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kevbo's avatar

Would you believe that the U.S. military is outgunned by Taliban fighters using AK-47s?

Asked by kevbo (25621points) May 25th, 2010

It’s true. The Pentagon told this London reporter, and he did a very good job of typewriting.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/afghanistan/article7135496.ece

No wonder the war is taking so long.

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6 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

Well, you do have to wonder why the richest, most powerful nation on earth with the most well equipped, best trained and educated military in the world can’t “defeat” one of the poorest nations in the world, with no functioning government and no standing army, an enemy with hand-me-down guns, riding on horseback and no central command. What’s up with that?

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I think the official meant the relatively narrow issue of the AK’s (7.62mm) greater stopping power at short range than the M16’s (5.56mm). Other than that, the situation is the age-old one of an occupying power facing guerrilla insurgents. As Mao said “the guerrilla must be to the people as a fish is to water”. Until the people of Afghanistan reject the Taliban, all the force in the world won’t change things.

kevbo's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land, you’re kidding right? This whole article is about the disparity at longer ranges which is a more prevalent issue in Afghanistan due to the more open geography. Are you really glossing that over as a mistake in the reporting?

LuckyGuy's avatar

The AK’s ammo is 7.62 mm and weighs 122 grains. The M16 ammos is 5.56 mm and weighs 55 grains. Each weapon has an advantage under certain conditions. The article say at 300 meters the AK is better. Closer in, the M16 wins.
I would not want to be in front of either weapon at any distance.
Unfortunately, the AK holder has another advantage. He can shoot at anyone or anything that does not look native. The M16 holder has to consider if the object or person is a real target. Insurgents intentionally look like civilians.
A sad, tough situation.

Cruiser's avatar

@worriedguy made good points and I would add the US soldiers is essentially an assault force and the light weapon is highly effective for a majority of their missions which are ambush and attack style assaults. Anything long range will be an air or heavy artillery mission. I would not want to be hiking mountains with a heavy rifle in my arms. Plus the article did point out that there will be nine snipers now in each company.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

The real AKs in the field are rubbish, badly maintained and unreliable, the sights are trash. Our snipers with the M24 system kick their asses at anything over 200m. The Taliban just spray rounds and hope to hit something. Our tactic is to pin them down until arty or air can smash them. The biggest danger at longer ranges are the tribal fighters with their old British Enfields, most of them are on the government coalition side now, except for a few Pashtun tribes in the southeast.

@kevbo I think the guy the reporter interviewed is a theorist with little or no field experience. The only real problem is at the squad level; the Army substituted the 5.56mm M249 SAW for the M60 7.62mm machine gun some years ago, leaving no high-volume weapon with adequate stopping power beyond 300m. The vast majority of infantry are not trained to shoot the assault rifle beyond 250m, so re-equipping them would mean major retraining.

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