Since 2002, the United States has helped develop and support the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces by providing equipment, among other efforts. Afghan forces use the equipment to fight insurgents and terrorists who threaten Afghanistan's stability. We found that key U.S.-funded equipment includes:
600,000 weapons, such as rifles;
163,000 tactical and nontactical radios;
76,000 vehicles, such as Humvees;
30,000 equipment items for disposing of explosives, such as bomb disposal robots;
16,000 equipment items for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, such as unmanned surveillance drones; and
208 aircraft, such as helicopters.
Examples of Key U.S.-Funded Equipment for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces
Four photos: Afghan soldiers with rifles; soldier with bomb disposal robot; Humvee; and helicopter.
What GAO Found
In 2003, the United States began funding a variety of key equipment for the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP)--collectively known as the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). GAO's analysis of Department of Defense (DOD) data identified six categories of key equipment that the United States funded for the ANDSF from fiscal years 2003 through 2016. Communications equipment and vehicles were first authorized by DOD for procurement in fiscal year 2003; weapons in 2004; explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) equipment in 2006; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) equipment and aircraft in 2007. GAO's analysis also shows the following details about the six categories of key equipment:
- About 163,000 communications equipment items were funded for the ANDSF--approximately 95,000 for the ANA and nearly 68,000 for the ANP. The majority of this equipment consisted of tactical radios.
- The nearly 76,000 U.S.-funded vehicles included a range of combat and support vehicles for the ANA and ANP. Over half of the U.S.-funded vehicles were light tactical vehicles, such as pickup trucks.
- Almost 600,000 ANDSF weapons were funded by the United States--about 322,000 for the ANA and 278,000 for the ANP. Of these 600,000 weapons, almost 81 percent were rifles and pistols.
- The United States has funded a variety of EOD equipment for the ANDSF--such as mine rollers, electronic countermeasure devices, hand-held mine detectors, bomb suits, and related equipment--totaling about 30,000 items.
- There were slightly more than 16,000 U.S.-funded ISR equipment items, consisting almost entirely of night vision devices: about 10,200 such devices for the ANA and 5,800 for the ANP. The United States has also funded biometrics and positioning equipment for the ANDSF.
- Finally, the United States has funded 208 aircraft for the ANDSF; more than half were helicopters, and more than a quarter were transport/cargo airplanes. In addition, the United States has funded air-to-ground munitions, including nearly 2 million cannon rounds, more than 200,000 unguided rockets, and about 9,800 general-purpose bombs and guided bomb kits for the ANDSF.
The figure below shows the total quantities of key equipment that the United States funded for the ANDSF in fiscal years 2003 through 2016.
Total Quantity of Key U.S.-Funded Equipment for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, by Fiscal Year, 2003–2016
Why GAO Did This Study
Developing an independently capable ANDSF is a key component of U.S. and coalition efforts to counter terrorist threats and create sustainable security and stability in Afghanistan. Since 2002, the United States has worked to train and equip these forces, with assistance from North Atlantic Treaty Organization members and other coalition nations. Since fiscal year 2002, more than $76 billion has been appropriated or allocated for various DOD and Department of State (State) programs to support Afghan security, and DOD has disbursed almost $18 billion for equipment and transportation. House Report 114-537 associated with the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 included a provision for GAO to review U.S. assistance to the ANDSF, including equipment. In this report, GAO describes key equipment--weapons and equipment DOD considers critical to the missions of the ANDSF--that DOD and State have funded for the ANDSF. GAO collected and analyzed agency data, reviewed agency documents and reports, and interviewed agency officials.
For more information, contact Jessica Farb at (202) 512-6991 or FarbJ@gao.gov.