Pak`s `American Market`; guns and grenades on sale
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 15, 2011, 18:16
Peshawar: If you think getting the latest guns, grenades and night vision goggles in Pakistan was difficult, you might be mistaken.

One can buy all these along with laptops at knockdown prices at the 'American market' in Pakistan's north-western Peshawar city.

"Most of the arms here will end up with the Taliban. Some people come to buy these weapons for themselves but mostly they are bought by militants," a laptop dealer in the 'American market' was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune daily.

He explains that the area has come to be known as the American Market because it sells US goods that have either been stolen and transported from Afghanistan or captured from NATO trucks going to the war-torn country via Pakistan.

While everything from scanned goods to electronic equipment is available at the American Market, the majority of the items on sale are weapons.

"The laptop dealer says the American Market is only the third largest of its kind in Pakistan, and similar markets in Bara, Jamrud and Dara Adam Khel offer a greater variety of weapons, although he adds that there has been an army clampdown in Dara Adam Khel," the report said.

Despite the abundance of arms available in these markets, this is only the tip of the iceberg for the Taliban.

The daily quoted experts as saying that Taliban also get their weapons from smuggling networks that originate from Russia.

An expert said the once deadly LTTE also provided arms to the Taliban.

The US, meanwhile, believes that the Taliban may be getting weaponry from Iran, the daily said.

Militant safe houses raided in the tribal areas have revealed the presence of Iranian-made AK-47s but it is not known if these have been smuggled out of Iran or provided by the government of Iran.

Taliban videos posted on jihadi websites, meanwhile, show them carrying Chinese anti-aircraft missiles which, most arms-control experts believe, have come through the international smuggling network and not from the Chinese government, it said.

Ultimately, the greatest provider though inadvertently of weaponry to the Taliban based in Afghanistan may be its greatest target, the US.

As the laptop dealer at the American Market in Peshawar says, "The US gives weapons to people in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban and they just go and sell it to people here who then sell it to the Taliban."


First Published: Wednesday, June 15, 2011, 18:16

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