP-25/30 Grenade Launchers.

The report notes that the issue of excess weapons will likely worsen in coming years, because, while Afghan security forces are scheduled to decrease, the number of weapons provided is thus far unchanged. 

Mirrored from RFE/RL

Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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Related video added by Juan Cole

RT America: “Thousands of US weapons missing in Afghanistan”

3 Responses

  1. “Fun Facts” from C. J. Chiver’s fabulous (and scary) book, “The Gun” (ISBN-13: 978-0743271738) . . .

    – There are over 100 million AK-47 and equivalent weapons (AR-15, M16, etc.) on earth, with thousands more being made each and every day of the year. This includes not only the licensed versions, but the unlicensed versions (it is not that hard to copy an AK-47 and start your own factory – it was designed to be made by rather primitive methods..

    – That is, there is one AK-47 equivalent weapon for every 50 to 70 humans on earth..

    – The kits or plans needed to convert a “civilian” semi-automatic version of an AK-47 into a fully automatic military version are readily available everywhere on earth.

    Basically the world is awash in very lethal weapons.

    have a nice day.

  2. “Weapons paid for by the US have gone missing.”
    US money in Afghanistan has “gone missing.”
    US allies in Afghanistan have “gone missing.”
    Afghan support for the US mission has also “gone missing.”
    There seems to be a trend here!

  3. One of the “you might likes” in this post is titled “Obama plans for complete US Withdrawal from Afghanistan in December.” Announced to ruffles and flourishes and the sounds of trumpets and cymbals and tambours back on Feb. 26, 2014. Something else appears to have gone missing, maybe? And it does not take a certifiable conspiracy theorist to Google up all the manifold episodes of “ACTUAL internal threat to ACTUAL Ordinary People Level “NATIONAL SECURITY” resulting from so many and varied instances of Really Smart Sneaky Petery, either on their little old own and for their own purposes and account, aided and abetted by theft and fraud by “our” military and its “partners.” Iran-CONTRA and the many little ethical squiggles related thereto sort of leap to mind, not to mention ground wars in Asia and now Eastern Europe That We Want To Encircle Putin With.

    Fog of war, right? And since “we” are stuck to a permanent petroleum-product Tarbaby of “our” own construction, the fog of permanent war into which all this real wealth disappears is forever, until maybe global climate change disperses it by raising the temperature permanently above, WAY above, the “dew point” of that peculiar frontal movement?

    And all of these little blips, including “the US” buying or underwriting or “brokering” the purchase and delivery of arms to any number of “moderate” or at least “we just know and pray that they will do what we want them to with these our gifts of death and destruction and the means to go off on their own little power trips which we just KNOW will not happen because that’s not part of the strategy we tell everyone about” groups…

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