Even if you have never visited Afghanistan, you would probably assume it is a country that is filled with arid plains and deserts without much woodland at all: you would not be wrong. For years the Afghan National Army has been in a brutal battle with the Taliban and they have been wearing an expensive useless camouflage.
When it comes to total forest percentage, trees only account for 2.1% of Afghanistan’s land area: this means their choice of buying woodland camouflage was an extremely bad decision. In fact, it makes their troops be at a higher risk when fighting the insurgents across the country.
The pattern for the Afghan uniforms was apparently determined without factoring in any of Afghan’s environment, so it is by no means appropriate for the soldiers to wear. This has been confirmed by the office of Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, the truth is these uniforms are doing more harm than good: causing troops to be in danger.
To make matters worse the pattern used was not even originally owned by the DoD, the Spec4ce Forest Uniform camouflage was made by HyperStealth Biotechnology Corporation and before producing any uniforms the DoD had to buy the rights to use the pattern. Apparently, this caused the total cost to be in the realm of $94 million dollars. Something that could have been completely avoided had they used a pattern that was already in their repertoire.
When the choice was questioned never the DoD or the Afghan government was able to provide any evidence of researching the matter, the final say came down to Minister of Defence Abdul Rahim Wardak who apparently just picked the new uniform because he liked what he saw. He then proceeded to order 1,364,602 new uniforms without any research. Had the proper processes been followed and a pattern picked that the DoD already owned, U.S. taxpayers could have saved over $68 million dollars.
Let’s hope that the next uniform they order actually uses a desert pattern.