Afghan Soldiers Waste Millions in Ammo

Afghan National Security Forces have wasted millions of dollars’ worth of U.S.-supplied ammunition, as Mirwais Harooni and James Mackenzie report for Reuters. According to one Afghan army officer’s estimate, up to 80 percent of low-paid Afghan soldiers have lined their pockets by aimlessly discharging their weapons and selling the casings to scrap metal dealers.

Additionally, another source within the Afghan army estimated that soldiers had fired off 7,000 artillery shells in the Helmand and Kunduz provinces in May 2016 alone. However, there were no reported casualties for either the Afghan army or the Taliban, indicating that the soldiers are firing randomly to collect and sell the casings.

The Department of Defense spent more than $300 million on ammunition for Afghan security forces last year, according to Harooni and Mackenzie.

While Afghan officials deny the problem is widespread, additional scandals try the credibility of such statements. Recently, senior officers in Helmand were discharged because they were reportedly demanding bribes and stealing their subordinates’ pay. Strapped for income, some soldiers even sold their weapons directly to the Taliban.

Given the waste and corruption evident within the Afghan National Security Forces, the United States should reflect on the difficulty of building another nation’s military as well as the unreliability of local partners on the ground. Ultimately, the United States should consider whether such efforts in Afghanistan are actually making Americans safer or just wasting money.

More Blog Posts

10-16-2018 02:10pm

Sensitizing Stories: Rob Wallace

Rob Wallace, an award-winning producer and senior producer for ABC News and CBS News and an adjunct faculty member for the Media and Journalism Fellowship, recounts his career in film and television.

Read more

10-08-2018 08:10am

Occupational Licensing Reforms Remove Roadblocks

New Mexico’s occupational licensing reform shows how making changes at the state level removes barriers to opportunity, especially for low- and moderate income Americans.

Read more

09-25-2018 03:09pm

Pompeo’s On the Right Track with North Korea Negotiations

Mike Pompeo’s move to invite North Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs to DC is in line with the views of Americans and South Koreans.

Read more

Sign up for updates