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Pentagon Denies Claim US Failed to Monitor $1Bln in Arms Transfers

Sputnik News

19:23 25.05.2017(updated 19:45 25.05.2017)

The US Defense Department denies a report by Amnesty International that claims the US Army failed to maintain accurate records on over $1 billion in weapons transfers in Iraq and Kuwait that occurred under a US-Iraqi agreement, Defense Department spokesperson Eric Pahon told Sputnik on Thursday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – A declassified document, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that US Army failed to keep accurate records on over $1 billion worth of arms transfers in Iraq and Kuwait, sent under US-Iraqi cooperation agreement, according to Amnesty International.

Pahon said the Amnesty International story was inaccurate.

"We did NOT lose/fail to keep tabs on $1B of equipment…nowhere in that report does it say we lost equipment," Pahon stated.

Pahon said the Inspector General report cited by the advocacy group advised the Defense Department to combine existing data spreadsheets to improve efficiency and accuracy. The watchdog also recommended the Department implement an automated system for data entry, he added.

He stressed that the record-keeping process has improved since the Inspector General report.

"Today, the department tracks the origin, shipping and in-country distribution of all weapons provided to Afghanistan and Iraq," Pahon said.

He explained that the Defense Department inventories each weapon arriving in Afghanistan and Iraq and records its distribution to the foreign partner nation.

Pahon noted that the US-led coalition takes all reasonable efforts to maintain accountability of equipment divested to Iraq.

"A divestment procedure is in place where vetted Iraqi commanders – not just individuals – are issued items and required to sign for them," he concluded.

According to the human rights watchdog, "lax controls and record-keeping within the Iraqi chain of command" resulted in armed groups known for war crimes obtaining weapons and equipment.

Amnesty International also urged all countries selling arms to Iraq to ensure that all necessary measures are taken for the weapons not to fall into the wrong hands.


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