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Thousands of US Guns Could Fall into Taliban Hands, Warns Report

Insurgents could wind up with some of the half million handguns and rifles given to the Afghan military and police, according to a government report.

The nearly 500,000 guns that the U.S. has given to the Afghan military and police could fall into the hands of insurgents because the Afghan government can’t keep track of them, according to a report released Monday.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said that the Defense Department has shipped more than 747,000 weapons worth $626 million to the Afghan military, including 465,000 small arms, among them AK47s and M16s. According to SIGAR, inventory inspections at supply depots showed missing weapons, and Afghan record-keeping in poor.

The report noted that the U.S. had provided 112,000 more weapons than the Afghan National Security Forces needed, and said the problem of excess and unaccounted for weapons would get worse if the ANSF, which includes both police and the nation’s military, follows through on planned force reduction.

“Without confidence in the Afghan government’s ability to account for or properly dispose of these weapons,” said the report, “SIGAR is concerned that they could be obtained by insurgents and pose additional risks to Afghan civilians and the ANSF.”