Mar. 28, 2014 - By JEFF SCHOGOL - Defense News
The US military is disputing media reports that it plans to give Pakistan excess American military equipment that is currently in Afghanistan.
“Our commitment to the Afghan people and the Afghan National Security Forces is unwavering,” Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, commander of all US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, said in a statement Thursday.
The Washington Post first reported in a March 16 web story that the US military was considering giving the Pakistanis $7 billion worth of equipment amid the drawdown in Afghanistan. The Pakistani military has expressed interest in getting Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, which have been proven to be too big and heavy to operate effectively in Afghanistan, which lacks road infrastructure.
The story came shortly after Dunford had testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the US military was considering whether to repair damaged MRAPs in Afghanistan in order to give them to someone else.
“We're in the process right now of seeing if there are any of our allies that can use those vehicles,” Dunford said at the March 12 hearing. “The services are also going back to review those requirements. I've put a stop on any destruction of any vehicles except those that are battle-damaged.”
But US Forces-Afghanistan issued a statement on Thursday calling media reports that it was considering sending military equipment to Pakistan “inaccurate.”
“USFOR-A does not provide or intend to provide any such equipment, including MRAPs, from Afghanistan to Pakistan,” the statement says.
When asked about the statement by Military Times, a spokeswoman for the Washington Post said the newspaper stands by its story.
“We reported accurately on March 17 that discussions about a possible equipment transfer to Pakistan had been going on for months and that no final decisions had been made,” the spokeswoman said in an email. “We have taken note of the March 27 statement from US Forces Afghanistan.”
The story caused more strain on the US military’s relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, whose spokesman said Afghanistan would oppose any move to give excess MRAPs to Pakistan.
“Afghan security forces need this type of equipment and as a strategic partner, the US needs to consult with Afghanistan before making such a decision,” Emal Faizi told Voice of America for a March 18 story.