US weapons given to Afghan army missing

February 13th, 2009 - 8:06 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 13 (Xinhua) A large quantity of weapons given to the Afghan army by the US have been missing, officials said.
The US congressional auditors said Thursday in a report that nearly 87,000 pieces of weapons, including rifles, pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers, shotguns and mortars were missing.

The weapons are among about 240,000 small arms and other items, including 2,410 highly prized night vision devices that were given to the Afghan security forces by the US military.

The report prepared by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) also said the US military has failed to keep records on about 135,000 weapons donated by US allies to the Afghan security forces.

The US effort to train and equip Afghan security forces so far has cost $16.5 billion and will cost another $5.7 billion this year, according to US officials.

The GAO said the security lapses were due to “a lack of clear direction” from the defence department “and staffing shortages” at the headquarters of the US Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan that is responsible for training and equipping Afghan security forces.

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