Gun dealers openly selling US weapons seized by Taliban

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After the US troops left Afghanistan, the Taliban amassed a large number of weapons….reports Asian Lite News

The US weapons — which were seized by the Taliban after American troops withdrawal –are now being openly sold in shops by Afghan gun dealers who paid government soldiers and Taliban members for guns, ammunition and other materiel, reported The New York Times citing to weapon dealers in Kandahar Province.

Three weapon dealers in Kandahar said that dozens of Afghans have set up weapon shops in Afghanistan’s southern province and they sell US-made pistols, rifles, grenades, binoculars and night-vision goggles.

Under a US training and assistance programme — that had cost American taxpayers more than USD 83 billion through two decades of war — the equipment was originally provided to the Afghan security forces.

After the US troops left Afghanistan, the Taliban amassed a large number of weapons.

Pentagon officials earlier had pointed out that advanced weaponry was disabled before troops left, but thousands of weapons were still available for the Taliban, reported New York Times.

Since the combat has largely ended, the Taliban have also sold some of the weapons to gun dealers.

Gun merchants have said that many dealers have smuggled the weapons to Pakistan, where demand for American-made weapons is strong, said The New York Times.

However, the Taliban denied that any of those weapons were hitting the market.

Bilal Karimi, in an interview with The New York Times, said that weapons were not for sale. “I totally deny this; our fighters cannot be that careless,” he said. “Even a single person cannot sell a bullet in the market or smuggle it.”

He added that US-made weapons previously captured during the war “are all listed, verified and are all saved and secure under the Islamic Emirate for the future army,” according to The New York Times.

US charges ex-Taliban commander

The United States has charged a former Taliban commander Haji Najibullah for conducting attacks on US troops in Afghanistan, including killing three servicemembers in June of 2008, the Justice Department said on Thursday.

“Haji Najibullah, previously charged in the 2008 kidnapping of an American journalist, was also indicted today for 2008 attacks on U.S. Service members in Afghanistan, including attacks resulting in the deaths of three American soldiers and their Afghan interpreter and the downing of a U.S. helicopter,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

In 2007, the Najibullah was the commander of about a thousand Taliban in Afghanistan’s Wardak province bordering on Kabul, the release said. On June 26, 2008, they attacked a US military convoy killing three US sergeants and their Afghan interpreter, the release said.

During another attack on US troops in November of 2008, Najibullah’s men shot down a US military helicopter. Following the attack, the US officials refuted the Taliban’s claims that everyone who was on the helicopter were killed, it said.

In total, Najibullah’s indictment contains 13 counts of various crimes, including hostage-taking, kidnapping, murdering US nationals, destroying US aircraft, providing material support for acts of terrorism, and conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction, it added.

Each count in the indictment carries a maximum penalty ranging from 20 years to life in prison, according to the release. (ANI)

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