February 12, 2009 in Nation/World

U.S.-donated weapons lost

 

WASHINGTON – Tens of thousands of assault rifles and other firearms in Afghanistan are at risk of being stolen because U.S. officials have lost track of them, according to a congressionally ordered audit that warns that some weapons may already be in Taliban hands.

The audit by the Government Accountability Office found that inventory controls were lacking for more than a third of the 242,000 light weapons donated to Afghan forces by the United States – a stockpile that includes thousands of AK-47 assault rifles as well as mortars, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

The lax controls extended even to such sensitive equipment as night-vision goggles, which have long given U.S. troops a critical edge in fighting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan’s rugged terrain, the GAO found.

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