American defence officials have secretly requested a “prodigious quantity” of ammunition from Russia to supply the Afghan army in case a Democrat president takes over in Washington and pulls out US troops.
The Daily Telegraph can disclose that Pentagon chiefs have asked arms suppliers for a quote on a vast amount of ordnance, including more than 78 million rounds of AK47 ammunition, 100,000 rocket-propelled grenades and 12,000 tank shells – equivalent to about 15 times the British Army’s annual requirements.
The Bush administration is said to want the deal because of worries that the next president could be a Democrat, possibly Hillary Clinton, who may abandon Afghanistan.
At least the conservative Telegraph newspaper has a sense of humour:
Some observers pointed to the irony of the deal, because when the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan the Americans sold Stinger surface-to- air missiles to the Mujahideen to enable them to shoot down Moscow’s aircraft.
UPDATE: Russia has denied the claims.