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US weapons under control in Afghanistan: forces

by Staff Writers
Kabul (AFP) May 25, 2009
The Afghan and US militaries Monday played down a report that US-supplied weapons and ammunition were ending up in the hands of Taliban insurgents, saying the munitions were strictly controlled.

The New York Times reported last week that ammunition recovered last month from the bodies of insurgents killed in eastern Afghanistan included rounds identical to those supplied by US forces to their Afghan counterparts.

While it was unclear how often this happened, corruption in the Afghan forces and poor control of arms and ammunition sent to Afghanistan could be helping to supply the insurgents, the paper said.

Asked about the allegation, Major General Richard Formica told reporters: "We spend an inordinate amount of time accounting for the weapons and ammunition that is provided to us and we provide to the Afghans."

The Afghan forces had also instituted a system of accountability that they were working hard to maintain, said Formica, who heads a US military unit that trains and supplies the Afghan forces.

Afghan defence ministry spokesman, General Mohammad Zahir Azimi, told AFP separately that there was a strict system of checks and balances in place to monitor arms and ammunition.

Taliban insurgents may be able to lay their hands on "very, very small amounts" of munitions taken from soldiers killed on the battlefield, he said.

"That is not an issue of concern," he said.

The US military is helping to train the Afghan army and police, which have been destroyed during the country's years of war.

The US has also been supplying Afghanistan with thousands of rifles and machine-guns, replacing the Soviet versions that Afghan security forces have used for years.

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Pakistan says 10 militants killed in northwest
Islamabad (AFP) May 24, 2009
Pakistan said Sunday its forces had killed 10 militants in the last 24 hours in the northwest Swat valley, where ground troops are battling to wrest the main town out of Taliban hands. In (the) last 24 hours, 10 militants were killed in various areas of Swat during exchanges of fire between miscreants and security forces, while 14 have been arrested," a military statement said. "Three ... read more

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