Murphy's Law: Serial Numbers Removed


September 7, 2007: China was rather surprised when it was recently accused of supplying weapons to the Taliban. Chinese assault rifles, machine-guns and PRGs have been all over Afghanistan for decades. The suppliers have been the Pakistani intelligence services (the ISI), smugglers and Iran. But lately, Chinese made anti-aircraft missiles (clones of the Russian SAM 7) and ATGMs (anti-tank guided missiles) have been showing up. China denies selling missiles into Afghanistan, although Iran and Pakistan are supplied with such advanced weapons. Pakistan manufactures its own clone of the SAM 7. Moreover, ISI no longer supplies the Taliban, or anyone else in Afghanistan, with weapons. That's because the Taliban is now at war with the Pakistani government. Thus Iran becomes the most likely culprit. Officially, Iran denies sending such weapons into Afghanistan. Moreover, Chinese missiles that have been captured in Afghanistan, that have had their serial numbers removed. But there are plenty of serial numbers on some of the electronic components, that cannot be removed without rendering the missile useless. China has been given some of this evidence by the British, and asked to find out who got what from where. That could be uncomfortable, because there have been past instances of corrupt Chinese military officials making a little on the side by illegally exporting weapons. More likely, it's a rogue element inside Iran (like the Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is sort of legal rogue organization.) In any event, China is on the spot, and Chinese officials don't like it at all.


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