View Full Version : Taleban "Getting Chinese Weapons"

09-03-2007, 08:52 PM
Taleban 'getting Chinese weapons'


By Paul Danahar

Britain has privately complained to Beijing that Chinese-made weapons are being used by the Taleban to attack British troops in Afghanistan.

The BBC has been told that on several occasions Chinese arms have been recovered after attacks on British and American troops by Afghan insurgents.

The authorities in Beijing have promised to carry out an investigation.

This appears to be the first time Britain has asked China how its arms are ending up with the Taleban.

At a meeting held recently at the Chinese foreign ministry in Beijing, a British official expressed the UK's growing concern about the incidents.

When asked about the latest British concerns, the Chinese foreign ministry referred back to a statement made by their spokesman Qin Gang in July who said China's arms exports were carried out "in strict accordance with our law and our international obligations".

For their part, the Taleban have recently begun boasting that they have now got hold of much more sophisticated weaponry although they refused to say from where.

Afghan officials have also privately confirmed to the BBC that sophisticated Chinese weapons are now in the hands of the Taleban.

They said these included Chinese-made air-to-surface missiles, anti-aircraft guns, landmines, rocket-propelled grenades and components for roadside bombs.

A senior Afghan official told the BBC, "Chinese HN-5 anti-aircraft missiles are with the Taleban, we know this... and we are worried where do the Taleban get them, some of these weapons have been made recently in Chinese factories".

Another Afghan official who deals with counter-terrorism said, "Serial numbers and other information from most of the Chinese weapons have been removed in most cases and it's almost impossible for us to find out where they come from but we have shared our concerns with the Chinese and the Americans also".

The Afghan government considers China to be a friend, and a much less meddlesome ally than the other big player in its neighbourhood, India.

But, the counter-terrorism official added, "China is worried about the presence of the US in the region".

Southern Afghanistan has been awash with Chinese made arms for decades which are some of the cheapest on the market.

In the past the Taleban got them via the Pakistan intelligence agency, the ISI, or bought them directly from arms smugglers.

But it is extremely unlikely the ISI would now allow them access to anti-aircraft missiles or armour-piercing ammunition.

The Pakistani army's relationship between militants in its tribal areas along the Afghan border has deteriorated sharply in recent years after Washington put pressure on President Musharraf post-9/11 to crack down on al-Qaeda and Taleban groups operating inside Pakistani territory.

So the Taleban might well use any sophisticated new weapons it received against the Pakistani army.

It is not in China's interest either to arm Pakistan-based militants.

Over the last couple of years Chinese workers in Pakistan have been targeted by militants, in retaliation for the Pakistani army allegedly going after hard-line Muslim Uighur leaders from China's Xinjiang province, hiding in the tribal areas.

Proxy network
So instead of Pakistan being the transit point for these weapons, the finger is being pointed by many commentators towards Iran.

The Afghan government has long acknowledged privately that Iranian intelligence agencies have been active in southern Afghanistan post-9/11.

Iran has been pursuing a policy of building up proxy networks to be able to attack American forces in response to any US attacks against Teheran's nuclear infrastructure.

A Shia Iran and the Sunni Taleban had been firm enemies since 1998.

Then, Iran threatened to invade western Afghanistan, when the country was largely controlled by the Taleban, after nine of its diplomats were massacred in Mazar-e-Sharif.

But times have changed, now America is a common enemy and senior American commanders in Afghanistan have acknowledged the growing ties between the two.

The complication for both the UK and US is China.

Unnamed US officials have recently been quoted as saying that China has been selling arms to Iran which Iran is then passing on to insurgent groups in Afghanistan and Iraq.

China's booming economy and its seat at the UN security council have made it an important player on the world stage.

It is a major trading partner for the UK whose economy has benefited enormously from China's cheap goods.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's newly-appointed British Minister for Asia, Lord Mark Malloch Brown acknowledged to journalists in Beijing last week that countries "need to work with China to get things done in today's world".

China is going to have to show that getting things done also means stopping its arms illegally ending up in the hands of men bent on killing British troops.

09-03-2007, 09:44 PM
Another Afghan official who deals with counter-terrorism said, "Serial numbers and other information from most of the Chinese weapons have been removed in most cases and it's almost impossible for us to find out where they come from but we have shared our concerns with the Chinese and the Americans also".

And yet somehow we know when they are produced in Iran. Give me a break. Just another example of how we only pick on the ones we stand to gain something from.
I WANT to hope we go into Iran and take a big punch on the nose, but those are Americans dying, so I am not free to hope for such a thing. Oh well, maybe Russia will invade the US soon...

09-03-2007, 09:53 PM
They said these included Chinese-made air-to-surface missiles, anti-aircraft guns, landmines, rocket-propelled grenades and components for roadside bombs.
What in the hell are the Taliban going to do with air-to-surface missiles? I didn't think they had an air force.

09-03-2007, 09:55 PM
Maybe they are going to jump out of commercial aircraft and ride them into the targets?

09-03-2007, 10:21 PM
Not to mention it's the height of hypocrisy...


Perhaps no single policy is more at odds with President Bush's pledge to "end tyranny in our world" than the United States' role as the world's leading arms exporting nation. Although arms sales are often justified on the basis of their purported benefits, from securing access to overseas military facilities to rewarding coalition allies in conflicts such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, these alleged benefits often come at a high price. All too often, U.S. arms transfers end up fueling conflict, arming human rights abusers, or falling into the hands of U.S. adversaries. As in the case of recent decisions to provide new F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan, while pledging comparable high-tech military hardware to its rival India, U.S. arms sometimes go to both sides in long brewing conflicts, ratcheting up tensions and giving both sides better firepower with which to threaten each other. Far from serving as a force for security and stability, U.S. weapons sales frequently serve to empower unstable, undemocratic regimes to the detriment of U.S. and global security.

Among the key findings of this report are the following:

In 2003, the last year for which full information is available, the United States transferred weaponry to 18 of the 25 countries involved in active conflicts. From Angola, Chad and Ethiopia, to Colombia, Pakistan and the Philippines, transfers through the two largest U.S. arms sales programs (Foreign Military Sales and Commercial Sales) to these conflict nations totaled nearly $1 billion in 2003, with the vast bulk of the dollar volume going to Israel ($845.6 million).

In 2003, more than half of the top 25 recipients of U.S. arms transfers in the developing world (13 of 25) were defined as undemocratic by the U.S. State Department's Human Rights Report: in the sense that "citizens do not have the right to change their own government" or that right was seriously abridged. These 13 nations received over $2.7 billion in U.S. arms transfers under the Foreign Military Sales and Commercial Sales programs in 2003, with the top recipients including Saudi Arabia ($1.1 billion), Egypt ($1.0 billion), Kuwait ($153 million), the United Arab Emirates ($110 million) and Uzbekistan ($33 million).

When countries designated by the State Department's Human Rights Report to have poor human rights records or serious patterns of abuse are factored in, 20 of the top 25 U.S. arms clients in the developing world in 2003-- a full 80%-- were either undemocratic regimes or governments with records of major human rights abuses.

The largest U.S. military aid program, Foreign Military Financing (FMF), increased by 68% between 2001 and 2003, from $3.5 billion to nearly $6 billion. These years coincided with the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the run-up to the U.S. intervention in Iraq. The biggest increases in dollar terms went to countries that were directly or indirectly engaged as U.S. allies in the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, including Jordan ($525 million increase from 2001 to 2003), Afghanistan ($191 million increase), Pakistan ($224 million increase) and Bahrain ($90 million increase). The Philippines, where the United States stepped up joint operations against a local terrorist group with alleged links to al-Qaeda, also received a substantial increase of FMF funding ($47 million) from 2001 to 2003. Military aid totals have leveled off slightly since their FY 2003 peak, coming in at a requested $4.5 billion for 2006. This is still a full $1 billion more than 2001 levels. The number of countries receiving FMF assistance nearly doubled from FY 2001 to FY 2006-- from 48 to 71.

The greatest danger emanating U.S. arms transfers and military aid programs is not in the numbers, but in the potential impacts on the image, credibility and security of the United States. Arming repressive regimes in all corners of the globe while simultaneously proclaiming a campaign for democracy and against tyranny undermines the credibility of the United States in international forums and makes it harder to hold other nations to high standards of conduct on human rights and other key issues. Arming undemocratic governments all too often helps to enhance their power, frequently fueling conflict or enabling human rights abuses in the process. These blows to the reputation of the United States are in turn impediments to winning the "war of ideas" in the Muslim world and beyond, a critical element in drying up financial and political support for terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda. Last but not least, in all too many cases, U.S. arms and military technology can end up in the hands of U.S. adversaries, as happened in the 1980s in Iraq and Panama, as well as with the right-wing fundamentalist "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan, many of whom are now supporters of al-Qaeda.

09-04-2007, 04:39 AM
Notice how they just slipped Iran in there, even though the weapons are said to have come from China.