The prices for Kalashnikov rifle pierce the ceiling. In Pakistan now everyone wants their AK-47.
Militant groups, private armies, ordinary citizens-Pakistani arms dealers can’t complain about a lack of buyers. Everyone wants a rifle, if only just in case. No one here feels that the state will be able to protect them from threats.
Relatively cheap, easy to use, difficult to destroy and with excellent performance – the Kalashnikov is a favorite weapon of all kinds of militants not only in Pakistan. Now its prices here are as high as ever – the best indicator of the prevailing social mood here.
The most expensive are German
In the capital of the northern province of Peshawar and Darra Adam Khel, the largest city on the Afghan border, prices for the rifle have increased fivefold in a year, reaching an astronomical $1,500 (125,000 rupees).
– There is war in the tribal areas. The Taliban need weapons and the local tribes need weapons against the Taliban, says Habib Khan, an arms dealer from Peshawar.
Darra Adam Khel is one of Asia’s largest arms markets. Prices for Kalashnikovs vary because of where they are made. The most expensive are German models (125 thousand rupees), the cheapest – Kalashnikovs produced locally, which go for 12 thousand.
– Not long ago, for a Chinese Kalashnikov you had to pay 25 to 25 thousand rupees. Now the prices don’t go below 100 thousand,” notes Qalandar Shah, the owner of an arms store in Darra Adam Khel. – The main reason in my opinion is the coming big war. There is also a shortage of goods due to the widespread “Talibanization” of the region, he claims.
He probably knows what he is saying. He has been selling arms in Dara Adam Khel for 25 years. When he started, Peshawar was populated by American and Pakistani spies who supplied money and weapons to the Mujahideen fighting the Soviets. Then the AK-47 captured the imagination of Pakistanis and found a place in almost every household here.
What is legal in this country?
After the American invasion of Afghanistan and their overthrow of the Taliban government, hundreds of Taliban and al-Qaeda members fighting alongside them crossed the border into Pakistan. The situation gradually escalated until it erupted in April this year when the Pakistani government declared war on the Taliban.
Since then, some 2,000 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in the fighting, about the same number of bombing casualties.
– If the situation doesn’t change, demand for the Kalashnikov will be even greater and prices will be even higher,” Shah says.
The AK-47 was developed in the 1940s in the USSR. More than 60 years later, it is by far the favorite weapon of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Kashmiri separatists. – It is lightweight and has good performance, praises Roohullah, an arms dealer from Peshawar.
Kabir Khan, a customer who has just bought a Kalashnikov, confirms: – I bought it, although it is very expensive. I have no choice but to have a rifle at home to defend myself,” he says. – I know that it is not allowed to keep a Kalashnikov at home without a special permit. It is illegal. But what is legal in this country? The government has failed and cannot provide us with security,” he adds.