The US military reportedly spent millions of dollars on uniform for the Afghan army that were unusable because the camouflage was not suited to the country’s terrain.
According to a US government watchdog covering the US mission in Afghanistan, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (Sigar), Washington spent as much as $28 million (£20.5 million) buying uniforms that the Afghan military were not able to use.
The camouflage, as Bloomberg reported on Thursday, did not match the terrain of Afghanistan – but the money was spent on the uniforms anyway.
The Pentagon, in an assessment in June 2017, blamed an Afghan minister of defence for saying the unusable camouflage firms were the better design, saying “he liked the woodland, urban, and temperate patterns”.
It was not clear when the order occurred, and under which Afghan official.
Jim Mattis, the then-US defence secretary, reportedly said in a later review that “rather than minimise this report or excuse wasteful decisions, I expect all DOD organisations to use this error as a catalyst to bring to light wasteful practices”.
The blunder was among dozens of mistakes that were made by US officials during the mission in Afghanistan, which came at a cost of $1 billion (£732 million), but ended more abruptly than the White House had anticipated on Sunday when the Afghan capital was retaken by the Taliban.
Two decades worth of spending on the so-called “forever war”, according to Sigar, also led to the building of a 101 kilometer (63 mile) road that was largely destroyed after it was completed at a cost of $176 million (£128 million).
While much of the US’ spending on the Afghan war would have gone towards American contractors, suppliers and firms, the level of spending and apparent waste in the wake of the country’s withdrawal is likely to come under investigation.
Several Republicans have already criticised the Biden White House for failing to evacuate from Kabul before the Taliban took the city, and for leaving behind billions in dollars worth of US military equipment, which the Pentagon said on Thursday included 2,000 armoured vehicles and 40 aircraft.
The Independent has reached out to the US department of defence for comment.
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