Balkans: September 13, 2000


In 1997, Albania went through a period of anarchy when the economy collapsed because of a gigantic series of financial swindles. Along the way, most military arms storage centers were looted. Some 600,000 weapons disappeared, mostly AK-47's, pistols and machine-guns. Only about 20 percent of the weapons were recovered, and the United States, Germany and Norway have contributed money and technical assistance to destroy the recovered weapons. All these arms were stockpiled by the former communist (and quite paranoid) government so the population could be armed should the country be invaded.


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