May 10, 2006Foreign Affairs

Misguided missiles

Pakistan transferred Stinger missiles to Iran. By mistake.

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Here’s another one for the credulous.

During America’s covert war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the CIA gave 2000 anti-aircraft Stinger missiles to Pakistan’s ISI to be transferred to the Afghan mujahideen. Little is known what became of them — a small number were transferred to the mujahideen, many were supposed to have been destroyed in the (convenient) explosions at Ojhri camp and the Americans may have bought back some of them.

Lt Gen Hamid Gul, former chief of the ISI, has now revealed that although Pakistan did not sell them, as many as thirty five of those missiles reached Iran by mistake’. Even giving him the benefit of the doubt does not make it any better for Pakistan. The advanced military hardware it continues to receive from the United States may reach Iran and other places by the same mistake. Neither is the Stinger episode the first case where American military technology ended up with in the hands of its enemies through Pakistan’s hands. During the Vietnam War, China got more than a good look at the F-104 fighter planes that Pakistan had received by virtue of being America’s Cold War allies.

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