American company AM General was awarded a $356 million USD contract to manufacture 1,673 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles – also known as Humvees – for the U.S government which will pass them on to the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police.
The U.S company said in a statement that it will deliver 1,259 M1151 Humvees plus 414 M1152 models. The Humvees are scheduled to be ready by end July next year.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that the United States has spent more than $17 billion USD to provide weapons, ammunition, and other military equipment to Afghanistan’s defense forces. It has spent $13 billion USD to arm the ANA and a further $4.2 billion USD on weapons for the Afghan National Police, according to figures from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
AP reported that the combined strength of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces stood at 319,595 as of April 2016. This was a significant decline from February 2014 when the force strength was 338,108, according to figures published by SIGAR.
In total, as of June 30, 2016, “the United States had obligated $40.1 billion and disbursed $39.0 billion of [security] funds to build, train, equip, and sustain” the Afghan National Army, according to the report.
Yet the number of Afghans serving continues to decrease, the report found.
As of May 20, 2016, the Afghan army’s force strength totaled 171,428 – an overall decrease of 8,083 personnel from January of this year.
The force lacks basic supplies, such as footwear, despite vast funding from the United State, stated the report.
“Afghan security forces have had a shortage of adequate footwear,” according to the report. “Moreover, 23 percent of the boots ordered for the ANA and 29 percent of the boots ordered for the ANP during 2014 and 2015 were not delivered until early 2016.”
The boot shortage resulted from “the Afghan decision to buy short-lasting, poor-quality boots from local or Chinese sources” as well as “a system that tracked quantities of boots procured but not their sizes, which led to a surplus of boots too large for most Afghans,” according to SIGAR.
Billions spent on weapons and equipment also have seen diminishing returns, according to SIGAR.
While “there are over 54,000 vehicles in the ANA inventory,” U.S. Defense Department “estimates of the number of operational vehicles are far lower.”
The Afghan National Police force also has shrunk. The total force number was 148,167 as of April 2016, marking “an increase of 1,863 ANP personnel since last quarter, but 7,015 below the May 2015 assigned end strength that was reported at 155,182,” according to the report.
“Since last quarter, the total cost of equipment procured for the ANP increased by over $94.4 million USD, primarily within the vehicle category, but also for weapons, transportation services, and counter-improvised-explosive devices,” the report said.
The Defense Department “reported there is a continued requirement to replace battle losses and equipment that is not economical to repair,” according to SIGAR.