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Afghan Arms Dealers are Now Selling Abandoned American Guns.
Experts are worried about who might be buying them.
In Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, the going price for a U.S. M4 carbine assault rifle is about $4,000 – especially if it comes fitted with an under-barrel grenade launcher or laser sight.
This is according to gun merchants in Kandahar, who are now openly selling caches of American-made pistols, rifles, grenades, binoculars, night-vision goggles, radios and other military accessories, as reported by The New York Times. The various pieces of equipment were issued to the Afghan military during the United States’ failed 20-year occupation, and left behind following their evacuation.
There was a time when the merchants’ primary customers were Taliban militants; fighters engaged in open combat with Western forces who were all too willing to pay the price for American-supplied weapons and gear. But the war is over. Now the bulk of their buyers are Afghan entrepreneurs and ordinary citizens.
“American-made weapons are in great demand,” one merchant told the paper, “as they work very well and people know how to use them.”
In the two previous fiscal years ending in June, the U.S. spent more than $2.6 billion on the Afghan military, outfitting them with pistols, rifles, machine guns, rockets, Humvees and light attack aircraft, as well as huge amounts of ammunition – much of which was left in Afghanistan when the West completed its withdrawal on August 30. More sophisticated weaponry was shipped out with the evacuating U.S. forces, who also disabled the remaining helicopters and airplanes before departure.
Taliban fighters have, in many cases, sold these weapons on to gun dealers and merchants, who are now peddling them in provinces across the country and in some cases smuggling them across the border to Pakistan, where demand is high.