IG Report: U.S. Provided 112,000 'Excess Weapons' to Afghan Forces

July 28, 2014 - 9:44 AM

A new report released by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction [SIGAR] shows the U.S. is woefully unable to track the $626 million of U.S.-provided weapons in the country.

The report details the tracking and use of U.S.-provided weapons through the end of 2013. To that date, the Defense Department has provided a total of 747,000 “weapons and auxiliary equipment” to the Afghan military and police which included 465,000 “small arms” like rifles and pistols.

The more shocking elements of the report have to do with the failure of DOD officials to maintain a proper system of tracking how many weapons the Afghans need and where the arms that were already provided have gone.

The two systems used to track weapons are Security Cooperation Information Portal (SCIP), which tracks weapons shipments from the U.S., and the Operational Verification of Reliable Logistics Oversight Database (OVERLORD), which tracks the delivery of them to Afghanistan. These two systems are not synced together which results in extremely spotty bookkeeping.

One of the key findings of the report was that “of the 474,823 total serial numbers recorded in OVERLORD, 43 percent, or 203,888 weapons, had missing information and/or duplication.”

A secondary but no less critical issue is what the report showed in terms of the United States over saturating Afghanistan with more weapons than the Afghans require. As of November of last year, the U.S. provided 112,000 more weapons to the Afghan army and police than was required. The report seems to blame this discrepancy on the changing necessities of the Afghans themselves, stating “In some cases, excess weapons were provided because ANSF requirements changed.” Of the more than 112,000 excess weapons, 83,184 were AK-47s.

The report concludes with a grim verdict:

“Controls over the accountability of small arms provided to the ANSF [Afghan National Security Forces] are insufficient both before and after the weapons are transferred.

“Accountability over these weapons within DOD prior to their transfer to Afghan ownership is affected by incompatible inventory systems that have missing serial numbers, inaccurate shipping and receiving dates, and duplicate records, that may result in missing weapons prior to transfer to the ANSF.”

And also, an eye-opening prediction:

“The scheduled reduction in ANSF personnel to 228,500 by 2017 is likely to result in an even greater number of excess weapons. Yet, DOD continues to provide ANSF with weapons based on the ANSF force strength of 352,000 and has no plans to stop providing weapons to the ANSF. Given the Afghan government’s limited ability to account for or properly dispose of these weapons, there is a real potential for these weapons to fall into the hands of insurgents, which will pose additional risks to U.S. personnel, the ANSF, and Afghan civilians.”