London, Sep 4 (ANI): The Taliban have reportedly stolen dozens of machine guns used by the British Army in Afghanistan and are using them against Nato forces.
Commanders in Helmand are asking serious questions about a cover-up, after the 59 Minimi machine guns were not reported missing for almost a year.
The theft was revealed only when American forces recovered two of the guns following a battle with the Taliban, The Telegraph reports.
Defence Secretary Liam Fox, who was told about the incident this week, is said to be furious that the weapons were allowed to be taken by the insurgents and, potentially, could have been used against British troops. e has ordered an inquiry into why enough weapons to equip an infantry battalion could go missing without anyone noticing or being informed.
The light machine guns, which can fire 1,000 rounds a minute, were flown from Britain to Camp Bastion in Helmand last October.
They were then transported overland to British forces operating at Kandahar airfield but it is believed the convoy was either ambushed or the weapons were illegally sold.
No one realised or reported that they had gone missing until last month, when American forces operating in southern Afghanistan discovered two of the guns, whose serial numbers matched those stolen.
Defence sources have described the incident as a "terrible embarrassment for British forces".
"We have no evidence that they have been used against British forces but clearly it's an alarming situation," said one defence source. (ANI)