When civilians wear camouflage-patterned clothing, it is typically a fashion statement. If you will be taking your camo-patterned backpack to school, the choice of the camouflage design can be left to personal preference. For soldiers, whose lives may depend on their ability to blend into their surroundings, the decision must be based on something far more important than a whim. Well, one can hope, anyway….
When it came time to outfit the newly-reconstituted army, then-Afghanistan Minister of Defense Abdul Rahim Wardak “ran across” a pattern on a website and “liked what he saw,” according to the special investigative report. That sort of impulse buying might not be a bad thing if he had merely been browsing for some gift ideas. In this case, however, it resulted in the purchase of 1,364,602 new uniforms between May 2007 and January 2017 — all of which are precisely the wrong kind of camouflage pattern for the Afghanistan terrain.
The pattern, purchased by the U.S. Department of Defense, was a design from . It is a jungle pattern that works well for military operations in heavily-forested environments. Unfortunately, only 2.1% of Afghanistan is forested. The result is that the new uniforms — which cost a total of $93.81 million — make their wearers stand out like a sore thumb in the desert-like terrain in which they are worn.