The reliable measure of stability in many countries is the value of the currency or the price of equities, bread or fuel — but not in Afghanistan: here the key indicator that nearly every Afghan keeps tabs on is the price of a Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle. And the bad news is that the market is bullish. The stepped-up Taliban offensive and mounting discord over the outcome of last month’s election have seen the price of a Chinese-made AK smuggled in from Pakistan rise to $400 from $150 in just three months. “People are arming themselves,” a Western official in Kabul noted with alarm.
Of course, the rising prices could be influenced by things in addition to uncertainty about the election. If the perception is that insurgents are becoming bolder or that the US may be having second thoughts about fighting in Afghanistan, that could easily drive Afghans to spend a little extra on some additional household weapons. Or maybe they realize it’s just a matter of time before Mexican drug gang violence is blamed on Afghan assault weapons. (via Uncle)