Taliban receive Australian weapons: Report

August 1st, 2010 - 11:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Sydney, Aug 1 (IANS) Australian weapons and equipment have been found among Taliban stockpiles in Afghanistan, raising concerns that Afghan troops trained by the foreign soldiers may have been stealing military supplies, a media report said Sunday.
Documents released by the WikiLeaks website show that in the past six years, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops have uncovered Australian mortar shells, a hand-grenade and other equipment when defusing roadside bombs and capturing Taliban weapons stores, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Australian troops have trained hundreds of Afghan army soldiers, and work alongside Afghan police.

Last December a NATO patrol found Australian equipment in a Taliban weapons cache, alongside AK-47 rifles and material to make roadside bombs.

The equipment found is used by Australian soldiers to ensure their safety during offensives, and if used by insurgents it could disrupt the distinct advantage held by NATO troops, the report said.

The defence department is reviewing the tens of thousands of WikiLeaks documents and did not respond directly to the reports about Australian weapons, other than saying “an important part of this review will be determining whether there are force protection implications for our personnel”.

Last year, the US found there were incomplete records for about a third of $4 billion worth of US-purchased weapons used by the Afghan military.

US soldiers training Afghan forces have repeatedly complained about pilfering, with one US officer reported as saying: “It’s not, ‘Let me teach you your job’. It’s more like, ‘How much did you steal from the American government today’?”

Defence sources with experience of training in Oruzgan province doubted that Australian weapons were going missing. Such reports are ”probably a load of crap”, said one source. ”There may be a misunderstanding about what is being reported.”

Sources said Afghans usually use their own weapons, not Australian munitions, when trained by Australian troops.

The Taliban have been found to have used rifles, mortars and other weapons made in the US, Russia and China.

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