The Gun Village
Dara Adam Khel, one of the wildest places I have ever been, is located in the Khoat province on the lawless border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the entire village is living off the fabrication and sale of arms and munitions. Anything can be purchased here without a permit.
I then heard from a friend, a French journalist based in Pakistan, that he had a Pakistani friend who could take us. The friend was originally from South Waziristan, one of the most dangerous and lawless places in Pakistan. Because he was a descendent of the prophet, his presence would make the visit easier. We had our guide and believed that if anyone could get us in and out without trouble it was this man. We quickly nicknamed him the 'Godfather.'
When we arrived in Dara after an incident-free journey I was amazed to see all the markets with gaudy billboard signs advertising all kinds of guns and ammunition. The real gun lovers could even design their own machine gun, rifle or pistol! The shops also had copies of all the most famous guns, from an AK-47 to an M-16. I was tempted by a Rambo-type machine gun!
What shocked me most about Dara was the constant barrage of gunshots. Before the guns were sold, each buyer fired a few rounds into the air to try them out. This is not only deafening but dangerous. What goes up must come down and according to shop owners, it was common for people to be killed or injured by falling bullets.
Apparently everyone is an arms specialist--the very young to the very old-- making their living off guns. It seems there is no moral objection.
Unfortunately a policeman noticed us and the Godfather whisked us into his house and gave us tea and naan bread. We waited, hoping, in vain as it turned out, that we could go back out and work. The Godfather, whose judgment by this time we trusted completely, said it was time to leave. Not wanting to get him into trouble, we left. I was pleased to have had the chance; I had wanted to go for two years and finally I had seen the market if only for a few hours.
© Veronique de Viguerie
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