Photo: U.S. Army
Investigators are looking into why officials in the U.S.-led NATO command that trains the Afghan army shredded financial records of $475 million in fuel purchases, Reuters reports.During an audit of spending on fuel for the Afghan army, officials of the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A) admitted that they “shredded all ANA (Afghan National Army) POL (petroleum, oil and lubricants) financial records related to payments totaling nearly $475 million from October 2006 to February 2011,” according to a letter from special inspector general John Sopko to defence Secretary Leon Panetta.
The multinational training command—which works with the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan to train and equip the Afghan security forces—runs a a $1.1 billion program that buys the fuel needed to power the Afghan army’s vehicles, generators and power plants.
CSTC-A officials also couldn’t provide more than half of the documents requested by the inspector general’s office for its audit covering March 2011 to March 2012.
Furthermore, there is no documentation that the fuel is actually being used for ANA missions, leaving officials unable to determine whether if any of it was stolen.
“The destruction of records and the unexplained failure to provide other records violate DOD (Department of defence) and Department of the Army policies,” Sopko said, noting that a 2010 memo from the U.S. Army Central Command specifically instructed financial managers not to destroy documents related to the war.
The CSTC-A responded to Sopko’s office, saying that steps have been taken to verify fuel purchases and deliveries but did not comment on the document shredding.
It is currently preparing to hand over responsibility for fuel to the Afghan army on Jan. 1, meaning the fuel money for will go directly to the corruption-plagued Afghan government.
The U.S. (and international donors) will continue to pay for the ANA’s fuel.
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