Conflict & Justice

Taliban weapons

Kate Clark recently traveled to this volatile region where she found that the arms bizarres are a key source of weaponry for the Taliban. Pakistan's homemade arms industry came from when the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan. At the time, the U.S., Pakistan and Saudi Arabia supported and heavily armed the Mujahadeen or the soldiers who battled the Soviets. KC spoke with one former Mujahadeen soldier who said you can find every munitions you'd want in these arms bizarre. KC: one of the interesting things I found is that the Taliban likes Iranian arms, and the Iranian AK is $300 more than any other AK because it's well made and robust and can be fit for grenades. There's also a type of mine which has helped the Taliban in their fight against Americans. This Taliban commander told me the Iranians sent this mine, which is directional and has made a big difference but are not widely available. He also said you need good relations with the Iranians to get those munitions. both these men said some of these munitions are coming from Iran but it's not a top-down policy, more so from elements within the Iranian government who think there are benefits for supporting the Taliban. This is extremely strange because Iran is a Shia state and the Taliban are militant Sunnis, so it's not a natural alliance. There was an animosity from the Taliban towards the Iranian when the Taliban was ruling the government. (You spoke with another Taliban leader who said money is not at the heart of all of this.) The Taliban commander said some of the western forces were coming down from the north of the country, the former heartland of the Northern Alliance and opposition to the Taliban and more over they said the big arms dealers were Northern Alliance commanders. The Taliban commander felt it was in their interest to have instability because people can't demand justice against these Northern Alliance commanders who may be guilty of past war crimes.

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