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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Lost 190,000 Guns in Iraq

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, a new U.S. government report says, raising fears that some of those weapons have fallen into the hands of insurgents.

The author of the report from the Government Accountability Office says U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year as part of an effort to train and equip the troops. The highest previous estimate of unaccounted-for weapons was 14,000.

The United States has spent $19.2 billion trying to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, the report said, including at least $2.8 billion to buy and deliver equipment. But the report said distribution was haphazard, particularly from 2004 to 2005, when security training was led by General David Petraeus, who now commands all U.S. forces in Iraq.

The Pentagon did not dispute the findings, saying it had opened its own investigation and that it was working to improve tracking. Although controls have been tightened since 2005, the inability of the United States to track weapons makes it nearly impossible to know whether it is battling an enemy equipped by U.S. taxpayers.

One senior Pentagon official said some of the weapons probably were being used against U.S. forces. He cited an Iraqi brigade created in Fallujah that quickly dissolved in September 2004.