Thanks to A Large Regular for pointing out this error in a New York Times online story posted over the weekend.
A Large Regular posted this The American Thinker story on what turned out to be a mistake filled caption on a picture run by the Times. The article heavily cites a supposed military expert on the shell's origin, some points of which I disagree with, but I wonder if there might be more to this then just the Times making another foolish factual error.
Ned Barnett, the military expert quoted, might be considered an expert, but he too is in error. A High Explosive artillery shell is properly called HE, not HP. He also does not take issue with such a piece of ordinance being in western Pakistan.
There have not been major artillery duels in that part of Pakistan. On the Indian border yes, but not here I don't believe. The shell might have been fired by the Soviets during the 1980s and brought there from Afghanistan or during the Taliban/Norther Alliance civil war, altough I don't think much artillery was used during the latter. Either way the round does not look very old, the paint is a little chipped. This makes it more likely that its either newer or had been more or less properly stored.
I do agree that these people are idiots to be standing next to this thing, although to me it does NOT look like the fuse has been attached.
My alternative theory is the Times' error is greater then it's letting on.
Maybe the image is not from Pakistan, but Afghanistan or even some part Iraq where these shells are lying all over the place. The Times' merely decided this was great anti-Bush theater and ran it.
Going against my theory is the headgear on the man looks more Indian then Arab, but then again the Kurds might use this fashion.