Friday 12 February 2010

Mysterious attack on Stinger arms dealer

The News in Pakistan reports that an arms dealer called Reemal, a Borakhel Wazir from Naurak village near Miranshah in North Waziristan, was badly injured yesterday when his double cabin pick-up truck was destroyed by a bomb blast.
Three other people in the vehicle were also injured and one at least had a limb amputated at the Agency Headquarters Hospital in Miranshah.
According to The News, Reemal was suspected of having a number of FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles that he had bought during the anti-Soviet jihad and had stored ever since in a secret location.
Around 500 Stinger missiles were originally provided by the CIA to mujahideen groups for use against Soviet helicopters and attack aircraft, where they proved to be very effective. So concerned were the Americans about the fact that some of the missiles were unaccounted for that in the early 1990s they introduced a $55 million buy-back programme and managed to remove dozens from the region.
Whether or not the missiles would still work is a matter of debate. They will be around 20 years old now, and it is said their battery only last for four years. But knowing the ingenuity of Pakistan's tribal arms bazaars, anything could be possible.
Tribal militants and their al-Qaeda allies who are presently being decimated by CIA drone missile strikes would receive a huge morale boost if they were able to lay their hands on fully functioning Stingers.
Three weeks ago Reemal's brother was also shot dead in Miranshah. No-one has claimed responsibility for either attack.

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