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Dumping Weapons Into Afghanistan

The rationale for the Afghanistan War, nearly 8 years long now, is that it would destroy the Taliban and Al Quaeda, capture Osama Bin Laden, reduce drug traffic, and stabilize the area so that it could not serve as a staging ground for terrorist attacks.

How does dumping weapons into Afghanistan help with this mission?

Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office issued a report on the problem of weapons being shipped into Afghanistan by the United States and its allies… and then lost. 87,000 weapons shipped into Afghanistan by the U.S. Army didn’t have adequate records kept about where they went. 46,000 of these weapons didn’t even have serial numbers recorded, making it impossible to know where the weapons are. The other 41,000 of these weapons had their serial numbers recorded, but the Army still doesn’t know where they are. Also, there are no reliable records for an additional 135,000 weapons that were donated by allies of the U.S., and shipped into Afghanistan under U.S. supervision.

These hundreds of thousands of weapons were handed out to Afghans, and now nobody really knows where they are. How many ended up in the hands of the Taliban or Al Quaeda? The U.S. military can’t – or won’t – say.

These lost weapons include:

red afghanistan map- Grenade launchers
- Rocket launchers
- Missile launchers
- Mortars
- Machine guns
- Rifles
- Pistols
- Shotguns

The American military has not destroyed the Taliban, not destroyed Al Quaeda, not captured Osama Bin Laden, not stopped the opium drug trade, and not stabilized Afghanistan. In fact, the longer American soldiers have remained in Iraq, the more unstable and violent the country has become. According to the testimony of Mark Schneider, Senior Vice President of the International Crisis Group, instead of democratization in the Afghan government, there is “escalating corruption”, and General David Petraeus himself admits that the situation in Afghanistan has “deteriorated markedly”.

Now we can see a big part of the reason why: In what’s supposed to be a war against the Taliban, the U.S. military seems to have inadvertently arming the Taliban, through its own incompetence.

2 comments to Dumping Weapons Into Afghanistan

  • Feralkid

    While I agree that this war, and any war, creates an arms dump in the war zone that takes decades to clean up, you make a lot of assumptions in your post. First, “The Military” is run by elected officials, and bureaucrats– civilians all– who make policy. Second, lack of adequate records and accountability with GAO does not necessarily equal lack of security or control at the lower level. Most equipment is sub-receipted at the unit level. You assume that because the General Accounting Office does know exactly where every weapon is, that no one knows exactly where every weapon is. Third, you drift over into a discourse on U.S. conduct in Iraq– which is another related set of circumstances. Finally, I don’t see how control over our allies will make matters any better or worse. I’m not saying that the War on Terrorism isn’t a mess, but I don’t understand the ends to which villifying the “the Military” can lead to a constructive solution. Congress controls “the Military” through annual renewel of the Defense Authorization Bill– by law, “the Military” will cease to exist in two years if Congress fails to fund it. For eight years, we the people have failed to get this message to Congress.

    • I’m not “villifying” the military – I’m pointing out what it’s done. You seem very interested in denying the gross incompetence of the military in this instance. Given the failure of the U.S. military to accomplish its goals in Afghanistan, I don’t think that the burden of evidence rests upon me to establish its incompetence. Rather, the burden rests upon the military, which claims to be disciplined. Where’s the discipline?

      I’m sure that with most of these weapons, someone knows exactly where they are: The Taliban fighter with the American missile launcher in the back of his truck, for example, probably knows right where it is.

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