Pakistan’s Gun Markets

August 6, 2008

As I said in my Article about the Afghan Army to be equipped with M16s the tribal areas in Pakistan have a big weapon industry consisting of small workshops with kids building weapons with their bare hands. (Just imagine all those child labour protesters going to some shack in Pakistan complaining to a bearded Pushtun about his work policies).

I found this video on youtube: In this documentary a reporter goes into the tribal areas – which is a pretty dangerous thing if you know what they do to reporters and foreigners they don’t like – and takes a look at a weapon bazaar in a Pakistani town. The guys running the market and the workshops are Pashtuns as the Taliban in Afghanistan. His travel guide notes that "The people of this area believe, 'Many sons and a lot of guns.'" The perfect ingredients for War.

Funny that the deaf and dumb guy actually fakes the Chinese: "Made As China". So does anybody wonders why they were able to defeat so many great Armies?

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US Soldier aiming a M16A2 during an exercise

US Soldier aiming a M16A2 during an exercise.
Source: Wikimedia

Wired’s DangerRoom is reporting that the Afghan Army is going to be equipped with M16 rifles. This is pretty strange since the Afghans always used Russian AK-47 rifles.

The article starts with a quote of an Col. Thomas McGrath, the commander of Afghan Regional Security Integration Command-South, about how the weapon is better and that the Afghan soldiers will learn discipline by using the M16. At the end the article gets to the real point: Its all about tracking the weapons to avoid that they fall into the enemy’s hand.

I can imagine that the Afghan Army has piles of AK-47s and everybody is trying to improve their pay on them. From the more officers selling whole truck loads of AKs to the peasant “loosing” his weapon. This problem indeed can be solved by providing a new kind of weapon with serial numbers and start to inventory them. And of course the Talibs probably don’t want M16s. The M16 is less reliable if not properly taken care off and the Talibs don’t have experience with them. In the Pakistan tribal areas there are a lot of weapon markets and small workshops repairing AKs and even building new weapons.

But of course this won’t stop the Taliban from getting more weapons. First of all we don’t know what happens to the existing weapons in the inventory of the Afghan Army and there are too many neighbouring countries selling directly to the Taliban or having Armies with poor soldiers and piles of untracked AKs.