Helicopters donated by India operate in Afghanistan

Kabul, Jan 20 (IANS) Three of the four Mi-35 helicopters — donated by India to Afghanistan — were fully operational, the country’s defence ministry said on Wednesday.

The helicopters will be used for the first time in the ongoing Helmand province battle against Taliban group, Tolo news agency quoted an official as saying.

“We have always been helped by India. The helicopters donated by the country to Afghanistan have been assembled and will help us fight terrorists,” said Ghulam Sakhi Ahmadzai, the deputy chief of procurement of the defence ministry.

Meanwhile, air force commander Abdul Wahab Wardak thanked India for its cooperation with Afghanistan and said help from regional and global countries was crucial for bringing peace and stability to the country.

“The Indian helicopters are very suitable for the climate and the location of the country and they can give further morale to the security forces in their operations against terrorists,” he said.

“As we are helped by India and the US, we need the same cooperation from other countries because the Taliban, Daesh and Al-Qaeda are not only the enemy for Afghanistan but the enemy of any country in the world,” he added.

Meanwhile, India’s defence attaché in Kabul Sujit Narain said he was happy that the helicopters were operational for the Afghan Air Force.

“We consider Afghanistan as our close friend and we will further help this country,” he added.

Three helicopters were handed over to Afghanistan during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to Kabul in December 2015, and the fourth helicopter is expected to be delivered soon.

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