For a guy who came into office nine months ago vowing to put the brakes on illegal gun trafficking in the U.S., Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan has opened the door, and filled the shelves, for Afghan entrepreneurs who are now making big business from selling abandoned American small arms and ammunition, according to the New York Times.
The report discussed three “weapons dealers in Kandahar,” who said dozens of their fellow countrymen have established gun shops in southern Afghanistan. There is no indication anybody is conducting background checks or imposing waiting periods.
Popular items, according to the newspaper, are “American-made pistols, rifles, grenades, binoculars and night-vision goggles.” The newspaper said all of this ordnance was originally given to Afghan security forces. The cost to American taxpayers was an estimated $83 billion-plus.
One interesting detail revealed by the NY Times is that many of these unlicensed gun dealers have been smuggling guns into Pakistan. They’re doing a proverbial land office business, based on prices detailed by the newspaper: $1,200 for a Beretta M9 pistol, and about $4,000 for an M4 carbine. That’s much more than they are reportedly getting for a Kalashnikov rifle, approximately $900.
The Taliban has denied “advanced weaponry” was up for sale. But based on statements in the Times report, there is a big “maybe” on that assertion.
“This summer,” the Times reported, “troves of U.S.-supplied weapons were either stolen and sold by Afghan security forces, or seized by the Taliban as they negotiated wholesale surrenders in which soldiers and police handed over such weapons and equipment in exchange for Taliban promises to spare their lives.”
It is not clear if the Taliban held up their part of that bargain, as anecdotal reports have surfaced about widespread killings after the Taliban took over.
Biden entered the White House promising to crack down on guns. His agenda called for a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” limits on gun purchases, universal background checks, registration, licensing of gun owners and more. His attempt to place gun control advocate David Chipman in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was seen as the way Biden would set his plans in motion.
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