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Military investigates theft of gear en route home from Afghanistan

Someone is plundering the sea containers the Canadian Forces are using to ship supplies home from the Afghanistan war – theft that has prompted a military investigation.

Canada ended its combat role in Afghanistan in 2011, and hundreds, if not thousands, of boxy sea containers are being shipped back home loaded with everything from tents to tires.

The boxes are taken from Kandahar in southern Afghanistan by land to a port on the coast of Pakistan, where they are placed on ships to Montreal.

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But upon unloading the containers in Canada, the Forces discovered that thieves have emptied some, and replaced the contents in some instances with rocks to simulate the weight of the pilfered goods.

"Some sea containers have arrived in Canada missing equipment," Lieutenant-Commander John Nethercott told The Globe.

The Forces say no weapons or ammunition or explosives have been determined to have been stolen. Munitions and restricted equipment is instead airlifted back to Canada.

"We can additionally confirm that no uniforms are missing from any of the containers that have been inventoried to date," Lt.-Cdr. Nethercott said.

Military investigators together with the Canadian Border Services Agency are probing the theft.

"The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service is investigating the matter and the Canadian Forces are working to ensure every reasonable security measure is in place to ensure the secure shipment of the remaining containers," the spokesman said.

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Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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