The Pentagon’s Inspector General reported that Afghan military weapons and vehicles can’t be properly tracked due to infrastructure problems and lack of qualified staff at many smaller bases.
The U.S. Department of Defence had provided equipment to the government of Afghanistan as part of the effort to develop the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) into a force capable of independently providing security for the Afghan people.
For tracking and accountability, they had also provided Core Inventory Management System, CorelMS, at national warehouses. However, it was not used at remote depots that lack electricity, internet access and personnel trained to use it properly.
The report found that ANDSF did not use the CorelMS at 78 of its 191 local sites. The software, which cost $14.4 million to install and run from 2016-2019, could prove to be an “inefficient use” of military resources, the report said.
As a result, the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan’s (CSTC-A) said they are unable to assists the ANDSF in “identifying some instances of weapon and vehicle theft, help the ANDSF plan its future equipment requirements, and reduce duplicate issuance of weapons and vehicles.”
CSTC-A advisors also identified illiteracy, corruption and lack of interest by senior leaders as obstacles to full implementation of the software.
The system tracked more than 95% of weapons and vehicles initially given to the Afghan government between October 2016 and August 2019, indicating “strong internal controls,” CSTC-A stressed. But that still left equipment worth nearly $43 million unrecorded at that level due to data-entry errors.
“We believe that these challenges were more difficult than CSTC-A may have originally determined,” the Pentagon report said in its findings.
The CoreIMS system will continue to be used, U.S. officials added in their response. Advisers will conduct site surveys to determine whether CoreIMS can be added to more locations.
“Continuing to train, advise, and assist the ANDSF on the use of CoreIMS may incrementally help with weapon and vehicle accountability in the short term,” the report said, but called it a short-term solution.
“We believe that having 100% asset visibility is a significant aspect of the ANDSF being able to achieve self‑sustainment,” the report concluded.