Peacekeeping: Albania Cleans Out the Closet


April 29, 2006: Albania has done a remarkable job of finally collecting and destroying thousands of tons of munitions left over from the former police state government.

When Albania's communist (actually Stalinist) dictatorship fell in 1990, left in its wake were millions of rifles and thousands of tons of other weapons and munitions. For decades, the communist dictatorship had built fortifications, bought weapons and trained much of the 3.5 million Albanians to resist an invasion that never came (or was even planned.) In the early 1990s, many of the weapons were promptly stolen and sold on the international black market. It was a gunrunners paradise for much of the 1990s. But the government eventually stepped in and stopped the arms trade. While most of the stuff was gone by then, plenty was left to collect and destroy. So far, the government has collected and destroyed 141,000 rifles and pistols and 511 armored vehicles, over a thousand artillery weapons, and 44,000 tons of munitions. All in all, an excellent peacekeeping effort.


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