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US loses track of 1/3 of weapons given to Afghan government, then accidentally leaves weapons for insurgents


More than one-third of all weapons the United States has procured for Afghanistan's government are missing, according to a government report released Thursday.

The U.S. military failed to "maintain complete inventory records for an estimated 87,000 weapons -- or about 36 percent -- of the 242,000 weapons that the United States procured and shipped to Afghanistan from December 2004 through June 2008," a U.S. Government Accountability Office report states.

[...]The military also failed to properly account for an additional 135,000 weapons it obtained for the Afghan forces from 21 other countries.

[...]The military is unable to provide serial numbers for 46,000 of the missing 87,000 weapons, the report concludes. No records have been maintained for the location or disposition for the other 41,000 weapons.

The report urges Defense Secretary Robert Gates to "establish clear accountability procedures for weapons while they are in the control and custody of the United States" (Yes, otherwise it would be a huge sign of US mismanagement in Afghanistan, like the opium crop being at an all time high or something) and direct those "involved in providing these weapons to track (them) by serial number and conduct routine physical inventories."

[...]Officials from the State and Defense departments intend to request an additional $5.7 billion in assistance for the Afghan army and police in fiscal year 2009, according to the report.

And in the leaving behind weapons part of the story:


Television footage broadcast Tuesday showed insurgents handling what appears to be U.S. ammunition in a remote area of eastern Afghanistan that American forces left last month following a deadly firefight that killed eight troops.

The U.S. military said the forces that left the area said they removed and accounted for their equipment.

[...]Lt. Col. Todd Vician, a spokesman for NATO forces, said the material in the footage "appears to be U.S. equipment." He said it was unclear how the insurgents got the weapons.

"It's debatable whether they got them from that location," Vician said, referring to the mountainous Kamdesh district of Nuristan where the nearly six-hour battle took place.

But Gen. Mohammad Qassim Jangulbagh, provincial police chief in Nuristan, said, "The Americans left ammunition at the base."

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