Kabul: India on Thursday delivered the first pair of Mi-24 attack helicopters as replacement to the Afghan Air Force to help bolster the war-torn country’s capability in counter insurgency and fight against terrorism.
Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Vinay Kumar handed over the helicopters to Acting Defence Minister Asadullah Khalid at the Kabul Air Force base, TOLO News reported, citing a statement by the Indian embassy in Kabul. “These are replacement for the four attack helicopters previously gifted by India to Afghanistan in 2015,” the statement said.
“The Mi-24 helicopters shall boost the capability of the Afghan Air Force and enhance the effectiveness of the Afghan National Defence and Security Force in combating the scourge of terrorism,” it said. “Purchased from Belarus, the helicopters were handed over to the Afghan Air Force at an official ceremony, attended by the acting Minister of Defence Asadullah Khalid, the Indian Ambassador, Afghan Air Force commander Abdul Fahim Ramin,” said a Twitter post from Khalid’s handle.
“Two more of the same type will be purchased and supplied to the Afghan Air Force in order to make the aerial operations more effective,” according to another tweet from the acting Defence Minister’s handle. India had first presented Mi-24 helicopters to Afghanistan in December 2015, the embassy said. India has been one of the largest donors to Afghanistan and has committed $3 billion in aid since 2001.