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Hundreds of German guns on Afghan black market

Published on October 13, 2009

Berlin -- Hundreds of old army handguns given by Germany to the Afghan police and army have found their way onto the black market in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan, a German media report said on Monday.

The Walther P1 pistols, which change hands for over a thousand dollars on the black market, were part of a shipment of 10,000 decommissioned guns to the Afghan interior ministry in 2006, regional public radio station NDR Info said.

Often the weapons end up in the wrong hands because of the high number of people leaving the Afghan security services without returning them, and also because of corruption, the report said.

A German defence ministry spokesman, Thomas Raabe, confirmed the shipment on Monday but said that the donation was fully above the board, with the Afghan authorities pledging that the guns would only be used by the security services.

"Of course we will investigate whether there are indications (that the guns have disappeared), although at the moment we have no evidence," Raabe told a regular government briefing. "Perhaps it should be discussed whether we need even stricter regulations, although I would like to stress that the regulations are already very strict, as you can tell from the records that are kept.”