Report: Thousands of US weapons unaccounted for in Afghanistan

Other News Materials 13 February 2009 03:14 (UTC +04:00)

Thousands of weapons provided by the US to Afghan security forces, ranging from assault rifles to machine guns and grenade launchers, are missing, according to a congressional report released Thursday.

The Pentagon has failed to keep "complete records" on about 87,000 - or one third - of all weapons shipped to Afghan security forces because of insufficient procedures and staff shortages, the Government Accountability Office said.

The missing weapons and concerns about corruption within the Afghan government and security forces raises concerns that some of the them could have fallen into the hands of al-Qaeda or the Taliban, dpa reported.

The GAO report said a private security contractor for the US government reported allegations in 2008 that Afghan security forces were selling weapons to insurgent forces.

The Pentagon had failed to enact procedures for tracking whether the weapons are adequately used or conducting proper inventories, in part because of staff shortages.

The Defence Department agreed there were flaws in the process but has since taken corrective steps, including using serial numbers to track the weapons.