In reading Bruce Cameron's excellent brief ode to Afghanistan and the CIA, a little nugget sunk its pitted, misshapen content into the frontal lobe, made me wonder about something.
As we know, the US supplied deadly Stinger missiles to the Afghan mujahedeen, via the CIA-ISI-Saud-Mossad Operation Cyclone, during the Soviet occupation. Banes bedeviled the Soviets, but the Stinger, well, the Stinger proved one of the larger banes of the Soviet military effort; literally hundreds of aircraft shot down.
Almost every quasi-corrupt quasi-western power has these things, from Slovania, to Israel, to Turkey. Even Pakistan has these freaking things.
So, here's the weird part: the world arms market is vast, white, grey, and black. Anyone determined can pretty much get whatever they want. Stingers are not outside the range of these domains, indeed, they likely would pass through all three. And yet! And yet, despite the multi-billion dollar operation the Taliban are running, despite connections to global weapons traffic -- no Stingers. None. So far as we know. Have you ever heard of a Stinger missile taking down a US aircraft? Neither have I.
So, two choices: CENTCOM has checked any Stinger reporting (seems unlikely), or there are no Stingers in Afghanistan.
I find this amazing, both for the fact this has never before occurred to me, and for the fact itself, at how laughably easy it is to smuggle Stingers around the world, no more difficult that a crate of AK-47s. How do these particularly cheap, and awfully expensively lethal weapons, readily deployed against bygone enemies, thence celebrated by the US media, fail to make an appearance on the theatre of battle where once they reigned?
Now, people may argue, hey! idtiot! the DoD keeps tracks of all those bad things they make. But bad has a threshold, apparently. Because the Dod is not above loosing guns, and ammo, and god knows what else, by the bucket load. This appears to be not bad. Stingers? Well, what Stingers really are, are bad for the US military when in the hands of "the opposition." The era of the insurgent and the Stinger is over. Ended awhile ago, by the landscape.
Sorry, Noel, the stingers of Afghanistan are wanting these days. Must be the wind.