Afghans getting tanks?

Greece Offers 13 Battle Tanks to the Afghan Government (pg 13)

During the last informal meeting of the North Atlantic Council at Foreign Ministers level, the Greek Foreign Minister announced that, within the alliance’s efforts for equipping and training Afghan military forces, Greece offers 13 battle tanks M60A3 and 300 AK-47 submachine guns, to be provided in the next two months.

Though nearly obsolescent by modern mechanized military standards, M60A3 tanks should actually be quite useful for fighting insurgencies. The Iraqi military, currently using T-55 and T-72 tanks, will be upgrading some units to M60A3s over the next couple of years.

(And the AK-47 is not a submachine gun…)

The Afghan army is still struggling to get going, but they’ve been making some headway lately, it seems.


  1. Being American, this sounds so funny! WTH are you going to do with 13 tanks, especially M60s? In reality, it’s a great deal for Afghanistan, but could you imagine a similar headline, ‘America decides to purchase 13 additional tanks’? Not sure why, but it’s funny to me. In other news, Afghanistan decides to increase the size of its army by 12.

  2. The M60A3 as it was configured in my Marine days was no joke. The fire control system was more advanced than the original M-1’s. It’s also less of a fuel hog. The armor is not a tough as the newer Chobham stuff but pretty good with the reactive plates in place. The battle for the Kuwait airport showed what M60’s can do against any tanks the Afghans may encounter. The M60 was a better tank for Infantry support – the exhaust was less like a blowtorch and they all have the external field phone (that they started installing on the M-1).

  3. Infantry support is what the Afghans will need tanks for (as well as the Iraqis, for that matter) and the M60 is probably just as good overall as an M1 in that roll most of the time, I’d think. To be honest, wouldn’t the 105mm gun be a bit easier on dismounted infantry in the general vicinity? The difference between 105mm and 120mm against bunkers and buildings is not probably very noticable, and in fact it’s probably more managable in an urban environment. (Obviously more important in Iraq, less so in Afghanistan.)

  4. Kevin, I think it’s a win-win for Greece. They get to unload some old stuff that they don’t want- for whatever reason- and get credit as a NATO member for sort of contributing to a NATO op. Later they can say, ‘what do you mean we need to do more? We gave them a whole tank company!’ What’s funnier to me is how they arrived at the 300 AK-47s figure. Afghanistan is awash in them- so 1, why send more; and 2, why 300? 240 wasn’t going to cut it, but 400 was far too many…? Not that I care that much about it, just a little something that caused me to arch an eyebrow.

  5. Bram, The ‘rads have sold Leopards to Turkey in the past, as well. Wonder who else.