A report by the Pentagon has accused the U.S. Army of losing approximately $420 million worth of military supplies in Afghanistan.
ABC Denver reported that last week the Department of Defense’s Inspector General published a summary of an audit report it conducted for fiscal year 2013 and said that the 401st Army Field Support Brigade “did not report in a timely manner 15,600 pieces of missing equipment valued at approximately $419.5 million.”
The report criticized Army officials for poor accounting and oversight, concluding that “no one was held financially responsible for the property losses or accountable for missed reported deadlines.”
According to RT.com, Major General Darrell Williams, Head of the Army’s 1st Sustainment Command, said in a letter included in the report that it “continues to actively work with strategic commands to improve property management” and understood the need to recruit “responsible officers to manage the massive property requirements.”
The summary stated that there is an “increased risk” that missing property will not be recovered. It did not confirm if the missing equipment ended up in the enemy’s hands.
RT.com reported that the $420 million of missing military inventory is minuscule when considering that the U.S. Army has already spent $7 billion on the Afghanistan withdrawal. The Pentagon said an additional $7 billion may be required before total extraction is completed by year’s end.
Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who is now a critic of U.S. foreign policy, said that aside from the possibility that equipment was broken and discarded, some of it probably was sold.
“I’m sure that when they finish this investigation, they will find that certain people have sold equipment,” Kwiatkowski said. “I am sure that they’ll find some criminal activity has happened.”
“Possibly, some of it has been stolen from us,” she said. “Not so much sold by Americans, but stolen from us by our allies, by the Afghan Army and by the people we’re working with.”
No matter what happened to the equipment, Kwiatkowski seemed certain of one thing. “In reality, there’s probably a lot more missing than what’s been reported by this inspector general’s report,” she said.