Joby Warrick and R. Jeffrey Smith
The Washington Post
February 12, 2009
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.
There were no reliable records showing what ultimately happened to an additional 135,000 weapons donated by other NATO countries, the report said. Many of the weapons, supplied between 2004 and 2008, were left in the care of Afghan-run military depots with a history of desertion, theft and sub-par security systems that sometimes consist of a wooden door and a padlock, the report said.