MJ: Tracking US Weapons
The US Has Given Over 465,000 Small Arms to Afghanistan. Where the Hell Are They?
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction reports that the US is doing a paltry job of tracking the weapons it provides to the Afghan security forces.
Over the last decade, the United States has provided hundreds of thousands of small arms—including machine guns, grenade launchers, and rifles—to the Afghan security forces. But the US and its Afghan counterparts are doing an inadequate job of tracking these weapons, government investigators claim, increasing the likelihood that they could wind up in the hands of the resurgent Taliban, which has recently made key military advances that are threatening Afghanistan’s fragile stability.
In 2010, following reports that the US military was losing track of the guns it was providing to Afghan troops, Congress required the Defense Department to register and monitor all weapons given to the Afghan National Security Forces, which includes the army and police. But the primary US databases that track these arms aren’t up to the task; they don’t communicate with each other and are riddled with incomplete information, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) reports. Auditors examined serial numbers recorded in one database and found that 203,888 weapons—or 43 percent—had missing information or duplicate numbers. Many entries that included serial numbers lacked shipping or receiving dates.