The American weapons, which the Taliban seized after gaining power in Afghanistan, are now a source of considerable income for traffickers, the New York Times reported. “Light weapons such as pistols are in great demand because they are easy to transport and carry,” one seller explained anonymously. A spokesman for militants dismissed similar reports and assured that every item of weaponry was “registered, verified and secured”.
Traders openly sell American weapons and other military equipment in stores, sources from Kandahar Province told the New York daily. While the Taliban was eager to look for American weapons at the beginning of the uprising, they are now selling them back to entrepreneurs as the demand among militants has decreased. Traders say that a significant amount of weapons are smuggled into Pakistan because there is a great demand for them there.
The American M4 rifle costs around $ 4,000, while the Russian Kalashnikov rifle costs $ 900. NATO-supplied guns cost $ 350. – The first choice of customers is the American weapon, although it costs much more than the Russian one. But there is a great demand for light weapons such as pistols, because they are easy to transport and carry, one trader explained anonymously.
US arms worth billions left in Afghanistan
For two decades, the US has provided the Afghan military with a wide range of military equipment, including: M4 rifles, missile launchers, A-29 light attack aircraft, Humvee off-road vehicles and tons of ammunition, according to a report prepared by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. 2.6 billion dollars have been spent on this in the last two years alone.
The Pentagon confirmed on Monday that a large proportion of US weapons still remain in Afghanistan. “The US military has supplied the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces with thousands of small arms, ranging from pistols to medium machine guns since 2005,” Major Rob Lodewick, a Defense Department spokesman, said in a statement to The Times.
This summer, tons of weapons have been stolen or sold to the Taliban by former Afghan security forces. Sometimes Islamist militants took them over while negotiating the terms of surrender of besieged cities.
A Taliban spokesman denies it
Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi said in an interview with the New York Times that the gun was not for sale. – I categorically deny that our fighters are not so thoughtless. Even one person will not smuggle and sell even a single cartridge at the market, he emphasized. He added that every piece of US military seized during the war had been “registered, verified and secured by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan for the benefit of a future army.”
Despite these assurances, the “NYT” informants confirmed that many American weapons had reached the market.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / STRINGER