March 27, 2008

40-year Old Ammunition and the Afghan Army

This is brilliant, damning investigative journalism from C.J. Chivers and the New York Times. Chivers spent several years in the U.S. Marine Corps upon his graduation from Cornell, fought in the Gulf War, and his experience shows whenever he reports on military affairs. This is a must-read report:

Since 2006, when the insurgency in Afghanistan sharply intensified, the Afghan government has been dependent on American logistics and military support in the war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

But to arm the Afghan forces that it hopes will lead this fight, the American military has relied since early last year on a fledgling company led by a 22-year-old man whose vice president was a licensed masseur.

With the award last January of a federal contract worth as much as nearly $300 million, the company, AEY Inc., which operates out of an unmarked office in Miami Beach, became the main supplier of munitions to Afghanistan’s army and police forces.

Since then, the company has provided ammunition that is more than 40 years old and in decomposing packaging, according to an examination of the munitions by The New York Times and interviews with American and Afghan officials.

Damn... (Also in the Times today, Kaplan on NATO. Abu Muqawama disagrees with his argument, but read it anyway and see if it makes sense to you.)