The rise to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan It may have thrown the country into uncertainty and aggravated its economic situation, but arms dealer Khan Mohammad is taking advantage of the situation.
Situated between a pharmacy and a general grocery store, his store, located in the Panjwai district, in Kandahar (south), cradle of the Taliban, has renewed its stocks.
Between camouflage vests and cartridge belts hanging from the walls, Khan Mohammad shows everything he has: Smith & Wesson pistols, machine guns, ammunition belts, grenades, walkie-talkies, vessels full of bullets.
The end of the conflict led many to think that they no longer need their weapons, so they decided to sell them, explains Mohammad.
“People who had weapons at home for years brought them to us”, he explained.
“We buy and sell them to the Mujahideen”, explains, alluding to the Taliban. “The Taliban don’t let anyone else have them.”
Mohammad sells not only weapons, but also accessories, such as white baseball caps emblazoned with the Muslim profession of faith and flags of the Islamist movement.
Another market stall, decorated with Taliban flags and photographs of the movement’s top leaders, offers assault rifles (American-made AK-47 and M4 and M16 variants) and even light machine guns.
Over the years, the Taliban have bought their weapons and ammunition on the black market. They have also recovered weapons and equipment found on the battlefield, the UN and Western observers say.
The increasing collapse of the military army has provided a manna of arms for the militiamen.
Now the Taliban have not only American-made infantry weapons, but also state-of-the-art equipment and vehicles, such as humvees, armored personnel carriers, and at least one working Black Hawk helicopter.
In parallel, they continue to profit from abandoned Afghan and Western military bases.
In July they conquered the Panjwai district, taking advantage of the withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan.
In the dusty Panjwai market, everything the Taliban found at the base of the district is up for sale.
“We bought all these things from the Taliban after they took over the Afghan army base,” says Murtaza, a merchant who preferred to keep his last name silent. “Now, we come to the market to sell them.”
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.