State Dept. approves $60 million arms sale to Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, The U.S. State Department has approved a proposed $60 million sale to Afghanistan for a variety of weapons and equipment.

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Required notification was delivered to Congress Wednesday, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, said in a statement.

The proposed sale includes 4,891 M16A4 5.56mm rifles, 485 M240B 7.62mm machine guns and 800 M2 .50-caliber machine guns. Also included in the sale would be unspecified numbers of M249 light automatic machine guns, M1110 7.62mm sniper rifles and MK-19 40mm grenade launchers.

MK-93 40mm machine gun mounts, M3 tripod machine gun mounts, spare barrels, spare and repair parts, lot validation, publications, technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, technical and logistics support services and other related elements are also part of the sale.

The agency said the sale would support U.S. policy and help Afghan forces fight the ongoing Taliban insurgency. Afghanistan has “an urgent requirement” to increase its stock of crew-served weapons, the agency said.

The Afghan National Army is already trained and prepared to use the weapons, it said.

The purchase would be funded by U.S. government grants.

The principal contractor for the M240B will be FN America, wile the other weapons have not been identified and are pending open competition and contract awards.

Some items may be drawn from existing U.S. stocks to meet desired delivery dates.
By Geoff Ziezulewicz