NATO and Afghan security forces in 2012 were unable to account for nearly a quarter billion dollars-worth of spare vehicle parts bought by U.S. taxpayers for the Afghan military, according to a new government watchdog report.
The audit report, released Wednesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), says that the Afghan National Security Forces did not keep accurate inventory records for years, but NATO still ordered spare parts on its behalf, apparently blindly.
The SIGAR document references an unreleased 2012 report from the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) that reportedly says the NATO group in charge of the orders, the Combined Security Transition Command (CSTC-A), could not account for $230 million in spare parts and, because it was not sure what the Afghan military had, ordered additional spare parts "worth more than $138 million." ISAF did not respond to an off-hours request Wednesday for a copy of its 2012 report.
The parts in question were bought with funding from the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund, a money pool in the billions of dollars annually that was created by Congress to provide the Afghan military with "equipment, supplies, services, and training to develop their capacity to provide security throughout Afghanistan," according to the SIGAR report.
"In light of the impending transition of security responsibilities to Afghan control in 2014, successful management of vehicle spare parts is critical to ANA [Afghan National Army] vehicle readiness," the report says. "However, CSTC-A's current process for managing vehicle spare parts purchases leaves U.S.-purchased equipment and funds vulnerable to waste, fraud, and abuse."
The SIGAR report noted that in June 2013 the NATO group began implementing safeguards to help correct the problem, including mandating the close involvement of the U.S. until the final "title transfer" for parts had taken place and even taking back some non-critical parts until the Afghan National Army conducts an official inventory and transfer.
NATO's CSTC-A did not immediately respond to request for comment for this report.