The coalition command in Afghanistan is not properly accounting for millions of dollars worth of fuel it buys to keep the Afghan military functioning, according to a new audit.
The coalition “does not have accurate or supportable information on how much U.S. funds are needed for [Afghan National Army] fuel, where and how the fuel is actually used, or how much fuel has been lost or stolen,” according to the report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
Currently the coalition’s Combined Security Transition Command purchases fuel for the Afghan military, primarily with U.S. money. Next year, the coalition plans to transfer most of the money to the Afghan government for fuel purchases, raising further concerns about accountability, the report said.
The United States and its allies have pledged to continue funding Afghanistan’s military after 2014, when most foreign combat forces will have left the country.
In remarks attached to the report, the transition command said it agreed with recommendations to improve accountability and is taking steps to improve record-keeping.
However, the command took issue with a recommendation to reduce current and future budget requests for Afghanistan’s army, saying the fuel is needed to sustain the steady pace of operations.
The Afghan military is assuming a larger share of security responsibility as U.S. forces draw down. By 2015, Afghan security forces will be in the lead.
In a statement, the transition command said it had a system, which it is improving, designed to estimate the fuel needs of the Afghan military.
“We make funding recommendations based on military requirements,” the statement said.
The report said auditors were told by the command that documents related to $475 million worth of fuel purchases between 2007 and 2011 were shredded, in violation of Pentagon policy.
The command statement did not address the shredding allegation directly but said the auditors asked for documents related to purchases between April 1, 2011, and March 31, 2012, which they provided. The statement said they are continuing to cooperate with auditors.
Fuel expenditures for the Afghan military continue to rise. In fiscal year 2014, Afghan military fuel requirements will increase to $555 million. Between 2007 and 2012, the coalition provided $1.1 billion in funding for fuel costs.
The money goes toward purchasing aviation fuel, diesel fuel and even $20 million worth of firewood, according to the audit.
The expenditures reflect how fast the Afghan security forces are growing. Afghan security forces are on track to reach 352,000 soldiers and police by the end of this month.
Keeping the force running is costly. Since 2010, coalition forces have issued more than 25,000 vehicles and generators to Afghan security forces, according to the coalition.