On September 15, 2010, the Armed Forces of BiH (AFBiH), in cooperation with the Maryland National Guard and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), commenced demilitarization of 30,061 M16A1 rifles. U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Patrick Moon, together with representatives of the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Defense Cooperation and Defense Attaché Office, and NATO HQ Commander in BiH Brigadier General David Enyeart, observed the destruction of the excess weapons which took place in Visoko. The weapons were donated in the 1990s under the Train and Equip Program and are now excess to the needs of the AFBiH. The destruction is funded by UNDP, while U.S. Army soldiers from the Maryland National Guard have been on site to observe and confirm the destruction of each weapon by serial number. The U.S. Government granted permission to the Ministry of Defense of BiH to destroy the weapons. The permission to destroy the weapons was granted to reduce small arms stockpiles being guarded and maintained by the AFBiH so as to reduce costs to the AFBiH for storing the weapons as well as freeing soldiers from guarding obsolete and excess defense property. This destruction effort is the outcome of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s recent commitment to destroy the vast majority of its excess weapons and ammunition and is in keeping with the May 2010 pledge by the United States to assist in meeting that end. The United States Government and its international partners in BiH are encouraged by this destruction project and remain committed to assisting the MoD and AFBiH in the disposal of large quantities of armaments that are no longer needed by the AFBiH. Destruction of the weapons will continue through the end of October.
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