Missing Afghan Army Night-Vision Goggles May Aid Taliban

U.S. and Afghan forces have lost track of hundreds of night-vision goggles used to hunt the Taliban, raising the odds of the high-technology eyewear falling into enemy hands, according to the Pentagon’s inspector general.

A lack of adequate supervision of the goggles, which were purchased for the Afghan Army and police, means U.S. and Afghan soldiers “may be at greater security risk during night missions in Afghanistan,” according to a report from the inspector general dated June 18.

“Improving accountability will decrease vulnerabilities to theft or loss of night-vision devices,” Jacqueline Wicecarver, assistant inspector general for acquisition and contract management, said in a memorandum accompanying the report.

Defense and NATO officials, Afghan security forces and defense contractors “did not maintain complete accountability” for 7,157 night-vision goggles and spare parts purchased for Afghan forces, the report found. Those goggles are now “more vulnerable to theft or loss,” the GAO said.

The report cited hundreds of missing serial numbers, 518 “discrepancies” and 75 goggles that were “unaccounted for during our physical inventory.”

Defense officials said they would “continue to improve accountability procedures,” according to the report.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Lerman in Washington at dlerman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net

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