Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Haven't we seen this movie?

From today's New York Times:
Arms From U.S. May Be Falling Into Taliban Hands

KABUL, Afghanistan — Insurgents in Afghanistan, fighting from some of the poorest and most remote regions on earth, have managed for years to maintain an intensive guerrilla war against materially superior American and Afghan forces.

Arms and ordnance collected from dead insurgents hint at one possible reason: Of 30 rifle magazines recently taken from insurgents’ corpses, at least 17 contained cartridges, or rounds, identical to ammunition the United States had provided to Afghan government forces, according to an examination of ammunition markings by The New York Times and interviews with American officers and arms dealers.


The scope of that diversion remains unknown, and the 30 magazines represented a single sampling of fewer than 1,000 cartridges. But military officials, arms analysts and dealers say it points to a worrisome possibility: With only spotty American and Afghan controls on the vast inventory of weapons and ammunition sent into Afghanistan during an eight-year conflict, poor discipline and outright corruption among Afghan forces may have helped insurgents stay supplied.
As I recall, we left on the order of 1.6 million M-16 rifles and other carbines behind in Saigon that later turned up all across Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Central America.

Those who fail to learn the lessons of history...

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