India has delivered final Mi-24 gunship to Afghanistan on Saturday for aiding Kabul in reconstructing the country amidst opposing Taliban group.
The delivery of four gunships marks the first lethal weaponry supply to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).
A number of the Indian Air Force personnel also arrived in Kabul to complete the delivery of the final gunship to the Afghan forces, Khaama Press reported Sunday.
In late August, diplomatic officials said, “The fourth helicopter is yet to be transferred. It needs spares before it can be made fully operational and the spares have to come from Russia.” Diplomatic officials said.
“There was an issue with the spares. It is being sorted out. It should be delivered very soon,” the senior defence official said.
Though the Mi-24 is of Russian origin, India has extensive knowledge on its usage as it has been one of its oldest operators. Afghan pilots also receive training in India.
The first three of the Mi-24 gunships were delivered in December 2015, before Indian PM Narendra Modi visited Kabul to inaugurate the new Parliament, constructed through India's assistance.
Recently during Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar’s visit to New Delhi, both sides reached decision to deliver Mi-24 gunship.
India is one of the donors for the reconstruction of Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. Since 2002, India has kept USD $2 billion to the socio-economic rebuilding of the Afghan state and society in accordance with the development priorities of the Government and the people of Afghanistan.
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Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani is likely to hand over a list of guns and helicopters the country wishes to acquire from India for military assistance. The president will be arriving in New Delhi on Wednesday
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US military has plans to replace Afghanistan's old fleet of Russian helicopters with American-made aircraft UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, according to a new budget proposal. This move is aimed at reducing the Afghan air force's decades-long reliance on Russian equipment,
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