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House bars Afghan uniform purchases in defense

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MateenK View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27-Jul-2017 at 11:28pm
The House on Thursday voted to block the Defense Department from buying Afghan army uniforms as part of its annual defense spending bill.

The amendment, passed by voice vote without debate, would prohibit any 2018 funding to be used in the Pentagon's efforts to equip the Afghan National Army after a Pentagon auditor announced a criminal probe of the uniform purchases this week. It was added to the House's defense appropriations bill that has not yet been passed by the lawmakers.

The bipartisan legislation was sponsored by Reps. Peter Welch of Vermont, Barbara Lee of California, Ro Khanna of California, Walter Jones of North Carolina and Tim Walberg of Michigan.

The special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, John Sopko, testified about the investigation to a House committee this week, saying the Defense Department appears to have wasted $28 million buying proprietary camouflage uniforms that are ill-suited to the country's terrain.

Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, which oversees uniforms and equipment purchases for the country, also may have improperly communicated with a Canadian contractor about its camo pattern and a subcontractor.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also called out the uniform costs as an example of unacceptable waste in a department memo this month.

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