Sensitive weapons from US $28 billion defence equipment to Afghanistan found stolen
The US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) in a report released on Thursday says the Defense Department has failed to keep track of surveillance systems, controls for laser-guided bombs, night-vision devices and other equipment provided to the Afghan government.
The report says that since 2001, the US has made training and equipping the Afghan forces a priority of its reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.
To support this priority, from fiscal year 2002 through 2017, the most recent year for which data are available), the US government transferred to the Afghan government more than $28 billion worth of defense articles and services, including weapons, ammunition, vehicles, night-vision devices, aircraft, and surveillance systems.
The report says the US Congress has mandated that the US government ensure that countries receiving defense articles and services appropriately use and secure them through a program called end-use monitoring.
The goods transferred to the Afghan government are “some of the most sensitive of all defense articles” and were supposed to be fully inventoried by the US every year, to ensure they were being used for their intended purpose and were not transferred to a third party without US government consent, according to the report.
But only 40% of the sensitive articles given to the Afghans were inventoried between May 2019 and April 2020, the report says, adding that about 5% of items that were supposed to have been tracked since October 2016 have never been inventoried at all.
Inadequate tracking means that “sensitive technology remains susceptible to theft or loss,” and the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, which is responsible for monitoring the equipment, is less able to verify that Afghan units “are using these articles in accordance with their transfer agreements,” the report said.
Two years ago, Afghan forces told the US monitors that 19 of 48 US-provided night-vision devices had fallen into enemy hands and 29 were listed as destroyed, damaged or lost, the report mentioned.
Security constraints and travel limitations in Afghanistan make it difficult to monitor the US-provided equipment and how it's being used, the report said.