13:45 GMT27 February 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Kabul is interested in Russia's Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters for counterterrorism operations and would like Moscow to supply them on a non-reimbursable basis, Afghan Ambassador to Russia Abdul Qayyum Kochai told Sputnik.

    "There was a time when we purchased Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters from Russia. Some of these helicopters are operational, some others require major repair works and [or] prolongation of service life… [Afghanistan] is interested in purchasing the above-mentioned modifications of helicopters as they showed themselves to the best advantage in Afghan conditions," Kochai said.

    According to the ambassador, the Afghan government does not have enough funds to purchase these helicopters, while the United States currently refuses to allocate funds as it did before.

    "At the same time, I should remind that the United States will continue providing Black Hawk-type helicopters to the [Afghan] Armed Forces on a free of charge basis. I believe that the Russian side could do the same by providing to the Afghan side Mi-35-type helicopters on a non-reimbursable basis, which are necessary for the Afghan army to conduct counterterrorism operations," the diplomat stressed.

    The peoples of the two countries and the international community will certainly "appreciate such a gesture of goodwill" from the Russian authorities, Kochai added.

    READ MORE: US Should Work Together With Russia to End Afghan Crisis — Scholar

    Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Ministry's Second Asian Department Director Zamir Kabulov reminded that a bilateral intergovernmental agreement on Russia's defense industry assistance to Afghanistan had entered into force in November 2016, adding that the document created the legal framework for Russian assistance in arming and equipping the Afghan security forces.


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