updated 10/29/2006 3:42:13 PM ET 2006-10-29T20:42:13

Nearly one of every 25 weapons the U.S. military bought for Iraqi security forces is missing and many others cannot be repaired because parts or technical manuals are lacking, a government audit said Sunday.

The Defense Department cannot account for 14,030 weapons — almost 4 percent of the semiautomatic pistols, assault rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and other weapons it began supplying to Iraq since the end of 2003, according to a report from the office of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

The missing semiautomatic pistols, assault rifles, machine guns and other weapons will not be tracked easily: The Defense Department registered the serial numbers of only about 10,000 of the 370,251 weapons it provided — less than 3 percent.

The Pentagon spent $133 million on the weapons with the aim of helping Iraq’s ministries of defense and interior restore some badly needed security and public order to the country. Military officials insisted the weapons either had to be new or never issued to a previous soldier.

By December, the U.S. military had planned to put those weapons in the hands of 325,500 personnel.

Missing from its inventory books were 13,180 semiautomatic pistols, 751 assault rifles and 99 machine guns, according to the audit requested by Sen. John Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The audit says there was no way of knowing whether the missing weapons were ever issued to Iraqi security forces, which also lack many needed spare parts, technical repair manuals and arms maintenance personnel.

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