23:53 GMT +325 May 2018
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    Afghan Border Police members and Kandahar Air Wing pilots offload humanitarian aid from an Afghan Air Force Mi-17 helicopter

    Unexpected Turn: US Anti-Russia Sanctions Caused Air Power Crisis in Afghanistan

    US Army / 1st Lt. Veronica Aguila
    Asia & Pacific
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    US refusal to allow Afghanistan to buy spare parts from Russia for its Mi-17 "Hip" combat helicopters in 2014 caused a major air power and security crisis, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s Chief Adviser, Mohammad Qayoumi, said in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Obama administration bought Mi-17s for the Afghan air force where they played a vital role in providing ground support in combat operations and in carrying supplies. However, in 2014 the US government imposed economic sanctions on Russia.

    "The Ukraine crisis impacted Afghanistan in a major way," Qayoumi stated on Friday. "After the Ukraine crisis we could not use US funds to acquire any spare parts and that caused a major crisis in air power for Afghanistan."

    Later, the Kabul government asked Moscow to provide spare parts and maintenance support while the sanctions were still in place but no agreement was reached, Army General John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan said at the Pentagon in December.

    In November 2016, the Obama administration and the Department of Defense requested $264 million from Congress in a supplemental request to replace the Mi-17s with 60 US-built UH-60 Black Hawk combat helicopters.

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    Tags:
    sanctions, Mi-17, Russia, United States, Afghanistan
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