May 6, 2021

Mattis criticizes Pentagon for wasting $28 million on camo uniforms for Afghan army

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Afghan border police men, in camouflage uniform, walk past the gate of the hospital, where the body of Ahmed Wali Karzai, half brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai was taken, as U.S. soldiers, right, are seen in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. President Hamid Karzai’s powerful half brother, a lightning rod for criticism of deep-rooted corruption within the Afghan government, was assassinated Tuesday by a bodyguard at his home in southern Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)

From WN

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has criticized Pentagon officials for wasting as much as $28 million by making a questionable choice of forest camouflage-patterned uniforms for Afghan National Army soldiers, Reuters reports.

The uniform pattern was selected without evaluating its effectiveness when only 2.1 percent of Afghanistan is covered by forests, the U.S. government’s top watchdog on Afghanistan said in a report last month.

The Afghan minister of defense at the time “liked the woodland, urban and temperate patterns,” the report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said.

It potentially cost up to an additional $28 million dollars between 2008 and 2017, the watchdog said.

In a memo sent out to senior Pentagon officials on Friday and seen by Reuters, Mattis said the SIGAR report was an example of a “complacent mode of thinking.”

“Cavalier or casually acquiescent decisions to spend taxpayer dollars in an ineffective and wasteful manner are not to recur.” – James Mattis

“Rather than minimize this report or excuse wasteful decisions, I expect all DoD (Department of Defense) organizations to use this error as a catalyst to bring to light wasteful practices – and take aggressive steps to end waste,” Mattis wrote.

The U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee has a hearing scheduled for Tuesday that will look at Pentagon equipment and uniform procurement in Afghanistan and Iraq.

President Donald Trump is weighing sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to reverse the gains made by Taliban militants and support the fight against Islamic State and and crafting a broader South Asia strategy.

WN.com, Jim Berrie

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