MoD rejects SIGAR report on missing weapons
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghan Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Wednesday rejected as untrue a recent report by the US special inspector general for Afghanistan (SIGAR) claiming tens of thousands of weapons the Pentagon supplied to Afghan forces since 2004 had gone missing.
The report released on Monday said in one database, more than 200,000 weapons — or 43 percent — had missing or duplicate information. It also found the United States supplied far more weapons than Afghanistan requested or needed.
But the Afghan Ministry of Defence said that all weapons it received from the US had been registered and were available.
MoD deputy spokesman Gen. Daulat Waziri told Pajhwok Afghan News that not a single weapon had been lost and if anyone produced evidence in this regard, the ministry was ready to answer.
He said when weapons went missing, the Ministry of Defence came under investigation and even funds were deducted from it.
Waziri said weapons carried in convoys of American forces might have gone missing in Pakistan’s tribal areas or fell into the hands of insurgents there, but the MoD was not responsible for that.
The SIGAR report said Washington and Kabul had failed to keep track of hundreds of thousands of weapons provided to Afghanistan, raising the risk that some could end up in the hands of insurgents.
Since 2004, the American military has delivered more than 747,000 AK-47 rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers and other weapons to Afghan forces worth about $626m.
“Given the Afghan government’s limited ability to account for or properly dispose of weapons, there is a real potential for these weapons to fall into the hands of insurgents,” the report said.
In addition, the Afghan army and police had about 112,000 weapons over and above the stated requirements of Afghan commanders, it said.
The excess weapons were partly due to changing requests over time from Kabul but there were no plans to recapture or remove the surplus guns and other arms, the report said.
“Another reason that some weapon types exceed current requirements is the ANSF’s desire to obtain new weapons, rather than repairing old ones,” it said.
The inspector general urged the Pentagon to help the Afghan government carry out a 100 percent inventory check of all small arms supplied to Kabul, and recommended Washington and Kabul draw up a plan to recover excess weapons and curtail deliveries as Afghan troop levels decrease.
The blunt-speaking inspector general, John Sopko, has accused US agencies of dumping billions of dollars on ill-conceived aid projects in Afghanistan.
“We spent too much money, too fast, in too small a country with little oversight,” Sopko said in an interview last week.
But the MoD official said: “The defence ministry has not given any weapons to anyone and not any weapon has gone missing. We are responsible if even a single arm is lost.”
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