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Afghans Refuse to Return U.S. Stinger Missiles

From Associated Press

Afghanistan will not return Stinger missile launchers supplied by the United States to anti-Soviet rebels during the Afghan war, Afghanistan’s prime minister said Thursday.

Washington wants to buy back the antiaircraft weapons to keep them from falling into the hands of terrorists.

“The Afghan government does not intend to allow even a round of ammunition to be taken out of Afghanistan,” Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar told reporters in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

His comments were carried by the Islamic Republic News Agency, monitored in Nicosia.

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The Afghan moujahedeen fighters, who received dozens of Stingers from Washington in the 1978-92 war, took power last year after overthrowing the Communist government.

The CIA reportedly hoped to spend $55 million to buy back the missile launchers to keep them out of the hands of terrorists and hostile governments.

Iranian and North Korean espionage agents and Islamic militant groups are believed to be bidding to buy Stingers from the moujahedeen.


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