The United States is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on aircraft that Afghan Special Forces can't even fly.
According to a new report released Friday from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the Defense Department is moving forward with the purchase of aircraft—valued at $772 million—that Afghan Special Mission Wing (SMW) pilots lack the numbers and expertise to operate.
And the numbers are quite damning. The SMW has less than a quarter of the personnel needed for full strength, operating with just 180 people. While the 47 SMW pilots are supposed to carry out counterterrorism operations, only seven of those pilots are qualified to fly with night-vision goggles. This skill is essential, given that most counterterrorism missions are done at night.