"But how do they get all these AK-47s out there?" I asked a D.C. cab driver last year, while he was telling me about the violence that's kept his familial village and much of the rest of Pakistan's hilly tribal northwest in the stone ages. "They build them," he said nonchalantly.
The bulk of Pakistan's homemade automatic weapons and explosive devices are forged, built and sold at Darra Adamkhel, a village located near Peshawar where main street is an open-air arms market.
In the 1970s, the New York Times described the "atmosphere of hard work, honesty and friendliness in this tribal town, where most people devote their lives to making submachine guns, assassination pistols and hundreds of other lethal weapons."
Please note that up until now, very little has been said about American arms/arms trading, other than when we armed the Mujahedin.The market is made up of a warren of small barren brick factories, where upwards of 1,000 guns are manufactured every day, mostly by hand. The vendors are Pashtuns, the ethnic group that comprised the majority of the mujahideen who kicked the Soviets out of Afghanistan in the late ‘80s. Across tables and blankets they display a cornucopia of choices: cheap copies of Warsaw Pact copies of Western pistols for less than twenty dollars, six-dollar pen guns, homemade AK-47's for just under $200, imported Chinese AKs for an extra fifty, and piles of bullets, sold by the kilo.
Like I said, what a pantload. First they describe how a bunch of villagers are turning out guns locally "by hand" thorugh "hard work" etc,....Thanks, National Rifle Association
The underground small arms trade continues unabated throughout the region and the rest of the world's apocalyptic hotspots. Efforts to curtail the ilicit trade of weapons on an international level have mostly run aground thanks to the United States, which, with the strong support of the American gun lobby, has helped to deadlock United Nations discussions; the State Department says the matter is not "controversial."
In the $30 billion arms market amongst developing countries, the U.S. is the leading retailer of arms. Pakistan is the biggest buyer, at around $5 billion in munitions purchases a year.
For their part, American officials say that the arms used by Taliban forces in Afghanistan come from Iran and China. Iran is also accused of exporting arms to terrorist organizations and insurgents in Iraq, while Beijing is widely reputed to have provided most of the weapons and ammunition for the epidemic killing in Sudan. At a UN conference in 2008, Chinese officials drew eye-rolls for their claim that they do not export arms to regions suffering from instability. Pakistan offered its own exaggerations, calling its small-arms-control efforts "watertight."
The U.S. said little. Its delegates showed up only for a day of the week long conference.