The U.S. Army failed to properly monitor more than $1 billion worth of arms transfers in Iraq and Kuwait, according to a declassified government audit obtained by Amnesty International released Wednesday.
“This audit provides a worrying insight into the U.S. Army’s flawed—and potentially dangerous—system for controlling millions of dollars’ worth of arms transfers to a hugely volatile region,” Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International’s Arms Control and Human Rights Researcher, said in a statement.
Amnesty obtained the documents through Freedom of Information law requests. The group’s research documents lax controls and record-keeping within the Iraqi chain of command, which has resulted in arms manufactured in the U.S. and other countries winding up in the hands of armed groups known to be committing war crimes and other atrocities, such as the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).
In response to the audit, the U.S. military has pledged to tighten its systems for tracking and monitoring future transfers to Iraq, according to Amnesty.
The U.S. Department of Defense audit from September 2016 shows that the DoD “did not have accurate, up-to-date records on the quantity and location” of equipment pouring into Iraq and Kuwait to supply the Iraqi Army in helping to degrade ISIS. The transfers included tens of thousands of assault rifles (worth $28 million), hundreds of mortar rounds and hundreds of Humvee armored vehicles destined for use by the central Iraqi Army. In 2015, Congress devoted $1.6 billion to combating the advance of ISIS.