U.S. Opens Door for Arms Sales to Afghanistan
On July 2, the State Department announced that, for the first time in a decade, U.S. arms companies would be permitted to sell weapons and military equipment to Afghanistan. Under the new policy, U.S. arms manufacturers may make deals with the current Afghan government or with UN-authorized international security forces in the country, but arms exports to any other entity in Afghanistan remain outlawed.
Few export licenses have been requested since the policy change. Near the end of August, the Office of Defense Trade Controls, which licenses arms deals carried out directly between U.S. companies and foreign customers, had approved one proposed deal for communications equipment and was reviewing two other export requests. U.S. government officials are not anticipating a flood of possible deals because Afghanistan lacks the funds to make many purchases.
President Bush, however, signed the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act August 2, which authorizes $50 million in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funds for Afghanistan and $20 million for peacekeeping efforts there. …